- United States Education Department (USED), Institute for Education Sciences, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Grant Recipient
- Arizona Department of Education and the School Facilities Board, AZ
- Capital Region BOCES, NY
- Georgia State Department of Education, GA
- State of Louisiana, Louisiana Goals 2000 Commission
- Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), MN
- Nassau County BOCES, NY
- New York State Retirement System (NYSLRS), NY
- The State of North Dakota, ND
- Ohio State Department of Education, OH
- Oregon State Department of Education, OR
- Pennsylvania State Department of Education, PA
- State of South Carolina
- Office of the State Superintendent, The District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.
- Westchester County Department of Health, New York State
- Anoka-Hennepin School District, MN
- Berkeley County, SC
- Boston Public Schools, MA
- Chicago Public Schools, IL
- Charleston County School District, SC
- Central Dauphin and Eastern York School Districts, PA
- Chelmsford Public Schools, MA
- Greenwich Public Schools (GPS), CT
- Hartford Public Schools, CT
- Newark Public Schools, NJ
- New Bedford Public Schools, MA
- New York City Department of Education, NY
- New York City Housing Authority, NY
- Northern Tioga School District, PA
- Orange County Public Schools, FL
- Passaic Public Schools, NJ
- Saugus Public Schools, MA
- The School District of Philadelphia, PA
- Stamford Public Schools, CT
- Paul Public Schools, MN
- Wake County School District, NC
- Warwick Public School District, RI
- Washoe County Public Schools, NV
- Big Apple Playback Theatre, NY
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
- Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), NY
- Center for Policy Studies, MN
- Education Evolving and EdVisions, LLC, MN
- Education Pioneers, CA
- Milton Hershey School Trust, PA
- Oregon Business Council, OR
- Random Farms Theater, NY
- The Urban Teacher Center (UTC), Baltimore, MD
- Ivy Tech Community College, IN
- State University of New York, Charter School Institute, NY
Private Sector Clients/Partners
- Deloitte Consulting, LLP
- eScholar, White Plains, NY
- KPMG, LLP
- Public Consulting Group
- The Princeton Review, NY
Hartford Public Schools.
Assisting Hartford Public Schools (CT) develop and implement a 1:1 digital learning plan, policies, metrics, staffing, and professional learning for the roll-out of devices to 18,000 students in 43 schools.
Broward County Public Schools.
Assisted Broward County Public Schools, (FL) analyze and improve information technology support processes, metrics, staffing and systems.
Portland Public Schools.
Assisted Portland Public Schools, (ME) establish consistent measures and data collection processes across its 18 schools to assess student attendance, device connectivity, and engagement.
U.S. Virgin Islands.
Improve helped the U.S. Virgin Islands conduct an assessment, write a strategic plan, develop requirements for an RFP and provide project management advisory services to develop an Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS). Project work included working with the Departments of Education, Health, Human Services, and early education non-profits to develop key policy and research questions and identify the data required to answer these questions. Additionally, Improve helped map current data elements to national data models and researching best practices in the development of early childhood data systems.
Passaic Public Schools, NJ.
Facilitated the development of strategic and technology plans including facilitating executive visioning sessions, providing benchmarking and research assistance, and developing a format for the strategic plan. The strategic plan was held up by the County Superintendent as a “model for the state of New Jersey.”
Newark Public Schools, NJ.
Served as the subject matter expert and quality assurance managing director for the development of a five year information technology plan. The plan assesses the current state, provides a vision for how technology can help the district accomplish its administrative and instructional goals, and generates a road map identifying tactical action steps and costs. When the first five year plan was implemented, was called back to develop a subsequent five year plan. Both plans were developed collaboratively with Paul Mailloux and have guided daily decision-making for the past 10 years.
Chappaqua Central School District (CCSD) and the Chappaqua School Foundation (CSF), NY.
Served as a board member for CSF, a non-profit organization whose mission is to fund meaningful and innovative initiatives outside the scope of the CCSD school budget. Projects include: (1) chairing the Innovation Committee, a 20-member group comprised of CSF board members and district administrators who work collaboratively to provide strategic guidance on the planning of a 1:1 blended learning environment for school year 2018-19 and (2) chairing the CSF Student Advisory Council, a group of 70 high school students who conduct CSF grant evaluations, write grants to improve district operations, and are supporting the development of CSF student advisors and student grant writers at the two middle schools and one elementary school.
