The Model for Urban Education

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Photo courtesy of Des Moines Public Schools

“This is a big reason for the funding we were awarded by the Wallace Foundation, helping us ensure that every district administrator is actively contributing to student success.”

—Superintendent Tom Ahart

Des Moines Public Schools

The Model for Urban Education: Doing What’s Right for Teachers

In 2014, Des Moines Public Schools was awarded a multi-year grant from the Wallace Foundation as part of their National Principal Supervisor Initiative. The district chose to partner with Learning Sciences International to implement hierarchical district and school leader evaluation models.

Building on its success, Des Moines is now broadening its partnership with LSI to create an alignment between all aspects of the teaching and learning processes and to develop a leadership tracking system that creates a pipeline of qualified instructional and school leaders now and into the future. When presented with the scope of the enhanced partnership, a Board member said, “This could be a game changer for teachers.”

Through this partnership, DMPS will become a Model District for Rigor. Every school will function as a Demonstration School for Rigor, a laboratory of innovation and rigorous teaching and learning. Also in the partnership, Learning Sciences is piloting a Leadership Tracking System to develop a pipeline of instructionally strong leaders for Des Moines Public Schools.

Learn more about our innovative school and district partnerships.

Watch DMPS leaders approve the partnership with LSI during a 2016 board meeting.

Read a 2014 news release about the initial partnership between Des Moines Public Schools and Learning Sciences.

Iowa Local 5 News: All 60 DMPS schools will become Demonstration Schools for Rigor by 2019.

Find out how to bring the Demonstration Schools for Rigor initiative to your community.

“Doing what’s right for kids is doing what’s right for teachers. Putting teachers in the right positions, supporting them with the right feedback, and the mechanisms and the systems of support is doing what’s right for kids.”

—Chief of Schools Matt Smith

Interested in Demonstration Schools for Rigor?

If you’re ready to go from good to great, you might be a good fit.
Contact us for a private consultation.


Innovative Solutions for Sustainable School Improvement

Demonstration Schools for Rigor

Showcase schools to foster rigorous learning, collaboration, and achievement in standards-based classrooms.


Classroom walkthroughs that help school leadership teams gain powerful insight into instruction and leadership.

The LSI Tracker Platform

Simple-yet-powerful web-based applications to promote collaboration and growth throughout an entire school.