The idea for EdFOCUS Initiative began while Karen Peters and Judith March, Senior Consultants for EdFOCUS, were members of the graduate faculty at Kent State University. For over ten years, they operated an outreach Center at Kent State, providing various technical and consultation services to school districts throughout Ohio and other states. Prior to their work at Kent State, Peters and March had been working in school reform since the mid-1980s.
Even with three decades of school improvement research – and numerous programs promising to be the answer – a huge majority of schools and school districts have been unable to achieve and sustain deep-level reforms. Public criticism continues that schools are simply not trying hard enough and not making the best use of their resources. Peters and March disagree, insisting that—
“Schools don’t deliberately try to be mediocre or weak. Most are completely overwhelmed just keeping up with the daily demands of doing business. They don’t lack the will—they lack resources and the staff time it takes to make significant change!”
After they retired from Kent State in 2000, Peters and March began assembling professionals who, like themselves, had an unquenchable faith in schools and their capacity to make needed and meaningful improvements to better serve their students and communities. Thus was born EdFOCUS Initiative. Official non-profit status was obtained, and a Board of Trustees selected. Several consultants joined the team, each bringing a particular expertise in various content areas, technology, and leadership.
EdFOCUS Initiative has worked with 56 districts in 7 states; 48 of those districts have been in Ohio. They have worked in over 300 buildings, with 500 principals, and over 10,000 teachers. Their efforts have impacted over 160,000 students.
EdFOCUS Initiative has been awarded Provider status for the following important School Reform Initiatives:
- The Obey-Porter Federal legislation (1998) to help school districts receiving Comprehensive School Reform grants; assisted the Hamilton County Schools near Atlantic City, New Jersey and two middle schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota on their multi-year grants.
- The Ohio Department of Education’s “Ohio Improvement Process” to assist schools and school districts committed to improve student performance, reduce the achievement gap among AYP sub-groups, and improve overall efficiency (2008 and continuing).
- The Ohio Department of Education’s “School Improvement Grant” initiative to assist districts who receive federal funding to transform their schools (2010).
- The Ohio Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” initiative; EdFOCUS is a Provider through the Central Ohio Educational Service Center, soon to be re-named the Regional Shared Service Center of Central Ohio (2011).
In addition to its many years of distinguished services to schools, EdFOCUS Initiative is proud of its consulting partnership with the CTB/McGraw-Hill Company. We provide technical assistance and school-based outreach in the areas of diagnostic and formative assessment.
The Mission of EdFOCUS Initiative is to help increase student achievement by providing schools the highest quality, site-based school reform products and services, customized to the unique and diverse needs of each school district.
Our Vision of being an effective provider includes a sincere commitment to delivering only the highest quality products and services—accurately and on time! We measure our success according to the following benchmarks of excellence. EdFOCUS prides itself in:
- customizing services to the circumstances and priorities of each district and school
- providing continuous on-site support and hands-on assistance throughout the process
- promoting a variety of research-based practices—not just the newest thing
- planning for differentiation in advance, not waiting until after-the-fact
- building capacity in the school staff and infrastructure to sustain the enacted reforms
- helping districts identify and build on current successes, using existing resources
- using data to continuously inform the development and delivery of our products and services