Milton Hershey School Trust, PA.
Served as project manager to conduct a strategic options study for this private, residential 1,000-student school. Project work included convening education thought leader meetings to provide insight on future directions for the Milton Hershey School (MHS), conducting research and creating business case analyses on various strategic options, and conducting financial modeling for expansion and/or replication of the current school.
United States Education Department (USED), Institute for Education Sciences, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Grant Recipient.
Received a Phase I SBIR grant to develop a Web 2.0 social media application to help educator search, save and share high quality instructional resources. Project work includes planning, designing and implementing an instructional technology solution for educators. Selected nationally as one of seven recipients out of 137 applicants. Formal evaluation from the U.S. Department of Education said, ” The team had a productive and ambitious Phase I. The team should be congratulated for going over and beyond what seemed possible at the start. The team should be commended. This project is what the IES SBIR program is about: giving a developer with a great idea a chance to move a product’s development forward. The product could be important in providing real time support where it is most needed in classrooms. Given what I know today about the Contractor’s ability to exceed what they promised in their proposal, I definitely would award to them today given that I had a choice.”
Anoka-Hennepin School District, MN.
Improve assisted Anoka-Hennepin develop stakeholder requirements for a data dashboard and analytic system to assess and track progress on Anoka-Hennepin’s strategic operational, financial and academic performance measures. Project work included interviewing district stakeholders to conduct a needs assessment and define requirements, interviewing districts to identify best practices, conducting vendor interviews to understand current market offerings, writing a request for proposal (RFP), analyzing vendor responses, structuring vendor presentations and demonstrations and facilitating the school district final procurement decision-making process. `Presented the results of the best practices work at the US Department of Education NCES MIS February 2011 conference with the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Greenwich Public Schools and San Francisco Unified School District. One attendee said it was “the best presentation at the conference.”
Greenwich Public Schools (GPS), CT.
Improve conducted a market assessment of national student information and data warehousing systems as part of conducting a student information system needs assessment for Greenwich Public Schools. Conducted a customer satisfaction assessment of GPS’s core student information system and data warehousing dashboards in preparation for procurement of new system. Conducted a change management workshop to generate support for the new system based on the principles of Appreciative Inquiry. Helped write the Request for Proposals (RFP) and managed the procurement effort. Respondents to a customer satisfaction survey one year later stated, “I felt that my opinions were not only heard, but also valued by the district administration. I thought the workshop set the tone for the entire process. It was inclusive and respectful of the stakeholders’ needs. The presentations provided the big picture and enabled the participants to consider both present needs and possible future directions.” “Between the consultant, Jan and Sue we were able to reflect on and articulate our needs and come to some conclusions about the big picture goals and the more detailed needs.”
Ivy Tech Community College, IN.
In partnership with KPMG, LLP, Improve helped Ivy Tech (a state-wide community college system with 14 regions and 24 campuses) develop stakeholder requirements for a data analytic and assessment management system to assess and track progress of Ivy Tech students and professors on academic performance measures. Ivy Tech provides 144 on-line standardized courses with common learning activities and assessments abd 350 on-line course titles. Project work included interviewing college stakeholders to conduct a needs assessment and define requirements, interviewing other colleges to identify best practices, conducting vendor interviews to understand current market offerings and writing detailed requirements. Improve led a college-wide stakeholder engagement workshop to build a community of collaboration and get feedback and suggestions for improvement on the data analytic system.
Wrote a white paper on best practices in data cleansing. Conducted research on the feasibility of establishing a statewide research consortium to mine P20 data in the State of New York. Spoke at the national user conference.
Georgia State Department of Education, NY.
Served as a subject matter expert providing policy, strategic, and best practices consulting for this statewide data warehousing project. Project work included identifying how best to measure, and the state policies required to support, student achievement, teacher quality, financial adequacy and equity, and early childhood and advanced placement program effectiveness.
The State of North Dakota, ND.
