The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) serves the Springfield (MA) community as a results-oriented steward of eleven public schools, forged through an innovative partnership of the Springfield Public Schools (SPS), the Springfield Education Association (SEA), and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (DESE).
SEZP schools are part of the Springfield Public School system, but operate with a unique set of conditions that put critical educational decisions in the hands of teachers and school leaders. Enabled by agreements with SPS and the teachers’ union, each SEZP school is empowered to establish and implement its own curricula, professional development, and school schedules, as well as hire school staff and manage the local school budget.
The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) is a 501c3 non-profit organization with a Board of Directors comprised of state and local leaders that oversee the Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership.
Our Core Principles
The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) is built on four core principles:
BUILD ON THE BEST: SEZP schools will represent both the most promising people and programs already in Springfield and the opportunity for partnerships with the best organizations from across the Commonwealth.
EMPOWER EDUCATORS: SEZP believes that individual schools are the unit of success in education and enabled by a new teachers’ contract, SEZP teachers and leaders will be empowered in their own school to make decisions that are in the best interests of their students and families.
SET HIGH EXPECTATIONS: Achieving a high quality, well-rounded education will drive every decision that SEZP makes. To this end, SEZP will foster a performance driven culture of high expectations Zone-wide for students, teachers, leaders, and partners alike.
CREATE AN ECOSYSTEM OF SUPPORTS: SEZP will strive to provide diverse training and professional development opportunities to ensure that every teacher and leader gets the support he or she needs to participate in the new highly autonomous environment.
The SEZP strategy is based on examples of highly successful turnaround efforts in other districts:
SMART CHANGE: The Empowerment Zone and all those working within it must operate with patience and we must enact bold changes where necessary to achieve results for students. We must also support existing and emerging successes wherever they may be.
STUDENTS FIRST: The Empowerment Zone structure creates the conditions that significantly improve the ability of teachers and leaders to make decisions at the school to improve results for students. These conditions include significant autonomy, flexibility, and resources at the school level to design the best solutions for that school’s students.
SCHOOL-SPECIFIC APPROACH: The Empowerment Zone structure is a framework for innovative solutions to school turnaround, not a turnaround partner. The Zone leadership believes deeply in the expertise of teachers and leaders and trusts them to design short- and long-term solutions in the best interests of students at their school.