2017 Summit Program

The Summit general conference includes over 40 sessions from four strand themes as well as a series of sponsor-hosted sessions.

Strand 1: Methods of Improvement Science and Networks
Strand 2: Applications of Improvement Science in Education
Strand 3: Networks in Practice
Strand 4: Improvement Leadership and Culture
Sponsor-Hosted Sessions

To see the Summit program organized by time and date, view the Session Schedule.

Strand 1: Methods of Improvement Science and Networks (M)

This strand focuses on building attendees’ capacity to practice improvement science and lead networked improvement communities (NICs). Most sessions are taught as “learning-by-doing” experiences intended to leave participants with practical techniques and tools to bring back to their organizations. Sessions marked Introductory will introduce fundamental concepts in networked improvement, as well as practical tools. Advanced sessions assume a working knowledge of network or improvement methodologies and are designed for those who want to expand their existing networked improvement toolkit. For returning attendees, Classic sessions are similar to those previously offered, and New sessions address a fresh Summit topic.

(M1) Introduction to Improvement Science: A Learning-By-Doing Simulation

This two-session block provides an introduction to the work of improvement science through a simulation exercise. Participants will learn about and apply several improvement science tools, including aim statements, process analysis, plan-do-study-act cycles, and more. Through engaging with a specific improvement scenario, participants will gain a basic understanding of how the methods help us learn to improve. The session will culminate with participants reflecting on improvement science in education and connections to the contexts in which they work. We request that attendees join at the beginning of the first session (Set A) and stay through the second session (Set B) in order to gain full benefits of the exercise and out of respect for fellow learners. No one will be allowed to join midway. (Introductory | New)

Manuelito Biag, Associate, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Alicia Grunow, Senior Partner, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Amanda Meyer, Associate, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M2) How Do We Improve? A Comparison Among Three Approaches to Improving Quality

This session compares and contrasts three approaches used in the improvement of educational practice:  Improvement Science carried out in networks, Design-Based Implementation Research, and Lean/Six Sigma methodology. Panelists will engage in a thought experiment in which they are given a common problem of practice and are asked to demonstrate how they would apply their particular improvement approach. Attendees will reflect on the similarities and differences between these approaches, and discuss their takeaways in an interactive session format. (All Levels | New)

Sandra Park, Senior Associate, Director of External Offerings and Partnerships, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Bill Penuel, Professor, Learning Sciences and Human Development, University of Colorado Boulder
Cindy Veenstra, Principal Consultant and Researcher, Veenstra and Associates
Paul LeMahieu (moderator), Senior Vice President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M3) Building a Science of Improvement

This session explores the interplay of improvement research and traditional program effectiveness research. Like effectiveness research, continuous improvement embraces building on research evidence and practicing disciplined inquiry. Both forms aim to create new knowledge for making progress on critical educational problems. However, there are also notable differences that are especially salient in the context of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This session explores the relationship between the Tiers of Evidence and the press for local continuous improvement, both employed in ESSA. (All Levels | Classic)

Anthony S. Bryk, President, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
John Easton, Vice President, Programs, Spencer Foundation
Mark Kerr (moderator), Associate Vice President, Communications, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M4) Starting with the Problem to Avoid “Solutionitis”

When faced with an important and pressing problem, we are often tempted to jump straight to solutions before deeply understanding the problem itself. In this session, presenters will emphasize the importance of starting with the problem in improvement work and explore several approaches for doing so. Participants will use the “5 whys” to uncover and discuss the underlying causes of a common educational problem; build a fishbone diagram to represent their understanding of that problem; and apply interrelationship digraphs to prioritize causes. The session will feature examples from improvement work underway at High Tech High and conclude with a broader discussion of how participants can investigate problems in their own contexts. (All Levels | Classic)

Jon Benjamin, Internal Improvement Specialist, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Ryan Gallagher, Educational Research Specialist, High Tech High
Isaac Jones, Director, High Tech High North County

(M5) Seeing the System from the User’s Point of View Through Journey Maps

To make progress on a complex problem, we must seek to better understand the system that produces it. This session introduces participants to journey mapping, a tool that enables improvers to depict and analyze users’ experience with a particular problem. Journey mapping not only builds empathy for those we are trying to serve, but also helps an improvement team see the system from the user’s point of view. Examples will be shared from an improvement initiative in which journey maps describing the experiences of elementary school students provided deep insights into the challenges of early grade literacy development. Participants will leave with an appreciation for systems thinking, and an understanding of how journey maps are a useful addition to their improvement toolkit. (All Levels | New)

Sharon Greenberg, Improvement Advisor and Literacy Consultant, Independent Contractor
Anna Kawar, Associate, Improvement Science and Director, Tennessee Early Literacy Network, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Amanda Tinker, Assistant Principal, Lenoir City Schools
Deanna Zarichansky, Assistant Principal, Trousdale County Schools

(M6) Measurement for Improvement

Measurement is essential to improvement and guides the learning of the improvement community. This represents a departure from more typical uses of measurement in education that stem from accountability or research paradigms. 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 | Classic)

Manuelito Biag, Associate, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Sola Takahashi, Associate, Improvement Analytics and Measurement Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M7) Visualizations of Variation: Techniques for Displaying Data

