2019 Sessions by Areas of Focus

To further assist you in selecting sessions, we have tagged sessions that address the following areas of focus:

Data & Measurement
Educator Development
Equity & Achievement Gaps
Higher Education
Improvement Capability
Instruction & Assessment
Spread & Scale

Also see the Summit sessions organized thematically by strand or chronologically by set.


Data & Measurement

Understanding the User Experience: Effective Use of Empathy Interviews

One of the Six Core Principles of Improvement is to “make the problem work-specific and user-centered.” The empathy interview is a common strategy for seeking to understand the user perspective and operationalize an equity lens. However, in practice, the interviews often look similar to traditional interviews that ask for opinions and feedback on narrow topics instead of uncovering the real needs and perspectives of the user. In this session, participants will understand the importance of defining a clear purpose for empathy interviews, as well as how to select diverse interviewees, structure and conduct empathy interviews, and effectively analyze and use the interview data to inform improvement work.

Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Kari Nelsestuen, Improvement Advisor, Chalkboard Project
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Julie Smith, Deputy Director, Chalkboard Project

Theory of NIC Development

What are the distinguishing features of a networked improvement community (NIC), and how do NICs change over time? In this session, NIC scholars and coaches will share Carnegie Foundation’s current theory of NIC development and a measurement framework that can be used to assess a network’s health. Methods and findings will be explored through a case study of the Better Math Teaching Network (BMTN), a NIC that aims to improve student engagement in algebra.

Jennifer Lin Russell, Associate Professor, Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Jennifer Zoltners Sherer, Research Associate, Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh
David Sherer, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on Central Valley Networked Improvement Community, Tulare County Office of Education

The Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC) is working to improve mathematics learning and achievement for students in seven districts in Tulare County, a rural, agricultural setting in the Central Valley of California. Bridging distances and differences and connecting relatively isolated schools, the CVNIC has effectively built capabilities and organizational capacities, designed and enacted a measurement system and routines, and leveraged diverse expertise within its region to effectively engage in improvement work. In its first two years, the CVNIC has demonstrated improved outcomes for students, with observable shifts in instructional practice and a steady increase in the percentage of students who were proficient in the state assessments.

Shelah Feldstein, Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC) Director, Tulare County Office of Education
Christine Roberts, Mathematics Staff Development and Curriculum Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education
Paul LeMahieu (moderator), Senior Vice President, Programs, Carnegie Foundation

Frameworks and Scorecards to Drive District Improvement

Many districts struggle to address unique needs of students and schools while providing a district approach. The Belvidere School District has effectively utilized consistent frameworks and scorecards reporting on students, people, community, quality, and resources across 10 schools to define where the district is tight and what is loose for schools to adapt and innovate. Urbandale Community School District involved employees, parents, and community members to create a strategic plan and framework for change, along with strategic actions and rigorous training and ongoing coaching for all teachers and administrators. Their strategic improvement planning processes are producing consistently high student-learning results. This session will review how each district’s frameworks and cadence of continuous improvement supported schools to work toward targets while balancing their unique needs.

Crista Carlile, Director of Teaching and Learning, Urbandale Community School District
Denise Wood, Director of Quality and Continual Improvement, Urbandale Community School District
Karen Owen, Leader Coach, Studer Education
Dan Woestman, Superintendent, Belvidere Community Unit School District #100
Theodore Quinn (reflector), Partner, The Wildflower Foundation
Emma Parkerson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Run Charts: A Tool for Analysis in Improvement Science

Have you ever wanted to know more about run charts? Here’s your chance! In this session, we will go over run charts in detail, including guidelines for interpreting data, so that you can develop the analytic skills to make evidence-based decisions in your own work. We will undertake two hands-on run chart activities that will help you develop your own run-chart-related data skills. This session is ideal for people already working with data who want to hone their analytic skills related to this particular tool.  (Advanced)

Manuelito Biag, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Marie Deininger, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on National Implementation Research Network and Kentucky Department of Education

Anchored in the synergy between implementation and improvement science, this session focuses on the National Implementation Research Network’s partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and educators to build an implementation infrastructure to successfully use evidence-based mathematics practices at the elementary and middle school levels, and how to scale those practices using continuous improvement approaches throughout the state. Moving the locus of responsibility from evaluation of the teacher to evaluation of the system, their capacity-building infrastructure includes networked implementation teams focused on providing teacher supports, including training and coaching, explicit communication routines, and common data protocols to assess and improve progress. Eventually, each level is responsible for providing the needed support and resources to ensure success at the next level and applying Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) improvement cycles to solve specific challenges along the way. The learning at each level is constantly communicated back up to inform the “level above” so practice informs policy and policy enhances sustainable practice.

Kathleen Ryan Jackson, Implementation Specialist, National Implementation Research Network
Amanda Waldroup, State Transformation Specialist, Kentucky Department of Education
Donald J. Peurach (moderator), Associate Professor, Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation, University of Michigan, School of Education; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Harnessing the Power of Developmental Evaluation and Network Health Assessments to Support Networked Improvement Communities

Networked improvement community (NIC) initiation and development is complex work that must be simultaneously strategic and responsive, and for which there is little empirical guidance to support design and implementation decisions. This session draws on the case of the Student-Centered Assessment Network (SCAN) hub and its developmental evaluation to identify and describe the tools and routines that supported critical hub decisions in the early formation and implementation of the network. The National Board will explore how the Network to Transform Teaching adapted and tested an early version of the Carnegie NIC Member Survey. This enabled them to move beyond NIC initiation to continuously assess the health of the network, uncover emerging needs, and use this information to develop supports and structures to strengthen community within the network. Participants will leave this session with a concrete sense of the challenges of developing a NIC and how developmental evaluation and assessing network health can support overcoming those challenges.  They will identify key features of a productive partnership between a hub and developmental evaluators and be familiar with tools and routines used by hub/developmental evaluation teams to strengthen the development of a NIC.

Laura Benedetto, Senior Manager, Network Engagement, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Dereck Norville-Bowie, Senior Manager, Improvement Analytics, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Jennifer Iriti, Research Scientist, Learning Research and Development Center, University of Pittsburgh
Stephen Plank, Managing Researcher, American Institutes for Research
David Sherer (reflector), Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad

Serving as a hub, the Fundación Educacional Oportunidad brought together over 60 disadvantaged rural and urban school organizations in Chile as an improvement network to address their national challenge of providing effective early learning opportunities for children. Building on the scholarly literature and the need most felt in their local Chilean communities, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad helped these organizations identify chronic absenteeism, ineffective use of time, and too little focus on literacy for their disciplined improvement efforts. Bringing analytic capacity and the use of improvement tools to local Chilean school leaders, teachers, and parents, they are engaging local actors as change agents and showing early results supporting children’s learning.

Marcela Marzolo, Executive Director, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad
María Paz Collao, We Learn Program Coordinator, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad
MaryCatherine Arbour, Quality Improvement Advisor, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad
Paul LeMahieu (moderator), Senior Vice President of Programs, Carnegie Foundation

Measurement for Improvement

When we hear the word measurement in education, we often think of accountability systems or research paradigms. But in the improvement community, measurement is essential for learning. In this session, participants will get an overview of how measurement is used in improvement science and an introduction to the kinds of measures that are useful in an improvement context.   (Introductory)

David Sherer, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Marie Deininger, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Catherine Miller, Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Learning Together: How Technology Catalyzes and Supports the Work of Networked Improvement Communities

This session explores the Reading Recovery network’s use of the Networked Improvement Learning and Support (NILS™) platform to facilitate its improvement journey. Reading Recovery aims to reduce the number of first-grade students nationwide who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write. You will hear first-hand from a member of Reading Recovery, who will engage in a discussion of her work on the platform as a case study for how technology can support a networked improvement community’s initiation and development.

Sharon Greenberg, Improvement Advisor, Education and Literacy Consultant
Susan Haynes, Partner Success Manager, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation
Jojo Manai, Senior Associate, Managing Director, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation
Amy Smith, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Madison County Schools
Hiro Yamada, Associate, Chief in Analytics, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Building Connections Across Network Levels With Measurement

While educational agencies have a well-established history of monitoring data on student outcomes and some teacher inputs, their attention to implementation data is less systematic. This lack of robustness hinders improvement efforts from being able to attribute changes in outcomes to changes in practices. Developing districtwide focus and support for sites to measure their practices can strengthen connections, not just between implementation and impact, but also between leadership and instruction, and thus between levels of the network. This workshop will explore concrete supports to facilitate systemwide understanding and routines for collecting and using implementation data for improvement to strengthen network coherence.

Ritu Khanna, Chief of Research, Planning, and Assessment, San Francisco Unified School District
Benjamin Klaus, Principal, Ortega Elementary School
Norma Ming, Supervisor of Research and Evaluation, San Francisco Unified School District

Transforming Instruction and the District/School Relationship Through Data-Driven Inquiry

Volusia County Schools in Florida has used the principles of improvement science and evidence-based practice to develop a new model for school leaders and district staff to jointly work toward high-quality, standards-aligned instruction in English language arts. The session will examine how district leaders facilitate disciplined, data-driven inquiry cycles with teams of district and school leaders to plan meaningful improvement ideas, implement those ideas, study results, and act or adjust based on the results. This continuous improvement effort yielded a new model for the district-school relationship that is guiding long-term, systemwide changes to Volusia County Schools’ existing professional learning and school leader engagement structures.

Nick Cheng, Consultant, UPD Consulting
Kati Dyer, Coordinator, Professional Learning and School Improvement, Volusia County Schools
Meg Roa, District Administrator, Professional Learning and School Improvement, Volusia County Schools
Carlos Scott, Principal, Woodward Avenue Elementary
Teresa Marcks, Chief Academic Officer, Volusia County Schools

Practice-Driven Data in Chicago

How did the University of Chicago dramatically improve the proportion of freshmen on track to graduate? A distinctive, practice-driven approach to using data for school improvement played a pivotal role. This session explores the features of this approach, which was developed by entities at the University of Chicago as improvement partners with the Chicago Public Schools. The approach has implications for those working with educational data, from the research and analysis that guides investigation, to the design of the data system, to the efficacy of school-based practitioners who use data to guide their practice.

Eliza Moeller, Director of Research and Continuous Improvement, Network for College Success, University of Chicago
Alex Seeskin, Director of the To&Through Project, Urban Education Initiative, University of Chicago
Andrew Ho (reflector), Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Emma Parkerson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Using Practical Measures to Support Secondary Mathematics Instruction

Partnerships between institutes of higher education and school districts have the potential to unlock great power and capability in using practical measures for instructional improvement. In this session, participants will learn about instructional improvement efforts in secondary mathematics in two districts, both of which are aiming to improve the quality of mathematical discourse in classrooms. The districts are using the same practical measures and associated data representations to assess and enhance different strategies. Presenters will highlight key features of district context, as well as practitioners’ knowledge, perspectives, and practices that influence whether use of the practical measures supports rather than impairs instructional improvement efforts.

June Ahn, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine
Starlie Chinen, Doctoral Student, University of Washington
Paul Cobb, Research Professor, Vanderbilt University
Kara Jackson, Associate Professor, University of Washington
Nicholas Kochmanski, Doctoral Student, Vanderbilt University
Jessica Slayton, Director of Mathematics, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Kimberly Tarnowieckyi, 9-12 Math Facilitator, Federal Way Public Schools

Spotlight on Memphis KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative, KIPP Foundation

This session focuses on KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program), that, with four other charter management organizations (CMOs) in Memphis, formed the Memphis KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative. Their aim is to improve literacy instruction, and thus literacy achievement, for students across the city of Memphis. The presenters will delve into their analysis that points to teacher and leader literacy content knowledge as a primary driver for increasing student learning; their series of change ideas and weekly meeting cycles; and a collaborative structure of learning sessions, virtual professional learning communities (PLCs), and site visits. Codifying the key practice of leading lesson internalization meetings and using weekly and quarterly teacher and leader data and student achievement data, KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative catalyzed improvements in teacher practice and student mastery for all their students.

