The Story of HOPE

“The HOPE Foundation has shown – over and over again – that its collaborative model of school improvement is sustainable and effective. The National Education Association believes that the HOPE Foundation offers a model of proof and promise to schools striving to make the right kind of change to help students succeed.”
– JOHN WILSON
Executive Director | National Education Association

A 20-year history of sustaining student success through professional learning communities.

Managing schools – especially in larger districts – is a considerable challenge. Management of facilities, budgets and conflicts is indeed essential, but sometimes comes at the expense of concentrated focus on teaching and learning.

The HOPE Foundation was formed in 1989 to develop positive results for students through measures that go beyond top-down restructuring efforts and bottom-up, site-based management approaches to school reform. Structural and policy changes alone are insufficient to produce meaningful or sustainable results. Building leadership capacity to shift school cultures to support collective teacher effectiveness is key.

Our first efforts comprised interdisciplinary forums involving quality guru W. Edwards Deming, MIT’s Peter Senge, CEOs, governors and major educational leaders. From these landmark meetings came the seminal publications and best practices for professional learning in the learning community – in which the teachers and administrators continuously seek and share best practices, and then act on what they learn to increase student achievement.

From pockets of excellence to schools of hope.

Over the past two decades, the HOPE Foundation has expanded the application of professional learning communities into a district-wide approach outlined in the award-winning best selling publication Failure Is Not an Option® Six Principles That Guide Student Achievement in High-Performing Schools (now in its third edition). This school reform methodology has been proven to turn around low-performing schools, close achievement gaps within and between schools district-wide, and sustain overall success.

Our success stems from our experienced team of professionals, our dedicated Board of Directors and Advisory Board – including Honorary Chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu – and the diverse and numerous organizations with which we partner.

The HOPE Foundation has had and/or continues to have an impact in over 255 cities across 38 states, the District of Columbia and throughout Canada. We also consult South Africa’s Ministry of Education to help build nationwide leadership capacity.

Today, HOPE is helping to create and foster the next generation of education leaders – bringing teachers and administrators together to build classroom environments where teachers want to teach, students want to learn and success is the only option.