Pre-Conference Courses

Nine interactive pre-conference courses will be offered at the 2021 Carnegie Summit on Sunday, April 25. Each course will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. PST. Pre-conference courses require a separate registration fee.

New for 2021: You may register for a pre-conference course without registering for the Summit general conference. Space is limited, so register today and reserve your spot!

Already registered for the 2021 Summit and would like to add on a pre-conference course? Contact Summit registration at summitreg@carnegiefoundation.org to make changes to your enrollment.

Date

April 19–28, 2021

Registration


PC1. Improvement Science Basics

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching works to build the capability of education leaders and practitioners to apply improvement science in their schools, organizations, and networks.

Improvement science combines analytic discipline and practical on-the-ground tools to accelerate progress on pressing educational problems of performance and equity. Its methods support change agents in deeply understanding problems and their causes, testing ideas for change, and spreading promising practices to new contexts. Through an improvement science approach, the “learning by doing” that occurs in individual clinical practice can culminate in robust, practical field knowledge that is capable of reliably producing quality outcomes across diverse contexts.

This pre-conference course is ideal for those seeking a comprehensive overview of the basic tenets and tools of improvement science. It will provide an introduction to the foundational concepts in improvement science, hands-on activities with key improvement tools and processes, and a case study of how this approach has been applied in education. Participants will get the most out of this pre-conference course if they complete a few short assignments in advance.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify key concepts and principles that underpin the improvement science approach to change
  • Understand how aim statements and theories of practice drive improvement efforts
  • Explore how measurement is used in an improvement context
  • Describe how change ideas are developed, iteratively tested, and spread to achieve quality results reliably at scale

Melissa Chabran, Managing Director and Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Manuelito Biag, Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, and Director, Post-Baccalaureate Fellowship Program, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
LaRena Heath, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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PC2. Organizing to Work in a Networked Improvement Community

Educators, researchers, and policymakers have struggled to find ways of efficiently and effectively applying evidence-based knowledge to the continuous process of solving practical, on-the-ground problems. Networked improvement communities (NICs) provide the necessary organizational structure for mobilizing the diverse expertise needed to solve the most pressing and persistent problems that confront our nation’s colleges and schools.

This pre-conference course delves into the fundamentals of initiating a networked improvement community. Participants will learn how to engage in a disciplined approach to identifying a specific problem and analyzing the system that produces it, as well as the role and functions of a NIC hub in establishing and leading a network. Participants will also receive practical advice about how to establish a culture that supports collective learning.

This course is ideal for teams of 2–7 people who want to work on a shared problem but who are not yet deeply engaged in working as a NIC. Participants will get the most out of this pre-conference session if they have a basic understanding of improvement science when they enroll or are committed to gaining that understanding by completing short assignments in advance of the session.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand what makes a NIC distinct from other forms of collaborative improvement efforts
  • Understand the phases of a NIC’s development and the social learning that occurs as teams undertake systems investigation and theory-based learning.
  • Identify key concepts and tools that will support network learning
  • Understand the structures and routines that sustain a NIC, including the functions of a hub
  • Be prepared to determine if a NIC is a viable structure for accomplishing their aims

Emma Parkerson, Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Simone Palmer, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, and Director, Professional Education Courses and Program Offerings, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Cami Velasquez, Improvement Analyst, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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PC3. Using Data for Quality Improvement

Schools have made significant headway in collecting data on student learning in the interest of driving change. But how do we embed data collection and use in ongoing processes to continuously improve practices and performance? The nature of the data and the processes in which they are used needs to be shaped to support continuous quality improvement.

This pre-conference course delves into how to develop and use measurement and data. Participants will learn to link their improvement ideas to concrete measures in order to understand if and how their system is improving. They will also learn about using data to examine variation and understand systems, creating measures to support improvement plans, and using measurement in the context of small scale inquiry cycles.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how to use measures to see systems and more deeply understand problems
  • Consider what types of measures support improvement, including measures used in small scale inquiry cycles designed to help improvers learn
  • Understand how to work with partners and within NICs to design, develop, refine, and implement common measures focused on a specific theory of improvement

Jon Norman, Managing Director and Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Kelly McMahon, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Dave Sherer, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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PC4. Leadership for System Transformation: Putting Research into Practice

Wondering what improvement science looks like in a school district that has achieved results? This pre-conference course will help connect the dots. Leaders, teachers, and coaches from the School District of Menomonee Falls (SDMF) in Wisconsin and Studer Education℠ will guide participants through the district’s 10-year journey of developing leaders and applying improvement science to accelerate system, school, and student learning. Participants will first learn about the core principles underlying systemic improvement in SDMF and be introduced to the organization’s transformational approach to methodical, continuous improvement. Building upon this broad, system-level view, participants will learn how to grow and develop leaders who can effectively lead change, empower teachers to improve student and school results through cycles of improvement, and develop students who can analyze their own challenges and make smart decisions to advocate for their own learning needs. Along the way, presenters will offer specific examples from SDMF of connecting to hearts and minds to drive results and stimulate ongoing organizational learning.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Engage an elected board to understand, appreciate, and drive improvement through resource allocation and policy adoption
  • Train and coach a collaborative leadership team through the continuous change of education institutions so that they can lead as a team with both their hearts and minds
  • Build aligned scorecards of key metrics and high-leverage actions that drive improvement at the district, school, and classroom level
  • Report scorecard progress using a simple, 45-day cycle that supports improvement through agile adjustment to achieve results
  • Coach teachers to plan, do, study, and act with students so that each student knows and advocates for their own progress
  • Ensure that improvement is everyone’s job, from superintendent to food service employee, from student to board member

