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Martin J. Blank
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Martin J. Blank is the President of the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) in Washington, DC. He leads IEL in its efforts to build the capacity of people, organizations and systems -- in education and related fields -- to cross boundaries and work together to attain better results for children and youth. Marty has been associated with IEL since 1985, focusing his work on building bridges between schools and other institutions with assets that can support student success.

Marty also serves as the Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, which is staffed by the Institute for Educational Leadership. The Coalition is an alliance that brings together leaders and organizations in education, family support, youth development, early childhood, community development, government and philanthropy. Partners advocate for schools as centers of their communities where school and community resources are organized to support student success, strengthen families and build healthier communities.

Marty is the co-author of Making the Difference: Research and Practice in Community Schools and Together We Can: A Guide for Crafting a Pro-family System of Education and Human Services. He was Project Director for the preparation of Learning Together, a comprehensive map of the revitalized community schools movement across the country.

Marty stays involved with local activities in the District of Columbia. He is the former Chair of D.C. VOICE an education reform collaborative and of the Management Team of the Early Childhood Collaborative.

He has a B.A. from Columbia University, 1965, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and served as a VISTA Volunteer in the Missouri Bootheel.

Entries by Martin J. Blank

Teachers Nurture Democracy

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 3:53 PM

Paul Kelley has been teaching mathematics at Anoka High School in Anoka, Minnesota. My wife Helen and I were lucky to meet Paul when we were all invited the recent White House celebration of our nation's teachers. We meandered through the security line and spent time together during the Teacher...

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Measuring School Quality: Non-Academic Measures in the Every Student Succeeds Act

(1) Comments | Posted May 9, 2016 | 12:48 PM

Martin J. Blank, President, Institute for Educational Leadership and Director, Coalition for Community Schools

The education community is facing a tough question: How do we measure school quality in their accountability systems, as mandated in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)? In everyday nomenclature, the law expects schools to be...

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Community Schools: Much More than Wrap Around Services

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2016 | 7:47 AM

Mary Kingston Roche, Reuben Jacobson and Martin Blank, of the Coalition for Community Schools, all contributed to this article.

"Wraparound Services Alone Won't Improve Student Outcomes." is the title of a recent blog by Paul Hill Director of the Center for Reinventing Public Education. As...

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What do young people need to succeed?

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 12:19 PM

This is a guest post by Dr. Helen Janc Malone, Director of Institutional Advancement and National Director, Education Policy Fellowship Program at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

Youth development has traditionally been viewed as a parallel (and separate) track to education. Our educational reform discourse has erroneously focused on bifurcated...

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Taking Tests 2.34 Percent of School Time: Too Little or Too Much?

(1) Comments | Posted February 26, 2016 | 9:47 AM

This is a guest post by Dr. Helen Janc Malone, Director of Institutional Advancement and National Director, Education Policy Fellowship Program at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

The new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is shifting state accountability systems away from test-driven academic performance toward a balance between academic and...

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Counting What Counts: Five Dilemmas Facing Education

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2016 | 11:01 PM

This is a guest post by Dr. Helen Janc Malone, Director of Institutional Advancement and National Director, Education Policy Fellowship Program at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

In his new book, Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes, Dr. Yong Zhao challenges our current approach to student success measurement...

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Every Student Succeeds Act an Opportunity to Step Up Together

(2) Comments | Posted January 19, 2016 | 2:02 PM

This is a guest post by Mary Kingston Roche, Director of Public Policy for the Coalition for Community Schools at the Institute for Educational Leadership.

Ten years ago as a first-year teacher, I walked into my 6th grade classroom in Oakland full of optimism. I couldn't wait to make learning...

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Supporting and Empowering Teachers: The Role of School-Community Partnerships

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 2:56 PM

Guest Authors: Helen Janc Malone, Director of Institutional Advancement and National Director, Education Policy Fellowship Program and Reuben Jacobson, Deputy Director, Coalition for Community Schools

External accountability, high-stakes testing and a focus on international rankings are dominating much of the global education reform conversations. What will it take to flip...