This session will provide visualization techniques for displaying data in ways that allow improvers to see and learn from variation in performance. Examples will be shared from a school system that has displayed and learned from variation in its own performance data. Participants will leave with a foundational understanding of how they might apply these techniques to data collected from their own organizations and projects. Prior experience with improvement work is assumed, while prior analytic experience is helpful, but not required. (Advanced | New)

Brandon Bennett, Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Fellow, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Amanda Meyer, Associate, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Howard Shen, Director of Data Analysis, Summit Public Schools

(M8) Improvement Reviews: Consolidating Learning and Energizing Improvement Efforts

This session introduces the improvement review as a tool for providing feedback and direction for an ongoing improvement project. Participants will receive a protocol for conducting an improvement review, as well as techniques and recommendations from teams who use reviews frequently. In addition, an educator team will conduct a real improvement review live during the session, with coaching from external improvement advisors. Afterward, the team and participants will debrief the experience and discuss the utility of the improvement review in advancing learning and energizing improvement efforts. This session is primarily intended for individuals who are actively engaged in networked improvement communities or other improvement efforts. (Advanced | New)

Ann Edwards, Senior Associate, Director of Learning and Teaching, Carnegie Math Pathways, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Shelah Feldstein, Mathematics Staff Development and Curriculum Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education
Ryan Gallagher, Educational Research Specialist, High Tech High
Sandra Park, Senior Associate, Director of External Offerings and Partnerships, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Christine Roberts, Mathematics Staff Development and Curriculum Specialist, Tulare County Office of Education

(M9) Empathy Techniques for Pursuing Educational Equity

Being user-centered is at the core of building more just and equitable educational experiences for students. But what does it look like to actually put users at the center of our equity efforts? Based in the teachings of human-centered design, this session will explore how empathy can be leveraged in the pursuit of educational equity. Participants will discuss the mindsets behind empathy work and explore the potential of empathy work to combat bias, engage diverse stakeholders, and build culturally and community relevant solutions. Participants will learn several concrete empathy techniques for engaging students, families, and educators at the heart of an improvement effort. (All Levels | New)

David Clifford,Senior Learning Experience Designer, K12 Lab Network, Stanford d.school
Kenneth Fernandez, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Collaborative Technology, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Susie Wise, Director, K12 Lab Network, Stanford d.school

(M10) Developing Ideas for Change: Where Do Good Ideas Come From?

Developing ideas for change is a critical part of any improvement initiative. However, improvement teams may fail to leverage several key sources of high-quality ideas, limiting the impact of their improvement endeavors. This session will explore where change ideas come from, including research expertise, practice expertise from the field, and user-centered design methods. Participants will learn about techniques for leveraging existing knowledge, such as scanning, benchmarking, expert convenings, and interviewing. Participants will gain knowledge of a wide array of techniques and sources for developing change ideas that can be applied to their next change effort. (Advanced | New)

Alicia Grunow, Senior Partner, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Uma Kotagal, Executive Leader, Population and Community Health and Senior Fellow, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

(M11) Plan-Do-Study-Act Cycles as a Disciplined Approach to Practitioner Inquiry

This session introduces the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle, explaining how it is used to learn about changes to practice. Participants run their own PDSA cycles through an interactive exercise and examine completed PDSA cycles from various educational contexts. The session will also explore the similarities and differences between inquiry in improvement science and other forms of inquiry in education, particularly action research. Participants will leave with an understanding of the connection between PDSA testing and inquiry, and how they may apply PDSA testing to their organizations. (Introductory | New)

Diane Cunningham, Senior Consultant, Learner-Centered Initiatives
Alicia Grunow, Senior Partner, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M12) Theory of NIC Development

What are the distinguishing features of a networked improvement community (NIC) and how do we expect one to develop over time? In this session, NIC scholars and coaches will share Carnegie’s current theory of NIC development as well as the nuts and bolts of running a NIC. Participants will gain a clearer sense of how a NIC operates over time and be more equipped to decide whether a NIC is the right approach for their efforts. (Introductory | New)

Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Jennifer Russell, Associate Professor of Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh; Fellow, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M13) The Role of Narrative in Vitalizing a NIC

Articulating a compelling, authentic, and intentional narrative as a means to build and sustain a community is an important component of networked improvement communities (NICs). This session will highlight examples of how NICs have worked on developing their narrative in the initiation and development of their communities, and will provide participants with an opportunity to reflect on their own NIC narrative. (All Levels | New)

Christina Dixon, Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Eva Mejia, Associate, Director of Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Charlene Stringham, Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services, Tulare County Office of Education

(M14) Setting Up Your NIC Hub

At the core of a networked improvement community (NIC) sits a group of individuals who carry out the critical functions necessary for its effective operation. These functions include improvement science, network initiation and development, analytics, collaborative technology, and content expertise. NICs leverage the best of what is known from research and practice. This session will describe these functions and show participants ways to operationalize them. Examples will include NIC hubs that are housed by different types of entities, such as county offices of education, state departments of education, and non-profit organizations serving schools. (All Levels | New)

Melissa Chabran, Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Christina Dixon, Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Edit Khachatryan, Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M15) How to Design Successful Learning Sessions

A key lever in helping a networked improvement community (NIC) reach its goals is making good use of the few times when network members come together for face-to-face meetings. Given the importance of learning during these gatherings, they are often referred to as learning sessions. Goals for these meetings include: building relationships, accelerating individual and collective learning, preparing for distributed action towards the NIC’s aim, and professional development. This session will focus on key processes and facilitation moves used to achieve these goals. (All Levels | New)

Anna Kawar, Associate, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Eva Mejia, Associate, Director of Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(M16) 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. (All Levels | Classic)

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


Strand 2: Applications of Improvement Science in Education (I)

This strand focuses on practitioners using improvement approaches in systematic and organized ways. It will introduce participants to groundbreaking organizations that are achieving better educational outcomes through the use of improvement science methodologies, effectively turning knowledge into practice, and systematically spreading that knowledge so practice improves reliably at scale.

