Mission & Values

Our Mission

We work with educators to create a more equitable society by fostering a culture of compassion, respect, and high expectations in public schools, so students who were once left behind can thrive.

The Challenge

Across the United States, more than half a million students drop out of high school every year. We can and must do better. Schools must offer cultures, practices, and strategies to re-engage students who have been left behind, to become student-centered and motivating for youth who have found themselves the victims of repeated failures, of discrimination both intended and unintended, of low expectations both expressed and implied. While many factors contribute to this problem, it is a reality in American public education that students who have fallen behind are disproportionately in families with low incomes and disproportionately members of communities that have been on the wrong side of inequities and injustice in our society, including people of color, recent immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community. Structures within public education often reflect systems of oppression in our nation as a whole, where racism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia, and sexism contribute to struggles in school. The schools that serve students who are behind are too often regarded as broken or blamed for problems when in fact talent and hope, pride and potential reside behind the walls of these schools.

At Eskolta, we believe that our education system—imperfect though it may be—represents the key means of inspiring, equipping, and empowering young people to build a better future. Through our work, we aim for teachers and students to be supported and valued, affording them the opportunities and capacity to succeed.

See our theory of action here.

We help schools redefine learning

The best educators know that learning will always be more than what appears on standardized tests. Together we are creating new metrics and new ways to support not only college and career readiness but also character, community, and compassion in our students.

We help schools make sense of data

A wealth of information is available to schools, but if not understood, it is useless. Through our research and analysis, we work with educators to make sense of data and turn it into a guide to inform change.

We help schools turn around the dropout problem

We focus on supporting students who have struggled in urban public schools in the past. Every child deserves a quality education and these students are most at risk of dropping out and missing out on their potential.

We help schools reinvent themselves

Using our EDUCATE methodology, we work alongside educators to strategically research and reimagine the systems in their schools, then carefully design, prototype, and expand them to reach more students.

Our Values

We believe that changing the world begins with changing our selves. We seek to continuously challenge ourselves to learn about the inequality and injustice that exists in our society and our schools, examine our own beliefs and actions, and embrace discomfort as we move toward open dialogue and conscious steps to create an education system that serves all students—and particularly those who have been left behind by the current system—to reach their full potential.

Respect

Productive work cannot be accomplished without an underlying ethos of respect and trust. We value each colleague, student, and educator we work with—regardless of gender, race, identity, or past experiences—as an individual and seek their input, knowledge, voice, and potential.

U

Focus

We help school leaders and staff focus on their top priorities and not get pulled in a thousand directions by the many demands made on public education. We recognize that each small problem is part of larger social issues and inequities that affect it, but that every large-scale change begins with deliberate, focused steps.

Balance

A successful life is one in which people can be economically successful and still have the time and ability to be active and engaged members of communities. We help educators, students, and our own staff develop skills not just for economic success but also for connection to family, community, and positive social change.

Integrity and Justice

We believe a meaningful life is one in which people engage in critical reflection about issues of societal importance, especially those related to combatting intolerance, inequity, and injustice in all their forms. We aim to help schools develop ways to promote this meaningful life, and we promote ways for our employees to explore important issues.

At Eskolta, we value diversity and believe that different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences lead to deeper understanding and better approaches to our work. As we continue to grow as an organization, we aim to build an environment that reflects the diverse backgrounds of the communities we work with. Eskolta is committed to providing equal employment opportunity to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation.

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