Heidi Fisher, Senior Manager, KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative, KIPP Foundation
Daniel Sonnier, ELA Achievement Director, KIPP Foundation
Ash Vasudeva (moderator), Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation

State-Level Partnerships for Student Success: Improving Systems in a Context of Continuous Improvement

This session will examine efforts by a state-level partnership in California—the CORE Districts, a non-profit collaborative of eight districts representing over one million students—to leverage improvement community structures and a whole-child, whole-school data and analytics system in support of improving student learning. A sequel to sessions in the prior four years, CORE will share the latest part of their collaborative journey: supporting improvement work happening on the ground in schools within the CORE Improvement Community, focused on improving mathematics achievement. CORE’s team of staff, superintendents, and principals will highlight lessons learned about leadership moves and structures that empower school site educators to collaboratively improve their practice.

Jorge Aguilar, Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District
Heather Hough, Executive Director, Policy Analysis for California Education
Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
Vincent Matthews, Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts

Superintendents’ Reflections on Leading Improvement: Lessons for Leaders

In this session, former Superintendent of Sanger School District Matt Navo, and Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar will share critical lessons about building improvement cultures in their districts. Superintendent Navo emphasizes the importance of connecting to why improvement science is important and where it resides in the course of the actions of the organization. Superintendent Aguilar introduced the guiding principle in which all students are given an equal opportunity to graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options. He provided training about improvement science principles and proposed that learning flow from the central office instructional leadership and principal supervisors to principals to school leadership teams. The plan fell short. He will share his critical lesson learned.

Jorge A. Aguilar, Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District
Iris Taylor, Chief Academic Officer, Sacramento City Unified School District
Matt Navo, Former Superintendent, Sanger School District; Director of System Transformation, WestEd
Ke Wu (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation


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Educator Development

Introduction to Improvement Science: A Learning-By-Doing Simulation

This two-set session will introduce participants to the methods and tools of improvement science. Using a simulation about a chronic attendance problem that mixes instructional lessons with guided, hands-on teamwork, participants will advance their understanding of how improvement science can enhance the capacity of classrooms, schools, districts, and other institutions to produce high-quality outcomes reliably for every child and across the diverse settings. Participants will experience the work of an improvement team at key stages, which includes investigating the problem, articulating a focused aim, identifying changes, and working through Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles to test and learn from those changes. This interactive experience will allow participants to understand how a multi-month improvement journey might build and take shape. Participants are expected to attend both blocks of the session. Capacity is limited. (Introductory)

Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Benjamin Cooper, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Cierra Cooper, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Christina Dixon, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Kelly McMahon, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

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Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
LaRena Heath, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Simone Palmer, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Camila Velasquez, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Ke Wu, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Inquiry and Iteration to Seed and Spread Improvement Science

Infusing improvement capability at multiple system levels and across role groups is essential to building a culture of continuous improvement and realizing measurable gains. In this session, participants will hear about a public school system that has seen marked improvement by strategically planning for and developing human capital to do improvement work. In Shue-Medill Middle School, teachers, administrators, students, and parents all hold active roles in leading change. As a result, they have reduced the percentage of students retained in ninth grade from 20% to 14% in just two years.

Christina James, Teacher, Improvement Leader, Shue-Medill Middle School, Christina School District
Casey Montigney, Teacher, Improvement Leader, Shue-Medill Middle School, Christina School District
Michele Savage, Principal, Shue-Medill Middle School, Christina School District

Improving Literacy Instruction and Student Outcomes Through Inquiry Cycles

Teaching students to read is one of the hardest jobs in education; teaching students who are behind grade level to read is even harder. When children fall behind in literacy development, it becomes difficult for them to catch up to on-grade-level peers. Teachers working with these students often have insufficient data to improve their reading abilities. In this session, participants will learn from two networks leveraging Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) inquiry cycles to improve literacy instruction. Educators from Teaching Matters will share how they apply the PDSA model to test an intensified intervention, act upon learnings to improve program implementation, and plan for scale. Participants will hear from UChicago Impact about how one elementary school used a formative literacy assessment system to transform its approach to getting students on track to reading proficiency.

Pam Abramson, Senior Educational Consultant, Teaching Matters
Lynette Guastaferro, CEO, Teaching Matters
Maggie Walsh, Co-CEO, UChicago Impact
Sharon Greenberg (reflector), Improvement Advisor, Education and Literacy Consultant
Catherine Miller (moderator), Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Supporting University-District Partnership Leadership Preparation

In 2017, the Carnegie Foundation launched the Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) network to support the efforts of university-district partnerships committed to localizing leadership preparation and ensuring that educational outcomes are equitable for all students. Participants will learn about iLEAD’s work to date, including some of the key experiences, accomplishments, and challenges of the network. The session will also highlight the Developmental Progressions framework, a co-constructed “roadmap” that provides common language and guidance for the types of activities and engagement each partnership will need to undertake to effectively prepare leaders to engage in continuous improvement.

David Eddy Spicer, Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, Curry School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Tinkhani White, Curriculum Coordinator, Department of Curriculum Development and Support
Susan Korach, Associate Professor and Department Chair, University of Denver
Sandy Lochhead-Price, Director, Leadership Pathways & Development, Denver Public Schools
Lisa McCall, Area Senior Director, Portland Public Schools
Tania McKey, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education, Portland State University
Louis Gomez (moderator), Professor of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
David Imig (moderator), Professor of the Practice, College of Education, University of Maryland; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Teachers Leading School-Based Improvement

Schools are increasingly utilizing improvement methods to support faculty and staff in solving their own challenges, whether operational, instructional, or beyond. In this session, participants will learn about a key function that supports high-quality improvement work at the school level: improvement management. Summit Public Schools will introduce a role called the site-based research manager that was built to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The School District of Menomonee Falls has distributed this body of work through grade level improvement boards. This session will focus on the affordances and limitations of the approaches used, as well as the lessons learned from practitioners. Participants will leave understanding how each approach facilitates the people closest to the work to be the ones problem-solving, how quality improvement schools assist with focusing improvement efforts, and how these approaches have resulted in focused discussions and improved student results.

Kathleen Kuhn, Reading Coach and Interventionist, School District of Menomonee Falls
Tina Posnanski, Principal, School District of Menomonee Falls
Kyle Moyer, Director of Continuous Improvement, Summit Public Schools
Jackie O’Connor, Site-Based Research Manager, Summit Public Schools
Emma Parkerson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Deeper Learning Leaders: A Panel on Improving Student Engagement

The Deeper Learning movement affirms that engagement is the key to student achievement. But is “engagement” an elusive intangible or an indicator that can be strategically leveraged for improvement? And how do we transition systems and mindsets to prioritize engagement over compliance? From an equity standpoint, how can we ensure all students are engaged, not just the students in the front of the class? This session will feature a diverse group of Deeper Learning leaders who manage change at High Tech High, Evergreen School District, and Napa Valley Unified. They’ll share their experience establishing systems to accelerate learning for every student.

Ben Daley, Provost, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Dan Deguara, Assistant Superintendent, Evergreen School District
Rosanna Mucetti, Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District
Sachi Takahashi-Rial (moderator), Manager, YouthTruth Student Survey

Improving School and Instructional Leadership: Lessons From the Work

An extensive body of research suggests that strong schools need strong instructional leaders.  Substantial challenges exist in ensuring all schools have the quantity and quality of instructional leaders necessary to achieve improvement at scale. In this session, participants will hear from a panel of practitioners who are using improvement science to improve the preparation of administrators. Panelists will share the lessons they learned from using the core principles of improvement in leader development in Los Angeles and New York City.

Nikole Booker, Principal Coach, Office of Leadership, New York City Department of Education
Matthew Pearson, Co-Director, New Principal Support, Office of Leadership, New York City Department of Education
Delia Estrada, Administrative Coordinator, Los Angeles Unified School District
Marco A. Nava, Administrative Coordinator, Los Angeles Unified School District
Ben Klompus, Dean, National Principal and Supervisors Academy, Relay Graduate School of Education
Eva Mejia (moderator), Chief Strategy Officer, Big Picture Learning

Launching, Supporting, and Sustaining School-Based Improvement Teams

The CORE Districts—a nonprofit collaborative of eight districts in California representing over one million students—is in the midst of its second year of supporting school-site-based improvement teams. Through this work, CORE hub and district staff have been learning how to make improvement work accessible, feasible, and sustainable for educators at school sites. Participants will explore tools developed within the CORE to establish roles and responsibilities, launch effective teams, structure and facilitate team meetings, and develop a sustainable rhythm for their team’s improvement work. Participants will have the opportunity to examine specific resources and templates, and they will leave with ideas for how they might apply or adapt those resources within their own contexts.

Amanda Meyer, Director of Improvement, CORE Districts
Juli Coleman, Deputy Chief of Improvement, CORE Districts
Mary Lee, Math Training Specialist, Sacramento City Unified School District

Developing Intrapreneurs: Design as a Tool for Improving From Within

Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has embarked on a transformation built around a belief in the power of intrapreneurs, defined as those who seek to bring about positive change and innovative ideas from within organizations. It uses a design-based approach to problem-solving as a key tool for developing intrapreneurial thinkers. This session will feature a game-based exploration of how a college of education might work to support school communities’ efforts to reimagine and redesign their educational services. Participants will assume the role of design partners supporting schools to understand the systemic forces at work in their contexts, and they will also engage in inquiry to improve outcomes. Along the way, participants will hear stories of success, failure, and the general muddiness of working to support educational change in the 21st century.

Punya Mishra, Associate Dean, Scholarship and Innovation, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
Ben Scragg, Lead Design Strategist, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
Laura Toenjes, Assistant Superintendent, Kyrene School District

Adopting Successful Work Processes System-wide Through Intervisitation

Across the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), there are strong instructional practices in every content area; however, these are not always delivered equitably across the entire system. Showcase Schools, part of the NYCDOE’s Office of Leadership, share school-based standard work processes through a combination of intervisitation and professional learning for educators and by educators. They lead a yearly cohort of about 45 schools, hosting more than 100 learning days at their schools to study a standard work process. This session will highlight ways in which NYCDOE’s Showcase Schools program illuminates systemwide variability in instructional practice and empowers educators to pilot standard work processes in their own practice. Participants will consider how to adapt this program to their own context and engage with their Bridge to Action tool, which helps visitors generate a change idea and plan initial steps they will take in their own context. 

Brigid Timlin, Evaluation Manager, Showcase Schools, New York City Department of Education
Chau Ngo-Rayman, Executive Director, Showcase Schools, New York City Department of Education
Anna Zucker Johnson, Senior Director, Showcase Schools, New York City Department of Education

A Scaffolded Approach to Building Teachers’ Improvement Capacity

How might systems rely on the wisdom of expert teachers to tackle intractable problems of teaching and learning? This session will explore how schools and districts are leveraging the expertise of accomplished and board-certified teachers in spreadable and scalable ways, scaffolding improvement science learning-and-doing over time. Participants will consider how to introduce improvement science to teachers, assess the cultural conditions that can foster or hinder continuous quality improvement, and support teachers to lead improvement in systems of accountability. This session will have takeaways for teachers, principals, and system leaders including tools and resources developed by accomplished teachers through the Network to Transform Teaching (NT3), a growing networked improvement community (NIC) across 10 states, 52 districts, and over 130 schools.

