Request for Summit Presentation Proposals

The RFP for the 2021 Summit is now closed. This page is available for reference only.

Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

In education, improvement science can drive equity reforms by providing a method for “seeing the system” that is producing inequitable results. Improvement science is a rigorous, structured approach to planning and implementing change, but to disrupt the systems and power structures that underlie inequitable outcomes, efforts must directly and explicitly address equity. Indeed, the confluence of events in our current moment has brought these persistent disparities into sharper relief for the nation as a whole. Therefore, in 2021, we will greatly expand on the one-third of Summit programming we typically devote to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

We will prioritize proposals that elevate underrepresented voices and feature work that has used improvement approaches to attack longstanding disparities by race/ethnicity or income in students’ progress through school and educational attainment.

Session Presentations

We are seeking proposals for presentations that showcase the best efforts in the field and support all participants in their improvement journeys. Designed as a hybrid learning experience, we prefer that Summit presenters attend the in-person event at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront so that their presentations can be viewed live by our Summit in-person attendees and livestreamed by professional technicians to our remote attendees. However, given the uncertainty of these times, we will also consider proposals for remote presentations. As noted, we will monitor the pandemic regularly and keep presenters informed about preparations being put in place to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

Toward this end, we invite proposals to present at the 2021 Summit that relate to one of the following Summit strands:

Improvement Science in Practice

Improvement science is an applied discipline that emphasizes innovation, rapid cycle testing in the field, and spread in order to generate learning about what changes work for whom and under what conditions. This strand seeks to illustrate improvement work in action that has resulted in better outcomes for students and communities. Presentations in this strand feature the methods that led to success along with concrete takeaways to inform others’ improvement work.

New this year: Voices of School Improvers

The 2021 Summit hybrid format affords the opportunity to increase the presence of voices that are historically underrepresented at the Summit due to the time required to travel to the conference. For the 2021 program, we will prioritize within the Improvement Science in Practice strand sessions that engage the perspectives of school-based improvers, including teachers, students, administrators, counselors, or social workers.

For the Improvement Science in Practice strand, we seek proposals that address one or more of the following:

  • Tell a story about a significant improvement (such as increased graduation rates) that positively impacted the lives of students through the use of improvement science. These proposals must include data and measurable results.
  • Demonstrate the use of data and measurement to track progress against a well-specified aim or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound (SMART) goal.
  • Detail the application of a particular improvement method or tool, along with the results generated from its use.
  • Surface the complexities of initiating or sustaining improvement efforts, including any learning from failures or when things did not go as planned.
  • Describe how one or more of the six core improvement principles has been essential to the improvement.
  • Describe how to successfully incorporate improvement science into day-to-day practice in schools.

Improvement Networks in Practice

Networks are a powerful strategy for accelerating our ability to learn and improve educational outcomes for all students.  Carnegie’s networked improvement community approach is defined by a focus on a specific problem, a common theory of improvement, and a practice of sharing measures and applying disciplined methods of improvement. This strand illustrates what is necessary to bring a network to life and support it in reaching its improvement goals.

For the Improvement Networks in Practice strand, we seek proposals that address one or more of the following:

  • Share the story of how the networked approach accelerated the ability to learn and reach improvement goals.
  • Surface the complexities of initiating or sustaining networked improvement communities, including any learning from “failures” or when things did not go as planned.
  • Offer measures, tools, indicators, or practices that have been used to assess the network health and describe efforts to continually improve performance.
  • Describe the development of analytic capabilities within hub teams and/or networks, such as data infrastructures and the use of data or evidence to inform networked learning strategies.
  • Describe network structures, processes, or tools that foster effective collaboration and culture across networked members.
  • Introduce strategies, tools, and technologies that allow for the spread of promising practices.
  • Describe practices developed or used by hub teams to support members’ learning by doing.
  • Describe a network’s perspective of its use of external supports or evaluation efforts that successfully bolstered the network’s efforts.

Leadership for Improvement

Leadership plays a critical role in driving and supporting improvement. Leading improvement requires the ability to shift norms and habits that are deeply ingrained in the culture of educational enterprises. Transformational leaders are driven to break through the status quo and achieve new levels of performance.

For the Leadership for Improvement strand, we seek proposals that address one or more of the following:

  • Tell the story of leadership’s efforts to bring about or sustain systematic improvement across a school, district, region, or other enterprise; specific transformational aim(s); how the improvement principles shaped the pursuit of this transformation; and the results that were achieved.
  • Describe how to consciously attend 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 and 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.
  • Explore the lessons learned from failures.
  • Demonstrate federal, state, and/or local level policy that advances improvement science in education.
  • Advocate for a policy environment that is hospitable to the ideas of improvement science and networks.

Poster Presentations

The 2021 Summit hybrid experience will include both in-person and pre-recorded poster presentations.  Poster presentations will be scheduled at the San Diego event in two in-person poster sessions beginning with a Welcome & Poster Reception on the first evening of the Summit.  In addition, all poster presenters will be asked to pre-record a three to five minute presentation so that their work will also be accessible to remote attendees during the Summit.  All poster PDFs and pre-recorded presentations will be catalogued in the Summit Digital Library for on-demand viewing post Summit.

The Summit poster application requires the following information: poster title, poster description, area of focus, aim/goal of the improvement work, data assessing progress toward the aim, and presenter information.

How to Apply


Review the important dates and logistics that follow and submit your proposal below. The program committee will review proposals and make selections in order to provide the most compelling program for our diverse community.

Important Dates
August 21, 2020 Proposal submission deadline
October 30, 2020 Notifications
April 25–28, 2021 Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education
2021 Summit RFP cover To help you prepare your proposal, please download and review the full Summit RFP (PDF).