Reform Governance® in Action is our premier school board training program that is based on the Reform Governance® framework developed by Donald R. McAdams in his book, What School Boards Can Do: Reform Governance for Urban Schools.  This governance framework is built on the belief that school boards must be committed to effective governance practices and reform-minded leadership if student achievement is to improve and achievement gaps eliminated.

Interested school board/superintendent teams can select from our extensive list of Reform Governance® topics and case studies.   Training sessions are led by highly-qualified CRSS faculty members, most of whom have extensive school board experience.

Reform Governance Framework

Our Training Topics and Original Case Studies:

Team Building and Collaboration
Board Meetings and Committees
Constituent Service
Management Oversight
Financial Oversight
Core Beliefs and Commitments
Theories of Action for Change
Reform Policies
Data Dashboard
Goals and Plans
Superintendent Evaluation
The Search, Selection, and Signing of a Superintendent
Board Self-Evaluation for Continuous Improvement
Building Civic Capacity and Broad Public Support
Sustaining the Reform Momentum
Having the Courage and Skills to be a Reform Leader
21st Century Teaching and Learning

Case Studies

“Peeling the Onion: Getting to the Heart of Student Achievement in Aldine”
Case Overview:
This case describes a district with sustained board and superintendent leadership that is sharply focused on improving student achievement, which in the early 1990s lagged well behind other Houston-area districts. Spurred on by the Texas accountability system and inspired by the Baldrige Quality model implemented in the neighboring Brazosport district, Aldine began building a philosophy—and theory of action—to improve student performance by managing the instructional process and using data and data analysis to make critical decisions. The district’s unrelenting focus on instruction resulted in significant improvements in overall achievement and successfully reduced achievement gaps among Black, White, and Hispanic students.
“Raising the Bar: High Standards and High Stakes in Gwinnett County Public Schools”
Case Overview:
This case chronicles the Gwinnett County school board’s effort to develop a new curriculum along with Gateway tests at selected grade levels to measure academic mastery and end social promotion These reform efforts, developed years before passage of the federal No Child Left Behind law, initially draw little public attention. But as implementation draws nearer and fears escalate that many students may fail, the board members face angry protests and pressure to abandon their plan. The superintendent reassures the board and community members that an appeals process and a series of safety nets and interventions will be in place to help struggling students. Culminating a series of policy decisions, the board unanimously votes to approve the assessment program and adopt a set of phased-in cut scores. The case ends with reflections on the district’s accomplishments as well as the challenges ahead.
“The Grand Experiment: Philadelphia Tries a New Way to Reform Its Schools”
Case Overview:
This case spans the years 2000-2011, the era of the School Reform Commission, a small, powerful board, appointed by the governor and mayor, and the superintendencies of two strong personalities, Paul Vallas and Arlene Ackerman. It is the dramatic story of a city and state responding to unacceptable urban school performance by trying to create a new district design. Philadelphia is the first major urban district to implement at scale the Diverse Provider Model, the mix of traditional public schools with district charter schools and schools contracted out to for-profit educational management organizations. Design and implementation issues are huge, compounded by financial crises, conflicts with powerful unions, board/superintendent power struggles, and the interests of powerful elected officials.