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What We're Learning: Our Blog

At C!E, we lean into the concept of “leading with learning” and delight in digging into nerdy topics, lines of inquiry with colleagues, and asking the hard questions. This blog serves as a sandbox, our testing ground, and space for rumination to share out C!E’s work.


Here you can find resources, papers, questions, and conversations we’re having as we strive to learn from and alongside our peers about our ever-changing field.

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Sec. Cordova
U.S. Department of Education Secretary Cardona

In a November letter to chief state school officers, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona signaled a new openness to changing the way the federal government approaches education assessment. The call to innovate comes with a recognition that current attempts at assessment are not always sufficient, and the nation’s emergence from the pandemic presents an opportunity for meaningful change in the nation’s assessment systems. 

In addition to clarifying the flexibilities that are built into the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA), he also encourages dialogue with states in a “planning status” prior to submitting a formal application to explore the IADA’s flexibilities through the department’s new lens  as well as funding the processes through other federal programs that are becoming more tightly aligned with this work. 

To help make the Secretary’s call to innovate actionable, The 74 ran an op-ed from Jennifer Poon and Paul Leather from C!E and Matt Blomstedt, former Nebraska commissioner of education and current principal at Foresight Law+Policy.

The article offers four action steps for state chiefs to leverage federal support as they pursue assessment innovation: 

  1. Take the pulse of impacted communities,  

  2. Start a dialogue with the U.S. Department of Education,

  3. Leverage other federal programs to fund assessment innovation, and

  4. Seek federal flexibility.

The Department of Education is signaling that it wants to make assessment reform more feasible for states; it’s opened the door for your ideas—now is the time to walk through it and make those ideas a reality.

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Updated: Apr 20, 2023

By Jennifer Poon and Paul Leather

Download the full report by clicking on the image above or the download link below.

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“We are greater than, and greater for, the sum of us.”

― Heather McGhee, author and policy advocate

A parent speaks before her school district’s strategic planning committee, her voice stern with years of frustration over how she believes the district has mistreated her child with special needs. The committee members hear what she says, but her laser-like focus consumes the conversation, stalling the agenda and elevating discomfort.

In some districts, committee leadership might quell her with a hand-wave – “We will note your concern” – and then quickly move the process along.

Except that, in this district, empathizing with this parent and her child’s experience is the process. And this parent belongs to the committee just like everyone else in the room.

In this district, through careful cultivation of mutual respect and hard-earned trust, the parent is invited deeper into the planning process. She helps the committee — a coalition of diverse stakeholders — to understand her needs, and she seeks to understand others’ needs, too. She’s asked to write core parts of the strategic plan using language that’s meaningful to her, and to refine that language with the rest of the coalition. Together, they build a new vision and a strategic plan that represents their collective desires. She goes on to champion the plan and, after it’s adopted by the school board, joins the steering committee created to oversee its implementation.

Fantastical as it might sound, this plot is unfolding right now in Vermont under the leadership of Burlington School District Superintendent Tom Flanagan.

A similar storyline has taken hold in Kentucky, where Education Commissioner Jason Glass led an intricate process of co-creating a new vision for education built from the hopes, dreams and pain points of diverse stakeholders throughout the state. That vision now fuels the redesign of the state’s assessment and accountability systems which, like the visioning process before it, is not pushed top-down by Glass’s office but is being constructed from insights emerging directly from the people on the ground.

In November 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Gene Wilhoit, Jenny Poon, and the Center for Innovation in Education (C!E) issued a call for a new approach to leadership capable of stewarding our education systems through complex times and a world in flux, one in which “right answers” cannot be known and where decision-makers must be in direct contact — and work side-by-side — with diverse stakeholders to respond to the evolving needs of students and families.

In that 2020 paper, we suggested that this more collaborative approach to leadership must include changing current systems of educational assessment and accountability, which are entangled in rigid and ineffective hierarchies of decision-making power. And we posited that state and local leaders each have unique roles to play, but that at the end of the day, they must build the new systems together. We called this systems-building approach a New Path Forward and invited leaders across the country to explore it.

Today, leaders like Glass and Flanagan have embraced the call, and their respective systems are actively forging new paths. We’ve spent the last two and a half years supporting and learning alongside them. Now, like cartographers mapping new terrain, we share a few insights we’ve gathered as road signs for those who might follow.

These insights are:

  1. Coalitions of state and local actors set the stage for systems change.

  2. Coalitions gain legitimacy through inclusion and empathy.

  3. Some tasks must be co-created from beginning to end(ish).

  4. The ultimate outcome is a different, more reciprocal accountability.

1. Coalitions of state and local actors set the stage for systems change.

In our 2020 paper, we wrote about “state-to-local coalitions” that bring state-level decision-makers into more direct, frequent conversations with local leaders and those closest to the learning process, including educators, students, families and community members. Education leaders typically invite input from these constituents through events like town hall meetings, surveys, focus groups and public comments at school board meetings. However, these means tend to be so tightly controlled by central bureaucracies that constituents are more likely to feel tokenized or subjugated than empowered.

Instead, in the 2020 paper we envisioned broad-based coalitions where state and local actors stand on even ground as equal participants in a process of understanding each other’s needs and collaborating to build new systems together.

Kentucky now provides a living example. First, Glass launched the Kentucky Coalition for Advancing Education (KCAE), which brought diverse local stakeholders together with senior members of the Kentucky Department of Education to co-create a vision for the future of education. Then the state launched the Kentucky United We Learn (KUWL) Council, which is comprised of local, state and national partners, and is tasked with learning from district-based “Local Laboratories of Learning” (L3s) in order to advise the state education department on policy and structural changes needed to support local advancements in competency-based education (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Timeline of major events leading up to the launch of the Kentucky United We Learn Council and the Local Laboratories of Learning.

On a local scale, too, the work in Burlington exemplifies a district-to-community coalition that gathered residents and education stakeholders — including educators, administrators, parents and students — together with members of the district’s senior cabinet to create a mutually satisfying five-year strategic plan.

In both examples, there was no pre-existing infrastructure that could have accommodated the intensity and depth of interaction with diverse residents before the coalitions were launched. The coalitions in both examples created fresh space for a regular give-and-take dialogue between central offices and local stakeholders.

In Kentucky especially, holding this kind of space is needed in order to realign state and local systems of school accountability. Currently, districts in America serve two masters: the state, which imposes federally-backed expectations for district performance according to metrics like standardized test scores; and the community, which may hold other expectations and metrics for schools based on student outcomes most valued locally, such as leadership, effective communication, and broader definitions of well-being. Thus, districts sit at the crossing point between two axes of accountability: state-to-district (vertical) and district-to-community (horizontal) (Fig. 2). Misalignment between the axes creates conflicting priorities for the district — a phenomenon all too common in our country.

Figure 2. Two axes of accountability: state-to-district (vertical) and district-to-community (horizontal).

Kentucky’s coalitions — the KCAE, the KUWL Council and L3s — are actively resolving tensions between vertical and horizontal accountability systems by hosting a space where stakeholders from both axes can identify where one set of expectations conflicts with another. The goal is to co-create a balanced system that can satisfy needs in both directions.

2. Coalitions gain legitimacy through inclusion and empathy.

A coalition can only produce transformative work if stakeholders believe in its legitimacy. In both Kentucky and Burlington, their coalitions gained legitimacy by practicing new habits of working together with deep roots in the grassroots organizing cycle, design thinking and liberatory design, among other disciplines.

For example, the coalitions in both places intentionally sought to include the voices of those typically without seats at decision-making tables, such as family and community members, under-represented demographic groups and students. Kentucky’s coalitions uniquely brought together state and local stakeholders as well.

Being intentional about inclusion meant rethinking the process of invitation: not just tapping the “blue ribbon panel” of power players and loudest voices, but also inviting and at times cold-calling individuals from underrepresented demographics and geographies who otherwise may have never heard about the coalition (see Box 1).

Beyond initial invitations, both Kentucky and Burlington’s coalitions sought to practice inclusion as an ongoing habit by reinforcing the value of each person’s perspective and contributions, flattening power dynamics in the room, and continually noticing and correcting whenever voices remained unheard. This was not easy and sometimes required checking in with individuals outside of group meetings, or bringing the group to consciously notice when unconscious biases based on age, class, race or role were showing up. But by insisting that everyone belongs and has a say, both coalitions sought to create spaces where all ideas and perspectives were taken seriously, not just those from people with positional authority.

We noticed that solidarity within both place’s coalitions increased through the structured practice of empathy. Members were trained to conduct “empathy interviews” with each other and with external stakeholders. These interviews asked not for opinions or judgments, but for colorful, emotion-rich stories about how the interviewee experienced the education system. This human-centered protocol helped participants to find common ground and understand one another across lines of difference. It also enabled them to identify common themes, as well as “outlier” experiences, that must be addressed if their solutions are to work for everyone.

Importantly, by emphasizing inclusion and empathy, Kentucky and Burlington created coalitions that not only felt better, but also became more potent agents of change. While the two place’s initiatives are relatively nascent, we observed that the sense of mutuality each coalition achieved has deepened members’ belief in the work and commitment to seeing it through.

For example, in Burlington, coalition members — and one student in particular — stood by the five-year strategic plan they helped shape as they presented it to the district’s board of school commissioners for ratification (which it received, unanimously). Since then, some coalition members have gone on to join the district’s Strategic Plan Steering Committee to oversee implementation of the plan, or have encouraged others in their networks to engage.

In Kentucky, the 60 members of the coalition remained committed through an extensive process that some called “challenging” and “uncomfortable at first.” But their overwhelming post-meeting feedback was positive. “I am really grateful I was chosen for this work. I look forward to our meetings and recognize the gravity of the task we are undertaking,” said one participant.

Even after their collective tasks were completed, several members of the Kentucky coalition raised their hands to help with grant writing for additional funding to support the work, or to continue participating through the KUWL Council and L3s. One of the original student members of the KCAE now serves as the chair of the KUWL Council.

If sustained commitment is one sign of a coalition’s legitimacy, another sign is when coalition members approximate elements of the coalition in their own contexts. For example, many of the L3 districts have built their own local coalitions, modeling them after the state coalition, as they prototyped innovations in assessment and accountability. In Boone County, one of the L3 districts, Deputy Superintendent James Detwiler was so inspired by the state coalition’s practice of empathy and inclusion that he revamped his training program with school principals to include empathy interviews with Spanish-speaking families, facilitated by his L3 co-chair who leads a local nonprofit.

3. Some tasks must be co-created from beginning to end(ish).

In our 2020 paper, we described respective roles that state and local leaders could take on as they jointly pursue systems change. At the time, we conceptualized these roles as separate but complementary: districts would “assume leadership for organizing primary stakeholders and partners in local ‘laboratories of learning,’” while states would be “responsible for animating the work, engendering trust and commitment to a new path forward, converting local insights into systemic transformation, and providing oversight that ensures equitable learning supports for every child.”

Indeed, we’ve seen these complementary roles play out in Kentucky. Districts take the lead on innovating assessment and accountability models that advance local goals, while the state acts to both support and learn from local innovation.

At the same time, however, we’ve come to understand that some tasks cannot be completed by one group or the other (state or local) but must be completed together – co-created between system leads and stakeholders from the very start.

Some of the tasks that require co-creation are foundational, like taking stock of how people experience the current system including its strengths and weaknesses; identifying root causes for system shortcomings; envisioning a desired “future state”; and identifying priorities to bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to go.

Traditionally, central office leaders complete these foundational tasks in closed rooms, often with the help of outside consultants. Sometimes, they lean on stakeholder feedback from one-off surveys or focus groups. Rarely, however, are these tasks completed with stakeholders as equal participants with equally authoritative viewpoints. Rarer still are the resulting products presented to stakeholders for final editing, approval or ongoing oversight to ensure that what is said is done.

Glass and Flanagan took a new path and asked their respective stakeholder coalitions to co-create visions and plans together. At times that meant slowing down to build consensus and insisting that participants gather and make sense of their own data. In Flanagan’s words, it also meant resisting his instinct to “tighten up” the plan by himself, remembering that it had to remain a full team effort.

Sometimes, co-creation required leaders to work with other influential players, such as board members, to manage timelines and set expectations around these other players’ control over process and outcome. In both Burlington and Kentucky, leaders helped bridge understanding by including some board members as coalition participants, too.

One thing we’re continuing to learn about is how to determine which tasks need to be co-created, and to what extent. The practical and relational benefits of co-creation must be weighed against the burden placed on participants and the constraints imposed by external deadlines. To quote C!E partner Doannie Tran, we often found ourselves asking, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” We didn’t try to answer that ourselves, but instead asked the coalitions to determine what levels of co-creation were desired for which tasks.

Ultimately, there’s no way to shortcut the kinds of trust and co-ownership that co-creation processes can engender. And, as the Kentucky and Burlington initiatives move from co-creation of a vision and plan into a new phase of ongoing implementation and monitoring, we will continue to learn about big and small ways that system leaders can maintain transparency, dialogue and mutual agreement with their stakeholders.

Co-creation may look different over time, but the invitation to jointly steward the work never ends.

4. The ultimate outcome is a different, more reciprocal accountability.

What does this new path yield?

In our 2020 paper, we envisioned three types of outcomes:

  1. A variety of models, prototypes or elements that improve local systems of assessment and accountability and can be approximated elsewhere in the state at increasing scale;

  2. Changes in the structures and dispositions of local systems that, when a tipping point is reached, trigger statewide — and potentially, national — systems transformation; and

  3. “Muscle tone” (i.e. capacities, attitudes and trusting relationships) supporting a reciprocal approach to accountability in which responsibility for outcomes is shared across all levels of the system.

The first two outcomes (a variety of local innovations and changes in local policies and practices) are easy to spot. For example, Kentucky’s L3s are pursuing several district-based innovations in competency-based assessment and accountability, and with the support of a federal Competitive Grants for State Assessments award, the KUWL Council stands ready to channel local momentum into statewide systems change.

Beyond these tangible outputs, however, we’ve learned that the greater gain of this approach is the third outcome: a new kind of accountability. This accountability is one that does not rely on paternalistic notions of commanding and controlling compliance, but rather builds reciprocity between state leaders and stakeholders through “honest conversations, follow through and mutual support,” as Glass describes it.

Take, for example, the November 2022 KUWL Council meeting in which 20 L3 districts showcased their recent work on local assessment and accountability innovations. One attendee from the Department of Justice asked whether the innovations are having a positive effect on the young people in her care. Glass noted that, “at this stage, the answer is, we don’t know yet.” But the council agreed to work on defining and measuring impacts on at-risk youth and have the attendee come back in six months to look for progress in that area. “So they’re not just reporting out,” said Glass. “They’re responding to each other and sharing insights, coming up with more optimal solutions.”

It also looks like the parent in the introduction to this report speaking up, sharing ownership of Burlington’s strategic plan, and joining the steering committee to make sure what is said is actually done.

In fact, we caught another glimpse of reciprocity in action when we asked our district contacts in Burlington to review a draft of this paper. Rather than speaking for their community, they shared the draft with parents and students on the steering committee to “gut check” what we wrote.

Some weighed in, including the parent we just mentioned, and wanted to clarify one point about reciprocity: Trust is indeed an important outcome from their coalition work, they said, but leaders can lose trust if they are too slow to follow through. As one parent said, “There are community members suffering daily from the oppressive systems we are trying to fix.” The exchange was both an example of mutualistic relationships between education leaders and community members, and a reminder that reciprocity can’t wait forever.

It’s time for a new path forward.

These days, it is hard to find anyone defending the old era of state-driven systems change whole cloth. More and more, people from the streets to statehouses acknowledge that “No Child Left Behind,” the federal law that ushered in our current era of standardized tests, and its model of top-down accountability (“trust but verify”) has become unwieldy and paradoxical. In reality, more verification signals less trust, which only seeds further distrust. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle that creates unproductive, adversarial relationships between schools and communities and the district and state systems meant to support them. And it perpetuates fear that paralyzes leaders from innovating to better meet the real wants and needs of their students, families, and communities.

We proposed a new path forward, and bold leaders like Glass and Flanagan took it on. This paper is our attempt to share what we’ve learned from them about the key features — like inclusion, empathy, co-creation and reciprocity — that make such efforts more likely to succeed.

We’re not alone in what we’ve learned. Principles of “inclusive co-creation” are already transforming related fields of technology and innovation (through design thinking and human-centered design), business management (through complex adaptive systems science), and research (through improvement science, participatory action research and design-based implementation research). The impact of each approach is evident in technology that better meets user needs, leaders who can dynamically shepherd systems they influence but don’t fully control, and research that more accurately identifies problems and solutions fit to their context.

In the education field, although some terrain is still being charted, we already see early signs of growing reciprocity and trust in Kentucky and Burlington. We’re also seeing increased mobilization of support among stakeholders, from district leaders and legislators to students, families and community members. There is work to do, but the ground for this work is fertile.

To encourage more leaders to join this path to a brighter future, we offer one final thought: A new path requires new expectations for what lies ahead.

Both Glass and Flanagan have been truthful about the need to level-set expectations with their school boards, their funders and their communities regarding the pace of the work and how best to support it. It takes time to form coalitions and build their credibility through deep, highly inclusive, highly relational work. It takes investment in structures that make space for that kind of work, and an ongoing commitment to sustain reciprocal relationships in ongoing ways. And it takes fortitude to shelter the work from political storms while it grows and spreads from the grassroots up. None of this is as simple as hiring a consultant to build something for you.

It is, however, the only path toward the kind of solidarity needed to make and hold on to real, equitable and widespread improvements in education. And isn’t that where we’re all headed?



This report was compiled with support from the entire Center for Innovation in Education team and with invaluable input from the Kentucky Department of Education, the Burlington (Vt.) School District, and several other colleagues across the nation who provided feedback at the Assessment for Learning Convening in February 2023. The report is an update to Gene Wilhoit and Jennifer Poon's 2020 paper, Invitation to a New Path Forward: Seeking Equity Together Through Assessment and Accountability, sharing what we've learned since then about this new approach to transforming education systems.

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When I worked at the Colorado Department of Education, Paul Leather, then the Deputy Commissioner for NH and happily now my colleague here at C!E taught me something critical to operating as an agentic and hopeful human while being employed by a state education agency. This was that while it is easy to feel like WHAT you do is entirely directed by others, such as the board, legislature, or governor, there is actually tremendous room in terms of HOW you do your work. And, that is good news because how you do your work actually has a significant impact on what educators out in the field do with the programs you have been told to operate.

This principle – that how we work IS the work – has taken root at the center of our strategy at C!E. We believe, like adrienne maree brown, Margaret Wheatley and others, that like it or not, the manner in which humans interact with one another on an individual level ends up shaping the behavior of the system as a whole. Which also means that, by changing their personal interactions (HOW they work with others) people can affect change that ripples outward to transform the broader system. Infection metaphors aren’t as fun in 2022 as they used to be, but I will just go ahead and say that in all of our work, we see that such individual changes in habits and behavior are, in fact, catchy.

We see this “contagion” of new ways of interacting in the place-based work we lead in partnership with system leaders in Vermont and Kentucky, and we see it at both the local and state levels. Facilitating place-based radically inclusive co-creation has become a core practice at C!E because we see that it provides such consistent opportunities for people with different and deeply invested interests in public education to practice new habits of working together. We can facilitate families, students on the margins, teachers, community members and school system leaders in being inclusive, practicing empathy, co-creating solutions to what they each see as essential problems, and determining how they will continue to operate with reciprocity when the initial collaboration is done.

We also see this phenomenon inside of learning communities that welcome people from across places into shared topical inquiry. One such community that we have had the pleasure of stewarding for the past several years is the Assessment for Learning Project (ALP) community. And we were additionally fortunate this past year to have some help from Hallie Preskill, formerly of FSG, to help us reflect on changes in our stewardship of that community over time, how that is both similar to and distinct from how we facilitate other communities like the Interstate Learning Community (ILC). We also made connections between what we are learning from our lived experiences stewarding learning communities and some of the great frameworks and insights of mentors and colleagues that have shaped our work again and again: Cynefin framework regarding complexity, the six circle model about systems change, The Art of the Gathering about how to welcome collaboration (Parker), emergent strategy (brown) and Walk Out Walk On (Wheatley and Frieze) about facilitating equitable emergence.

The result of this reflection and the expert guidance from Hallie is the following set of learning community stewardship principles of practice. We are sharing the principles of practice in hopes of expanding the dialogue about the design and facilitation moves that promote a change in HOW we work with one another. We do not profess to have the principles “right,” in fact we assume that no one set of principles can be “right” for all communities. We are using these principles written this way as we design the next two years of ALP learning community stewardship with our partners Envision Learning. We will learn more about them as we use them with members of that community, and we hope some of you might be interested in sharing your principles of community stewardship with us and that a few more of you might test these principles and tell us what you learn. As we continue to test these ideas, we will also continue to share stories that help illustrate what it looks like to strive to, manage to, and also fall short of enacting these principles.

If you are interested in getting nerdy about principles of learning community stewardship, or want to share a story about similar approaches, shoot me a quick note at

And if you want to connect with a large and diverse national network of educators pursuing assessment for learning, agency and belonging -- follow this link to let us know a bit about you and the ways in which you might like to connect with the ALP community this year.



