1.4 Continue developing capacity to improve school planning processes


+ Executing a high-quality portfolio process will ultimately take a dedicated team with a diverse skillset, but you can start the work with existing capacity. The first thing to do is name a project lead.

As you build out your team, focus on the following capacities. This could be as few as two people or as many as ten, depending on the size of your district. See the Quick Start Bundle for a handout on portfolio roles and responsibilities.

Program Management: Organize and track the work plans, create the appropriate working and decision making processes, ensuring stakeholders are engaged, and supporting the work itself.

Analytics: Aggregate and integrate data from multiple functions and systems, design performance accountability structures, weights, trial run scenarios.

Change Management: Navigate the process as an unbiased facilitator through the organization to gain buy-in from multiple stakeholders, from the Board to schools.

Problem Solving: Create solutions for the product and process by adapting to feedback and other constraints, such as limited data, community voice, phrasing, etc.

Communications: Convey complex, technical information to a wide audience while balancing rigor and credibility with ease of understanding.

+ While many districts will build a separate portfolio team, this may not be for you. You don’t need to fill every position to start improving schools.

Primary Roles Related to School Portfolio Management

Role: Ownership of Portfolio Management

Position: Chief Innovation / Strategy / Portfolio Officer (CIO / CSO / CPO)

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Visible leader overseeing innovation in the district, including managing school performance.

  • Develops buy-in for performance management concepts among internal and external stakeholders, including liaising with senior stakeholders.

  • Ensures senior leadership visibility and support of performance management processes.

  • Supervises portfolio management staff.

Role: Execution of School Portfolio Management

Position: Executive Director; 2 levels from the superintendent, reports to CIO

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Serves as the primary point of contact for school performance management.

  • Oversees the development and engagement efforts for the development of the school performance framework, noting that on-going management of the school performance framework may sit on a separate team.

  • Leads the development and execution of processes and policies related to school actions and interventions based on the school performance framework.

  • Manages the new schools approval processes, including replications of existing schools and recruitment of external school providers, including charter schools.

  • Facilitates the annual portfolio review process.

  • Liaises with priority stakeholders to garner support for portfolio management decisions.

  • Supervises portfolio staff.

Role: School Performance Framework Management

Position: Senior Manager or Director; 2-3 levels from the superintendent, reporting to the Executive Director or Chief Innovation Officer

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Plans, implements, supervises the creation and operation of the school performance framework.

  • Collects and manages the data inputs to ensure the integrity of the process.

  • Communicates with school leaders and community stakeholders to build the credibility of the framework and share outcomes.

  • Interfaces with other district staff to execute school performance management actions to improve school performance.

  • Directs the development of local assessments to support school autonomy and oversee state assessments to ensure school leaders are administering correctly.

Role: School Performance Management Process Execution

Position: Senior Manager or Manager; 3-4 levels down from the superintendent, reporting to the Executive Director

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Manages the day-to-day actions of the school performance management process.

  • Project-manages tasks and deliverables to support the annual process of rating schools through senior leadership and board approval of actions.

  • Supports the Executive Director in collaborating with other departments to determine the available school supports to improve performance.

  • Assists the new schools process, including the creation of new school applications, reviews, and community input.

Role: Data Analysis / Process Support

Position: Analyst, Senior Analyst, or Manager; 3-4 levels down from the Superintendent

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Serves as the primary data analyst to support the inputs to the school performance framework and school performance management.

  • Organizes input files to capture required data for the analysis.

  • Prepares data visuals for the Analysis Manager.

  • Preferred: Posesses the ability to geocode student information and create mapping visuals to support conversations related to school performance managment in a regional context.