(I1) Improving Oral Language Development in New Zealand’s Early Childhood Education Centres (ECEs)

How can improvement science help a nation improve oral language development in children? Now We’re Talking, a collaboration between the New Zealand Ministry of Education and the organization, Ko Awatea, aims to improve the oral language skills of 85% of children in the nation’s Early Childhood Education Centres (ECEs). This session focuses on how the project uses collaborative methodology from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Breakthrough Series to attain impressive early results that show an improvement across multiple process and outcome measures. Participants will gain insights into key improvement methods and strategies for employing in their own contexts.

Suzie Harris, Early Language Specialist, Auckland Kindergarten Association
Rebecca Lawn, Project Manager, Ko-Awatea
Emma Quigan, Project Manager, COMET Aukland
Sneha Shetty, Improvement Advisor, Ko-Awatea
Brandon Bennett (moderator), Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Fellow, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(I2) Using Improvement Science to Address Early-Grade Literacy

How can cities leverage diverse professional and social networks to strengthen early literacy? This session focuses on work designed to improve early literacy outcomes and the well-being of children in two communities. Presenters will discuss the tools, strategies, and lessons learned from the early-literacy NIC in Baltimore City Public Schools. Representatives from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Cincinnati Public Schools will focus on cross-sector partnership development efforts, including early implementation progress and challenges during their pilot year. Participants will have access to the tools, materials, and resources used to guide and support NICs, and will leave with a better understanding of the key issues related to creating a safe and trusting space for facilitating productive partnerships.

Jarrod Bolte, Consultant, Improving Education
Cheryl Broadnax, Assistant Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools
Christina Williams Harding, Senior Quality Improvement Consultant, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Sharon Greenberg (moderator), Improvement Advisor and Literacy Consultant

(I3) Rethinking Professional Development with an Improvement Lens

This session focuses on approaches to integrating improvement science methods in teacher professional development. Representatives from the UCLA Community School will discuss how and why faculty embraced improvement science to tackle core educational challenges in literacy. Participants will learn how professional development was reframed through the lens of improvement, and how literacy assessment data were used to cultivate strong norms of internal accountability and a shared language for tracking progress. Presenters from the Literacy Design Collaborative will focus on the use of improvement science methodologies to codify and strengthen teacher learning strategies through repeated, iterative tests of change across diverse school networks.

Honey Gubuan, Social Science Subject Area Coordinator, East Side Union High School District
Leyda Garcia, Principal, UCLA Community School
Karen Hunter Quartz, Research Director, Adjunct Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
Chad Vignola, Executive Director, Literacy Design Collaborative
Ash Vasudeva (moderator), Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(I4) Using Improvement Methods to Strengthen Motivation and Engagement to Promote Student Success: Lessons from Two Networks

This session focuses on a pair of improvement efforts designed to develop and use school and classroom activities and routines to help motivate and engage adult and adolescent students. Representatives from the Carnegie Math Pathways network will discuss the development of Starting Strong and Staying Strong, two efforts used to promote students’ productive persistence in mathematics across diverse community-college contexts. Participants will also learn about how improvement approaches helped adapt key principles and strategies for use in the middle grades. Both sessions will describe how particular methods (such as PDSA cycles and the use of practical measures) were used to translate research and theory on motivation & engagement into practical applications for students in community colleges and middle grades.

Kenn Barron, Professor of Psychology, James Madison University
Rachel Beattie, Associate, Director of Productive Persistence, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Thomas Hartka, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Motivation Research Institute, James Madison University
Haley McNamara, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Advancing Quality Teaching, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Zoe Stemm-Calderon (reflector), Director of Education, Raikes Foundation

(I5) Practical Measurement: Usable Measures with Teachers

Improvement approaches are grounded in the effective use of data; however, many educational settings lack the history and capacity to integrate data as part of their core improvement efforts. This session highlights separate efforts to support teachers’ use of data for improvement. Participants will come away with specific recommendations and ideas supporting core improvement principles in districts and schools, as well as a more nuanced understanding of structural and cultural components of improvement initiatives that facilitate sustainability and growth over time.

Pamela Buffington, Co-Director of Science and Math Programs, Education Development Center
Kyle Moyer, Manager of Continuous Improvement, Summit Public Schools
Karen Shakman, Research Scientist, Education Development Center
Bill Penuel (moderator), Professor, Learning Sciences and Human Development, University of Colorado Boulder

(I6) Building a Data Infrastructure that Supports Improvement

Improvement approaches often require different types of data, provided at more rapid cycles, than those collected for compliance or accountability purposes, making a new data infrastructure necessary. This session features two efforts to remake data systems to support improvement. The Proving Ground project at Harvard University supports 13 school districts and CMOs to pool their data, find comparison groups, and measure impacts of their own initiatives.  While Harvard provides the infrastructure—a common database, software, training, and support—local decision-makers bring the interventions and do the learning together. Participants will also learn about efforts to develop data systems that support the use of “early-warning” indicators for student success. Representatives from New Visions for Public Schools will discuss how their data systems were designed to meet the needs of educators, and how these systems have evolved over time based on experience and results.

Susan Fairchild, Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Tom Kane, Walter H. Gale Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Tran Keys, Executive Director of Research & Evaluation, Santa Ana Unified School District
Michele Meredith, Deputy Director for School Improvement, New Visions for Public Schools
Ash Vasudeva (moderator), Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(I7) Using Improvement Approaches Within Systems and Schools: Lessons from New York City

The New York City Department of Education has been an early adopter of improvement approaches to support change within schools and across the system. This session focuses on two initiatives within the 1.1 million student school district. Participants will hear why and how the Office of Finance and Operations shifted from using data for accountability to using data for improvement, thereby transforming the daily work of complex systems in positive ways. Presenters will also discuss how improvement science approaches helped a middle school in NYC embed and sustain this new way of working in their school. Over the course of the first year, reflection on their successes and failures led the school to radically revise its strategies for building students’ reading and math skills and adopting a new theory for how to support students’ learning. By telling the story of this school’s experience, the session delves into how both formal and informal adult learning fit into the improvement science model.

Carry Chan, Founding Principal, School for Global Leaders
Jane Mabe, Director of Operations, Division of Teaching and Learnings’ Office of Operations, New York City Department of Education
Samuel Milder, Manager of Applied Research, New York City Department of Education
Ted Quinn (reflector), Partner, The Wildflower Foundation
Brandon Bennett (moderator), Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Fellow, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(I8) Using Coaching for Instructional Improvement

While coaching is a commonly used tool to support teacher professional development, it is subject to tremendous variation in process and outcome. This session focuses on the integration of improvement science principles in the context of coaching. Presenters will describe their coaching strategies for building trusting relationships, give examples of how schools used improvement science to make progress on school goals, and call attention to critical factors for engaging school teams in improvement science methods. Attendees will also hear how coaching for continuous improvement is transforming the way teachers engage in problem solving around student needs to strengthen their own practice. Presenters will showcase coaching tools such as PDSA cycles and visual management, and will actively engage participants in a cycle of coaching to demonstrate the value of the approach from teachers’ and coaches’ perspectives.

Faith Connolly, Executive Director, Baltimore Education Research Consortium
Jenny Kaufman, Continuous Improvement Coach, Kimberly Area School District
John Schultz, Principal, Mapleview Intermediate School, Kimberly Area School District
Marc Stein, Professor, School of Education, Johns Hopkins University
Ann Edwards (moderator), Senior Associate, Director of Learning and Teaching, Carnegie Math Pathways, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(I9) District-Led Improvement Efforts

This session focuses on district-wide applications of improvement approaches to improve systems outcomes. Leaders from the Fresno Unified School District and the University of California, Merced, will describe how improvement science principles have been used to ensure students have the widest array of post-secondary options by supporting them to apply to colleges/universities that “match” their college eligibility profiles. Participants will also learn how the Oakland Unified School District’s School Performance Framework (SPF) is used to support continuous improvement processes, such as root cause analyses that give a richer understanding of problem areas, and cycles of inquiry to monitor progress and learn quickly whether changes are resulting in improvement.

Jorge Aguilar, Associate Vice Chancellor, University of California, Merced
Corey Donahue, Coordinator, School Performance, Oakland Unified School District
Michael E. Hanson, Former Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District
Don Peurach (moderator), Senior Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching


Strand 3: Networks in Practice (N)

Networks are an increasingly popular strategy for organizing collective improvement work as we look for ways to accelerate our ability to learn and improve educational outcomes for young people. This strand seeks to illustrate what it takes to bring a network to life and to support it to reach its improvement goals. Presenters will share their experiences with key aspects of initiating and developing networks, such as engaging various types of stakeholders, collectively developing the charter for the network, and sustaining improvement.

(N1) Managing NIC Health

Examining network health and understanding when and how to refine network structures, processes and tools are key to managing a networked improvement community (NIC). This session will introduce a NIC Development Framework that describes the various attributes of a NIC at multiple stages during its life cycle and the accompanying tools aimed at supporting the practice of network leaders. Presenters will highlight what NICs that have applied a set of shared health indicators have learned, and how they’re using that knowledge to manage their NICs. Participants will also discuss leadership, culture, will, and ecological context issues.

Emma Parkerson, Director, Strategic Projects, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Kelly Reese, Deputy Project Director for Implementation, Network to Transform Teaching
Jennifer Russell, Associate Professor of Learning Sciences and Policy, University of Pittsburgh; Fellow, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Shannon Provost (reflector), Visiting Assistant Professor, Carroll School of Management, Boston College; Fellow, Network Analytics, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Edit Khachatryan (moderator), Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(N2) Scoping a NIC Within an Existing Professional Community

This session will explore how organizations within an existing professional community established a networked improvement community (NIC). Presenters from the 100Kin10 network will describe how they shifted focus to a smaller part of their network focused on engineering classes. Presenters from the Kamehameha Schools will describe how they used data to select a common aim within the larger goal of increasing Native Hawaiian student success.

Sierra Fox, Strategic Analyst, Kamehameha Schools
Shawn Malia Kana’iaupuni, Executive Consultant, Kamehameha Schools
David Kanter, Director of Research and Innovation, 100Kin10
Rob Weisstuch, Chief of Operations, 100Kin10
Melissa Chabran (moderator), Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(N3) Cross-District Networked Improvement Communities

Representatives from two statewide networked improvement communities (NICs) will share their initiation experiences in cross-district collaboration using networked improvement. The Florida Pilot Implementation Network is a community of six Florida districts working together to improve the quality of instruction across the state; and the Virginia student-led assessment NIC involves nine school districts in Virginia collaborating on efforts for meaningful assessment for learning. Presenters will describe their challenges in working across districts with limited face-to-face interaction, discuss how to make use of virtual collaboration tools, build will and motivation for the work, and arrive at a common aim.

Valerie Greenhill, President, EdLeader21
Vanessa Hilton, Assistant Superintendent, Pasco County Schools
Ben Jackson, Partner, The New Teacher Project (TNTP)
Shannon King, Manager, Fairfax County Public Schools
Anna Kawar (moderator), Associate, Improvement Science and Director, Tennessee Early Literacy Network, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(N4) Tracking Networks Through Social Network Analysis

Social network analysis (SNA) can shed light on the flow and concentration of information throughout large networks across a wide variety of structures. Social network theory draws attention to the structure of the network and to the nature of ties between individuals and the content of interaction. This session will provide an overview of SNA and showcase how two networks used it to further strengthen their networks. Participants will leave with an understanding of how networks refine and reimagine their structures and processes over time to foster system improvement, allowing for the strengthening and acceleration of their own work.

Marisa Cannata, Research Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University
Maggie Hannan, Graduate Researcher, University of Pittsburgh
Ela Joshi, Graduate Assistant, Vanderbilt University
Alan Daly (reflector), Chair and Professor, Department of Education Studies, University of California, San Diego
Eva Mejia (moderator), Associate, Director of Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(N5) Using Data to Drive Network Learning and District Change

This session will bring together teams from two Networks doing parallel work in New York and Florida, focusing on how district leaders in each network are using data as a tool for leadership, engagement, and improvement. Together with district leaders, representatives from the two Hubs coordinating the work (the Bank Street Education Center and UPD Consulting, respectively) will walk participants through the planning and implementation process for each Network, including sharing stories, lessons learned, and examples of how each process leveraged district and network-wide data to initiate change and inform learning within and across participating school systems. Using these two perspectives as background, participants will engage in a hands-on activity to explore how data can be used to drive action and lead change in urban school districts.

Elaine Budish, Senior Consultant, UPD Consulting
Tracy Fray-Oliver, Deputy Executive Director, Bank Street Education Center
Doug Knecht, Executive Director, Bank Street Education Center
Teresa Marcks, Chief Academic Officer, Volusia County Schools
Candice Bocala (reflector), Senior Research Associate, WestEd
Manuelito Biag (moderator), Associate, Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(N6) Accelerating Learning Across Contexts

In this session, two networks will demonstrate how they facilitate knowledge creation and sharing using distributed testing, collective problem-solving, and technology platforms. Schools that Lead, a network of middle schools, share a common goal of cutting in half the number of ninth grade students who are retained in an effort to improve high school graduation rates. Through PDSA cycles and a series of change ideas from the larger Student Agency Improvement Community network, they have found a way to share information across their network and make progress toward that aim. The Student Success Network, comprised of 50 highly engaged member organizations, will share strategies they have used to maintain interest and engagement among members, structure their learning sessions, and highlight approaches to creating and refining solutions to shared challenges.

Nancy Carnevale, Principal, Milford School Districts/Schools that Lead
Lucy Herz Lapinski, Program Director, Student Success Network
Michele Savage, Principal, Christina School Districts/Schools that Lead
Ali Slack, Director of Continuous Improvement, Student Success Network
Melissa Chabran (moderator), Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching


Strand 4: Improvement Leadership and Culture (L)

The critical work of leadership is to bring about needed change. Transformational leaders are driven to break through the status quo and achieve new levels of performance. Leading improvement requires shifting norms and habits that are deeply engrained in the culture of educational organizations. In these sessions, leaders who have taken on this daunting work will share how and why they led these efforts and what lessons they have learned along the way.

(L1) State-Level Partnerships for Student Success: Improving School Systems in a Context of Continuous Improvement (The Threequel from 2015 & 2016)

How do you build a continuous improvement system that prioritizes the needs of the whole child, and tells the story of the whole school? This session will examine efforts by a state-level partnership in California—the CORE Districts, a nonprofit collaborative of ten districts representing over 1 million students—to roll out a unique approach to school accountability that includes academic, social-emotional, and culture-climate indicators. In this threequel to the prior two years’ sessions, participants will learn about the impact and influence of culture-climate surveys, social emotional skills, and newly included measures of academic growth. CORE superintendents will then share their partnership efforts to implement cycles of improvement.