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What Happens When a Crack House Becomes an Early Childhood Learning Center?

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2015 | 4:49 PM

This post was guest-authored by my colleagues Helen Janc Malone and Reuben Jacobson of the Institute for Educational Leadership.

Imagine an old, abandoned end unit row house that is tall, slender in build, and neglected in infrastructure. For many years it's been a crack house, filled with needles...

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The Dyett Hunger Strikers and Julius Rosenwald

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 1:32 PM

The hunger strikers at Dyett High School were on my mind this past weekend as I watched Aviva Kempner's new documentary film about Julius Rosenwald.

Rosenwald was a corporate magnate at Sears Roebuck in Chicago. But his greatest contribution to American life was as a philanthropist....

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Community Wisdom and the Dyett High School Hunger Strikers

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 5:33 PM

Contributors: Kwesi Rollins, Director, Leadership Programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership

As Chicago Public Schools continued to delay making a decision in response to a community plan to turn Dyett High School into a sustainable community school -- Dyett Global Leadership and Green Technology HS -- community leaders...

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Robert Putnam - And Why Community Schools Matter

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 4:04 PM

We shook hands with Robert Putnam, author of Our Kids, a terribly important new book about the opportunity gap last week. Better yet, when we explained that we were the director of the Coalition for Community Schools and National Coalition Chair respectively, he gave us a...

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Young People Must Know Their Own History

(1) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 4:04 PM

Do our young people know about our own nation's history, particularly how our society has responded to marginalized groups? This question has been coming up consistently for me in recent months. It emerged again as I watched the new film Selma, and wondered how much our students know about the...

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Leadership Lessons for the 21st Century: Superintendents' Perspectives

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2014 | 2:37 PM

Celebrating 50 years in the educational leadership business, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) asked practitioners from around the country, including dozens of Superintendents, to share their leadership lessons. The responses culminated in ten leadership lessons. We invited two former Superintendents, Dr. Clifford B. Janey and Dr. José M. Torres,...

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Chronic Absenteeism, Poverty and How Community Schools Can Help

(1) Comments | Posted December 2, 2014 | 9:59 AM

Guest blog by Nicole Mader, Education Policy Analyst at the Center for NYC Affairs at the New School.

All school leaders know that children have to be in school to learn, but fewer are aware that their school's rate of chronic absenteeism can reveal a wealth of information...

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An Emergent Approach to School-Community-Family Partnerships

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 4:08 PM

The recent article on Strategic Philanthropy for A Complex World explored the idea of an "emergent approach to philanthropy." It evoked several thoughts about the work to connect family, school, and community to help young people succeed that my colleagues and I have been doing for nearly 25 years.

...
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Navigating the Culture of Schools and Communities

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2014 | 3:08 PM

Brooke Troutman, a Northwestern University intern with the Coalition for Community Schools, at the Institute for Educational Leadership, contributed to this blog.

I attended the Promise Neighborhoods National Network Conference recently, and one issue struck me as particularly noteworthy. As Director of the Coalition for Community Schools,...

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Opportunity for All Demands All of Us

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 12:17 PM

Contributors: Kwesi Rollins, Director, Leadership Programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership and Reuben Jacobson, Senior Research Associate at the Coalition for Community Schools, Institute for Educational Leadership.

President Obama's announcement of a signature initiative to help young men of color succeed will bring national focus to the many deep...

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Community School Collaborations--A Lifeline for Early Learning Program Success

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2013 | 12:05 PM

Guest Bloggers: Janet Brown, Senior Early Childhood Program Specialist and Kwesi Rollins, Director of Leadership Programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership

In Lifelines for Poor Children, economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman argues that quality early learning programs represent our best national education investment due to evidence of societal...

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Community-Centered Schools: A Challenge and Opportunity for Teach For America

(1) Comments | Posted August 21, 2013 | 11:03 AM

This is a guest post from my colleague Mary Kingston, Public Policy Manager of the Coalition for Community Schools and TFA Alumnae.

There are few things that we can do better alone than together, and education is no exception. Today, teachers often feel alone in trying to simultaneously provide their...

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