Request for Summit Presentation Proposals (Closed)

Beginning with the inaugural Summit four years ago, Carnegie has sought to develop a convening context for an emerging community of educational improvers. The program is intended as a vehicle for showcasing the best of our field’s efforts and supporting all who attend in their journey to improve. Toward this end, we invite proposals to present at the 2018 Summit (April 3-5, 2018) that relate to one of the following Summit strands.

The deadline to submit proposals was Monday, July 24, 2017.





April 16–18, 2019


San Francisco Marriott Marquis

Summit Strands

I. Improvement Science in Practice

As a field, we undervalue learning to improve in ways that are systematic and organized. We have in the past lacked a methodology to structure and guide this approach to improvement. This strand introduces participants to groundbreaking organizations that are achieving better educational outcomes through the use of improvement science methodologies, organizations that have effectively turned knowledge into practice and systematically spread that knowledge to improve practice reliably at scale.

For this strand we are specifically seeking proposals that:

  • Tell a story about a significant improvement (such as increased graduation rates) that positively impacted the lives of students and/or teachers through the use of improvement science and include measureable results.
  • Describe how one or more of the core improvement principles has been essential to the improvement.
      1. Make the work problem-specific and user-centered.
      2. Variation in performance is the core problem to address.
      3. See the system that produces the current outcomes.
      4. We cannot improve at scale what we cannot measure.
      5. Anchor practice improvement in disciplined inquiry.
  • Detail use of an explicit improvement methodology and/or tool(s) to make progress or spread results.
  • Demonstrate the use of data and measurement (quantitative/qualitative) to track progress against a well-specified aim.
  • Explore the lessons learned from big flops and failures.

II. Networks in Practice

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. There are many strategies, tools and approaches to collective improvement work.  Technological advances have also made this approach more attractive by opening up new ways to connect virtually with one another. Carnegie’s approach to networked improvement communities is defined by focusing on a specific problem, having a common theory of improvement, sharing measures, and applying disciplined methods of improvement. This strand seeks to illustrate what it takes to bring a network to life and to support it to reach its improvement goals.

For this strand we are seeking proposals that:

  • Share the story of initiating and/or sustaining a networked improvement community.
  • Illuminate the elements of effective narratives of participation. What kinds of storytelling drive voluntary association with a network that aims to solve a specific problem?
  • Describe how to build and sustain collective energy around a common aim in a network setting.
  • Offer measures and tools that have been used to organize and assess the health of a network.
  • Describe organizational structures, processes, and tools that foster effective collaboration within and across member organizations.
  • Introduce tools and technologies that allow for the spread of promising practices and continued learning about them.
  • Share the story of how the networked approach accelerated the ability to learn and reach improvement goals.
  • Explore the lessons learned from big flops and failures.

III. Leadership for Improvement

The critical work of leaders 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 ingrained in the culture of educational organizations.

For this strand we are seeking proposals that:

  • Tell the story of leadership’s efforts to bring about or sustain systematic improvement across a school, district, state, region, or country; their specific transformational aim(s); how the improvement principles shaped their pursuit of this transformation; and the results that they achieved.
  • Describe how to attend consciously to the cultural conditions that enable the dispositions toward and active pursuit of continuous quality improvement in educational systems.
  • Describe in detail the strategies to build improvement capability within systems, including how to introduce these ideas and deepen engagement over time. The presentation might also describe how to determine who needs what improvement skills.
  • Describe how the use of measurement and data drive improvement and shift the culture from measurement for accountability to measurement for improvement.
  • Build improvement infrastructure at the federal, state and/or local level to advance improvement science in education.
  • Advocate for a policy environment that is hospitable to the ideas of improvement science and networks.
  • Explore the lessons learned from big flops and failures.


Proposals will be reviewed by the Summit program committee and selections made in order to provide the most compelling program for our diverse community. Unfortunately, there are limited presentation slots available, and it is unlikely we will be able to accept all proposals.

Important Dates
July 24, 2017 Proposal Submission Deadline
October 9, 2017 Notification of Acceptance
April 3-5, 2018 Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education
Download the full Request for proposal

To help you prepare your proposal, please review the full presenter RFP, which includes all the information on this page, as well as submission requirements.


Summit Registration: Please note that there is a maximum of two presenters per proposal. Both presenters of accepted proposals will receive the special speaker registration rate of $695. The regular Summit registration rate is $975.

Travel and Lodging: Presenters are responsible for their own travel and accommodations.

Questions: Please contact Kareen Yang, Summit Project Manager, at


We want our education institutions to motivate, challenge, and engage students with higher levels of knowledge and skills for an increasingly competitive and global economic environment. Educators, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and community leaders have been actively pursuing reform. And yet, with dispiriting regularity, promising new reform ideas emerge only to be implemented with very limited, if any, long-term impact.

Our collective vision is ambitious. Imagine a future in which systematic learning to improve is occurring every day in thousands of settings. The education field could become an immense networked improvement community.

Carnegie Foundation initiated the Summit on Improvement in Education with a strategy: if educators joined the discipline of improvement science and the capabilities of networks to foster innovation and social learning, then the rate and spread of improvement might accelerate dramatically.

The Summit strives to catalyze and support such a future.  It provides a place to challenge existing norms, learn new practices, concentrate our effort and reinforce our commitments to improve the nation’s schools.


The Summit is a gathering of the best minds in education, improvement, and innovation: school district leaders, principals, teachers, program directors, K-12 and higher education administrators, professors, policymakers, researchers, and entrepreneurs. In just four years, the Summit has grown from 400 people from 39 states and 5 countries in 2014 to over 1200 people from 47 states and 13 countries in 2017. We expect over 1400 in San Francisco at the April 3-5, 2018 event.