The Coalition of Residential Excellence has been in existence since 1994. The organization came to fruition through the work of Heidi Goldsmith, founder of the Coalition of Residential Education, who conceptualized a national network of residential schools for economically and socially disadvantaged youth early in 1989. With a good understanding of Israel’s youth village system, Heidi envisioned something similar taking place in the United States. Under her leadership, a feasibility study was conducted by 25 American professionals who participated in an eight-day trip to Israel to visit and assess the value of Israel’s youth village system.
Though not subsequently seen as a perfect match for duplication in the U.S., the need for a network of boarding schools was seen as having value. Working from an office inside her home in 1994, Heidi established the International Center for Residential Education. The name was subsequently changed to Coalition of Residential Education.
As founder of the organization, Heidi Goldsmith served as executive director until 2011 when she resigned to relocate to Israel.
Initially, it was the intent of the organization to promote and strengthen residential education programs for children/youth whose homes and communities could not meet their needs. Consequently, membership to the organization focused on boarding schools serving indigent children. Activities included provision for equipping and strengthening member agencies by providing conferences, student resources, research and promising practices along with tracking outcomes.
In 2007, the membership of CORE was expanded to include children’s homes that emphasized the importance of education in equipping children for life. It was in that era the CORE members collectively participated in the development of CARE Standards and set up an accreditation process. Though the membership was supportive of the standard development process, the associated expenses related to accreditation made it unattractive to most members. Subsequently, the CORE Board of Directors determined to cease making accreditation an option for member agencies.
With the influx of children’s homes into CORE’s membership, the branding as “Residential Education” seemed more in sync with boarding schools than children’s homes. Consequently, the Core Board subsequently opted to modify the name through a DBA arrangement.
Today the Coalition of Residential Excellence is a membership organization that serves both boarding schools and children’s homes. The CORE membership includes: boarding schools, residential charter schools, children’s homes, youth ranches and other residential education-based programs.