April 1–3, 2020


San Francisco Marriott Marquis


Strand: Methods of Improvement Science and Networks

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 equip participants with practical techniques and tools to bring back to their organizations.

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

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

(A1, B1)
Benjamin Cooper, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Cierra Cooper, Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Kelly McMahon, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

(A2, B2)
Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
LaRena Heath, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Edit Khachatryan, Consultant, Carnegie Foundation
Cami Velasquez, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

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

Before we can solve a problem, we must deeply understand it. This session will introduce causal system analysis (CSA), a method for gaining a common understanding of the problem around which an improvement team works. Participants will be introduced to a variety of CSA tools and will explore in depth the use of a fishbone diagram to reveal key leverage points that improvers must address to solve a problem. Introductory

Patrice Dawkins-Jackson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Emma Parkerson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Cami Velasquez, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Role of Analytic Partners in Supporting Continuous Improvement in NICs

By design, networked improvement communities (NICs) foster evaluative thinking and self-evaluation because they are continually trying to answer improvement questions that keep them focused on making progress towards their aim and learning through practical evidence. These complex communities work cyclically on iterations, trials, and refinements, which traditional evaluation methods tend to not capture because they can only offer a snapshot at one point in time. In this session, participants will learn about a novel approach to understanding NICs cyclical improvement process: the Evidence for Improvement Framework. Participants will learn about the role of analytic partners as supports for building the capacity of the network in ways that account for the iterative nature of improvement work.

Erin Henrick, Founder & President, Partner to Improve
Kelly McMahon, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Dave Sherer, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Ash Vasudeva, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation

Measurement for Improvement

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

Mai-Anh Bui, Data Analyst, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Dave Sherer, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Run Charts: A Tool for Analysis in Improvement Science

Run charts are an important tool for making evidence-based decisions. In this session, participants will go over run charts in detail and the guidelines for interpreting the resulting data. Activities include two hands-on activities that will help in the development of run-chart-related data skills. This session is ideal for those already working with data and want to hone their analytic skills related to this particular tool. Advanced

Manuelito Biag, Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Mai-Anh Bui, Data Analyst, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

The Engine for Improvement: Coaching PDSA Cycles

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

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

Understanding the User Experience: Effective Use of Empathy Interviews

One of the six core principles of improvement is to “make the problem work-specific and user-centered.” The empathy interview done right provides an opportunity for understanding the user perspective and operationalizing an equity lens. In practice, however, they often get the same results as traditional interviews—opinions and feedback on narrow topics—instead of uncovering the real needs and perspectives of the user. In this session, participants will understand the importance of defining a clear purpose for empathy interviews and learn how to select diverse interviewees, structure and conduct empathy interviews, and effectively analyze and use the interview data to inform improvement work.

Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Julie Smith, Founder, Community Design Partners

Organizing Distributed Learning in a Network

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

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

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

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

Louis Gomez, Professor of Education and Information Studies, UCLA; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Alicia Grunow, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Uma Kotagal, Senior Executive Leader, Population and Community Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Developing a Theory of Action to Deliver Your Theory of Improvement

Putting a theory of improvement into practice requires a theory of action. That is, the theory of action operationalizes the theory of improvement toward achieving the desired goal. It answers questions such as Which levers should I work on first? and How should I sequence my improvement journey? This session will explore considerations for developing a theory of action and focus on the social and logistical structures that create the opportunity for real improvement to occur. The use of a learning system will be discussed, including its connections to measurement as a mechanism to understand systems performance and to knowledge as a predictor of where change will lead to improved outcomes. Advanced

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

Spreading Successful Changes

Some important considerations of improvers are (1) how to design an improvement initiative for spread and scale, how to take a successful change or change package and spread it to other parts of the system, and (3) Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles can be adapted for this process. This session will provide the guidance needed to address planning, infrastructure, and sequencing of tasks helpful to teams/staff charged with the adoption and adaptation of changes. It will also address how to determine if those changes resulted in replicated, measurable improvement. Advanced

Brandon Bennett, Principal Advisor, Improvement Science Consulting; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Manuelito Biag, Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Catherine Miller, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Theory of NIC Development

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

Jennifer Lin Russell, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Dave Sherer, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Jennifer Zoltners Sherer, Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh-Partners for Network Improvement

Developing Hub Capability to Lead, Organize and Learn

Networked improvement communities bring together diverse stakeholders who are committed to solving complex problems together. The hub of a NIC is the central “learning organization” that leads and organizes that effort. This session will define the key areas of work that a hub must engage in to manage a successful NIC. Participants will learn which processes are important, how they interconnect, and what roles they play in the success of a NIC. This session is designed for individuals or organizations currently running a hub or about to launch one. Advanced

Kelly McMahon, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Emma Parkerson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Fostering a Shared Identity Through the Power of Narrative

A dynamic and unified narrative fosters an improvement community’s vital norms and identity. Drawing on the experiences of the National Writing Project, this session will provide participants with an interactive process for to drafting their own narrative in the context of their improvement effort. They will also learn strategies and routines for leading their improvement team in crafting a collective narrative.

Melissa Chabran, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Simone Palmer, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, Executive Director, National Writing Project

Moving from Root Cause Analysis to Action for Equity

Once the myriad causes contributing to an inequity in a school system have been identified, how can improvement science uncover high impact, low effort change ideas that lead to more equitable outcomes? In this workshop, participants will gain experience with protocols for examining the relationships between root causes, prioritizing the ones that need to be addressed, and moving to action. Special attention will be paid to noticing implicit biases and deficit thinking so that we can identify opportunities for systems change within our locus of control.

Ryan Gallagher, Director of Improvement, High Tech High

Navigating Improvement Coaching Dilemmas: A Framework for Coaching Improvement

Using improvement science methodologies to advance educational outcomes is becoming increasingly common, and coaches are one mechanism that organizations are using to build capability. While coaching is essential to developing capability, there is great variability in approaches and training among coaches. In practice, this may translate to inconsistent and/or ineffective responses to the dilemmas that emerge during coaching. This session presents a practical framework to facilitate improvement coaching that supports teams and individuals doing the improvement work. Participants will learn about the dimensions of the coaching improvement framework and engage in scenario-based simulations where they practice responding to dilemmas that routinely come up during coaching.

Benjamin Cooper, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Edit Khachatryan, Consultant, Carnegie Foundation
Barbara Shreve, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

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, a real educator team will hold an improvement review live during the session, with coaching from external improvement advisors. At the end of the session, the team and session 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.

Ryan Gallagher, Director of Improvement, High Tech High
Sandra Park, Co-Founder and Improvement Specialist, Improvement Collective; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Improvement Tools: What Do I Use and for What Purpose?

Our questions drive our decisions about the tools we use to solve a problem. What specifically are we trying to accomplish? There are a variety of improvement tools available to us to help us better understand the problem and the system that produces it. In this session, we will identify and discuss some of the common questions that come up in the first phases of an improvement project. We will build our understanding on how to use different improvement tools to suit the needs of our projects. Participants will have an opportunity to consider their own questions and dilemmas and consult with each other about the range of tools they might use to achieve their desired outcomes.

Manuelito Biag, Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Melissa Chabran, Associate, Managing Director, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Catherine Miller, Associate, Learning Resource Design and Development, Carnegie Foundation


Strand: Improvement Science in Practice

With roots in industry and healthcare, improvement science is rapidly growing in the education sector as a method for advancing equity by improving outcomes for all students. This strand illustrates improvement work in action. Organizations and efforts featured in this strand are achieving better results for students through the use of improvement methodologies, and they are able to share concrete takeaways and best practices for addressing persistent problems of practice.

Eliminating Equity Gaps through Data and Institutional Change

For the past decade, Georgia State University has been at the leading edge of demographic shifts in the southeast. While doubling the numbers of non-white and low-income students it enrolls, the university has simultaneously committed to the use of data to inform systematic institutional change. In the process, Georgia State has raised graduation rates by 23 percentage points and closed all achievement gaps based on race, ethnicity, and income level. It now awards more bachelor’s degrees to African Americans than any other non-profit college or university in the nation. Through a discussion of innovations ranging from chat bots and predictive analytics to meta-majors and completion grants, the session will cover lessons learned from Georgia State’s transformation and outline several practical and low-cost steps that campuses can take to improve outcomes for underserved students.

