Creating Coherence Amid COVID-19


In this webinar, Creating Coherence Amid COVID-19: How Avondale Elementary School District and Arizona State University Are Using Improvement Science to Build More Consistent and Collaborative Systems, leaders of the university-school division partnership of Avondale Elementary School District/Arizona State University highlight their use of the tenets of improvement science to establish coherence in an instructional program. In response to COVID-19, AESD established virtual, grade-level teacher teams systemwide. The district used the crisis as an opportunity to break from the pre-COVID classroom- and school-level silo structure to establish a coherent system comprised of consistent academic expectations and supports. These teams, which ranged from teacher-leaders to teacher-candidates, allowing AESD to distribute instructional expertise across the system.

ASU also responded to COVID-19 with a curricular innovation—the Sun Devil Learning Lab. The learning lab brought together professional educators from local school systems, ASU faculty, and teacher-candidates to develop free, online resources for K–8 classrooms. Through consultation and collaboration with local partners, ASU is now prioritizing a variety of supports for teams of educators to work more effectively with students in both virtual and in-person environments.


  • Betsy Hargrove, Superintendent, Avondale (AZ) Elementary School District
  • Carole Basile, Professor and Dean, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
  • Nicole Thompson, Associate Professor and Division Director of Teacher Preparation, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
  • Robert Morse, Co-Director for the Office of Clinical Experiences, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University


  • Ash Vasudeva, Vice President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching


Avondale Elementary School District and Arizona State University are members of the Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) network comprised of 13 university-district partnerships. iLEAD is committed to the use of improvement science to develop leaders, address local problems of practice, and promote equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for all students.


August 21, 2020

Improvement Science in the Time of Covid-19

This webinar is part of the Carnegie Foundation series, Improvement Science in the Time of COVID-19, which explores how K–12 leaders and their partners have leveraged improvement-based thinking and practice to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, particularly those related to coherence, equity, and engagement.

Much thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for supporting this webinar series.