It Starts with Leadership
Mitigating Learning Loss & Advancing Equity
NCUST's Equity and Excellence Audits
National Principal Certificate for Equity and Excellence
Because Equity-driven, High-Performing Schools
are People-Sensitive Schools
Advancing Principal Leadership in Urban Schools (A-PLUS) Program
Reopening Back to a Future
with Real Equity for Students
National Principal Supervisor Certificate for Excellence and Equity

The Transformation We Seek

Let’s Become Our Best Selves

We endeavor to support urban schools, districts, and their partners in becoming their best selves. Our studies of outstanding urban schools have led us to learn that, when at their best, urban schools infuse hope into the lives of children and communities. They lead all demographic groups of students to learn challenging academic standards, develop a love of learning, and graduate well prepared to succeed in post-secondary education, careers, and their communities. They empower students to reshape the trajectories of their lives. We seek to support urban schools, districts, and their partners as they endeavor to transform themselves in ways that emulate the best characteristics of the outstanding urban schools we have had the privilege to identify, celebrate, and study.


Initiative One

Celebrating Excellence and Equity

NCUST America's Best Urban Schools Symposium

There Are So Many Amazing Schools
to Celebrate

In every community, citizens can quickly tell you the names of their worst schools. However, if you asked which urban schools in their community outperformed overall state averages, many citizens might think you were asking a trick question. NCUST delights in identifying, awarding, and celebrating America’s best urban schools: schools that achieve multiple evidences of academic excellence for every racial/ ethnic/income group served. We look for schools where students with emerging English proficiency are thriving. As well, we look for dual language academies where all demographic groups of students are developing proficiency in two or more languages.  We celebrate schools where Black, Latinx, and Native American students outperform statewide averages for all students. We thrill to find schools where students with disabilities learn the same challenging academic standards being taught to all other students.  Our annual America’s Best Urban Schools Award Program provides us with outstanding opportunities to find schools where excellence and equity merge to form the beacon of light that directs all efforts.

Initiative Two

Disseminating Best Practices

Learn & Share. Learn & Share. Learn & Share

We learn so much each time we visit an outstanding urban school!  We observe classrooms.  We talk with students, parents, and teachers.  We shadow principals.  We attend teacher collaboration meetings.  We try to understand how school personnel work together to create such a powerful difference for all the students they serve.  Then, we endeavor to share what we have learned through speeches, workshops, articles, books, webinars, courses, and our annual America’s Best Urban Schools Symposium. 

NCUST Best Practices

Initiative Three

Partnering with Schools and Districts

NCUST Partnering with schools and districts

The real excitement begins when we partner with a school or district committed to advancing equity and excellence for their students

We strive to help our partners become their best selves in service to their students.  Each partnership is tailored to build upon local strengths and respond to local needs.  We continuously seek to improve our services (to become our best selves) in ways that help our partners make a powerful difference in their communities.


"Equity without excellence is nothing more than mediocrity. Excellence without equity is an oxymoron.”
Leadership in America's Best Urban Schools