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you are here: Home > Our Expertise > Thought Leadership > An Assessment of the New York City Department of Education School Support Structure

An Assessment of the New York City Department of Education School Support Structure

November 2013 by Chris Librizzi

A basic question of strategy and organization for any school system is how to manage and support the schools themselves. The structure for supporting schools in the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has undergone dramatic change in the 11+ years since Mayor Bloomberg gained mayoral control. In the eyes of the DOE, this evolution has aimed to achieve two objectives: to provide every school regardless of its neighborhood with access to high-quality support, and to allow the most important decisions regarding staffing, budget, and curriculum to be made at the school level. Along the way, a series of restructuring plans and organizational designs led to a sense of urgency – and, in the eyes of some stakeholders, instability. Beginning from Community School Districts in 2002, the DOE moved to Regions and ROCs (Regional Operations Centers), then to School Support Organizations (SSOs) and Integrated Service Centers, and is now in its fourth year of organizing school support around approximately sixty “Children First Networks (CFNs),” which provide services related to both instruction and operations for groups of ~25-35 schools.
As the current administration draws to a close, and debate is invited on all aspects of the Children First reforms, now is an ideal moment to take stock of the changes that have taken place to the school support structure and to assess where those reforms leave the system today.
Over the past several months, Parthenon has been engaged by the DOE to make such an assessment. Parthenon’s investigation combines qualitative and quantitative research as well as our own understanding of best practices nationally. The investigation and subsequent report was focused on answering two basic questions:
  1. What are the “core values” of the current school support structure?
  2. What are the key issues that should be considered in an effort to improve the effectiveness of school support in New York City?

Follow the link below to learn more about Parthenon’s approach to answering these questions, and the findings from our research.