Noah Bookman, Chief Accountability Officer, CORE Districts
Devin Dillon, Interim Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
Michael E. Hanson, Former Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District
Heather Hough, Executive Director, CORE-PACE Research Partnership, Policy Analysis for California Education
Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts

(L2) Beating the Odds with Poverty-Challenged Youth: Schools Getting Better at Getting Better

When state education agencies release children’s test scores, schools that serve the most challenged populations—primarily those who live in poverty—generally cluster at the bottom of the list. But it need not be that way. The research reported in this session describes and explains differences between “odds-beating schools” and “typical schools” during dramatic innovation implementation. Participants will learn how district officers and principals’ boundary-related implementation leadership and shared instructional leadership routines paved the way for a composite theory of action.

Kristen Campbell Wilcox, Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Theory and Practice, University at Albany, State University of New York
Hal A. Lawson, Professor, Department of Educational Policy and Leadership and Professor of Social Welfare, University at Albany, State University of New York
Annette Trapini, Principal, Blue Creek Elementary School, North Colonie Central Schools, New York

(L3) Achieving Cultures of Improvement and Performance Excellence

Process, culture, and capacity building are keys to improving complex systems; and professional learning, evidence, and behavior change can shift beliefs, but stories of impact can change hearts. Hear how the Pewaukee School District used the Baldrige Excellence Framework to increase performance excellence, with a graduation rate of 97%, and over 90% of students going on to attend a two- or four-year college (up from 68%). Participants will learn how to employ the framework’s focus on people, plan, results, and process at the classroom, school, and district level to foster such a culture and attain better results. The School District of Menomonee Falls has also been on an improvement journey, with student performance at an all-time high, as is system culture. The Menomonee Falls Superintendent will describe how the PDSA process is used by the students to assess and shape their learning; while the principles of evidence-based leadership, change theory, and key Lean tools are deployed by staff and leaders to realize improved performance results. In addition, they will present their journeys to improve student performance.

Patricia Fagan Greco, Superintendent of Schools, School District of Menomonee Falls
JoAnn Sternke, Superintendent of Schools, Pewaukee School District
Penny Carver (moderator), Senior Fellow, Strategy and Business Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(L4) The Impact of Improvement Science Principles Within an Organization and the Districts It Serves

When the Public Education and Business Coalition (PEBC), a professional learning organization, began implementing improvement science in the districts it serves, staff realized that PEBC could benefit from similar improvement processes to increase the impact of its work on districts, leaders, teachers, and students. Participants will learn how inquiry cycles contribute to changes in both district and school leaders’ framing of organizational needs and views about instructional practices, and in the leadership coaches’ ability to align district initiatives with district goals and probe what leaders thought they knew about an initiative’s success.

Belle Faust, Executive Director, Boettcher Teacher Residency, PEBC
Patty Hanrahan, Assistant Superintendent, Englewood Public Schools
Joyce Joyce, Executive Director, Professional Learning, PEBC

(L5) Leaders as Improvers: Developing Leaders for Social Justice through Improvement Science

This interactive session will stimulate conversation about the role of improvement science in leadership development programs as they seek to prepare leaders capable of building organizations that are jointly equitable and high performing. Faculty from graduate-level leadership programs that are preparing educational professionals with the skills of improvement science will discuss the potential, challenges, and opportunities they face in integrating improvement science into their respective programs and organizations, and in supporting improvement efforts in K-12 schools. Participants will explore ways to “break the rules” in their own settings to develop more leaders for social justice and continuous improvement.

Stacey Caillier, Director, Center for Research on Equity & Innovation, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
David Laird, Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University
James Liebman, Founding Director, Center for Public Research and Leadership, Columbia University; Simon H. Rifkind Professor, Columbia Law School
Jill Perry, Executive Director, Carnegie Project on the Educational Doctorate (CPED); Research Associate Professor, Department of Administrative Policy Studies, University of Pittsburgh
Louis Gomez (moderator), Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(L6) How Improvement Science Advances Outcomes and Opportunity

Equal opportunity and social advancement are bedrock American education aspirations. Sometimes, education delivers on the promise. Often, the education system does not. While not a panacea, improvement science and methods akin to it, have helped educators make remarkable progress toward equitable opportunity and outcomes. In this session, the presenters will discuss the basis for these results and review and critique two improvement initiatives, one in New York City and one in Los Angeles, that are using improvement science methods to elevate educational equity from a value in name only to a priority for changes in practice.

Dion Bullock, Deputy Chief of Staff, Division of Teaching and Learning, New York City Department of Education
Louis Gomez, Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information, University of California, Los Angeles; Senior Fellow, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Maritza Lozano, Doctoral Candidate, University of California, Los Angeles
Sonja Santelises (reflector), CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools
Angel Bohannon (moderator), Post Baccalaureate Fellow, Carnegie Math Pathways, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(L7) Bringing Improvement Science into Educator Preparation Programs through Accreditation

The emphasis on improved teacher quality has expanded to include a greater focus on the effectiveness of educator preparation providers (EPPs), in particular to hold them accountable for their selection and training of pre-service teachers. EPP accreditation and associated accreditation standards represent a powerful lever for the systemic improvement of educator preparation and licensure. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the new single specialized accreditor of US education preparation, and its new standards shift the focus from inputs and compliance toward an evidence-based culture that values outcomes and continuous improvement. This session describes how CAEP is leading a culture shift within its own organization and in the EPPs that participate in the CAEP accreditation system. Participants will also get details from a comprehensive and enduring study being conducted by the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) to evaluate the impact of the CAEP Standards.

