Hope Street Group: “For a Healthier, Wealthier, Wiser America.”

Samuel Roe

Ashley Bittner (FL ’06) interviewed Samuel Roe of the Hope Street Group to learn how the organization is bringing together people from across the private, public, and social sector to solve our nation’s biggest problems.  Hope Street Group was founded by young entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries in 2003. Byron Auguste (AZ ’87) is one of the original founders of Hope Street Group and is Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is currently a senior parter at McKinsey & Company and the global leader of their Social Sector Office. 

Samuel Roe (NY ’01) is the Education Program Manager at Hope Street Group. Prior to joining Hope Street Group, he was a management consultant with Catalyst Strategy, where he provided strategic advice and technical assistance to high-performing charter schools, charter management organizations, and social sector organizations. Prior to joining Catalyst Strategy, Samuel was at a national law firm where he counseled venture capital and private equity clients. He began his career as a logistics management specialist at the Department of State in Washington DC. Samuel has a J.D. from New York University School of Law, a M.P.P. in Business and Government Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a B.S. in Diplomacy & International Relations from Seton Hall University.

Bittner: What is Hope Street Group?

Roe: Hope Street Group (HSG) is a national bipartisan nonprofit whose mission is to convene the best in practitioners, business leaders and government innovators from across political aisles, to create collaborative solutions for the most pressing issues facing the country – jobs, education and healthcare – with the goal of providing economic vitality and prosperity for all Americans. HSG believes that bureaucracies don’t make change – people do.

Bittner: What is the mission of the organization?

Roe: HSG is dedicated to finding and driving smart solutions to ensure America’s future economic prosperity.

Bittner: What is your focus?

Roe: HSG focuses on how our structural systems fail to reward the right things on a human level. In terms of policy, HSG focuses on the structural underpinnings of the U.S. economy – education, health care, and employment systems.

Bittner: How do you bring people together?

Roe: One example is our Teacher Fellowship program. We bring together teachers and administrators from across states to learn how to become advocates in education policy.

Bittner: How does HSG influence public policy?

Roe: HSG draws on “crowd-sourced” solutions to move beyond traditional partisan debates. We bring together new voices, talent, and tools. First, we convene teams in-person and online to identify skewed incentives, develop evidence-based principles for reform, and select industry partners to test our reform ideas. Then, we pilot the project to gather data and proof points. Finally, we document and disseminate our work. We develop step-by-step “Playbooks” to spread best practices.

Bittner: What are some examples of your work?

Roe: HSG was instrumental in creating Race to the Top (RTT), the groundbreaking $4.35 billion federal program that incentivized states to compete for funding based on their commitments to fundamental education reforms that drive student success. We are playing an on-going role in the development of educator evaluations, creating a online toolkit, our Teacher Evaluation Playbook (www://playbook.hopestreetgroup.org) around effective evaluation systems.

Bittner: Tell me more about the Teacher Evaluation Playbook.

Roe: We believe that all employees need regular, ongoing feedback to grow, improve, and advance in their professions. Teachers are no different. Teachers need to be fairly evaluated and receive consistent support to continuously improve and maximize student learning.

By interviewing teachers, policymakers, elected officials, union representatives, and others involved in evaluation reform, Hope Street Group developed the Teacher Evaluation Playbook. These interviews provide insight into evaluation reform. By highlighting the work of states such as Tennessee and Delaware, policymakers can learn how to approach the challenging aspect of planning and implementing evaluation reform.

Bittner: What did you learn from this work?

Roe: We found five key areas that policymakers should consider as they begin work on evaluation programs in their states: 1) designing assessments across all grades and subjects; 2) communicating with key audiences; 3) involving teachers as partners in reform; 4) making professional growth and improvement the ultimate goal; and 5) innovating continuously to improve the evaluation system. We concluded that implementing a new evaluation system is a significant investment, but well worth the effort. And educators must be involved in the process to encourage buy-in.

You can learn more about Hope Street Group at: http://www.hopestreetgroup.org

You can find HSG’s latest playbook at: http://playbook.hopestreetgroup.org

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