Wrote with the State of North Dakota a successful $6 million U.S. Department of Education federal grant for a K-12 statewide longitudinal data warehouse. Reviewed the grant requirements, developed the grant outline, and researched best practices in data warehousing. Conducted interviews and facilitated working sessions with State personnel to identify the grant goals, expected results, timeline and program. Wrote the first draft of the grant and incorporated feedback from State personnel.
Anoka-Hennepin School District, MN.
Improve is assisting Anoka-Hennepin, the largest school district in Minnesota, develop stakeholder requirements for an ERP system to replace human resource, payroll and financial functions. Project work includes interviewing district stakeholders to conduct a needs assessment and define requirements, identification of best practices, and writing a request for proposal (RFP).
Working with the prime contractor, Safal Associates, Improve, LLC provided the key tool (i.e., job activity questionnaire) to analyze and identify specific measurable improvements in the business process reengineering of the placement function of this national non-profit whose mission is to place highly qualified candidates into organizations seeking to improve the U.S. public education system. Using this tool, identified steps to improve the efficiency of the intern placement process by 30%.
New York City Department of Education, NY.
Served as the managing director of three engagements to develop parent and customer satisfaction surveys for the New York City Department of Education. Led the project to assess principal satisfaction with Human Resources, Legal, Procurement, Food Services, Transportation and Information Technology. The first project involved designing, developing and analyzing the surveys, as well as, providing recommendations for improvement. This project also utilized web-based surveys for principals. Follow-on work included researching best practices and then designing, distributing and analyzing over 100,000 parent satisfaction surveys. A third project was awarded to design and develop parent satisfaction surveys to assess the newly formed parent coordinator positions. Served as a subject matter expert and advisor to KPMG, LLP as they design parent, student and teacher surveys for the latest round of surveys under the Children First Accountability Initiative.
The School District of Philadelphia, PA.
Improve helped the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) improve their grants management and compliance function for $623 million in federal, state and competitive grant funds based on their designation as a high-risk grantee by the USDE Office of the Inspector General. The project involved a risk assessment and analyses of SDP’s organizational structure, staffing, processes, policies and technology at both the central office and school levels. Work also included addressing the organizational change management process required for stakeholders to embrace cultural change. One of the principals of Alvarez and Marsal, a national law firm assisting SDP said of our organizational change management work, “I’ve been doing this kind of work for the last 20 years and this is the best presentation on this topic I have ever seen.”
New York City Department of Education, NY.
Served as the managing director of an engagement to provide project planning and project management to a $35 million pilot instructional technology initiative to provide mobile technology to 300 teachers and administrators and 6,000 middle school students. Project work included developing the project vision, plan, organizational structure, financial and operational requirements, hardware and software requirements, and project management methodology.
New York City Department of Education, NY.
Served as project advisor for a $14 million, 20+ team member, special education custom system development project. Provided significant value by creating and implementing a project plan, setting up core project team meetings within and among divisions, providing deliverable templates, and adding missing project components such as training, communication and support plans. Participated in several meetings to redesign special education placement policies and procedures. Also assisted in project meetings on development of the special education IVR system development efforts and helped reengineer the demand request process and procedures for the Department of Instructional and Information Technology (DIIT) project requests. One NYCDOE employee said of work done on this project, “You operate in a different league than the rest of us.”
Office of the State Superintendent, The District of Columbia, Washington, D.C.
Worked with KPMG as an advisor and team lead for a project to design a more robust state education agency for the District of Columbia. Project work included identification of state level education functions in five agencies—the District of Columbia’s Public Schools, State Education Office, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Public Schools, Early Care and Education Administration, State Education Agency at the University of the District of Columbia. Once we identified state level functions, programs and activities, we conducted a financial analysis for federal and state grants, benchmarked other state departments of education, and conducted an organizational design analysis.
State University of New York, Charter School Institute, NY.
Assisted the Charter School Institute to review charter school applications for New York State. Reviewed charter school applications school designs and financial plans. Provided assistance on the school charter agreement.
New York State Retirement System (NYSLRS), NY.
Providing change management services to prepare the 700 person retirement system organization for a major system modernization effort. Project deliverables include an organizational readiness assessment and a leadership alignment effort. Project tasks include development and analysis of a leadership alignment survey, interviews, focus groups, and facilitation of leadership action planning workshops.
