Eight Cities
Eight Cities
A project of Bellwether Education Partners


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This is a website with stories about eight cities that have seen undeniable academic gains and, notably, have implemented some version of a strategy commonly referred to as “the portfolio model.” To read more about this model and the motivation behind collecting these multimedia stories, read our site introduction here.

This site was created by Bellwether Education Partners, with support from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.

Bellwether Education Partners is a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. We do this by helping education organizations accelerate their impact and by working to improve policy and practice.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is dedicated to transforming the lives of children living in urban poverty through improving their education, health, and family economic stability.



The authors would like to thank the many individuals who shared their time and knowledge to inform this project. We are particularly grateful to the dozens of leaders who took the time to share their experiences with us during in-depth interviews over the past year. (All quotes in the story come directly from our interviews, unless otherwise noted.) Thank you also to the peer reviewers who provided invaluable feedback on earlier drafts of these stories:

  • Gloria Lee

  • Hae-Sin Thomas

  • Maura Marino

  • Abby Smith

  • Abby Schaller

  • Nate Easley

  • Patrick Dobard

  • Colleston Morgan

  • Alex Shub

  • Gabrielle Wyatt

  • Tre Johnson

  • Rajeev Bajaj

  • Daniel Anello

  • Beth Purvis

  • Micah Sagabiel

  • Luis de la Fuente

The contributions of these individuals significantly enhanced our work, and any errors are the responsibility of the authors alone.

The views and analysis in this site are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not reflect the views of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation or any of the quoted individuals.

Feedback or questions for our team? Contact us here.