Posted October 19, 2017
A lot has changed in American education since Christopher Cross and Scott Joftus founded Cross & Joftus more than 13 years ago. Like the education leaders we support, we too are evolving to meet the challenges of today’s education context. Our name change is emblematic of a renewed mission to provide focused and connected supports to education leaders across the country. In a time when a growing number of children need better and broader learning opportunities to succeed in school and in life, we are focusing our work on what we believe matters most and on helping education and community leaders do the same.
So what do we think matters most?
Our combined experience points to four critical success factors for education reform.
- Context: Every education initiative is influenced by its context. While goals for student success may be the same, approaches for reaching them must be responsive to the unique ecosystems in which schools, districts and communities operate. Policies, people, historical practice, and community nuances impact what’s possible and what’s needed.
- Coherence: Education happens in a dynamic system with many moving parts. Without alignment, leaders’ best efforts result in limited progress. We believe that coherence is essential for systems change and realizing results.
- Equity and Access: All young people deserve a rigorous and rewarding education experience, regardless of their ability, zip code or preferences. Opportunity and achievement gaps must be closed, and this requires a broader definition of what, where and how students learn.
- Relationships: Above all else, education is the work of people, and when it comes to people, relationships matter. This includes strong relationships between students and teachers, among school staff, with families, and also across teams, departments, agencies, and sectors. With strong relationships in place, stakeholders can go further faster and students benefit.
What does this mean for our work?
Anchored by these beliefs, we are recommitting ourselves to partnering with schools, districts and communities in four areas:
- Building coherent strategies – identifying the most promising levers for change and aligning policies, practices, and goals to bring coherence to education systems.
- Equipping strong leaders – building the capacity of educators, administrators, and policymakers to navigate implementation and foster a culture that produces results.
- Enabling high-quality teaching and learning – developing the instructional expertise of educators and leaders and bridging sectors and siloes to give students consistent access to high-quality learning experiences in their schools and communities.
- Fostering continuous improvement – setting up supports and structures to help make sure that changes result in lasting impact.
Anything else you should know?
Since 2004, we’ve been privileged to support education leaders in 31 states and the District of Columbia and to work closely with nonprofits, foundations, associations and advocacy organizations to advance their goals. To do that, we’ve added more associates and partners and codified some of our lessons learned to share with the field. We hope that you will explore our new website and join us in a renewed commitment to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for students. We look forward to continuing to roll up our sleeves with you in this work.