Featured Clients

National Academy Foundation

The National Academy Foundation (NAF) is a New York-based organization that supports a network of career academies in over 400 high schools across the nation. NAF operates Academies in five career themes: finance, health sciences, information technology, engineering, and hospitality/tourism. While some academies began under a “school within a school” model, NAF now supports their network in whole-school redesign. NAF Academies are targeted to schools in the nation’s urban centers, but are appropriate for and thrive in urban, suburban, and rural areas where businesses exist alongside the schools.

Swanson & Cosgrave Consulting works with NAF on a variety of issues, such as:

  • Facilitation of special projects for NAF staff such as conference design and strategic planning
  • Development of assessment tools and processes to help NAF achieve its strategic growth and quality targets
  • Teacher training and professional development for NAF teams in all academy areas
  • Development of curriculum and instructional training materials for teachers in all academy areas

Learn more about NAF at:

ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career

Through the support of the James Irvine Foundation, this Berkeley-based school reform intermediary is implementing a Linked Learning District Initiative with 12 districts across California. This multi-year effort seeks to help key districts build a system of career-themed pathway programs in their high schools that feature college-prep academics, a demanding sequence of career-technical courses, work-based learning opportunities, and embedded supports for students.

For the past three years, our work with ConnectEd has focused on providing coaching and direct technical assistance to several of the schools and districts across the state as they work to design and implement career-themed pathway programs and interdisciplinary projects. In addition to leading intensive summer professional development sessions, we work closely with pathway teams in the West Contra Costa School District on project design and provide pathway coaching to the Antioch Unified School District. Out team is one of ConnectEd’s preferred technical assistance providers for preparing teams to use the ConnectEd Studios online performance mapping and project development tool suite.

Learn more about ConnectEd at:

First Place For Youth

Founded in 1998, First Place for Youth serves California youth ages 16 to 24 who are preparing to age out of foster care or who have recently aged out of care. Through a housing program, an employment and academic enrichment program, counseling, youth community center, collaboration with other community agencies, and community education, First Place helps youth gain the skills they need to live independently and succeed on their own. Without the critical resources First Place provides, youth are significantly more likely to experience homelessness, poverty, low educational achievement and poor health than other youth their age.

In early 2012 Swanson & Cosgrave Consulting was contracted by First Place to facilitate a design process for a health careers pathway. This work involved directing career occupation research, leading long-range planning, facilitating a design team of employer partners and First Place staff, providing technical assistance on the program design, and producing documentation for program participants and funders. The First Place Health Pathway Program launched in summer 2012.

Learn more about First Place For Youth at

Kamehameha Schools Foundation/Native Hawaiian Charter Schools Network

In addition to directing their own system of private schools, Kamehameha Schools also operates a nonprofit foundation that provides ongoing support to a network of Native Hawaiian K-12 public charter schools that work with students at multiple schools across the state of Hawaii.

In late 2011 the Kamehameha Schools Foundation launched a focused initiative to support three of these schools in their work to prepare for formal accreditation by the state. Swanson & Cosgrave Consulting was brought in to provide technical assistance to these three K-12 public charters: Kanu o ka Aina, Samuel Kamakau, and Kanuikapono. Our work has included conducting formal site visits and classroom observations, developing needs assessment reports, and facilitating a customized design process with leaders from each site to develop a program design that frames the school’s instructional priorities.

Learn more about one of these schools, Kanu o ka Aina, at

A3 – The Academy of Arts and Academics

This small, arts-themed high school located in Springfield, Oregon that seeks to produce high-quality artists, scholars, and citizens by pushing the envelope on innovative proficiency-based assessments and integrated project learning.

From its inception in 2004, Swanson & Cosgrave Consulting collaborated with district Superintendent Nancy Golden and School Director Michael Fisher to help create the overall school design. We also partnered with staff to develop many of the school’s innovative features, including:

  • A habits of mind framework called “EDCRO” (Explore, Define/Design, Create, Revise, Own) that serves both as a repeatable project cycle as well as a clear set of outcomes for student growth.
  • A set of performance rubrics aligned with elements of the EDCRO framework, which are now used in end-of-year, juried assessments.
  • A model for semester-end integrated assessments events that feature student performances that demonstrate the combined learning from discipline-based and arts classes. For example, for one of these “Confluences,” students built a working model of a river and then acted as tour guides to teach audience members about how ecosystems work.
  • A model for one-month, mid-year “intensives” that feature credit-bearing courses and projects of special interest to students and teachers, such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing, History of Manners, and Rock Climbing.

A3 frames all student work in proficiency language and assesses that work using a consistent, aligned set of performance rubrics.

Learn more about A3 at: