“We are seeing some strong outcomes…We want to show what a strong system looks like to turn around schools.”

Terri Wogan, Social Venture Partners Arizona executive director

sustain and replicate the success

Social Venture Partners AZ (SVPAZ) is now considering how to both sustain the progress at Camelback High School and how to replicate it in other local schools. Check out some ideas below and feel free to join the conversation.

Follow Dr. Gestson’s L.E.A.D.

According to a recent SVP newsletter…

Dr. Chad Gestson is the new Director of School Leadership for Phoenix Union High School District, where he will supervise school principals and develop and train future school leaders.

L.E.A.D.S. Framework

Since taking on his new position this past summer, Dr. Gestson has been working tirelessly to develop the L.E.A.D.S. (Leadership—Effectiveness—Assessment—Development—Support) Program for the Phoenix Union High School District. Chad has prepared numerous exciting initiatives, such as leadership cadres for aspiring Principals and Assistant Principals, leadership summits for teachers and administrative staff, success reports cards for each of the 16 high schools throughout the district, and an extensive onboarding program for new staff members.

How SVP Arizona Fits In

SVP Arizona is excited about the many ways our Partners can make a difference with Dr. Gestson in the Phoenix Union High School District. Once the LE.A.D.S. program launches, possibilities include:

  • Presenting during leadership seminars for teachers, aspiring principals and assistant principals.
  • Being a Lead Partner for one of the 16 principals in the district
  • Partners “principal for a day”
  • Principals to shadow a Partner for a day.
  • Joining a small, outside advisory council for each major department within the district
  • Mentoring to the HR staff to help work through the challenges they are facing.

Ensure there are enough community members helping out

At Camelback HS

SVPAZ has handed over the Camelback support program to the newly established Camelback Community Network (“CN”).

Read more. . .

At the new schools added to the program

As SVPAZ approaches a new school to help it launch a transformation, SVPAZ will likewise line up about 20 business and professional people from the neighborhood of that new school to participate in that new micro public private partnership. In both situations SVPAZ will use student dinners as the recruiting tool to inform and enroll the new local business and professional people.

Use the student dinners as a recruiting tool

As mentioned elsewhere in this website, Rick West, SVPAZ members and friends have hosted small, intimate monthly dinners at which the Camelback HS principal has invited and brought with him six high school students, a different six for each dinner. Each dinner host has invited five adults from the local community who have interesting life stories. At each dinner all the participants are asked to share about their lives.

The results have been remarkable in many different ways including:

  • creating bonds between the students who may not have even known each other before the dinner,
  • inspiring the students with a rags to riches story by one of the adults, a story to which one or more of the students can relate personally,
  • inspiring the adults to understand the remarkable success of the student(s), especially in light of their many times difficult family and economic circumstances, and
  • generating new ideas for improving the programs at the high school.

By inviting new local leaders from the community to future dinners with Camelback High School students, SVPAZ members can give those dinner participants a first hand view of what the SVPAZ programs at CBHS are about and a positive view of the students. With that introduction it is anticipated that SVPAZ can enroll the needed 20 replacement business and professional leaders to work with CBHS to sustain its progress as SVPAZ moves on to the next high school.

SVPAZ can use the same sort of dinners with local leaders around the next high school to enroll them to help in its transformation.


Funding ideas

Individual Donors

As to funding of the ongoing efforts at Camelback HS and each new school, it has been suggested that the local business and professional people could each pledge, say, $500 per year. With 20 members, that would generate an annual fund of $10,000 to provide the sorts of assistance to the school that SVPAZ has been providing each year to Camelback HS (for clubs and ad hoc needs). Each local group could then use its website to fund raise to pay for such larger ticket items such as peer tutoring (perhaps $15,000 per year) and gap scholarships ($50,000 per year).

The Camelback Network participants now plan to explore the idea of “crowd funding” as a vehicle to raise funds for these programs. Stay tuned to this section to see how this evolves.

Website Donor Solicitation

Donations for both peer tutors’ scholarships and gap scholarships will be solicited and made via the donations section of this website. These donations will go directly to the Camelback High School Scholarship Fund at the Arizona Community Foundation and will be generally tax deductible.

Since these donations are going directly to the Arizona Community Foundation, there will be no overhead or other costs deducted from them other than the slight fee charged by the foundation to handle all the aspects of accounting for the contributions, sending the donors letters confirming their tax deduction, sending the money to the students or their colleges, and providing the entire on line infrastructure for the vetting process as we select the gap scholarship recipients, etc.


Find an individual champion

Perhaps a single champion is required to make this work at each school

If the Camelback High School Experience is the best model, it may take a single individual champion to round up the new 20 participants at Camelback High School as SVPAZ moves on.

It may be that it will also take a single champion to work with the principal of any new school that wants to replicate the Camelback experience. That champion will be the one to round up the 20 local participants around that school, to determine from that principal what support is most needed and to launch the fund raising necessary to accomplish the goals that require funding.

Read the story of Dr. Quintin Boyce

“The local business group’s involvement could just be the key to successfully transforming high schools.”

Bruce Hilby, Phoenix area businessman and newly designated Communicator for the Camelback Community Network (“CN”)

Join the Conversation

This website is a case study of a school transformation experience. The conclusion so far is that schools can benefit greatly from the time, talent and treasure of those in the local community.

Can the student outcome improvements generated at Camelback High School can be sustained and replicated? Or were the improvements only due to a unique synergy among this particular group of highly-motivated students, teachers, community leaders and an uninhibited principal?

Let's discuss.

Social Venture Partners Arizona


For inquiries about the Success is Mandatory program case study, Camelback High School or the Phoenix District, please email Kellie Burris: