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Changing the Relationship between Schools, Communities, Districts and States
In Partnership with:

Click to watch the video above to learn more about the Local Laboratories of Learning, part of the Kentucky project.

Throughout 2021, Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass led an extensive inclusive listening tour of all critical stakeholder groups for education in the state and subsequently partnered with C!E to convene and facilitate a statewide coalition to develop a vision for the future of education in Kentucky. 

Called the Kentucky Coalition for Advancing Education (KCAE), the coalition was created through a three-pronged strategy including some members who were appointed, some who were selected from an open application process prioritizing diversity of perspectives, and some who were invited by cold-calling families drawn at random from district registers, much like jury selection. The resulting coalition was intentionally more diverse than the state in aggregate and was representative of stakeholders groups across the state. 


Facilitated by C!E, the KCAE collaboratively processed hundreds of pages of data from empathy interviews conducted with diverse stakeholders statewide to identify 10 key issues facing Kentucky’s current system of education. From this, the group articulated the desired future state of education in the Commonwealth, and a learning agenda to bridge from the present to the future, in the report entitled United We Learn: ​​​​​​​​​Investing in Kentucky’s Future, One Student at a Time.


As part of this report, the KCAE established the desired direction for Assessment and Accountability (A&A) in the state, noting: 

“There is a hunger for local accountability and assessment systems that portray a more complete picture of each student, and value the investment teachers, school leaders and local school boards make in providing relevant, personal and joyful learning opportunities to each young person in their community.”


And that:

“While there are significant efforts made to communicate and provide students and their families with data that promotes continued learning, few stakeholders feel that communication and feedback are currently promoting a shared understanding, mutual trust and partnership.”


In response to the United We Learn report and a desire to promote more innovative approaches to assessment and accountability, the KCAE and Kentucky Department of Education launched the Local Laboratories of Learning (L3s), a locally-driven effort to innovate and prototype new assessment and accountability models. C!E has supported KDE to facilitate and manage the L3s’ community-driven design processes. To date, 18 counties and cities in the state have engaged through three consecutive L3 cohorts. Guided by C!E, each L3 community has developed their own inclusive coalitions to co-create and test local A&A systems based on local needs and priorities. The local coalitions include students, families, community members, business leaders, and educators, and focus particularly on those who have been marginalized by the current system. C!E supports the KCAE in facilitating a Community of Practice among L3 leads in order to share learning and sharpen each others’ work.


For inquiries or more information about the Kentucky project, please contact Doannie Tran at

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