Lisa Clarke, NBCT, Director of Improvement, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Sara Saldaña, NBCT, San Francisco Director, Network to Transform Teaching, San Francisco Unified School District
Lindsey Stevens, NBCT, Director of Teacher Leadership and Learning, Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession
Barnett Berry (reflector), Founder and CEO, Center for Teaching Quality; Research Professor, University of South Carolina
Jon Norman (moderator), Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Leading Schools in Focused Collaboration in Queensland, Australia

Since 2015, school and system leaders in Queensland, Australia, have developed and progressed implementation of a school improvement model, an evidence-informed approach to school improvement for their students. The model defines the roles and practices that all teachers and leaders develop as implementation positions schools, leaders, and teachers on a path of continuous improvement. All levels of the system support professional learning communities as they consider and scale what is working for which students under particular conditions. This session will present processes for ongoing leading and learning; determining next phases; and discussing attributable design, measurable impact, scaling potential, and cost considerations across contexts.

Stacie Hansel, Executive Director, Department of Education, Queensland, Australia

Building Leadership’s Adaptive and Technical Continuous Improvement Skills

School and district leaders often think that technical continuous improvement skills are enough to move a school toward a culture of continuous improvement. They focus on supporting the steps to ensure continuous improvement practices and processes, but they often fail to build the more adaptive skills necessary for a collaborative continuous improvement culture that ensures practices are scaled with depth and breadth. In the Education Development Center’s work shifting schools and districts toward a collaborative culture of continuous improvement, they have found it is essential to build both the adaptive and technical skills of leaders. In this session, they will discuss specific strategies for building leadership’s adaptive skills for continuous improvement and introduce a data study protocol they have used to help build both adaptive and technical skills.

Eliza Fabillar, Project Director, Education Development Center
Anne Wang, Evaluator, Education Development Center
Stephanie Phillips, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Burlington School District

Leading Inter-Organizational Learning: Building Collaborative Capacity for District/University Improvement Partnerships

The National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP) and the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) are national organizations supporting improvement partnerships that bridge school districts and higher education. NNERPP develops, supports, and connects partnerships between education agencies and higher education research initiatives. UCEA supports knowledge networking for place-based preparation among its higher education membership and the school districts with which they partner. Drawing on a framework for inter-organizational leadership, this session seeks to examine the complex dynamics of leading improvement partnerships between school districts and universities.

Paula Arce-Trigatti, Director, National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships
David Eddy Spicer, Associate Professor, University of Virginia
Michelle D. Young, Executive Director, University Council of Educational Administration

Adult Learning Journeys Built on Continuous Improvement

How can districts engaged in continuous improvement ensure a coherent, effective approach to change at scale? Simply having an instructional vision is not enough. Goals must be selected in alignment with a larger vision for instructional improvement. District leaders must also identify and address the learning needs of adults at all layers of the system. Without this infusion of new learning, change ideas will not be well-chosen or well-executed, and the opportunities for genuine, collective continuous improvement will be limited. Using case studies from their work with multiple urban districts, the Bank Street Education Center will provide an overview of the tools they used to engage in this activity with school-based staff and district leaders as a resource for participants.

Tracy Fray-Oliver, Associate Vice President, School Systems Partnerships & Programs, Bank Street Education Center
Michelle Forman, Director of Internal Coherence Strategy, Bank Street Education Center

Improving How Early Career Teachers Learn With Disciplined Inquiry

In the current educational context, it is essential to understand how to quickly prepare novice teachers who are effective. In this session, participants will hear from two organizations that are using disciplined inquiry to improve how early-career teachers learn. The Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) Early Career Teaching Network will describe how the use of disciplined inquiry methods, measures, and tools has been essential to the refining, scaling, and spreading of an instructional activity called Excavating Teaching in Boston Public Schools. Similarly, Trellis Education will share how they leverage improvement science to provide long-term support to new STEM teachers that ensures they can “walk the talk,” practicing high-quality STEM practices in their own teaching.

Julie Sloan, Director, BTR Early Career Teaching Network, Boston Teacher Residency, Boston Plan for Excellence
Brianna Wilson, Improvement Specialist, BTR Early Career Teaching Network, Boston Teacher Residency, Boston Plan for Excellence
Megan W. Taylor, CEO, Trellis Education
Wendy Yau, Data Analyst, Trellis Education
Patrice Dawkins-Jackson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Moving from a Collaborative to an Improvement Network

Establishing a networked improvement community (NIC) within an existing structure presents unique challenges. This panel discussion will highlight the process of three networks in moving toward an improvement network. Participants will hear what led these networks to shift, what cultural challenges they had to work through, and updates on their learning. Members of the Fairfax County Public Schools iLEAD team will describe their work in embedding improvement science into professional development to teacher school-based secondary literacy teams. The San Juan BOCES in Colorado will discuss their movement from a regional collaborative and their work in focusing on key regional priorities such as educator agency, personalized learning, and social-emotional learning. The Literacy Design Collaborative will present the overarching communing strategies and short-cycle Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) they used to transform a loose, traditional national community of practice into a more structured improvement network with clear measurable aims and deployment of improvement tools and principles.

Claire Silva, Data Specialist: Instructional Support, Fairfax County Public Schools
Paige Whitlock, Language Arts Coordinator, Fairfax County Public Schools
Steve Otter, Director, Innovation and Collaboration, San Juan BOCES
Karen Herbert, Senior Program Lead, Colorado Education Initiative
Chad Vignola, Executive Director, Literacy Design Collaborative
Suzanne Simons, Chief Academic Officer, Literacy Design Collaborative
Melissa Chabran (moderator), Associate, Managing Director, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

The Engine for Improvement: Coaching PDSA Cycles

The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle is the engine for learning in networked improvement work, and improvement coaches play an important role in ensuring that PDSA cycles are efficient and effective. In this session, Carnegie improvement coaches will teach participants how to coach PDSAs. Participants will receive PDSA coaching tools, learn how coaching PDSAs helps to build improvement capacity, and leave with techniques to try with their own improvement teams. (Advanced)

Alicia Grunow, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Benjamin Cooper, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
LaRena Heath, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Using Improvement Science for Teaching Diverse Learners

Language and its role in a learner’s ability to process and acquire knowledge and skills is an essential factor in our ability to support the needs of diverse learner populations. In this session, participants will hear about two teacher education programs that use the principles of improvement to prepare educators for teaching diverse learners. Participants will learn about a pedagogical approach at Arizona State University that resulted in the improved development of teachers as they prepared their classroom environments for the diverse needs of their English anguage learners. Presenters from the University at Albany will share how pre-service preparation faculty have used improvement science to address teacher staffing shortfalls in local districts.

Melanie Baca, Business Analyst, Arizona State University
Malissa Chavez-Thibault, Instructional Coach, iTeachELLs
Gretchen Oliver, Visiting Assistant Professor, University at Albany
Kristen C. Wilcox, Associate Professor, University at Albany
Catherine Miller (moderator), Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Establishing a School’s Culture for Improvement: Leadership Lessons From the First Few Years

This session will share how a principal of a transitional kindergarten–6th grade public school in Sacramento, CA, established a schoolwide culture of improvement. Over the past three years, the school leadership team and staff applied the Six Core Principles of Improvement to establish professional norms, create a vision for learning, and develop a plan for improving student outcomes. After the second year of implementation, students’ academic performance scores on California’s statewide assessments increased in English language arts (6%) and mathematics (8%). The presenters will share their challenges and successes in designing protocols, tools, and professional learning opportunities that engage teachers in improvement science practices.

Gianfranco Tornatore, Principal, Del Dayo Elementary School, San Juan Unified School District
Catherine Zanetti, Teacher, Del Dayo Elementary School, San Juan Unified School District


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Equity & Achievement Gaps

Introduction to Improvement Science: A Learning-By-Doing Simulation

This two-set session will introduce participants to the methods and tools of improvement science. Using a simulation about a chronic attendance problem that mixes instructional lessons with guided, hands-on teamwork, participants will advance their understanding of how improvement science can enhance the capacity of classrooms, schools, districts, and other institutions to produce high-quality outcomes reliably for every child and across the diverse settings. Participants will experience the work of an improvement team at key stages, which includes investigating the problem, articulating a focused aim, identifying changes, and working through Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles to test and learn from those changes. This interactive experience will allow participants to understand how a multi-month improvement journey might build and take shape. Participants are expected to attend both blocks of the session. Capacity is limited. (Introductory)

Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Benjamin Cooper, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Cierra Cooper, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Christina Dixon, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Kelly McMahon, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

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Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
LaRena Heath, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Simone Palmer, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Camila Velasquez, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Ke Wu, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Understanding the User Experience: Effective Use of Empathy Interviews

One of the Six Core Principles of Improvement is to “make the problem work-specific and user-centered.” The empathy interview is a common strategy for seeking to understand the user perspective and operationalize an equity lens. However, in practice, the interviews often look similar to traditional interviews that ask for opinions and feedback on narrow topics instead of uncovering the real needs and perspectives of the user. In this session, participants will understand the importance of defining a clear purpose for empathy interviews, as well as how to select diverse interviewees, structure and conduct empathy interviews, and effectively analyze and use the interview data to inform improvement work.

Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Kari Nelsestuen, Improvement Advisor, Chalkboard Project
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Julie Smith, Deputy Director, Chalkboard Project

Improving Literacy Instruction and Student Outcomes Through Inquiry Cycles

Teaching students to read is one of the hardest jobs in education; teaching students who are behind grade level to read is even harder. When children fall behind in literacy development, it becomes difficult for them to catch up to on-grade-level peers. Teachers working with these students often have insufficient data to improve their reading abilities. In this session, participants will learn from two networks leveraging Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) inquiry cycles to improve literacy instruction. Educators from Teaching Matters will share how they apply the PDSA model to test an intensified intervention, act upon learnings to improve program implementation, and plan for scale. Participants will hear from UChicago Impact about how one elementary school used a formative literacy assessment system to transform its approach to getting students on track to reading proficiency.

Pam Abramson, Senior Educational Consultant, Teaching Matters
Lynette Guastaferro, CEO, Teaching Matters
Maggie Walsh, Co-CEO, UChicago Impact
Sharon Greenberg (reflector), Improvement Advisor, Education and Literacy Consultant
Catherine Miller (moderator)
, Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Conditions for Meaningful Change in Schools: The Case of Two NICs

Identifying the conditions, structures, and roles that need to be in place for meaningful change to occur is a challenge that all networked improvement communities face. This session highlights how two networked improvement communities (NICs) responded to these issues. The New York City Department of Education will provide participants with real-world examples of improvement science leveraged in their South Brooklyn NIC’s 17 schools to raise achievement for English language learners. By highlighting common threads among the schools they work with, they will share the conditions they have found to be necessary for meaningful change to occur in educational organizations. In Eskolta’s work as a convener and developer of networked communities, Eskolta facilitators have learned how to differentiate the roles of schools and educators in a NIC in order to create mutually reinforcing supports across the network. In this session, Eskolta will share its unique four-stage structure for schools across a network to grow, sustain, and support each other.

Alida Maravi, Instructional Coach, New York City Department of Education
Emily Kleinman, Director of Knowledge Development, Eskolta School Research & Design
Fuschia Ray, Research & Design Associate, Eskolta School Research & Design
Melissa Chabran (moderator), Associate, Managing Director, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on National Implementation Research Network and Kentucky Department of Education

Anchored in the synergy between implementation and improvement science, this session focuses on the National Implementation Research Network’s partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and educators to build an implementation infrastructure to successfully use evidence-based mathematics practices at the elementary and middle school levels, and how to scale those practices using continuous improvement approaches throughout the state. Moving the locus of responsibility from evaluation of the teacher to evaluation of the system, their capacity-building infrastructure includes networked implementation teams focused on providing teacher supports, including training and coaching, explicit communication routines, and common data protocols to assess and improve progress. Eventually, each level is responsible for providing the needed support and resources to ensure success at the next level and applying Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) improvement cycles to solve specific challenges along the way. The learning at each level is constantly communicated back up to inform the “level above” so practice informs policy and policy enhances sustainable practice.

Kathleen Ryan Jackson, Implementation Specialist, National Implementation Research Network
Amanda Waldroup, State Transformation Specialist, Kentucky Department of Education
Donald J. Peurach (moderator), Associate Professor, Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation, University of Michigan, School of Education; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Deeper Learning Leaders: A Panel on Improving Student Engagement

The Deeper Learning movement affirms that engagement is the key to student achievement. But is “engagement” an elusive intangible or an indicator that can be strategically leveraged for improvement? And how do we transition systems and mindsets to prioritize engagement over compliance? From an equity standpoint, how can we ensure all students are engaged, not just the students in the front of the class? This session will feature a diverse group of Deeper Learning leaders who manage change at High Tech High, Evergreen School District, and Napa Valley Unified. They’ll share their experience establishing systems to accelerate learning for every student.

Ben Daley, Provost, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Dan Deguara, Assistant Superintendent, Evergreen School District
Rosanna Mucetti, Superintendent, Napa Valley Unified School District
Sachi Takahashi-Rial (moderator), Manager, YouthTruth Student Survey

No Excuses Leadership: Building Systemic Supports for Low Income Students

Student needs are dramatically different than at any other time in history. Amarillo College embraced a “No Excuses” philosophy and comprehensive culture shift in understanding and addressing its students’ biggest barrier to academic success: poverty. Building a systemic approach to poverty has worked, with a 175% increase in degree obtainment and a three-year completion rate that moved from 19% to 45%. Through poverty training, student-defined college values, use of “secret shoppers,” accelerated learning, predictive analytics, and integrated community partners, Amarillo College is doing more than mitigating poverty; it is are systemically eradicating it. This approach to poverty and the power of intentional leadership for improvement has received national attention, and participants will learn how to apply similar approaches to their contexts.

Russell Lowery-Hart, President, Amarillo College

Building Leadership Capacity for Racial Equity-Focused Improvement Science

Committed to addressing the racial inequities affecting Black and Latinx students who make up 67% of the total population of their public schools, the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE) Learning Partners Program (LPP) strategically leverages improvement science networks to promote racial equity across hundreds of their city schools. It accomplishes this goal by inspiring school leadership teams to consider “the why” for focusing on racial equity, setting up psychologically safe teambuilding opportunities to explore racial identities and biases, and establishing specific expectations for how networks of schools engage in racial equity through improvement science processes. LPP team leaders will share their practices, lessons learned, and resources for building and sustaining leadership capacity for disciplined inquiry through the lens of racial equity. Participants will reflect on specific examples through a simulation of their three most promising practices.

Imani Jones-Ratcliffe, Senior Director of Learning Partners Program, New York City Department of Education
Betty Lugo, Senior Director of Learning Partners Program, New York City Department of Education

Identifying and Addressing Adaptive Challenges to Accelerate Improvement

Improving outcomes for students requires significant shifts in the way we work. While there are practices or programs that help accelerate results, many shifts require changes in the way individuals or systems work together. These types of challenges are called adaptive challenges—problems that have no known solution and often stop improvement science work in its tracks. During this interactive working session, participants will learn tools and techniques for uncovering and addressing adaptive challenges. Participants will have the opportunity to hear examples of challenges encountered by improvement teams from StriveTogether’s prenatal to age 3 network that, despite these challenges, produces improved outcomes for children ages 0–3.

Heidi Black, Director of Collaborative Improvement, StriveTogether
Davida Casey, Manager of Coaching and Programs, StriveTogether

Lessons in Launching Cross-Sector Local Improvement Networks

This session will share a framework for designing local improvement networks (LINs) aimed at improving early mathematics and social emotional learning outcomes for students of color from low-income families. Grounded in family engagement and racial equity, these LINs—funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—include diverse actors from local schools, pre-K, and out-of-school-time providers working collaboratively in the school and community ecosystem to improve student success. The presenters from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Social Policy Research (SPR) will share a framework for understanding cross-sector networks, strategies and early lessons in establishing community-driven networks, and the complexities of measuring network progress toward outcomes.

Jean-Claude Brizard, Senior Advisor, P-16 Community Investment Team, Office of the President, U.S. Programs Deputy Director, Washington State Strategy, Pacific Northwest, U.S. Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Sengsouvanh (Sukey) Leshnick, Principal/Director of Education Division, Social Policy Research
Gillian Williams, President, The Rensselaerville Institute

UCLA Community School: From Transformation Aims to Realized Outcomes

Founded in 2009, UCLA Community School (UCLA-CS)—a unique partnership among Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD); the University of California, Los Angeles; and the local community—serves approximately 1,000 students in a high-poverty immigrant neighborhood in central Los Angeles. From 2012 to 2018, the school focused on two main transformational aims: 95% of UCLA-CS seniors would enroll in a two- or four-year college the fall after graduation; and students would be bilingual, biliterate, and multicultural. Attendees will learn how UCLA-CS anchored improvement tools and principles into professional learning processes to move teams forward and transformed the way they share learning. They will share how their leadership team’s strategic planning process is shaped by improvement principles and, most importantly, how by investing in improvement science methods, principles, and tools they have made significant advancements toward their aims and have reached major milestones and outcomes.

Karen Hunter Quartz, Director and Faculty, UCLA Center for Community Schooling
Queena Kim, Assistant Principal, UCLA Community School

Improvement Science for Equity: Enabling Structures and Supporting Learning

This session describes innovative pathways developed to apply networked improvement science in education with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Shift-Results and Kingmakers will share their work, explicitly with African American male teachers and K–12 students, which applies a shared theory of change and explores models of cascade mentorship within the network. Presenters will reflect on learning related to improvement networks for equity based on implementation of a collaborative within several school districts. Partners in School Innovation will describe a networked improvement community in a low-income community of color that focuses on equity issues and is facilitated by an external support provider. They will describe how they determine who will lead the work at their schools and how they match service levels to the needs of participating schools. Much of the session will focus on the adult learning practices that pervade the network sessions and follow-up coaching, as well as how they measure progress and reflect upon data from the assessments they use.

Shay L Bluemer-Miroite, Lead Improvement Advisor, Shift-Results
Gerald Williams, Vice President of Research Assessment and Data, Kingmakers of Oakland
Matt Duffy, Superintendent, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Tovi Scruggs, Regional Executive Director, California, Partners in School Innovation
Jon Norman (moderator), Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on the Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago

“What would it take to produce urban school principals who lead schools to significantly improved student learning outcomes, and who do so as a rule rather than as a rare exception to the rule?” The Center for Urban Education Leadership (CUEL) and the Ed.D. Program in Urban Education Leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago address this question through continuous improvement practices occurring at multiple levels: school leadership capacity to transform schools as organizations to improve outcomes for students of color from low-income families; transformation of university organization, norms, and practices to prepare and develop schools leaders for their capacity-building roles; and policy and institutional change at local and state levels to support university/district partnerships to better prepare school leaders. Chicago Public Schools (CPS)—made up of 90% students of color and 85% students from low-income families—has, over the life of the Center’s program, improved more in standardized test scores than any of the other 55 large districts in Illinois. And nearly all observers agree that improvements in student learning in CPS cannot be fully explained without reference to the CPS systemwide investment in and focus on leadership development. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the distinguishing features of the approach, including the information system, approach to measurement, and mixed inquiry methods.

Steve Tozer, Director Emeritus, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago
Lisa Walker, Senior Researcher, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago
Louis Gomez (moderator), Professor of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

State-Level Partnerships for Student Success: Improving Systems in a Context of Continuous Improvement

This session will examine efforts by a state-level partnership in California—the CORE Districts, a non-profit collaborative of eight districts representing over one million students—to leverage improvement community structures and a whole-child, whole-school data and analytics system in support of improving student learning. A sequel to sessions in the prior four years, CORE will share the latest part of their collaborative journey: supporting improvement work happening on the ground in schools within the CORE Improvement Community, focused on improving mathematics achievement. CORE’s team of staff, superintendents, and principals will highlight lessons learned about leadership moves and structures that empower school site educators to collaboratively improve their practice.

Jorge Aguilar, Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District
Heather Hough, Executive Director, Policy Analysis for California Education
Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
Vincent Matthews, Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts

Using Improvement Science for Teaching Diverse Learners

Language and its role in a learner’s ability to process and acquire knowledge and skills is an essential factor in our ability to support the needs of diverse learner populations. In this session, participants will hear about two teacher education programs that use the principles of improvement to prepare educators for teaching diverse learners. Participants will learn about a pedagogical approach at Arizona State University that resulted in the improved development of teachers as they prepared their classroom environments for the diverse needs of their English anguage learners. Presenters from the University at Albany will share how pre-service preparation faculty have used improvement science to address teacher staffing shortfalls in local districts.

Melanie Baca, Business Analyst, Arizona State University
Malissa Chavez-Thibault, Instructional Coach, iTeachELLs
Gretchen Oliver, Visiting Assistant Professor, University at Albany
Kristen C. Wilcox, Associate Professor, University at Albany
Catherine Miller (moderator), Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Building Relationships and Scaling Systems That Support All Students

Through panel discussion, role play, and an interactive I-Time lesson, this session will explore the impact and lessons learned from the BARR Network’s growth to over 100 schools nationwide. Presenters will share insights into the network’s proven strategies to close achievement gaps in course completion and graduation rates, as well as BARR’s theory of improvement and its use of shared measurement and disciplined methods of improvement. Participants will gain greater knowledge of the strategies and structures used to develop and scale the BARR Network, and a better understanding of how school systems can empower educators and support all students.

Maryann Corsello, Director of Quality and Analytics, BARR Center
Rob Metz, Deputy Director, BARR Center
Christi Barrett, Superintendent, Hemet Unified School District
Sue Brown, BARR Program Oversight Hemet Unified School District, BARR Coach/Trainer
Tracy Chambers, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Hemet Unified School District

Building and Engaging a Network

Initiating and sustaining a networked improvement community (NIC) requires creating a shared sense of community among network members and building will for the work and momentum to be sustained. This session will consider the case of two NICs that engaged members to build and scale their network. Washington STEM will describe scaling its 11 regional STEM networks that support 78% of the state’s students and explore case studies to identify best practices for growing connections between business, education, and community; catalyzing regional system change; scaling change in practice of local practitioners; advocating for education that supports local workforce demand; and aligning sector strategies to increase student success. The Rural Math Innovation Network is a virtual NIC of middle and high school teachers collaborating to create, implement, and refine lessons and practices that help students develop growth mindsets and self-efficacy in mathematics. Attendees will experience the technologies used by teachers for collaboration and peer critique, and learn about how project activities are impacting student motivation and learning.

Kenn Barron, Professor of Psychology & Co-Director of the Motivation Research Institute, James Madison University
Jennifer Stevens, Vice President, Partnerships & Programs, Virginia Advanced Study Strategies
Jenée Myers-Twitchell, Impact Director, Washington STEM
Andy Shouse, Chief Program Officer, Washington STEM
Barbara Shreve (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on StriveTogether and United Way of Salt Lake

Building a culture of improvement across a community is essential for the success of collective impact partnerships and the communities in which they work. To support communities in this work, StriveTogether, a national leader in collective impact, has designed impact and improvement networks to help diverse community partners align their efforts, while building their capability in improvement methodologies that can be spread and applied across organizations and a variety of challenges. Join this session to learn how United Way of Salt Lake applied StriveTogether’s impact and improvement network method to improve the quality of life for the children of Salt Lake. Their networked improvement approach brought together multiple stakeholders around a common problem of chronic absenteeism; leveraged diverse expertise; and developed the disciplined use of improvement methods, tools, and data to track progress and inform subsequent improvement efforts. Participants will learn how their work in the impact and improvement network was leveraged to spread improvement practices across multiple networks, partners, and initiatives through the Promise Partnership of Salt Lake.

Heidi Black, StriveTogether, Director of Collaborative Improvement, StriveTogether
Tyler Asman, Senior Director of Learning & Improvement, United Way of Salt Lake
Penny Carver (moderator), Principal, Carver & Company; Senior Fellow, Strategy and Business Development, Carnegie Foundation


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Higher Education

Turning Postsecondary Transitions and Aspirations Into Success: Using Data Systems and Routines

This session features two networks focused on fostering postsecondary transition and success. After reaching a longtime goal of 80% on-time graduation, New Visions for Public Schools has increased focus on postsecondary transition and success. As part of this transition, New Visions is launching multiple pilot networks to improve preparation for and transition to postsecondary college and career options. New Visions will share early learnings from these pilots, including how they have used a shared data platform to capture key information and structured protocols to build capacity and institutionalize reliable routines in schools. This session will also feature how a community of counselors developed, executed, and refined a theory of action for increasing college success in the Chicago Public Schools. It will also explore data showing the network’s strong results in changing students’ college-going behaviors and how these educators used that data to evaluate its progress and retool its approach and give participants an opportunity to understand techniques used (e.g., motivational interviewing, values identification) by the network to gain insight into students’ experiences of the college application and enrollment process.

Regina Pretekin, Lead Postsecondary Coach, Network for College Success, University of Chicago
Jefferson Pestronk, Vice President, Strategy and Development, New Visions for Public Schools
Jennie Soler-McIntosh, Vice President, Community Engagement, New Visions for Public Schools
Ash Vasudeva (moderator), Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation

Supporting University-District Partnership Leadership Preparation

In 2017, the Carnegie Foundation launched the Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) network to support the efforts of university-district partnerships committed to localizing leadership preparation and ensuring that educational outcomes are equitable for all students. Participants will learn about iLEAD’s work to date, including some of the key experiences, accomplishments, and challenges of the network. The session will also highlight the Developmental Progressions framework, a co-constructed “roadmap” that provides common language and guidance for the types of activities and engagement each partnership will need to undertake to effectively prepare leaders to engage in continuous improvement.

David Eddy Spicer, Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Policy, Curry School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Tinkhani White, Curriculum Coordinator, Department of Curriculum Development and Support
Susan Korach, Associate Professor and Department Chair, University of Denver
Sandy Lochhead-Price, Director, Leadership Pathways & Development, Denver Public Schools
Lisa McCall, Area Senior Director, Portland Public Schools
Tania McKey, Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education, Portland State University
Louis Gomez (moderator), Professor of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
David Imig (moderator), Professor of the Practice, College of Education, University of Maryland; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Developing Intrapreneurs: Design as a Tool for Improving From Within

Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has embarked on a transformation built around a belief in the power of intrapreneurs, defined as those who seek to bring about positive change and innovative ideas from within organizations. It uses a design-based approach to problem-solving as a key tool for developing intrapreneurial thinkers. This session will feature a game-based exploration of how a college of education might work to support school communities’ efforts to reimagine and redesign their educational services. Participants will assume the role of design partners supporting schools to understand the systemic forces at work in their contexts, and they will also engage in inquiry to improve outcomes. Along the way, participants will hear stories of success, failure, and the general muddiness of working to support educational change in the 21st century.

Punya Mishra, Associate Dean, Scholarship and Innovation, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
Ben Scragg, Lead Design Strategist, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University
Laura Toenjes, Assistant Superintendent, Kyrene School District

Improvement Science in Leadership Preparation

A network within the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED)—a consortium of 100+ universities and colleges of education working to undertake a critical examination of the EdD—is focusing on making improvement science a signature methodology for the EdD. The organizations in this network work with faculty to equip educational leaders with practical know-how to elicit positive change. Participants will explore approaches for preparing professional practitioners to apply improvement science as a method of inquiry in improvement practice. Participants will also learn to recognize the distinct training needed in improvement science as a frame for EdD dissertations and the research skills and standards of rigor and quality necessary for this work.

Jill Perry, Executive Director, Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate
Debby Zambo, Associate Director, Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate
Robert Crow, Assistant Professor of Educational Research, Western Carolina University

Improving Undergraduate STEM Education With Organization-Focused Change Networks

Networks of organizations focused on advancing improvement in STEM undergraduate education are a lever for change, distinct from networks of individuals. This session aims to define and differentiate organization-focused change networks (OCNs) from networks of individuals. Presenters will discuss key issues and challenges pertaining to development, growth, spread, and scale. The session will offer early insights; invite participants to analyze cases; and identify compelling challenges in initiation, growth, and development. This work includes six OCNs: the Advanced Technological Education Network; the Bay View Alliance; the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning; the PULSE Fellows Network; the Network of STEM Education Centers; and the Reinvention Collaboration.

Ann E. Austin, Professor, Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education; Associate Dean for Research, College of Education; Assistant Provost for Faculty Development-Career Paths, Michigan State University
Susan Rundell Singer, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost; Professor of Biology, Rollins College

No Excuses Leadership: Building Systemic Supports for Low Income Students

Student needs are dramatically different than at any other time in history. Amarillo College embraced a “No Excuses” philosophy and comprehensive culture shift in understanding and addressing its students’ biggest barrier to academic success: poverty. Building a systemic approach to poverty has worked, with a 175% increase in degree obtainment and a three-year completion rate that moved from 19% to 45%. Through poverty training, student-defined college values, use of “secret shoppers,” accelerated learning, predictive analytics, and integrated community partners, Amarillo College is doing more than mitigating poverty; it is are systemically eradicating it. This approach to poverty and the power of intentional leadership for improvement has received national attention, and participants will learn how to apply similar approaches to their contexts.

Russell Lowery-Hart, President, Amarillo College

Leading Inter-Organizational Learning: Building Collaborative Capacity for District/University Improvement Partnerships

The National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships (NNERPP) and the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) are national organizations supporting improvement partnerships that bridge school districts and higher education. NNERPP develops, supports, and connects partnerships between education agencies and higher education research initiatives. UCEA supports knowledge networking for place-based preparation among its higher education membership and the school districts with which they partner. Drawing on a framework for inter-organizational leadership, this session seeks to examine the complex dynamics of leading improvement partnerships between school districts and universities. 

Paula Arce-Trigatti, Director, National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships
Michelle D. Young, Executive Director, University Council of Educational Administration
David Eddy Spicer, Associate Professor, University of Virginia

Spotlight on the Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago

“What would it take to produce urban school principals who lead schools to significantly improved student learning outcomes, and who do so as a rule rather than as a rare exception to the rule?” The Center for Urban Education Leadership (CUEL) and the Ed.D. Program in Urban Education Leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago address this question through continuous improvement practices occurring at multiple levels: school leadership capacity to transform schools as organizations to improve outcomes for students of color from low-income families; transformation of university organization, norms, and practices to prepare and develop schools leaders for their capacity-building roles; and policy and institutional change at local and state levels to support university/district partnerships to better prepare school leaders. Chicago Public Schools (CPS)—made up of 90% students of color and 85% students from low-income families—has, over the life of the Center’s program, improved more in standardized test scores than any of the other 55 large districts in Illinois. And nearly all observers agree that improvements in student learning in CPS cannot be fully explained without reference to the CPS systemwide investment in and focus on leadership development. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the distinguishing features of the approach, including the information system, approach to measurement, and mixed inquiry methods.

Steve Tozer, Director Emeritus, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago
Lisa Walker, Senior Researcher, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago
Louis Gomez (moderator), Professor of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Using Improvement Science for Teaching Diverse Learners

Language and its role in a learner’s ability to process and acquire knowledge and skills is an essential factor in our ability to support the needs of diverse learner populations. In this session, participants will hear about two teacher education programs that use the principles of improvement to prepare educators for teaching diverse learners. Participants will learn about a pedagogical approach at Arizona State University that resulted in the improved development of teachers as they prepared their classroom environments for the diverse needs of their English Language Learners. Presenters from the University at Albany will share how pre-service preparation faculty have used improvement science to address teacher staffing shortfalls in local districts.

Melanie Baca, Business Analyst, Arizona State University
Malissa Chavez-Thibault, Instructional Coach, iTeachELLs
Gretchen Oliver, Visiting Assistant Professor, University at Albany
Kristen C. Wilcox, Associate Professor, University at Albany
Catherine Miller (moderator), Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation


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Improvement Capability

Introduction to Improvement Science: A Learning-By-Doing Simulation

This two-set session will introduce participants to the methods and tools of improvement science. Using a simulation about a chronic attendance problem that mixes instructional lessons with guided, hands-on teamwork, participants will advance their understanding of how improvement science can enhance the capacity of classrooms, schools, districts, and other institutions to produce high-quality outcomes reliably for every child and across the diverse settings. Participants will experience the work of an improvement team at key stages, which includes investigating the problem, articulating a focused aim, identifying changes, and working through Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles to test and learn from those changes. This interactive experience will allow participants to understand how a multi-month improvement journey might build and take shape. Participants are expected to attend both blocks of the session. Capacity is limited. (Introductory)

Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Benjamin Cooper, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Cierra Cooper, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Christina Dixon, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Kelly McMahon, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

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Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
LaRena Heath, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Simone Palmer, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Camila Velasquez, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Ke Wu, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Understanding the User Experience: Effective Use of Empathy Interviews

One of the Six Core Principles of Improvement is to “make the problem work-specific and user-centered.” The empathy interview is a common strategy for seeking to understand the user perspective and operationalize an equity lens. However, in practice, the interviews often look similar to traditional interviews that ask for opinions and feedback on narrow topics instead of uncovering the real needs and perspectives of the user. In this session, participants will understand the importance of defining a clear purpose for empathy interviews, as well as how to select diverse interviewees, structure and conduct empathy interviews, and effectively analyze and use the interview data to inform improvement work.

Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Kari Nelsestuen, Improvement Advisor, Chalkboard Project
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Julie Smith, Deputy Director, Chalkboard Project

Spotlight on Central Valley Networked Improvement Community, Tulare County Office of Education

The Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC) is working to improve mathematics learning and achievement for students in seven districts in Tulare County, a rural, agricultural setting in the Central Valley of California. Bridging distances and differences and connecting relatively isolated schools, the CVNIC has effectively built capabilities and organizational capacities, designed and enacted a measurement system and routines, and leveraged diverse expertise within its region to effectively engage in improvement work. In its first two years, the CVNIC has demonstrated improved outcomes for students, with observable shifts in instructional practice and a steady increase in the percentage of students who were proficient in the state assessments.

Shelah Feldstein, Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC) Director, Tulare County Office of Education
Christine Roberts, Mathematics Staff Development and Curriculum Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education
Paul LeMahieu (moderator), Senior Vice President, Programs, Carnegie Foundation

Frameworks and Scorecards to Drive District Improvement

Many districts struggle to address unique needs of students and schools while providing a district approach. The Belvidere School District has effectively utilized consistent frameworks and scorecards reporting on students, people, community, quality, and resources across 10 schools to define where the district is tight and what is loose for schools to adapt and innovate. Urbandale Community School District involved employees, parents, and community members to create a strategic plan and framework for change, along with strategic actions and rigorous training and ongoing coaching for all teachers and administrators. Their strategic improvement planning processes are producing consistently high student-learning results. This session will review how each district’s frameworks and cadence of continuous improvement supported schools to work toward targets while balancing their unique needs.

