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EPIC Program

From 2007 to 2012, New Leaders’ Effective Practice Incentive Community (EPIC) program provided a unique opportunity to identify, study, and share what’s working in some of the highest gaining urban schools in the country.

EPIC was designed to identify schools driving the highest student achievement gains within three grant partner districts — Memphis City Schools, DC Public Schools, and Denver Public Schools  and a national consortium of over 380 charter schools — and then award these leaders and teachers for sharing the practices that led to the gains. Over the course of the program, EPIC identified 266 high-gain schools and provided incentive awards to effective educators in those schools:  $17.5 million in awards to nearly 6,000 effective principals, assistant principals, teachers, and teaching assistants.

By investigating EPIC award winners, New Leaders and our partners learned what is working to transform these high-need schools.  This knowledge was captured in our EPIC Knowledge System, which has become the pre-eminent knowledge base of effective school leadership practices.  It features real leadership and school practices used by real educators achieving real results.

Today more than 260 case studies and profiles of the effective practices of EPIC award winners, including hundreds of videos and school artifacts, are shared with the New Leaders community and EPIC program partners on the web-based knowledge system.  New Leaders uses this resource and the knowledge it contains to enhance our Emerging Leaders and Aspiring Principals Programs and to provide leadership development resources for educators nationwide.  As well, this tool is used by partner district and charter educators to enhance their own professional learning, build school capacity, and increase student achievement.

The EPIC program has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Incentive Fund grants, EPIC school district and charter school partners and a generous set of private philanthropic funders, including Carnegie Corporation of New York, Hyde Family Foundation, Kern Family Foundation, MetLife Foundation, Pearson Foundation and two Anonymous donors. The federal funding for the EPIC awards cycle concluded in September, 2012.

EPIC White Papers and Reports

The major components of EPIC research, documentation, and implementation are analyzed and evaluated in the following reports, created with support from the MetLife Foundation:

National Charter School Consortium

The EPIC National Charter School Consortium consisted of 381 independent and CMO-affiliated schools. Over the five years of the awards program, EPIC presented $7.68 million to 2,432 educators in 97 schools and provided members of the Consortium with tools and resources that they could use to drive their own student achievement gains.

Click here for a full list of National Charter School Consortium winners >>


In District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), EPIC operates under the name TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More). Over the five years of the awards program, 25 schools have been recognized as TEAM award winners and more than 700 educators have received over $5 million in awards to recognize the extraordinary contribution of the entire staff of high-performing schools to the success of the district’s students. TEAM award winners are selected from high-need schools in DCPS.

Click here for a full list of DCPS winners >>

Memphis City Schools

EPIC in Memphis is based on a strong collaboration between New Leaders, Memphis City Schools (MCS) and the Memphis Education Association. To date, EPIC has awarded approximately $5.4 million to more than 2,700 teachers, principals, instructional assistants and other instructional staff in 63 schools.

Click here for a full list of MCS winners >>

Denver Public Schools

In Denver Public Schools (DPS), EPIC is a component of the district’s Administrator Incentive Compensation program. EPIC in DPS focuses financial awards and effective practice work primarily on school leaders. EPIC awarded-schools in DPS are determined mainly on the DPS School Performance Framework, and include a set of schools that can self-nominate to be eligible for EPIC awards and to participate in the effective practice process.

Click here for a full list of DPS winners >>