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Largest US School District

Situation

The largest public school district in the United States was facing a persistent core population of high school dropouts.

Parthenon partnered with district leadership to develop a comprehensive strategy that provided "Multiple Pathways" to high school graduation, and evaluated a range of related high school reform options.

Parthenon Action

  • Assessed size and profile of the student population who fall "off-track" in high school, representing the district's eventual dropouts.
  • Identified school and programs with the greatest ability to graduate students who fall off-track
  • Evaluated the financial and organizational requirements to support school portfolio strategies, and forecasted the effects of different portfolio investments on system-wide graduation rates
  • Calculated return-on-investment (cost per point of graduation rate increase) based on current spending levels and outcomes in specific schools and programs
  • Proposed prioritized investments as a result of data-driven outcomes tied to instructional practices and specific school design models

Outcome

District and city leadership increased commitment to expand existing Multiple Pathways portfolio by two and one-half times, with more than $60 million of new investments in schools and contracted program.  Parthenon analyses and recommendations featured prominently in numerous news articles, including Time Magazine and the New York Times

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