Crista Carlile, Director of Teaching and Learning, Urbandale Community School District
Denise Wood, Director of Quality and Continual Improvement, Urbandale Community School District
Karen Owen, Leader Coach, Studer Education
Dan Woestman, Superintendent, Belvidere Community Unit School District #100
Theodore Quinn (reflector), Partner, The Wildflower Foundation
Emma Parkerson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Run Charts: A Tool for Analysis in Improvement Science

Have you ever wanted to know more about run charts? Here’s your chance! In this session, we will go over run charts in detail, including guidelines for interpreting data, so that you can develop the analytic skills to make evidence-based decisions in your own work. We will undertake two hands-on run chart activities that will help you develop your own run-chart-related data skills. This session is ideal for people already working with data who want to hone their analytic skills related to this particular tool.  (Advanced)

Manuelito Biag, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Marie Deininger, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

High-Reliability Organizations: Lessons From Other Industries and Their Application to Education

High-reliability organizations (HROs) avoid serious accidents or catastrophic failures in domains in which accidents are often the norm due to complexity and risk factors. These kinds of organizations exist in many industries, including healthcare and, arguably, in our school system. In this session, participants will learn about the key tenets that guide the operation of HROs and explore how their practices can be applied in education to reduce unwanted system failures and improve student outcomes.

Alicia Grunow, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, , Carnegie Foundation
Louis Gomez, Professor of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Uma R. Kotagal, Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Senior Fellow, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

Teachers Leading School-Based Improvement

Schools are increasingly utilizing improvement methods to support faculty and staff in solving their own challenges, whether operational, instructional, or beyond. In this session, participants will learn about a key function that supports high-quality improvement work at the school level: improvement management. Summit Public Schools will introduce a role called the site-based research manager that was built to bridge the gap between theory and practice. The School District of Menomonee Falls has distributed this body of work through grade level improvement boards. This session will focus on the affordances and limitations of the approaches used, as well as the lessons learned from practitioners. Participants will leave understanding how each approach facilitates the people closest to the work to be the ones problem-solving, how quality improvement schools assist with focusing improvement efforts, and how these approaches have resulted in focused discussions and improved student results.

Kyle Moyer, Director of Continuous Improvement, Summit Public Schools
Jackie O’Connor, Site-Based Research Manager, Summit Public Schools
Tina Posnanski, Principal, School District of Menomonee Falls
Kathleen Kuhn, Reading Coach and Interventionist, School District of Menomonee Falls
Emma Parkerson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Measurement for Improvement

When we hear the word measurement in education, we often think of accountability systems or research paradigms. But in the improvement community, measurement is essential for learning. In this session, participants will get an overview of how measurement is used in improvement science and an introduction to the kinds of measures that are useful in an improvement context.   (Introductory)

David Sherer, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Catherine Miller, Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation
Marie Deininger, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Launching, Supporting, and Sustaining School-Based Improvement Teams

The CORE Districts—a nonprofit collaborative of eight districts in California representing over one million students—is in the midst of its second year of supporting school-site-based improvement teams. Through this work, CORE hub and district staff have been learning how to make improvement work accessible, feasible, and sustainable for educators at school sites. Participants will explore tools developed within the CORE to establish roles and responsibilities, launch effective teams, structure and facilitate team meetings, and develop a sustainable rhythm for their team’s improvement work. Participants will have the opportunity to examine specific resources and templates, and they will leave with ideas for how they might apply or adapt those resources within their own contexts.

Amanda Meyer, Director of Improvement, CORE Districts
Juli Coleman, Deputy Chief of Improvement, CORE Districts
Mary Lee, Math Training Specialist, Sacramento City Unified School District

A Scaffolded Approach to Building Teachers’ Improvement Capacity

How might systems rely on the wisdom of expert teachers to tackle intractable problems of teaching and learning? This session will explore how schools and districts are leveraging the expertise of accomplished and board-certified teachers in spreadable and scalable ways, scaffolding improvement science learning-and-doing over time. Participants will consider how to introduce improvement science to teachers, assess the cultural conditions that can foster or hinder continuous quality improvement, and support teachers to lead improvement in systems of accountability. This session will have takeaways for teachers, principals, and system leaders including tools and resources developed by accomplished teachers through the Network to Transform Teaching (NT3), a growing networked improvement community (NIC) across 10 states, 52 districts, and over 130 schools.

Lisa Clarke, NBCT, Director of Improvement, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Sara Saldaña, NBCT, San Francisco Director, Network to Transform Teaching, San Francisco Unified School District
Lindsey Stevens, NBCT, Director of Teacher Leadership and Learning, Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession
Barnett Berry (reflector), Founder and CEO, Center for Teaching Quality; Research Professor, University of South Carolina
Jon Norman (moderator), Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Developing a Theory of Action to Deliver Your Theory of Improvement

So you have deeply studied your problem, identified an aim statement, and developed a first draft of your theory of improvement. Your theory hypothesizes many levers, each driver contributing toward the achievement of your aim, but only by working on all levers will you actually achieve the desired outcome. How do you now operationalize your theory in practice toward achieving your goal? Which levers should you work on first? How should you sequence your improvement journey? This session will explore considerations for developing a theory of action. The focus will be on the social and logistical structures that create the opportunity for real improvement to occur. The use of a learning system will be discussed, including connections to measurement as a mechanism to create windows into systems performance and knowledge to assist prediction in where change will lead to improved outcomes.  (Advanced)

Brandon Bennett, Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Melissa Chabran, Associate, Managing Director, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Transforming Instruction and the District/School Relationship Through Data-Driven Inquiry

Volusia County Schools in Florida has used the principles of improvement science and evidence-based practice to develop a new model for school leaders and district staff to jointly work toward high-quality, standards-aligned instruction in English language arts. The session will examine how district leaders facilitate disciplined, data-driven inquiry cycles with teams of district and school leaders to plan meaningful improvement ideas, implement those ideas, study results, and act or adjust based on the results. This continuous improvement effort yielded a new model for the district-school relationship that is guiding long-term, systemwide changes to Volusia County Schools’ existing professional learning and school leader engagement structures.

Nick Cheng, Consultant, UPD Consulting
Kati Dyer, Coordinator, Professional Learning and School Improvement, Volusia County Schools
Meg Roa, District Administrator, Professional Learning and School Improvement, Volusia County Schools
Carlos Scott, Principal, Woodward Avenue Elementary
Teresa Marcks, Chief Academic Officer, Volusia County Schools

Consolidating Dynamic Learning Into Actionable Knowledge

How does a networked improvement community (NIC) consolidate and spread learning across multiple sites in meaningful and actionable ways? One of Eskolta’s mantras is that knowledge is both static and dynamic. In this workshop, Eskolta will look at the process of consolidating dynamic knowledge in static products so that it can feed a loop of continuous learning. The presenters will share tools teams can use to draw insights from practice-based evidence, document new knowledge, and disseminate this information to others in a network. Eskolta’s tools have been developed and refined over seven years of improvement work in more than 150 design projects with New York City schools and two multiyear NICs. Participants will be able to help improvement teams draw meaningful insights from practice-based evidence; document learnings in concise, actionable ways; and disseminate learnings for others in the network to build upon.

Emily Kleinman, Director of Knowledge Development, Eskolta School Research and Design
Catherine Pratt, Research and Design Facilitator, Eskolta School Research and Design

D8. Building Leadership’s Adaptive and Technical Continuous Improvement Skills

School and district leaders often think that technical continuous improvement skills are enough to move a school toward a culture of continuous improvement. They focus on supporting the steps to ensure continuous improvement practices and processes, but they often fail to build the more adaptive skills necessary for a collaborative continuous improvement culture that ensures practices are scaled with depth and breadth. In the Education Development Center’s work shifting schools and districts toward a collaborative culture of continuous improvement, they have found it is essential to build both the adaptive and technical skills of leaders. In this session, they will discuss specific strategies for building leadership’s adaptive skills for continuous improvement and introduce a data study protocol they have used to help build both adaptive and technical skills.

Eliza Fabillar, Project Director, Education Development Center
Anne Wang, Evaluator, Education Development Center
Stephanie Phillips, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Burlington School District

UCLA Community School: From Transformation Aims to Realized Outcomes

Founded in 2009, UCLA Community School (UCLA-CS)—a unique partnership among Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD); the University of California, Los Angeles; and the local community—serves approximately 1,000 students in a high-poverty immigrant neighborhood in central Los Angeles. From 2012 to 2018, the school focused on two main transformational aims: 95% of UCLA-CS seniors would enroll in a two- or four-year college the fall after graduation; and students would be bilingual, biliterate, and multicultural. Attendees will learn how UCLA-CS anchored improvement tools and principles into professional learning processes to move teams forward and transformed the way they share learning. They will share how their leadership team’s strategic planning process is shaped by improvement principles and, most importantly, how by investing in improvement science methods, principles, and tools they have made significant advancements toward their aims and have reached major milestones and outcomes.

Karen Hunter Quartz, Director and Faculty, UCLA Center for Community Schooling
Queena Kim, Assistant Principal, UCLA Community School

Understanding the Problem You Are Trying to Solve: Causal System Analysis

We are often so driven to improve education that we pursue solutions without first deeply understanding the problem we’re trying to solve. This session will introduce causal system analysis (CSA), a method for gaining a common understanding of the problem around which an improvement team works. Participants will be introduced to a variety of tools for CSA and will explore in depth the fishbone diagram, an essential improvement tool that reveals key leverage points that improvers must address to solve a problem.  (Introductory)

Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Ke Wu, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Marie Deininger, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Orchestrating Learning: How a Shared Theory Can Facilitate Learning Across Sites

Collective improvement efforts often use a driver diagram to communicate their shared theory of improvement. This shared theory allows for distributed learning across sites and is regularly updated based on the learning. In this session, participants will learn different ways for organizing distributed learning in a network and routines for updating the network’s shared theory.  (Advanced)

Alicia Grunow, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Emma Parkerson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Spreading Successful Changes

How do you design your improvement initiative for spread and scale? How do you take a successful change or change package and spread it to other parts of your system, whether those be other teachers, classrooms, grades, schools, or departments? And how are Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles adapted for this process? This session will provide the guidance needed to address planning, infrastructure, and sequencing of tasks helpful to teams/staff charged with the adoption and adaptation of changes. It will also address determining when those changes result in replicated, measurable improvement. (Advanced)

Brandon Bennett, Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Manuelito Biag, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Catherine Miller, Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Improving How Early Career Teachers Learn With Disciplined Inquiry

In the current educational context, it is essential to understand how to quickly prepare novice teachers who are effective. In this session, participants will hear from two organizations that are using disciplined inquiry to improve how early-career teachers learn. The Boston Teacher Residency(BTR) Early Career Teaching Network will describe how the use of disciplined inquiry methods, measures, and tools has been essential to the refining, scaling, and spreading of an instructional activity called Excavating Teaching in Boston Public Schools. Similarly, Trellis Education will share how they leverage improvement science to provide long-term support to new STEM teachers that ensures they can “walk the talk,” practicing high-quality STEM practices in their own teaching.

