Case Studies: Board Effectiveness

Equality Charter School

Solidifying future directions and leadership


Equality Charter School (ECS) is a middle school in Co-op City, Bronx, that serves 234 scholars and their families. ECS’s vision is to provide a high level of academic rigor in a nurturing learning community that prepares scholars to be successful in college. Equality realizes high expectations for staff and scholars by focusing on the integration of goal setting, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. In 2011-2012 ECS received an overall “A” rating by the NYC Department of Education, and they have been ranked in the top 3% of all NYC middle schools.

Through strategic planning, the Support Center worked with ECS to create a more effective board to ensure continued organizational effectiveness by achieving:

  • Consensus on the future direction of ECS
  • An improved understanding of the Board’s role and responsibilities as well as a clearer understanding of the role between the Principal and the Board
  • Clarity and consensus on the appropriate management structure for ECS as it expands into High School.
  • Greater understanding of the organization’s underlying philosophy and culture

“The strategic planning process facilitated by the Support Center allowed us to build a stronger consensus between the Board and Staff on an exciting future for the Equality Charter School.

We gained a greater understanding of what was unique about our philosophy and how our culture translates into effective programming that fulfills the goals laid out in our founding charter.”

Caitlin Franco, Principal

Helen Keller National Center for Deaf and Blind Youth and Adults

Implementing Change


Through its comprehensive rehabilitation program at its headquarters on Long Island and a network of regional offices and affiliates across the country, the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf and Blind Youth and Adults (HKNC) provides training and support to individuals who are deaf-blind, their families and service providers in all fifty states. In addition, HKNC collaborates with universities and partners such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Public Radio (NPR) on a wide range of research projects with the goal of enabling people who are deaf-blind to live and work in their community of choice.

The Support Center helped HKNC:

    • Build consensus among Board members regarding achieving best practices in governance,
    • Clarify goals for a successful proposal that will enhance the National Center’s footprint on a national basis,
    • Set clear goals for strengthening management, training, team building and the advancement of practice in serving the deaf blind.

Contact (212) 924-6744 ext. 302 or email Carolyn Champ, Associate Executive Director, to learn more.

“This project helped the ECS Board better understand its role, responsibility, and value in helping the school achieve its mission and objectives. In doing so it brought us closer to understanding what kind of leadership ECS needs to ensure the school’s continued success.

Through the strategic planning we were able to review the management structures of other model Charter Schools to clarify what staff was needed to expand into High School.”

Edward B. Hubbard, Board Member
Equality Charter School (ECS)

“As conditions change and challenges become more acute, the Support Center helped us consider and begin to implement structural changes in our management and governance that will allow us to advance to the future.

By revising our way of doing things, we were in a better position to secure a significant multi-year grant which will advance our mission nationally.”

Joe McNulty, Executive Director
Helen Keller National Center