Momentum Strategy & Research


Momentum's mission is to bring to light the best available data and information to impact K-12 public education policy and practice.

We do this by:

  • Maintaining the most up-to-date and accurate databases of school information and outcome data relevant to our partner schools and organizations;
  • Maintaining an up-to-date policy database on statewide accountability systems and structures;
  • Collaborating with assessment vendors and area experts to conduct research and analysis informing policy makers on gaps, trends, and needed adjustments;
  • Working with schools to understand their needs and priorities and help us set our annual research agenda.


Current Collaborations


Alternative Accountability

Momentum's Jody Ernst is co-director of the federally funded project, Advancing Great Authorizing and Modeling Excellence (A-GAME), awarded to the National Charter Schools Institute. The project focuses on developing holistic measures that authorizers can use to oversee and evaluate schools that predominantly serve High Risk Youth-- including former dropouts, truants, pregnant and parenting teens, and others with one or more risk factors that threaten their chances of succeeding in traditional high schools. 

Throughout the three year project, resources and data tools are being developed to assist authorizers in working with their alternative charter schools to select measures and metrics of accountability that are relevant to the schools' missions and student populations. For this project Momentum is building on their National Alternative School and Performance Database to develop open source data visualization tools that will assist authorizers and alternative charter schools set appropriate performance targets of success for alternative education campuses (AECs).

The data tool is now available on the A-GAME website (button below), with data on the number of alternative schools in each state, by grade and with performance data on average AEC proficiency rates in states with available data. Data is being updated weekly, so be sure to check back regularly.

For questions regarding the A-GAME project please contact project co-directors Jody Ernst ( or Naomi DeVeaux (

The Charter School Facilities Center

Momentum's Jim Griffin is working in conjunction with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools on a federally funded project aimed at building an information hub informing the charter school community on all things related to charter school facilities. On the Charter School Facility Center website (button below), readers will find resources related to accessing facilities, finding available public dollars to help pay for facilities, as well as where charter schools can go to finance facility related projects--from building a new facility to revamping an existing facility.

For questions regarding the Charter School Facility Center please reach out to Momentum's Jim Griffin ( or the Alliance's Mark Medema ( 

Our Team

Jim Griffin, J.D.


President and co-founder, Jim heads up Momentum's strategic initiatives and advises schools and school related organizations on issues effecting education policy. Prior to starting Momentum, Jim was the founding President of the Colorado League of Charter Schools.

Jody Ernst, Ph.D.


Vice president of research & policy analytics and co-founder, Jody leads all research projects and works with schools and school related organization on developing measures, metrics, and benchmarks for accountability. Jody holds a Ph.D., in Differential Psychology and was formerly the Senior Director of Research & Performance Management at the Colorado League of Charter Schools.

Liz Hackett, M.A.


Elizabeth (Liz) Hackett, is a licensed school counselor and a former staffer from DC. Liz provides supporting research and organizational management and facilitates our Opportunity Measure Process. Liz holds an MA in School  Counseling from Trinity Washington University.

Brooke Quisenberry, ABD


Brooke's graduate training is in qualitative measurement and analytics. After years of consulting for Momentum, Brooke has joined the Momentum team as a Research Associate, working with our partner organizations and assisting with analytical projects related to Momentum's federal grant initiatives.

Projects & Strategic Initiatives



Momentum can be commissioned to provide data collection and analysis, research and evaluation, and strategic planning for individual schools, large networks of schools, school districts, charter school authorizers, and/or other school oversight and support organizations.

Our experience and expertise lies in helping schools and school related entities in measuring and evaluating schools effectiveness in ways that are not captured by traditional school accountability systems. 

Momentum also specializes in data collection and research efforts involving the evaluation of standards for charter school facilities, charter schools' access to available facilities and facility funding resources.

Some of our recent projects are described below.

Local Innovation in School Accountability


Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of interest from schools and districts across the country in exploring a variety of accountability indicators, measures, processes, and tools that focus on continued improvement.  Two examples from Colorado include:

(1) Six rural districts in the Student-Centered Accountability Project (S-CAP) are using school review processes and tools to provide each other with timely, actionable feedback, based on the needs and interests of the community; and 

(2) A consortium of AECs (Alternative Education Campuses) have identified new indicators and measures aligned to their unique missions, while also piloting external evaluations of the desired student outcomes.

At the same time, policymakers in Colorado and nationally have introduced legislation that encourages and supports state and local innovation.

In response to this growing energy and interest, Momentum has partnered up with CEI (Colorado Education Initiative) to gain a better sense of the innovation emerging in Colorado schools and districts.  This project has an exploratory focus and will assess interest and provide feedback and input on locally-driven innovative ideas.  

Local Alternative Education Groups

Each year, Momentum works with a handful of locally grown networks of alternative schools, school districts, and/or charter school authorizers on the development or revision of state and local accountability systems. Our work ranges from providing an analysis of current policies against our own Essential Elements of Effective Alternative Accountability Systems, to assessing patterns of local AEC performance against that of national comparators. Our analysis can range from single school evaluations to a statewide look at performance trends. The outcomes of the research and evaluation are often used by local AEC groups to inform recommendations for policy changes in their states. To view an example report, click on the California Policy Brief button below.

Original Research

In addition to working directly with schools and groups, Momentum often conducts original research projects, such as alternative norming studies (click on the NWEA Norming Study below for an example), and the collection and analysis of national data on school performance outcomes.

Strategic Initiatives

Each of Momentum's Strategic Initiatives grows out of commonly identified research needs brought to us by school and education organization leaders and policy makers. Each project, therefore, contributes to a growing body of data and information and benefits from the work we have done previously. 

Our vision is that over-time some of these initiatives will build enough momentum to become self-sustaining and form into separate organizations.

 Current strategic initiatives include:

The National Opportunity Youth Collaborative (NOYC): 

The NOYC is  an initiative begun by Momentum in 2013 and is focused on impacting how alternative education campuses (AECs) are held accountable by states, school districts, and charter school authorizers across the nation. 

Momentum utilizes their Alternative School and Performance Database as a mechanism to collect and share the best available data on alternative school outcomes across the country and impact policy on how AECs are evaluated. 

The Rural Charter School Collaborative 

Momentum has partnered with multiple organizations, including Building Hope and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to bring to light the issues facing rural charter schools across the country. In its inaugural set of meetings, held at the National Charter Schools Conference in Austin, TX, leaders of rural charter schools discussed issues of funding, building access and availability, and community relationships. To become involved in the Rural Charter School Collaborative, click on the button below. 

Contact Us

To make an inquiry or get more details about participating in a Collaborative, complete the information below.

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Momentum Strategy & Research

PO Box 100815, Denver, CO 80250, US