 Julie Sloan, Director, BTR Early Career Teaching Network, Boston Teacher Residency, Boston Plan for Excellence
Brianna Wilson, Improvement Specialist, BTR Early Career Teaching Network, Boston Teacher Residency,  Boston Plan for Excellence
Megan W. Taylor, CEO, Trellis Education
Wendy Yau, Data Analyst, Trellis Education
Patrice Dawkins-Jackson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Improvement Science for Equity: Enabling Structures and Supporting Learning

This session describes innovative pathways developed to apply networked improvement science in education with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion. Shift-Results and Kingmakers will share their work, explicitly with African American male teachers and K–12 students, which applies a shared theory of change and explores models of cascade mentorship within the network. Presenters will reflect on learning related to improvement networks for equity based on implementation of a collaborative within several school districts. Partners in School Innovation will describe a networked improvement community in a low-income community of color that focuses on equity issues and is facilitated by an external support provider. They will describe how they determine who will lead the work at their schools and how they match service levels to the needs of participating schools. Much of the session will focus on the adult learning practices that pervade the network sessions and follow-up coaching, as well as how they measure progress and reflect upon data from the assessments they use.

Shay L Bluemer-Miroite, Lead Improvement Advisor, Shift-Results
Gerald Williams, Vice President of Research Assessment and Data, Kingmakers of Oakland
Matt Duffy, Superintendent, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Tovi Scruggs, Regional Executive Director, California, Partners in School Innovation
Jon Norman (moderator), Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on Memphis KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative, KIPP Foundation

This session focuses on KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program), that, with four other charter management organizations (CMOs) in Memphis, formed the Memphis KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative. Their aim is to improve literacy instruction, and thus literacy achievement, for students across the city of Memphis. The presenters will delve into their analysis that points to teacher and leader literacy content knowledge as a primary driver for increasing student learning; their series of change ideas and weekly meeting cycles; and a collaborative structure of learning sessions, virtual professional learning communities (PLCs), and site visits. Codifying the key practice of leading lesson internalization meetings and using weekly and quarterly teacher and leader data and student achievement data, KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative catalyzed improvements in teacher practice and student mastery for all their students.

Heidi Fisher, Senior Manager, KIPP Wheatley Learning Collaborative, KIPP Foundation
Daniel Sonnier, ELA Achievement Director, KIPP Foundation
Ash Vasudeva (moderator), Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on the Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago

“What would it take to produce urban school principals who lead schools to significantly improved student learning outcomes, and who do so as a rule rather than as a rare exception to the rule?” The Center for Urban Education Leadership (CUEL) and the Ed.D. Program in Urban Education Leadership at the University of Illinois at Chicago address this question through continuous improvement practices occurring at multiple levels: school leadership capacity to transform schools as organizations to improve outcomes for students of color from low-income families; transformation of university organization, norms, and practices to prepare and develop schools leaders for their capacity-building roles; and policy and institutional change at local and state levels to support university/district partnerships to better prepare school leaders. Chicago Public Schools (CPS)—made up of 90% students of color and 85% students from low-income families—has, over the life of the Center’s program, improved more in standardized test scores than any of the other 55 large districts in Illinois. And nearly all observers agree that improvements in student learning in CPS cannot be fully explained without reference to the CPS systemwide investment in and focus on leadership development. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the distinguishing features of the approach, including the information system, approach to measurement, and mixed inquiry methods.

Steve Tozer, Director Emeritus, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago
Lisa Walker, Senior Researcher, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago
Louis Gomez (moderator), Professor of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Surfacing and Building on Bright Spots to Guide Improvement

A central principle of improvement is the need to understand the problem. And as Dan Heath noted in his Summit keynote last year, to inspire change across a system, negative variation needs to decrease and positive variation needs to increase. In this workshop, we will share strategies and tools for surfacing and building on bright spots when launching and sustaining improvement work. In particular, participants will experience a success analysis protocol in small groups that they can then use in their own contexts. The protocol encourages people to reflect on high points, identify the conditions that made them possible, and generate high-leverage change ideas to move their improvement work forward. This session will be highly interactive, thereby providing participants a chance to reflect on successes in their own improvement work, experience a powerful protocol, and practice/debrief facilitation.

Stacey Caillier, Director, Center for Research on Equity and Innovation (CREI) and Deeper Learning Hub, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Daisy Sharrock, Project Director, Mathematical Agency Improvement Community, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Christina Dixon, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

The Engine for Improvement: Coaching PDSA Cycles

The Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle is the engine for learning in networked improvement work, and improvement coaches play an important role in ensuring that PDSA cycles are efficient and effective. In this session, Carnegie improvement coaches will teach participants how to coach PDSAs. Participants will receive PDSA coaching tools, learn how coaching PDSAs helps to build improvement capacity, and leave with techniques to try with their own improvement teams. (Advanced)

Alicia Grunow, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Benjamin Cooper, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
LaRena Heath, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Seeing the System: Linkage of Processes

Educational systems are highly complex, with multiple interrelated processes coming together to produce the outcomes we currently achieve. If we are to intervene effectively, we must be able to see and understand the organization as an entire system. In this session, participants will learn about an advanced improvement tool called a “linkage of processes” that is used to visualize the key processes in an organization and how they interconnect. (Advanced)

Brandon Bennett, Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Emma Parkerson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Kelly McMahon, Networked Improvement Science Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Camila Velasquez, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on StriveTogether and United Way of Salt Lake

Building a culture of improvement across a community is essential for the success of collective impact partnerships and the communities in which they work. To support communities in this work, StriveTogether, a national leader in collective impact, has designed impact and improvement networks to help diverse community partners align their efforts, while building their capability in improvement methodologies that can be spread and applied across organizations and a variety of challenges. Join this session to learn how United Way of Salt Lake applied StriveTogether’s impact and improvement network method to improve the quality of life for the children of Salt Lake. Their networked improvement approach brought together multiple stakeholders around a common problem of chronic absenteeism; leveraged diverse expertise; and developed the disciplined use of improvement methods, tools, and data to track progress and inform subsequent improvement efforts. Participants will learn how their work in the impact and improvement network was leveraged to spread improvement practices across multiple networks, partners, and initiatives through the Promise Partnership of Salt Lake.

Tyler Asman, Senior Director of Learning & Improvement, United Way of Salt Lake
Heidi Black, StriveTogether, Director of Collaborative Improvement, StriveTogether
Penny Carver (moderator), Principal, Carver & Company; Senior Fellow, Strategy and Business Development, Carnegie Foundation

Establishing a School’s Culture for Improvement: Leadership Lessons From the First Few Years

This session will share how a principal of a transitional kindergarten–6th grade public school in Sacramento, CA, established a schoolwide culture of improvement. Over the past three years, the school leadership team and staff applied the Six Core Principles of Improvement to establish professional norms, create a vision for learning, and develop a plan for improving student outcomes. After the second year of implementation, students’ academic performance scores on California’s statewide assessments increased in English language arts (6%) and mathematics (8%). The presenters will share their challenges and successes in designing protocols, tools, and professional learning opportunities that engage teachers in improvement science practices.

Gianfranco Tornatore, Principal, Del Dayo Elementary School, San Juan Unified School District
Catherine Zanetti, Teacher, Del Dayo Elementary School, San Juan Unified School District


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Instruction & Assessment

Improving Literacy Instruction and Student Outcomes Through Inquiry Cycles

Teaching students to read is one of the hardest jobs in education; teaching students who are behind grade level to read is even harder. When children fall behind in literacy development, it becomes difficult for them to catch up to on-grade-level peers. Teachers working with these students often have insufficient data to improve their reading abilities. In this session, participants will learn from two networks leveraging Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) inquiry cycles to improve literacy instruction. Educators from Teaching Matters will share how they apply the PDSA model to test an intensified intervention, act upon learnings to improve program implementation, and plan for scale. Participants will hear from UChicago Impact about how one elementary school used a formative literacy assessment system to transform its approach to getting students on track to reading proficiency.

Pam Abramson, Senior Educational Consultant, Teaching Matters
Lynette Guastaferro, CEO, Teaching Matters
Maggie Walsh, Co-CEO, UChicago Impact
Sharon Greenberg (reflector), Improvement Advisor, Education and Literacy Consultant
Catherine Miller (moderator), Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on Central Valley Networked Improvement Community, Tulare County Office of Education

The Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC) is working to improve mathematics learning and achievement for students in seven districts in Tulare County, a rural, agricultural setting in the Central Valley of California. Bridging distances and differences and connecting relatively isolated schools, the CVNIC has effectively built capabilities and organizational capacities, designed and enacted a measurement system and routines, and leveraged diverse expertise within its region to effectively engage in improvement work. In its first two years, the CVNIC has demonstrated improved outcomes for students, with observable shifts in instructional practice and a steady increase in the percentage of students who were proficient in the state assessments.

Shelah Feldstein, Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC) Director, Tulare County Office of Education
Christine Roberts, Mathematics Staff Development and Curriculum Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education
Paul LeMahieu (moderator), Senior Vice President, Programs, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on Un Buen Comienzo Improvement Network, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad

Serving as a hub, the Fundación Educacional Oportunidad brought together over 60 disadvantaged rural and urban school organizations in Chile as an improvement network to address their national challenge of providing effective early learning opportunities for children. Building on the scholarly literature and the need most felt in their local Chilean communities, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad helped these organizations identify chronic absenteeism, ineffective use of time, and too little focus on literacy for their disciplined improvement efforts. Bringing analytic capacity and the use of improvement tools to local Chilean school leaders, teachers, and parents, they are engaging local actors as change agents and showing early results supporting children’s learning.

Marcela Marzolo, Executive Director, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad
María Paz Collao, We Learn Program Coordinator, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad
MaryCatherine Arbour, Quality Improvement Advisor, Fundación Educacional Oportunidad
Paul LeMahieu (moderator), Senior Vice President of Programs, Carnegie Foundation

Improving School and Instructional Leadership: Lessons From the Work

An extensive body of research suggests that strong schools need strong instructional leaders.  Substantial challenges exist in ensuring all schools have the quantity and quality of instructional leaders necessary to achieve improvement at scale. In this session, participants will hear from a panel of practitioners who are using improvement science to improve the preparation of administrators. Panelists will share the lessons they learned from using the core principles of improvement in leader development in Los Angeles and New York City.

Nikole Booker, Principal Coach, Office of Leadership, New York City Department of Education
Matthew Pearson, Co-Director, New Principal Support, Office of Leadership, New York City Department of Education
Delia Estrada, Administrative Coordinator, Los Angeles Unified School District
Marco A. Nava, Administrative Coordinator, Los Angeles Unified School District
Ben Klompus, Dean, National Principal and Supervisors Academy, Relay Graduate School of Education
Eva Mejia (moderator), Chief Strategy Officer, Big Picture Learning

Using Practical Measures to Support Secondary Mathematics Instruction

Partnerships between institutes of higher education and school districts have the potential to unlock great power and capability in using practical measures for instructional improvement. In this session, participants will learn about instructional improvement efforts in secondary mathematics in two districts, both of which are aiming to improve the quality of mathematical discourse in classrooms. The districts are using the same practical measures and associated data representations to assess and enhance different strategies. Presenters will highlight key features of district context, as well as practitioners’ knowledge, perspectives, and practice that influence whether use of the practical measures supports rather than impairs instructional improvement efforts. 