St. Paul Public Schools, MN.
Improve helped the St. Paul Public Schools procure a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in the areas of finance, procurement, human resources and payroll. Project work includes mapping out current state business processes, analyzing the current level of automation and identifying the desired level of business process functionality and automation in the requirements section of a Request for Proposal (RFP). Work included benchmarking of best practices in ERP implementations in five other districts, evaluation of received proposals, and facilitation of vendor demos and selection. Project work also included a cross-department team building and brainstorming full day session to increase collaboration, get feedback on process flows and desired functionality, and prepare the group in their role as an ERP Advisory Committee. At the conclusion of the project, the Director of Human Resources said, “You did an outstanding job, keeping us all on track and providing the information we needed in a structured way to come to a decision. You can use me as a reference anytime!” Another district participant stated, “our dream of collaboration is finally realized!”
Pennsylvania State Department of Education, PA.
Served as project manager for a review of seven Cyber Charter Schools providing synchronous and asynchronous distance learning to students from around the Commonwealth. The project included a review of the educational quality of the distance learning programs, school financials, and governance and educational accountability mechanisms. Provided testimony to the Senate of Pennsylvania.
State of South Carolina.
Served as project manager for a review of four state agencies, the Department of Education serving 86 school districts and 640,000 students, the Commission on Higher Education serving 33 State universities and colleges, the State Board of Technical and Comprehensive Education serving 16 vocational technical agencies, and ETV, a public television network. Project work included an analysis of state educational policy, specifically focusing on student achievement, technology, school finance, and articulation among all state education agencies. In addition, this study included an assessment of each agency’s organizational structure, staffing, technology and management practices. Reported findings and recommendations to an executive and legislative committee chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and comprised of educational leaders and legislators from South Carolina.
Arizona Department of Education and the School Facilities Board, AZ.
Served as quality assurance manager of a project to build a web-based broadband infrastructure to provide access to educational and productivity software, content, courseware, reference materials, on-line teaching and collaborative learning opportunities for 840,000 Arizona students and their teachers and parents.
State of Louisiana, Louisiana Goals 2000 Commission, LA.
Led the education team on a state-wide educational policy project for SECURE, a Louisiana legislative council. Policy areas analyzed in K-12 included early childhood education, school-to-work, technology, accountability, alternative delivery systems, school finance, and a high-level operational review of the state department of education. This project also included a policy review of Louisiana’s community college and higher education systems. During this engagement, Ms. Ullman was asked by the Governor’s Education Secretary to serve as a designee on the Louisiana Goals 2000 Commission. Testified before the Louisiana Senate and House of Representatives.
Capital Region BOCES, NY.
Served as project manager for the strategic assessment of the Capital Region BOCES, an intermediate school district for New York State serving 26 districts and 77,000 students. The study included a market analysis of BOCES’ portfolio of services to school districts, an activity-based costing study to determine the proper allocation of administrative costs, an assessment of BOCES’ pricing strategies for its services, and an organizational redesign.
Nassau County BOCES, NY.
Served as project manager for an organizational, classification and benchmarking study of the Nassau County BOCES, an intermediate school district for New York State serving 56 districts and 177,000 students. The study included a customer satisfaction analysis of BOCES’ portfolio of services to school districts, an organizational and classification review to ensure efficient staffing levels and the internal equity of managerial titles, and a benchmarking study to identify best practices in teaming and collaboration, internal communications, employee performance management and compensation, and programmatic productivity measures.
Center for Policy Studies, MN.
Worked with the Center for Policy Studies to research and create an initial prospectus for a private placement offering to fund 50 Teacher Professional Practices and the organization required to support them (TPP21). Project work includes articulating the social outcomes of Teacher Professional Practices in terms that demonstrate a return on investment for social investors.
Private Equity Firm.
Wrote small business grants for submission to the National Institute of Health (NIH) on behalf of a new business start-up manufacturing dental medical devices. Project work included managing the writing and collection of required grant documents and assisting in the writing and review of the new venture’s commercialization/business plan, research strategy, project abstract, narrative and specific aims. Scores on the first grant were a mixture of outstanding and excellent for innovation and significance. Summary comments on the second grant included the statement, “this grant is thoughtful and well-written.”
Westchester County Department of Health, New York State.
Conducted focus groups of community-based organizations and healthcare providers to collect data on how to improve healthcare delivery for low-income residents of Westchester County. Primary topic areas include access to care, prenatal and maternal health, and prevention of chronic disease with a focus on obesity. Project work involved identifying focus group participants, recruiting focus group members, planning and conducting focus groups, taking notes, and writing a final report.
Newark Public Schools, NJ.
Served as project manager for the reorganization of the Newark Public Schools central office in response to the State takeover of this 45,000 student urban New Jersey district. Reorganization activities included use of zero-based staffing and benchmarking to redesign the Newark central office organizational structure and staffing. The redesign included: the overall organizational structure, all educational programs (e.g., special education, vocational-education), the business office (including purchasing), transportation, human resources, facilities and grants management. After successful completion of this project, was asked to develop an information systems plan.
New Bedford Public Schools.
Conducted a project to review the effectiveness and efficiency of the New Bedford Public Schools IT and Payroll functions. Project work included administration of a customer survey, a job activity questionnaire, benchmarking with best practice and peer districts and a review of the organizational structure, processes, technology and job descriptions.
Oregon Business Council, OR.
This private, non-profit association of 50 Chief Executive Officers of the largest Oregon companies needed assistance in developing their education policy platform for the 1998-99 legislative session. Ms. Ullman provided industry knowledge and advice on helping to frame the OBC’s policy platform, particularly in relation to compiling and analyzing information on the efficiency and effectiveness of Oregon’s educational expenditures.
Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), NY.
Directed a project to assist the Campaign for Fiscal Equity implement a judicial decision to ensure that all New York State students have access to a Sound Basic Education. The goal of the project was to assist CFE to reform the current statewide K-12 accountability system to provide oversight over an additional influx of up to $10 billion over the next five years. Project work included identifying strategies for building school and district capacity to improve student achievement, assessing information technology and data consolidation needs to support implementation of one meaningful school level plan (districts must now respond to 125 different data, planning and reporting requests from the state), benchmarking best practices in K-12 accountability across eight states, and redesigning the organizational structure, roles and staffing of the New York State Department of Education accountability functions.
Oregon State Department of Education, OR.
Assisted the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to design, develop, and implement a database and a uniform Chart of Accounts to allow stakeholders to analyze the correlation between educational expenditures and student test scores. Provided technical assistance to the State Department of Education on what types of data best define educational effectiveness. Created a sample school report card containing this data. Researched other states to identify what data they used and disseminated to the public on educational effectiveness.
Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), MN.
Assisted FNS to develop an interactive web-based system to process applications and claims for school nutrition programs, summer feeding, child and adult care food programs, and family home programs. Project work included development of a “case for change” to support system development efforts and research on best practices implemented in other state departments of education.
Ohio State Department of Education, OH.
Assisted the State Department of Education conduct a total quality management self-assessment. Also assisting the department in conducting national research on managerial and educational best practices.
Deloitte Consulting, LLP, NY.
Served as the project manager leading a team of 40 people across several companies on a data warehousing and knowledge management system competitive Blueprinting/Planning phase for implementation the Achievement Reporting and Innovation System (ARIS) for the New York City Department of Education. Project work included detailed plans and requirements for project management, system functionality and technical architecture for a web-based portal and suite of business intelligence tools for 90,000 teachers and administrators, and 1 million parents. The project included a detailed functional and technical requirements analysis to meet the data analysis, reporting, and knowledge management needs of stakeholders.
New York City Housing Authority, NY.
Served as the managing director to provide day-to-day oversight of a multi-million dollar, 30+ team member engagement to implement the Primavera project management software (including both Expedition, P3e/c and Progress Reporter). The Primavera implementation will enable NYCHA to more effectively manage housing construction projects to improve on-time completion rates and reduce costs. The system was rolled out to 700 users and included reengineering of business processes, development of system interfaces, software configuration and testing, change management and training, and post-production support.
- “I’ve been doing this kind of work for the last 20 years, and this is the best presentation on this topic I have ever seen.”
Principal of Alvarez and Marsal
national law firm that assisted the School District of Philadelphia, after Improve, LLC presented on organization change management