Jennifer E. Carinci, Director of Research, Innovation, and Data Strategy, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Sheila R. Schultz, Manager, Educational Policy Impact Center, Human Resources Research Organization

(L8) Challenges and Opportunities for Advancing Improvement Science in Federal and State Education Policy

A panel of policy advocates and analysts will discuss the big challenges that states and districts face in implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). They will examine how improvement science and networked improvement communities can enhance the implementation of key provisions in ESSA, and highlight where improvement science can have the greatest impact.

Jeremy Ayers, Vice President of Policy, Results for America
Bethany Little, Principal, EducationCounsel, LLC
Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts
Vivian Tseng, Vice President of Programs, WT Grant Foundation
Ruth Lopez Turley, Director, Houston Education Research Consortium; Professor, Rice University
Jim Kohlmoos (moderator), Principal, EDGE Consulting Partners; Senior Fellow, Strategic Field Building, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(L9) How to Empower Improvement Science with the Interpersonal and Political Skills of Successful, Sustainable Change

Good school and district leadership is the hinge on which our promise to guarantee good education to all children, no matter the conditions of their birth, hangs. Improvement science is a comprehensive design for improving student results and the overall performance of a school system. The systemic nature of the design requires leaders with a wide range of skills that are teachable and learnable, and often unevenly distributed in a typical organization. This session will identify skills necessary for a leader to: build support over time, be persuasive, honor the interests of key constituencies, establish effective communication patterns, and orchestrate legitimate decision-making and institutional arrangements.

Jon Saphier, President, Research for Better Teaching

(L10) Design-Based School Improvement: Addressing Issues of Equity and Social Justice

At the heart of the effort to enact and scale up successful school reforms is the need for more robust links between research and practice. One promising approach is design development, a methodology widely used in other fields and only recently adapted to education, which offers a disciplined process for identifying practical problems, assessing evidence of outcomes, accounting for variability in implementation and results, and establishing a foundation for broader understanding of the problem and proposed solutions. This presentation, adapted from Rick’s recently published book, Design-Based School Improvement, provides case studies and a practical guide for education leaders who are seeking to address issues of equity and social justice in their schools.

Rick Mintrop, Director of the Doctoral Program in Leadership for Educational Equity (LEEP), University of California, Berkeley
Matt Wayne, Interim Superintendent, Hayward Unified School District

(L11) Achieving New Levels of Literacy Proficiency Statewide in Tennessee

Achieving better results is not about the seemingly endless search for new programs and initiatives. It’s about creating alignment and coherence across current work, filling gaps in practice, and ensuring that the execution leads to desired results. This session describes the Tennessee Department of Education’s (TDOE’s) approach for using improvement science to achieve higher levels of literacy proficiency for all children in the state. It will focus on the big questions that the department is grappling with as it takes a new approach to an old problem, such as how to ensure that change ideas build on and respond to initiatives already taking place; how to determine initial areas of focus and a strategy for building systemic change; how to balance the analytic approach of improvement science with the desire for rapid change and quick wins; and how to make the work of improvement science sustainable at all levels of the system. Program participants from across the state will share their perspectives, including members of the TDOE leadership team, directors of Tennessee’s Centers of Regional Excellence, district and school administrators.

Meghan Curran, Executive Director, CORE (Centers of Regional Excellence)
Janice Fox, Executive Director, Upper Cumberland CORE
Ginger Leach, Executive Director, East CORE
Katherine McEldoon, Data Analyst, Tennessee Department of Education
Rachelle McManus, Director of Improvement Networks, Tennessee Department of Education
Nate Schwartz, Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Tennessee Department of Education
Mary Kathryn Wells, Executive Director, Improvement Networks, Tennessee Department of Education
Christina Dixon (moderator), Associate, Network Initiation and Development, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

(L12) A Scientific Approach to Communications About Improvement Science

What are the most effective ways to frame communications, outreach, and advocacy on the topic of Improvement Science? This is an empirical question. To answer it, the FrameWorks Institute conducted a multi-method investigation into how policy stakeholders and practitioners in education think about issues related to quality, improvement, and use of data, and then systematically tested alternative ways of explaining and positioning these issues. The research yielded evidence-based framing strategies for generating understanding of the distinctive strengths of improvement science and networked improvement communities. Your teams can use these frames to increase support for the improvement science approach to solving problems.

Julie Sweetland, Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, Frameworks Institute

(L13) Journeys Beyond the Neatline: Expanding the Boundaries of Education Reform

Neatline – (nēt’līn) a border around the extent of a map.

Education reform over the last two decades can be mapped or framed in multiple ways: sometimes reaching backward– to record different understandings of history, divisions between nations or tribes, or systems of measurement—and at other times forward– to identify new routes or chart future plans and possibilities.  How do we map the education terrain today?  Where are we in our journey?  Can improvement science open up new pathways and possibilities to provide greater opportunity to all students?  Drawing on his experiences from New Visions for Public Schools, Bob Hughes, Director of Education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will reflect on emerging lessons around the use of continuous improvement and network strategies to improve education.