June Ahn, Associate Professor, University of California, Irvine
Starlie Chinen, Doctoral Student, University of Washington
Paul Cobb, Research Professor, Vanderbilt University
Kara Jackson, Associate Professor, University of Washington
Nicholas Kochmanski, Doctoral Student, Vanderbilt University
Jessica Slayton, Director of Mathematics, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Kimberly Tarnowieckyi, 9-12 Math Facilitator, Federal Way Public Schools

Improving How Early Career Teachers Learn With Disciplined Inquiry

In the current educational context, it is essential to understand how to quickly prepare novice teachers who are effective. In this session, participants will hear from two organizations that are using disciplined inquiry to improve how early-career teachers learn. The Boston Teacher Residency’s Early Career Teaching Network will describe how the use of disciplined inquiry methods, measures, and tools has been essential to the refining, scaling, and spreading of an instructional activity called Excavating Teaching in Boston Public Schools. Similarly, Trellis Education will share how they leverage improvement science to provide long-term support to new STEM teachers that ensures they can “walk the talk,” practicing high-quality STEM practices in their own teaching.

Julie Sloan, Director, BTR Early Career Teaching Network, Boston Teacher Residency,  Boston Plan for Excellence
Brianna Wilson, Improvement Specialist, BTR Early Career Teaching Network, Boston Teacher Residency,  Boston Plan for Excellence
Megan W. Taylor, CEO, Trellis Education
Wendy Yau, Data Analyst, Trellis Education
Patrice Dawkins-Jackson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Improving the Core: Features and Challenges of Instructionally Focused Networked Improvement Communities

Networked improvement communities (NICs) are becoming a popular strategy for work on complex problems of practice in education. Instructionally focused NICs face unique opportunities and challenges as teams grapple with how to deeply address content-specific improvement in teaching and learning. In this session, presenters identify several critical elements of instructionally focused NICs and discuss common challenges they face. Presenters will use cases from three instructionally focused NICs—the Better Math Teaching Network, the Student-Centered Assessment Network, and the Tennessee Early Literacy Network—to examine these opportunities and challenges, followed by a mediated discussion of the implications this has for the design and support of instructionally focused NICs.

Jennifer Lin Russell, Associate Professor, Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Jennifer Zoltners Sherer, Research Associate, Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh
Bethany Fillers, Director of Improvement Networks, Tennessee Early Literacy Network (TELN)
Kirk Walters, AIR Managing Director, Better Math Teaching Network (BMTN)
Matthew Welch, AIR Senior Researcher, RI Student-Centered Assessment Network (SCAN)

Getting Better Results for Students Using Improvement Science

Understanding both the challenges and successes involved with engaging in an improvement process is key to learning from it. Participants will hear from two organizations working to improve outcomes on two different student-level problems. Eight districts and the state of Ohio are working collaboratively with Proving Ground to address chronic absenteeism. Participants will hear from different partner districts about their experience using the continuous improvement process, their work with the network, and the actions they are currently taking to address chronic absenteeism. Participants will also hear from an innovative statewide networked improvement community in Virginia working with 11 districts—rural, suburban, and urban. They have been working in collaboration to address the support assessment for, not of, learning.

Beth Blankenship, Education Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools
Melissa Ponce, Program Director, EdLeader21
Timothy Moon, Chief Accountability Officer, Syracuse City School District
Bi Vuong, Director, Proving Ground, Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University
David Sherer (moderator), Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation


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Spread & Scale

Spotlight on National Implementation Research Network and Kentucky Department of Education

Anchored in the synergy between implementation and improvement science, this session focuses on the National Implementation Research Network’s partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education and educators to build an implementation infrastructure to successfully use evidence-based mathematics practices at the elementary and middle school levels, and how to scale those practices using continuous improvement approaches throughout the state. Moving the locus of responsibility from evaluation of the teacher to evaluation of the system, their capacity-building infrastructure includes networked implementation teams focused on providing teacher supports, including training and coaching, explicit communication routines, and common data protocols to assess and improve progress. Eventually, each level is responsible for providing the needed support and resources to ensure success at the next level and applying Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) improvement cycles to solve specific challenges along the way. The learning at each level is constantly communicated back up to inform the “level above” so practice informs policy and policy enhances sustainable practice.

Kathleen Ryan Jackson, Implementation Specialist, National Implementation Research Network
Amanda Waldroup, State Transformation Specialist, Kentucky Department of Education
Donald J. Peurach (moderator), Associate Professor, Educational Policy, Leadership, and Innovation, University of Michigan, School of Education; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Scaling Up Without Screwing Up

The ultimate goal of improvement efforts is often to affect outcomes at scale. This is no easy task—it is precisely in the scaling up of promising interventions where many of them fail. Educators are not alone in this challenge; scaling up is a core challenge across many industries. In this session, participants will learn from others’ efforts and discuss core obstacles to scaling and strategies for overcoming them.

Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao, Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

Learning Together: How Technology Catalyzes and Supports the Work of Networked Improvement Communities

This session explores the Reading Recovery network’s use of the Networked Improvement Learning and Support (NILS™) platform to facilitate its improvement journey. Reading Recovery aims to reduce the number of first-grade students nationwide who have extreme difficulty learning to read and write. You will hear first-hand from a member of Reading Recovery, who will engage in a discussion of her work on the platform as a case study for how technology can support a networked improvement community’s initiation and development.

Sharon Greenberg, Improvement Advisor, Education and Literacy Consultant
Susan Haynes, Partner Success Manager, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation
Jojo Manai, Senior Associate, Managing Director, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation
Amy Smith, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Madison County Schools
Hiro Yamada, Associate, Chief in Analytics, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Adopting Successful Work Processes System-wide Through Intervisitation

Across the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), there are strong instructional practices in every content area; however, these are not always delivered equitably across the entire system. Showcase Schools, part of the NYCDOE’s Office of Leadership, share school-based standard work processes through a combination of intervisitation and professional learning for educators and by educators. They lead a yearly cohort of about 45 schools, hosting more than 100 learning days at their schools to study a standard work process. This session will highlight ways in which NYCDOE’s Showcase Schools program illuminates systemwide variability in instructional practice and empowers educators to pilot standard work processes in their own practice. Participants will consider how to adapt this program to their own context and engage with their Bridge to Action tool, which helps visitors generate a change idea and plan initial steps they will take in their own context.

Chau Ngo-Rayman, Executive Director, Showcase Schools, New York City Department of Education
Brigid Timlin, Evaluation Manager, Showcase Schools, New York City Department of Education
Anna Zucker Johnson, Senior Director, Showcase Schools, New York City Department of Education

Building Leadership Capacity for Racial Equity-Focused Improvement Science

Committed to addressing the racial inequities affecting Black and Latinx students who make up 67% of the total population of their public schools, the New York City Department of Education’s (NYCDOE) Learning Partners Program (LPP) strategically leverages improvement science networks to promote racial equity across hundreds of their city schools. It accomplishes this goal by inspiring school leadership teams to consider “the why” for focusing on racial equity, setting up psychologically safe teambuilding opportunities to explore racial identities and biases, and establishing specific expectations for how networks of schools engage in racial equity through improvement science processes. LPP team leaders will share their practices, lessons learned, and resources for building and sustaining leadership capacity for disciplined inquiry through the lens of racial equity. Participants will reflect on specific examples through a simulation of their three most promising practices.

Imani Jones-Ratcliffe, Senior Director of Learning Partners Program, New York City Department of Education
Betty Lugo, Senior Director of Learning Partners Program, New York City Department of Education

Leading Schools in Focused Collaboration in Queensland, Australia

Since 2015, school and system leaders in Queensland, Australia, have developed and progressed implementation of a school improvement model, an evidence-informed approach to school improvement for their students. The model defines the roles and practices that all teachers and leaders develop as implementation positions schools, leaders, and teachers on a path of continuous improvement. All levels of the system support professional learning communities as they consider and scale what is working for which students under particular conditions. This session will present processes for ongoing leading and learning; determining next phases; and discussing attributable design, measurable impact, scaling potential, and cost considerations across contexts.

Stacie Hansel, Executive Director, Department of Education, Queensland, Australia

Transforming Instruction and the District/School Relationship Through Data-Driven Inquiry

Volusia County Schools in Florida has used the principles of improvement science and evidence-based practice to develop a new model for school leaders and district staff to jointly work toward high-quality, standards-aligned instruction in English language arts. The session will examine how district leaders facilitate disciplined, data-driven inquiry cycles with teams of district and school leaders to plan meaningful improvement ideas, implement those ideas, study results, and act or adjust based on the results. This continuous improvement effort yielded a new model for the district-school relationship that is guiding long-term, systemwide changes to Volusia County Schools’ existing professional learning and school leader engagement structures.

Nick Cheng, Consultant, UPD Consulting
Kati Dyer, Coordinator, Professional Learning and School Improvement, Volusia County Schools
Meg Roa, District Administrator, Professional Learning and School Improvement, Volusia County Schools
Carlos Scott, Principal, Woodward Avenue Elementary
Teresa Marcks, Chief Academic Officer, Volusia County Schools

Consolidating Dynamic Learning Into Actionable Knowledge

How does a networked improvement community (NIC) consolidate and spread learning across multiple sites in meaningful and actionable ways? One of Eskolta’s mantras is that knowledge is both static and dynamic. In this workshop, Eskolta will look at the process of consolidating dynamic knowledge in static products so that it can feed a loop of continuous learning. The presenters will share tools teams can use to draw insights from practice-based evidence, document new knowledge, and disseminate this information to others in a network. Eskolta’s tools have been developed and refined over seven years of improvement work in more than 150 design projects with New York City schools and two multiyear NICs. Participants will be able to help improvement teams draw meaningful insights from practice-based evidence; document learnings in concise, actionable ways; and disseminate learnings for others in the network to build upon.

Emily Kleinman, Director of Knowledge Development, Eskolta School Research and Design
Catherine Pratt, Research & Design Facilitator, Eskolta School Research and Design

Adult Learning Journeys Built on Continuous Improvement

How can districts engaged in continuous improvement ensure a coherent, effective approach to change at scale? Simply having an instructional vision is not enough. Goals must be selected in alignment with a larger vision for instructional improvement. District leaders must also identify and address the learning needs of adults at all layers of the system. Without this infusion of new learning, change ideas will not be well-chosen or well-executed, and the opportunities for genuine, collective continuous improvement will be limited. Using case studies from their work with multiple urban districts, the Bank Street Education Center will provide an overview of the tools they used to engage in this activity with school-based staff and district leaders as a resource for participants.

Tracy Fray-Oliver, Associate Vice President, School Systems Partnerships & Programs, Bank Street Education Center
Michelle Forman, Director of Internal Coherence Strategy, Bank Street Education Center

Spreading Successful Changes

How do you design your improvement initiative for spread and scale? How do you take a successful change or change package and spread it to other parts of your system, whether those be other teachers, classrooms, grades, schools, or departments? And how are Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles adapted for this process? This session will provide the guidance needed to address planning, infrastructure, and sequencing of tasks helpful to teams/staff charged with the adoption and adaptation of changes. It will also address determining when those changes result in replicated, measurable improvement. (Advanced)

Brandon Bennett, Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Manuelito Biag, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Catherine Miller, Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation

Building Relationships and Scaling Systems That Support All Students

Through panel discussion, role play, and an interactive I-Time lesson, this session will explore the impact and lessons learned from the BARR Network’s growth to over 100 schools nationwide. Presenters will share insights into the network’s proven strategies to close achievement gaps in course completion and graduation rates, as well as BARR’s theory of improvement and its use of shared measurement and disciplined methods of improvement. Participants will gain greater knowledge of the strategies and structures used to develop and scale the BARR Network, and a better understanding of how school systems can empower educators and support all students.

Maryann Corsello, Director of Quality and Analytics, BARR Center
Rob Metz, Deputy Director, BARR Center
Christi Barrett, Superintendent, Hemet Unified School District
Sue Brown, BARR Program Oversight Hemet Unified School District, BARR Coach/Trainer
Tracy Chambers, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Hemet Unified School District