Established in 1918 in Kansas City, Mo., Guadalupe Centers holds the distinction of being the longest continuously operating agency serving Latinos in the United States. In the 1980s, Guadalupe Centers formalized its longstanding focus on education by creating its first school, an alternative high school aimed at dropout prevention. Today, Guadalupe Centers Charter Schools is a network of four schools serving the full preschool through 12th grade continuum. With ambitious goals centered on academic achievement for all students, Guadalupe Centers Charter Schools needed a plan to guide its day-to-day decision-making and operations that would reflect what families needed from the schools as well as centered on the most impactful goals, objectives, and action steps.
The Insignia Partners team, led by Marisol Rodriguez, began the process with a deep dive into clearly defining the targets that the plan would work toward. They brought together widely representative groups of families, teachers, administrators and Board members for rich focus-group discussions. Those conversations informed the development of five pillars upon which the plan was constructed, including clear goals, objectives, and action steps. Anything but cookie-cutter, the process pushed Guadalupe Centers Charter Schools to surface what their stakeholders valued, and what actions would be most impactful in working toward those goals.
“Insignia Partners didn’t let us just scoot by with what we thought was important. They really probed and made us think differently about our organization and where we wanted to go.”
-Joe Palmer, Superintendent, Guadalupe Centers Charter School
Over five months, Insignia Partners worked closely with Guadalupe Centers to shape a comprehensive plan that addressed every part of the network’s operations, from academics to culture. Through in-person facilitation, group conference calls, and one-on-one consultation, Insignia Partners created a true partnership with network leaders and stakeholders in the planning process.
After the planning process concluded in the fall of 2018, Guadalupe Centers Charter School brought Insignia Partners back regularly to guide its implementation — monthly for a full year, now three times per year. Network leaders point to Insignia’s personal, relationship-driven approach as well as the intensive level of involvement as key to their ability to implement the plan with success.
“This has been an ongoing process and a big part of what we do day-to-day. We didn’t just throw a plan on the shelf. It’s a working document; that’s the best thing about it.”
Joe Palmer, Superintendent, Guadalupe Centers Charter School
The combination of a strong plan and support to see it through is showing results, as network leaders work the plan to improve everything from academics to culture to student support.