Thursday, July 15, 2010

Education Pioneers: Mid-Summer Update

This week marks the halfway point of my Education Pioneers summer fellowship. I can't believe it. Looking back, I've accomplished a lot, and learned an enormous amount, but there's still so much left to do!

My marketing project for ICEF Public Schools is well under way. I've spent the first half of the summer on two main workstreams. The first has been assessing the current position of ICEF within its major stakeholder groups. This has been done via informational interviews, web/press searches and also a survey (set to go live on Monday). I'm talking to people inside and outside of ICEF - home office staff, school staff, parents, members of the greater LA education community, etc. My findings regarding ICEF's position will flow directly into the marketing plan that I recommend.

The second workstream has consisted of more secondary research. I'm looking across a variety of research, reports, case studies and other resources to study, benchmark and evaluate potential marketing/brand solutions for ICEF. I've had luck with sources from both inside and outside of the education world, and from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. It's been really exciting for me to combine a host of "best practices" to develop a plan that will be uniquely valuable to ICEF.

In addition to my project, I've had the opportunity to get involved in other exciting projects that are taking place at the organization. For example, I got to help out with ICEF's Promise Neighborhood grant application. (The federal government will choose 20 applicants to receive grant money in order to essentially replicate the Harlem Children's Zone model.)

And finally, outside of ICEF, the Education Pioneers Fellowship itself has proven to be a valuable learning experience. Today was our third workshop, in which we focused on Human Capital. We learned about current initiatives such as Teacher Effectiveness in LAUSD, and spent the day discussing, debating and even attempting to "solve" major teacher evaluation/compensation issues. I've found the workshops especially valuable, coming from a financial services background and still forming my own opinions on what exactly should be done in Ed Reform.

All in all, my first 5 weeks have been a valuable and worthwhile experience... and yes, I feel as though I'm making a difference!

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