Momentum Strategy & Research

What We Do


Effectively use data and research to inform advancement in policies and practices within our country's K-12 public education system.

Research & Policy Analysis

Momentum collaborates with national  and local experts to collect school policy and outcome data and conduct analysis and original research to inform policy and practice within K-12 education.

Projects & 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.

Who We Are

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.

Our Partners





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.


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. 

Click here to learn more about the NOYC initiative.

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. 

Go to the Rural Charter School Collaborative website.

National Opportunity Youth Collaborative

Alternative Education Accountability

For more than a decade Momentum's team has worked to level the playing field for schools serving disproportionately high percentages of students that have fallen behind their academic peers--schools we refer to as Alternative Education Campuses (or AECs). The National Opportunity Youth Collaborative is a product of our combined experience in conducting research, assisting in the development of measures, metrics, and/or frameworks of accountability, and advising policy makers on the issues  surrounding the accurate measurement of success for AECs.


Momentum has built a working database of the nation's AECs and their relevant school-level performance outcomes. This Alternative School and Performance Database has been used by Momentum to assist partnering schools and organizations in defining outcomes of success for their AECs.

In addition, Momentum maintains a catalog of states' policies and regulations that define how alternative campuses are identified in their states (including DC), as well as the systems of accountability the AECs are held to. This information is used to inform how other states, school districts, and charter school authorizers develop their own related policies.


Momentum's Vice President of Research & Policy Analytics, Dr. Jody Ernst, has conducted original research on typical performance and growth trends of students attending AECs. Consistently, this research has shown that alternative education students grow a slower pace than their same grade peers attending traditional high schools. These findings have helped to inform how a number of states, school districts, and charter school authorizers have set goals and accountability targets for the AECs they oversee. 

Collaborative Participation

AECs may become participating members of the NOYC, gaining access to four annual reports and the opportunity to network with similar AECs through our Peer Group participation level. Depending on the desired level of participation (described below), schools may gain access to the Epicenter data portal, contributing data to further research efforts that will inform comparisons within peer groupings. 

Participation Levels

Basic—Receives Opportunity Collaborative’s four annual publications, including an Annual Alternative School Performance Report, an Annual Alternative School Performance Report, Annual Projects Report, and an Alternative Accountability Policy Review.

Basic Plus—Same as Basic, plus a customized annual performance report that highlights your school’s comparative performance

Peer Group—Same as Basic Plus, plus a report comparing your school’s performance against peer schools

Become a Participant

NOYC participants will not only contribute to our research efforts, depending on the level of participation they may also help set our research priorities for the year and gain access to the Epicenter data and information platform.

The find out more about the NOYC partnership levels click Contact Us and fill out the information requested. 

Contact Us

Contact Us

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

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Momentum Strategy & Research

PO Box 100815, Denver, CO 80250, US