Timothy M. Renick, Senior Vice President for Student Success and Professor, Georgia State University

Scaling Up Without Screwing Up

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

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

Muddling through the Messiness: Improvers Reflecting on the Real-Life Challenges of Measurement for Equity & Improvement

Measurement for improvement is by definition messy because the work of improvement in the real world is messy. From creating measures for work that’s not commonly measured to supporting effective data collection across stakeholders with varying levels of skill, improvers often experience false starts, roadblocks, and failures. In this session, a panel of improvement leaders will share stories about their successes and challenges in developing and supporting the use of measurement for improvement in the real world. Among other questions, they will explore their biggest implementation aha’s, challenges with routine data collection over time, and lessons learned in meaningfully networking people around measurement for improvement.

Elaine Farber Budish, Director, UPD Consulting
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence & Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Sharing Theories and Measures Across Networks in Teacher Preparation

Developing a theory with measures to understand progress toward the aim is one of the most complex parts of improvement work. With many networks emerging in our field, it can be difficult to find space and time to share what we are learning about our theories and measures. This session will bring together networks of teacher preparation programs working on similar problems to share their work with each other, with participants, and with experts. All participants will have the opportunity to hear reflections from measurement and content experts about what may be gleaned when networks learn from each other about improvement theories and measures.

Increasing Readiness for Change in a Large School District: Where Theory Meets Practice

This interactive session focuses on the organizational construct known as readiness for change (RFC) and its role in instructional improvement. Specifically, the Outlier Research-Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) research-practice partnership is using an RFC approach to spread its teachers’ use of three teaching practices that support students’ critical thinking. This effort aims to increase the quantity and quality of such practices as they are used in BCPS’s 6,000 elementary classrooms. Led by a researcher and a practitioner, this session will share this theory of RFC, provide examples of the on-the-ground RFC strategy, share RFC measures, examine teachers’ RFC data, and ask participants to consider their own RFC.

Jeanne Century, Director, Outlier/UChicago STEM Education, University of Chicago
Annmargareth Marousky, Instructional Specialist, Broward County Public Schools

Key Takeaways From a Statewide Improvement Network about How to Do Improvement Work Practically

The Tennessee Early Literacy Network (TELN) is an improvement network launched by the Tennessee Department of Education in 2016 to empower school districts to identify and solve problems in a disciplined and evidence-based way. As the funding of TELN came to a close, the network attempted to summarize key lessons the 20 districts and 35 school teams in TELN learned about how to do continuous improvement in practical, user-friendly ways. This session will share the key lessons learned by TELN’s network members about doing improvement work, whether working as an individual or as part of a larger network.

Rachelle McManus, Director of Improvement, Tennessee Early Literacy Network
Mary Kathryn Wells, Executive Director, Improvement Networks, Tennessee Early Literacy Network

Growing Improvement Facilitators: Competencies, Approaches, and Personal Transformations

After three years of cultivating improvement networks, California’s CORE districts have iterated on a capability-building approach to develop educators who can effectively lead teams of colleagues to practice improvement science with a focus on equity in process and results. Participants in this session will review and discuss the districts’ proposed competencies for improvement facilitators, then explore the design of their improvement facilitator training program and how it evolved to address several key lessons that arose in their work. Participants will hear from practicing improvement facilitators and have the opportunity to engage in reflection around improvement facilitator capability and how it could be built in their organization or network.

Juli Coleman, Deputy Chief of Improvement, CORE Districts Amanda Meyer, Director of Improvement, CORE Districts

Continuous Transformation: Can Continuous Improvement Practices Help Create Anti-Racist Educators?

Continuous Improvement (CI) practices and equity-centered improvement goals are increasingly linked in the field. There is a limited understanding, however, of how CI methods may intersect with the work of anti-racist educator development, which requires critical examination of one’s self and one’s role in an inequitable system of education. This session delves into the experience of a community of educators who sought to use the tools of both continuous improvement and anti-racist educator development to increase academic achievement among Black males in their classrooms. This pilot suggests important considerations and opportunities for educators who seek to bring these areas of work together.

David Johnson, Senior Research Analyst, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
Adelric McCain, Director of Equity and Impact, Network for College Success

Disrupting Inequitable Outcomes by Focusing Improvement Efforts on our Neediest Students Using an Asset Lens

Participants will undertake a hands-on learning about disrupting inequitable outcomes by exploring an inquiry cycle focused on applying an asset lens to the neediest students and addressing inequity by moving from supporting the “average” student to supporting “every” student. By engaging in an asset portfolio review, discussing a case study, and analyzing artifacts, participants will experience a focus student inquiry cycle and will consider how to apply similar practices in their own contexts. This session will interest participants seeking to use improvement science to disrupt equity and achievement gaps in the classroom and support improvement capability across school teams.

Mary Dillman, Executive Director, Office of Data and Accountability, Boston Public Schools
Sarah Jay, Manager of Professional Learning, Office of Data and Accountability, Boston Public Schools

Leveraging Continuous Improvement Methods for an Equitable Educational System: Affordances and Challenges

In California’s educational landscape, school and district systems are charged with making progress towards educational equity and encouraged to use continuous improvement methods. Yet all too often, these two strands of work are experienced as separate missions or, at best, only loosely connected ones. This session explores the on-the-ground experience and insights of those who are actively working to leverage continuous improvement methods to dismantle the institutional processes, structures, and belief systems that produce the inequitable results that the nation’s school systems are designed to produce.

Sola Takahashi, Senior Research Associate, WestEd
Amber Valdez, Senior Program Associate, WestEd

Using Simulation Tools to Better See and Improve Your System

“See the system that produces the current outcomes” is one of the core principles of improvement. Yet, limits on time and resources for systems investigation constrain the capacity of school and district teams to undertake the intensive, collaborative work necessary to fully understand their system. Responding to this need, the Santa Clara County Office of Education Differentiated Assistance team developed and implemented a highly effective simulation activity to help school districts see how the variations in their system produce inequities. Participants will learn about the efficacy of including this type of simulation in their improvement work through hands-on, interactive exploration of the tool.

Rhonda Beasley, MTSS Coordinator, Santa Clara County Office of Education
Erica Boas, Research Analyst, Associate, Santa Clara County Office of Education

Hidden in Plain Sight: Using Positive Deviance to Discover Local Bright Spots

Every child deserves to be taught by our best teachers. Despite every teacher’s best intentions, however, student performance still varies. Participants in this session will learn how the School District of Menomonee Falls used embedded measures of key outcomes to discover positive deviants—those using uncommon and successful strategies, both hidden and in plain sight—and brought these strategies to scale. Through this application of the positive deviance improvement approach, literacy achievement in the classroom improved by 76% for students performing below grade level.

Casey Blochowiak, Director of Curriculum and Learning, School District of Menomonee Falls
Suzy Thomas, Director of Quality and Analytics, School District of Menomonee Falls

Leveraging Data to Bring PDSAs to Life and to Scale: A Student-Led Conferences Simulation

The Colorado Education Initiative supports a network of school districts engaging in improvement science around the shared aim of increasing growth and student agency for underserved student populations, and an integral part of this work has involved testing and refining ways to collect and analyze data around Practice-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles. In this interactive session, participants will gain practical experience planning for, collecting, and analyzing data in multiple ways around a PDSA cycle involving student-led conferences, and will walk away with a plan to collect and analyze data in their own contexts using replicable practices.

Kevin Denton, Principal, Buena Vista High School
Amy Spicer, Senior Program Lead, Colorado Education Initiative

Understanding the User Experience as a Lever for Improving Equity

Remaining user-centered is a core tenet of improvement work. In this session, participants will learn from two improvement efforts that have employed different methods to solicit user experience to guide improvement efforts. Leaders from Dallas Independent School District will demonstrate how a network of 14 schools used hundreds of empathy interviews with students and teachers along with quantitative data to identify root causes affecting teachers’ ability to act equitably to improve students’ reading and writing. Leaders from Oregon will demonstrate how recording the lived experiences of leaders of color is contributing to efforts to diversify the teacher workforce. Participants will view dramatized scenarios of Black educators’ and administrators’ lived experiences and use improvement science approaches (self-reflection, collaboration, charting, and problem-solving) to look for systematic gaps and solutions to racialized problems of practice

Lisa Collins, PSU Leaders of Color Mentor Coordinator, Lewis and Clark College
Sara DeMartino, English Language Arts Fellow, Institute for Learning, Learning Research & Development Center, Institute for Learning/Dallas ISD Network For School Improvement
Anthony Petrosky, Co-Director, Institute for Learning, Learning Research & Development Center, Institute for Learning/Dallas ISD Network For School Improvement
Melissa Chabran (moderator), Associate, Managing Director, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Making Teaching Visible: Improving Practice by Improving Key Instructional Processes 

When working with teachers, it can be challenging to determine a focus for improvement; to identify which specific, high-leverage practices can be shifted over time; and to select change ideas that are measurable and the right grain size. In this session, learn about two improvement projects that collaborated with teachers to make literacy instructional processes visible so that teachers could refine and improve their practice. Presenters will share examples of how teachers reduced the variation in instruction across classrooms and school sites.

Kim Austin, Senior Program Associate, WestEd
Jarrod Bolte, Founder and CEO, Improving Education
Erika Stern, Teacher, Baltimore City Public Schools

Using Improvement Methodology to Better Support Teachers' Implementation of High-Quality Curriculum

Louisiana is at the forefront of efforts to implement rigorous standards, high-quality curriculum, and aligned professional learning. Having neared state-wide adoption of high-quality curriculum, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) is increasingly focusing on the reach and quality of curriculum-focused professional learning. In Spring 2019, Columbia University’s Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) supported four district teams in using improvement methodology to develop, test, and act on change ideas intended to better support teachers’ implementation of high-quality curriculum. As a result, four schools are adapting or adopting new professional learning approaches. In this session, participants from LDOE, a district/school team, and CPRL describe their successes, challenges, and reflections.

Delaina Larocque, Executive Director of Field Implementation, Louisiana Department of Education
Ben Necaise, Associate Superintendent, East Baton Rouge Parish Schools

Broadening Our Lens Beyond the Classroom: Improvement Science in Action in Early Childhood Education Programs

This session explores how two unique interventions, Early Education Essentials Organizational Measurement and the Parent Ambassadors Program, make improvement science methods fit, feasible, and effective in early childhood education (ECE) settings, and empowers leaders and practitioners to build improvement capacity around well-specified aims beyond the classroom. Applied researchers from the Ounce of Prevention will engage participants in their experiences and lessons learned integrating improvement science principles, methods, measurement, and the University of Chicago Consortium’s K–12 5Essentials framework in two ECE interventions both aimed at strengthening organizational systems and practices surrounding teaching, learning, and family engagement in ECE settings.

Debra Pacchiano, Vice President, Translational Research, Ounce of Prevention Fund
Amanda Stein, Director of Research and Evaluation, Ounce of Prevention Fund

Decreasing Teacher Turnover to Improve Student Achievement

Teacher turnover costs school systems financially, has negative effects on the organization, and is detrimental to student achievement. The nationwide shortage of teachers has made the retention of teachers an urgent priority. In this session, participants will learn from two efforts working to address this challenge. Presenters from Jefferson County Schools (Alabama) will share how they used no-cost strategies to decrease mathematics teacher turnover and how their partnership with Work Institute has implications for decreasing turnover and increasing achievement, especially in high-poverty schools and schools with high percentages of children of color. On the second effort, presenters from the Collaboration to Ensure New Teacher Retention and Success initiated by the National Education Association will discuss early wins and learnings from their work to bring multiple labor-management partnerships together to improve new teacher retention.

