Dozens of school districts across the country have adopted the “portfolio strategy,” an idea originated by CRPE founder Paul Hill in the 1990s. These districts are giving schools power and agency over their futures and focusing the role of the central office on supporting schools, fairly measuring outcomes, and developing ways to ensure that equity is preserved.
CRPE has spent two decades researching portfolio implementation and facilitating an active knowledge-sharing network. Originally just a small gathering of forward-thinking superintendents, the portfolio network now includes a diverse collection of community, charter school, and district leaders. A growing number of local and national philanthropies are supporting portfolio progress. State and local policymakers are engaging in new ways. And a growing slate of national thought leaders and consultants are opining and advising national funders and localities with views that range from exuberance to disparagement.
Based on CRPE’s experience researching and observing strife and progress in portfolio implementation, this paper offers advice for both advocates and skeptics.