A large urban school district was undertaking a major reform effort, and it attracted strong leaders and some amazing folks eager to transform education outcomes. The needs of the district were urgent and deep, with special education non-compliance costing the district millions of dollars a month. A mandate to correct the non-compliance and develop a proactive approach to successfully resolving issues and formal complaints resulted in an opportunity to address multiple compliance issues in parallel. What was needed was a structure and some core skills to enable successful projects outcomes. That’s where we came in. We were able to structure the initiatives as a portfolio of projects, provide key project management and process design capacity, train key internal resources in basic project management and data governance, and develop a standardized way for monitoring and reporting project status to stakeholders.
Within a few years, a core team of management resources at the district were able to plan and execute projects successfully, use data to establish and evaluate its hypotheses in improving practices on the ground, and better engage school leaders using effective communication plans. The District dramatically improved its overall compliance, was released from costly legal constraints it had been under for 18 years, and is now able to focus its work on the quality of its special education programs rather than its compliance.