C!E Draft Principles of Practice for Stewardship of The Assessment for Learning Community

First a note about what principles of practice of any variety aim to do. We chose the construct of principles of practice because they are specific enough to inspire practice, but also not so pointed as to seem inflexible or unadaptable. As Michael Q. Patton (Principles-Focused Evaluation, 2018) has written, good principles:

  • Provide direction but not detailed prescription

  • Require judgment in application

  • Are grounded in values about what matters

  • Inform choices at forks in the road

  • Point to consequences, outcomes, and impacts

  • Are based on evidence about how to be effective

  • Have opposites that point in a contrary direction

  • Can be evaluated for both process (implementation) and results

  • Must be interpreted and applied contextually and situationally

  • Are the rudder for navigating complex dynamic systems

  • Are evaluable. That is, they can be the primary subjects for evaluation.

These principles guide our design and facilitation of the ALP community, and also establish a basis for developmental evaluation. We will share more about the evaluation utility as we test it with the ALP community this year. There are six high level principles of practice, each of which is further elaborated on with bullets outlining specific activities aligned with that principle.

Principle #1: Lead with learning

  • Develop a shared learning agenda to make the charge of the learning community and a learning disposition clear from the start.

  • Develop structures that connect individual learning to shared learning (e.g. request for learning, learning plans, and presentations of learning), and to students’ experiences and outcomes.

  • Use different kinds of learning activities to fully engage members in reflection and dialogue.

  • Identify productive tensions in ways that surface different perspectives in service of learning.

  • Model, invite and encourage vulnerability, risk-taking, curiosity, and course-correction (opposed to performing or judging).

  • Create spaces for people to step into leadership roles.

  • Design for reciprocity among members, lead learners, and community stewards so that each person derives value and feels valued.

Principle #2: Invite with intention

  • Create invitations that offer reciprocal commitment to purpose and process.

  • Invite people in as their whole selves and not just their job title.

  • Invite people in from different parts and levels of the system.

  • Invite people from diverse backgrounds and identities.

  • Empower and encourage members to identify other critical voices to join the community.

  • Return and reflect on the extent to which the invitational commitment is being upheld.

Principle #3: Build trusting relationships to build and sustain community

  • Create time and space for relationships to develop and flourish.

  • Create opportunities for them to share their gifts and for them to see other peoples' gifts.

  • Actively look for ways for people to meet; connect those with similar interests and questions.

  • Create expectations for mutual accountability.

  • Help members develop a sense of identity within the learning community so they are in kinship with one another.

  • Use empathy practices to build understanding and relationships across lines of difference within the learning community.

  • Create spaces and opportunities for members to make and do stuff together.

  • Work with community members to create a variety of spaces in which each member of the community finds comfort and safety - drawing on the unique assets (traditions, rituals, practices) of its members.

Principle #4: See the system, pay attention to power, and interrupt patterns of oppression

  • Use empathy practices to lift up voices of learners and communities, especially those most marginalized.

  • Allow people to be where they are on their equity-seeking path and hold members accountable for their continued learning and growth.

  • Pause to notice and interact when patterns of bias, exclusion, and oppression are reproduced in conversation.

  • Use constructs to support critical analysis of current behaviors, processes, and policies to identify and change oppressive habits and system characteristics.

  • Continue to center and re-center how this work is rooted in equity.

  • Identify and disrupt disproportionate levels of power that come from position and expertise.

Principle #5: Ground learning in place

  • Analyze a wide range of contextual characteristics when trying to understand why something was designed the way it was or why it is working the way it is working.

  • Ensure that student voice and student perspectives are always part of the work.

  • Prioritize, study, center, and invite in local wisdom.

  • Use empathy practices to see, hear, and learn about the experiences of students, families, educators, and those closest to the work.

  • Use frameworks and tools as guides that are in dialogue and uniquely adapted to a place.

Principle #6: Scale through shared learning

  • Use stories to share learning, to change the narrative, to foster adaptation, to humanize quantitative data, to support critical thinking, and to help people locate themselves in the work.

  • Use analysis of others’ work to affirm your own work and learning, and become more critical and creative about the work.

  • Gather and share diverse ideas from others and adapt them for use in other contexts and places.

  • Co-create frameworks and tools to foster adaptation and scale beyond the learning community.

  • Pursue local, state, or federal policy changes to enable innovation and/or scaling.

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