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History & Capacity
The Alliance for Community Teachers and Schools (ACTS) is a Baltimore based not-for-profit, which opened its doors in July 2011 to contribute to the transformation of urban education nationally and internationally. ACTS takes a collaborative approach to program development with a focus on developing communities of practice.
The Alliance is a young organization. However, its “track record” is established by more than 60 years of expertise and experience brought to the work by the three founders, Dr. Peter Murrell, Jessica Strauss, and Maritza Dominguez. ACTS staff have published research and led on-the-ground initiatives that have advanced the reform of urban education. Individually and collectively, we are known for action research, theoretical formulation of the community teacher framework, and collaborative development of community schools all over this country and abroad. Dr. Murrell has contributed core concepts in the development of African American academic identity. In his numerous leadership roles, he has explored ways to create new systems of instructional and professional practice so that Schools of Education (SOEs) might simultaneously serve and learn from the most distressed, low-performing, and high-need city schools. Through the leadership of Executive Director Jessica Strauss in the national community schools movement and her eight years as a consultant with the National Center for Community Schools, ACTS is deeply knowledgeable about best practices in developing community school initiatives at both the individual school site and district-wide levels.
Keeping overhead low and maintaining a very sharp project focus in its budgets, ACTS engages Associates as needed for specific projects, based on their leadership and expertise in the specific areas needed. For example, researchers and curriculum specialists are needed in the development of certain projects, while local neighborhood leaders are engaged as members of a training team. ACTS also seeks partnership with related organizations, making every effort to avoid competition and enhance existing efforts.