Core Purpose

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To seek out, study, and spread school design best practices to the educators who need them the most.

SPI is on an ambitious mission to create more gap-closing schools- those that are able to close the achievement gap between economically disadvantaged students and their more affluent peers.  Teacher and principal effectiveness are the biggest factors, among those that schools can control, impacting a student’s academic performance.   

Many believe that when schools struggle, it is because the teachers and principals are ineffective.  We believe that in the vast majority of struggling schools that this isn’t the case.  Instead, we believe that there are two types of issues that prevent schools from getting the desired results.  In the first type of struggling school, there is a “knowing-doing gap”.  In schools with a knowing-doing gap, school leaders and teachers know the basic elements of gap closing schools, but struggle with turning that knowledge into action.  In the second type of struggling school, staff may lack prerequisite knowledge about the foundational elements to running a gap closing school.

Based on these beliefs, our theory of change is that in either case, if schools have the prerequisite will, SPI can assist them on their journey to improve.  The goal of this journey is not to fix the people, but instead to create the systems necessary for success.  We start this journey by asking “Why can’t you…?” as opposed to “Why aren’t you…?”