Who We Are
Schools That Can (STC) is a national not-for-profit organization committed to growing quality seats in urban education for the 21st century by collaborating across education sectors with high-performing and high-potential schools.
STC schools are district, faith-based, independent, and charter. Schools that meet the STC Membership and Partnership criteria are invited to apply to join the network. The STC network operates on the belief that cross-sector collaboration is an impeccable tool for improving the quality of our nation’s schools. While our schools utilize a variety of school models and philosophies to achieve consistent results for low-income students each year, they are united by a commitment to the STC mission and vision.
By validating excellent schools and highlighting, cultivating, and disseminating their most effective practices, we create a powerful exchange of ideas that help sustain and improve the quality of each school. Gathering school leaders regularly to share and learn from other schools achieving consistently high results, we dramatically improve the quality of education in our city and nation for the kids who need it most.
STC is growing the quality and quantity of high performing schools available to low-income families. Our theory of change is rooted in the belief that schools improve by focusing on what works, learning from peers, and through observation and implementation of targeted effective practices. We ensure that our Member schools have a collective impact in their cities and in the nation.
Today, 121 Member and Partner schools form local school networks in 15 cities across the country and are providing quality education to over 50,000 children.
STC schools share common characteristics in spite of differences in governance, size, or geography. STC Member schools share:
- High-performance on test scores, student growth and outcomes measured by clear benchmarks and a proven in-depth validation process
- Serving low-income communities measured by federal free lunch above 60%
- Strong leadership with can-do cultures driven to close the achievement gap
- Delivery of quality education on a path to college and beyond
STC is driven by the belief education has operated too long by dividing schools into silos that emphasize their differences. Our unique network of “schools that can” breaks down the conceptual barriers between schools and establishes new lines of communication and collaboration that will not only impact schools individually, but will transform urban education.
Member schools meet the highest standards of our criteria of well-defined benchmarks for delivering a quality education. Being recognized as a Member is an honor, and there is an expectation that each Member school will act as a mentor and role model for other STC network schools. Members have achieved stability and sustainability at their current capacities. STC encourages these schools to increase their capacities where possible to serve even more children with their proven academic models and thereby grow as community educational assets.
Partner schools are schools that do not meet the full Membership criteria but a local Regional Council (RC) has seen a strong potential in these schools to climb the ladder towards Membership. Valuable effective practices have been identified by its local RC as having potential to both receive and provide benefit to other schools in the network. STC and partner school leaders are committed to demonstrating improved outcomes each year and to accelerating growth over time.
Criteria for Partner schools is determined by its local Regional Council, and these schools are set on a track to achieve full membership by collaborating with the network and adapting effective methods modeled by peer schools who have already achieved STC membership. Partners may have turned the corner from being “at-risk” and may be proven community assets but are still challenged to raise their performance levels and attain a level of operational stability. Challenges for Partner schools may include raising academic performance, providing measurements for growth, building strong board governance and support, building financial management, developing a succession plan, building a capacity for fund raising, or procuring needed facilities and facility management.
Partner schools’ strengths and challenges are assessed by the local Regional Council who then create an Improvement Plan for the school with the goal of reaching Member status.
Both Member and Partner schools have valuable effective practices to share and can support each other in attaining and sustaining a high level of quality education for underserved populations.