Corey Golla, Superintendent of Schools, School District of Menomonee Falls
Patricia (Pat) Greco, Superintendent Emeritus, School District of Menomonee Falls; Senior Director of Thought Leadership, Studer Education
Casey Blochowiak, Director of Curriculum and Learning, School District of Menomonee Falls
Suzanne (Suzy) Thomas, Director of Quality and Analytics, School District of Menomonee Falls

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PC5. Student-Powered Improvement

Partnering with students who have been historically marginalized by systems is a way for improvement teams to practice anti-racism and ensure that their efforts aren’t going to perpetuate the status quo. This pre-conference course examines how students can be authentically involved in improvement efforts. Participants will explore various examples, including organizations and networks that have deepened student voice, partnered with students to identity and test change ideas, and developed enabling conditions for students to lead.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify their own “why” for increasing student partnerships in improvement
  • Understand a continuum of student partnership possibilities—from informing to collaborating to leading
  • Unpack enabling conditions and potential missteps in developing authentic student partnerships
  • Consider which students to partner with to build anti-racist practices and outcomes
  • Explore concrete examples of student partnerships, including the related tools and resources from the field

Kari Nelsestuen, Co-Founder, Community Design Partners
Julie Smith, Co-Founder, Community Design Partners

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PC6. Leading for Equity: Liberatory Design in Complex Systems

Many education leaders approach system challenges and change initiatives as complicated problems to solve. However, the complexity of equity challenges means that emergent solutions must be found through dynamic social interactions of diverse people and networks working together. Leaders in complex adaptive systems must be skilled at balancing the technical, relational, and adaptive approaches needed for equitable systems change.

This pre-conference course will introduce the National Equity Project’s Leading for Equity (LFE) framework and SEA methods (See, Engage, and Act) as ways to expand equity consciousness, complexity thinking, and liberatory design as dynamic approaches to problem-solving, decision-making and contextually appropriate action. Premised on the idea that solutions in complex systems are unknown, leaders learn to apply liberatory design principles—empathy, co-design, problem framing, system probes, prototyping and testing, reflection, and iteration—to find workable solutions to equity challenges. Participants will explore process and planning tools that can match the level of complexity of their problem by considering the similarities, differences, and bounded applicability of methodologies and tools such as the PDSA cycle and NEP’s Liberatory Design cycle.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Develop a greater understanding of the inherent tensions, contradictions, and uncertainty in leading for equity in complex systems
  • Use a complex system and an equity lens to assess their system’s challenges and opportunities
  • Explore approaches for problem identification, and decision-making to simultaneously be disruptive and measured in influencing equitable systems change
  • Reflect on their personal leadership, given individual identities, roles, and responsibilities as the foundation for generating ideas about possible next moves regarding a current equity challenge.

Victor Cary, Senior Director, National Equity Project
Tom Malarkey, Director, National Equity Project

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PC7. Coaching for Improvement

Improvement coaches support improvement teams by helping design an improvement journey, providing technical expertise, and building the improvement capacity of the team. In this pre-conference course, participants will learn about coaching practices that can be used to support teams, especially those interested in using improvement to pursue more equitable outcomes.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the role of an improvement coach and how it is similar or different from other coaching roles in education
  • Be able to coach key improvement routines (know what to look for and how to analyze key products, determine next steps, and choose a stance)
  • Understand common dilemmas that arise in pursuing equity-focused improvement, and practice identifying responses to these dilemmas
  • Explore a few frameworks and approaches for problem identification and decision-making, as well as for taking action in their system
  • Reflect on their personal leadership, given individual identity, role, and responsibilities as the foundation for generating ideas about possible next moves regarding a current equity challenge

Alicia Grunow, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

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PC8. The Art of Building Consensus

Collaboration is at the core of many successful system changes. Being able to bring key stakeholders together to think through tough problems and make decisions together is a valuable leadership skill. Yet such efforts are often stymied by ambiguity, disagreement, and mutual misunderstanding. This pre-conference course, drawn from the best-selling book The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, shares the mechanics of collaborative decision-making, as well as tools and techniques that can be immediately applied.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the principles of collaboration and group decision-making
  • Gain insight into the underlying dynamics of groups
  • Explore practical methods for building consensus and reaching closure

Nelli Noakes, Partner and Senior Consultant, Community At Work

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PC9. Introduction to Design Thinking: Design for Belonging

In this pre-conference course, participants will learn about design thinking through a rapid-cycle, immersive design challenge. As part of the challenge, participants will work through parts of the equity-conscious design thinking process: notice, empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and reflect. The course will include reflection on the kind of learning mindsets at play in equity-conscious design process, and how they can “design for belonging.” Participants will plan a design action to take after the conference.

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Immerse in design thinking process
  • Understand mindsets of design and how they relate to improvement science
  • Explore concrete application of design thinking to design for belonging

Morgan Vien, Deeper Learning Coach, Envision Learning Partners
Susie Wise, Adjunct Professor and Former Director, K12 Lab Network, Stanford d.school

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