Robert Hughes, Director, K-12 Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


Sponsor-Hosted Sessions

Our sponsors understand that the Summit is more than a conference. It’s an opportunity to enhance professional knowledge, hear the latest thinking, network, gain direction, stimulate dialogue, and design and share best practice. It’s an opportunity to catalyze positive, sustainable change. We are grateful to our Premier Sponsors for sharing their commitment, their stories and their work to achieve the change that our students need and deserve. The sponsor-hosted sessions are proof of the power of our Summit network.

(S1) Improving Instruction One PDSA Cycle at a Time: Early Lessons from the Better Math Teaching Network

Host: American Institutes for Research (AIR)

The Better Math Teaching Network is a collaboration among New England high school math teachers, instructional leaders, and continuous improvement researchers who are working to create classrooms that are more strongly student-centered. Teachers test, refine and share student-centered instructional strategies with each other and with state-, district- and school-level instructional leaders. Presenters will describe how the network has evolved over its first 18 months, provide specific examples of student-centered change ideas that have been tested and refined, and discuss challenges and opportunities as the network continues to expand.

  • Kirk Walters, Managing Researcher, AIR

(S2) Parents as Partners: Carnegie Corporation Grantees Share Strategies

Host: Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York has launched a new Public Understanding portfolio, with a particular focus on engaging parents as partners – in their own child’s education as well as in broader education reform – in order to improve outcomes for students. Join us to hear from a panel of CCNY grantees who are using a diverse range of strategies to meet parents where they are: listening to, informing, engaging and organizing them, while recognizing and promoting their role as key stakeholders in American public education.

  • Linda Burch, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Common Sense Media
  • Matt Hammer, Founder and CEO, Innovate Public Schools
  • Samantha Olivieri, Vice President, Strategy and Growth, GreatSchools

(S3) Determining the Community: Using Social Network Analysis to Ensure the Right Folks are at the Table

Host: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

How do you know that your collaborative working groups are representative of the community? Who are the people that your community turns to in order to get the work of education improvement and innovation completed? This presentation describes the use of social network analysis to illuminate the human capital ecosystem in education in Kansas City. A systematic nomination and referral process was used to identify the key people in education in the metropolitan area and characterize their interconnections and the ways they worked together, turned to each other for expertise, and supported decision-making. The lessons learned from these efforts will be shared.

  •  Edith S. Gummer, Director, Education Research, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

(S4) GO Public Schools: Developing Family, Educator, and Community Leadership to Improve Local Public Schools

Host: GO Public Schools (Walton Family Foundation grantee)

GO Public Schools believes that key education decisions must be informed by those closest to children — families, teachers and others — who provide critical user-based insights for system and school designs. Parent voice is also a key political force. Families and educators must be well informed in order to effectively leverage their influence in conversations about school quality and equity. CEO Jonathan Klein will share more about GO’s efforts to inform, develop, and mobilize community leaders at every level – grassroots to grass tops – in support of providing an excellent and equitable education for all students.

  • Jonathan Klein, Co-Founder & CEO, GO Public Schools

(S5) The Perfect Storm: Local Challenges, Accomplished Teachers, and Improvement Science

Host: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

The Network to Transform Teaching (NT3) is an initiative that aims to ensure every student has access to accomplished teaching every day in 53 schools, across 29 districts, and in 10 states. NT3 is convened by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a national nonprofit with 30 years of experience convening practitioners to lead the transformation of the teaching profession. This session will explore how schools and districts can capitalize on the expertise of accomplished teachers to address local problems of teaching and learning. Participants will receive tools and resources to help identify and support teacher leaders as partners in system improvement.

  • Lisa Clarke, Director of Policy and Partnerships, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • Suzanne Farmer, NT3 Site Director, Kentucky

(S6) Bringing Leader Learning to Life

Host: PEBC (Public Education & Business Coalition)

Anchor Beliefs. Teachers and leaders are change agents. We believe in the power of yet, that all students are capable of achieving at high levels. In order to achieve that end, we must constantly evaluate our effect on student learning. Our job is to learn from students as we adapt and refine research-based methods to support all students to achieve standards, to develop a passion for learning, and to make a positive impact. Lab Classroom teachers are lead learners who exemplify these practices and are able to articulate their journey as educators and the impact they have on student learning.

  • Mindy Armbruster, Chief Operating Officer, PEBC
  • Joyce Joyce, MEd, Executive Director of Education, PEBC
  • Sue Sava, MA, Executive Director of Stanley Teacher Prep, Director of Policy, PEBC

(S7) Building a Sense of Belonging: A Fundamental Factor in Advancing Equity

Host: Raikes Foundation

Many of our improvement efforts in education aim to address opportunity and achievement gaps for historically marginalized students. Come learn from research and practice leaders about how fundamental building a sense of belonging and identity safety is to supporting ALL K-12 and post-secondary students to succeed.

  • Kia Franklin, Regional Director, Equal Opportunity Schools
  • Natasha Krol, Executive Director, College Transition Collaborative
  • Lisa Quay, Executive Director, Mindset Scholars Network
  • Masa Uzicanin, Executive Director, Sevenzo