Ann Nutter Coffman, Manager, Teacher Quality, National Education Association
Leslie Richards, Mathematics Specialist, Jefferson County Schools
Shelley Vail-Smith, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Jefferson County Schools
Emma Parkerson (moderator), Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Using Improvement Science to Create Equitable Learning Experiences for Students

This session tells the story of how the Mann UCLA Community School used improvement science to create equitable learning experiences and improve students’ outcomes in mathematics. Led by a Mann teacher, this presentation will describe how they experimented with practices aligned to their network’s driver diagram and anchored their work in biweekly disciplined inquiry. Teachers first designed a common assessment using PDSA cycles and then used these data to ground their regular PDSA inquiry sessions, discuss variation, and monitor progress and student learning. The session will also share how these experiences shaped an improvement culture for both teachers and students.

Sunanda Kushon, Math Teacher, Instructional Coach, Mann UCLA Community School
Kristen Rohanna, Director of Evaluation & Learning, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
Theodore Sagun, Director of Mathematics Instruction and Learning, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

Spotlight on the Literacy Design Collaborative: Disciplined Inquiry to Impact Program Design and Student Learning

The Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) is being spotlighted by the Carnegie Foundation for its use of disciplined inquiry processes to cyclically test elements of their program design. These inquiry processes allowed LDC to leverage its digital delivery platform and rapidly test user-centered prototypes for program design and implementation, as well as for the relative impact of these approaches on student learning. LDC leaders will detail how continuous-improvement learning cycles transformed its original program design in ways that resulted in five months additional learning relative to control groups in an I3 validation study conducted by UCLA-CRESST, and transformed it from a face-to-face professional development program focused on individual teachers to a strategic set of online resources for school and district leaders to use in their efforts to diagnose and strengthen literacy practices across their instructional systems.

Suzanne Simons, Chief Academic Officer, Literacy Design Collaborative
Chad Vignola, Executive Director, Literacy Design Collaborative
Ash Vasudeva (moderator), Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Carnegie Foundation

Local Improvement Networks at Work: Placing Students at the Center to Drive Systems Change

For the past two years, Renton School District has been working with community-based partners, extended learning organizations, and early learning providers in local improvement networks (LINs) to improve early mathematics and social-emotional learning outcomes for students of color and students from low-income families. This session will describe the evolution of this work since the team’s presentation at Summit 2019, when the Renton LIN was in the early stages of formation. Presenters will detail their experience applying continuous improvement principles to achieve racial equity and keeping students at the center to drive improvement. They will also share lessons learned and surface early outcomes from their efforts.

Amber Banks, Senior Program Officer, Pacific Northwest, US Programs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Jennifer Hogg, Education Associate, Social Policy Research Associates

Changing the Story on 3rd Grade Reading Through Data-Driven Strategies and Continuous Improvement Cycles

Students not reading on grade level in 3rd grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school, yet less than 40% of the nation’s 4th graders are proficient in reading. In this journey toward improved literacy, Dallas Independent School District (ISD) has grown its 3rd grade reading performance three times faster than the statewide average since 2015. This session will explain the key to Dallas ISD’s growth: continuous improvement to inform data-driven decisions, as demonstrated by multiple improvement cycles for PreK-2nd grade instructional coaching. Participants will learn about Dallas ISD’s work in changing the story on 3rd grade literacy through improvement science and how they can leverage these tools and methods in their own schools and districts.

Kelsey Clark, Partner, Boston Consulting Group
Derek Little, Assistant Superintendent, Early Learning, Dallas Independent School District

Inquiry and Measurement: Teachers Lived Experiences Improving Student Engagement

When adolescents disengage from school, learning becomes nearly impossible. It leads to underperformance, misbehavior, and dropout, and it disproportionately harms members of underserved groups. Cultivating authentic student engagement is a notoriously difficult adaptive challenge, even for experienced teachers. Last school year, over 150 U.S. teachers embarked on an improvement effort to increase students’ engagement. Many teachers saw remarkable changes in their classes. This teacher-led panel discusses how they used measurement and small tests of change to transform student engagement.

Chris Biddix, Teacher, Pritzker College Prep
Kathleen Duffy, Teacher, Barrington High School
Kirk Hinton, Teacher, Fremont Union High School District
Hirvelt Megie, Teacher, John Dewey High School
Sarah Gripshover (moderator), Director of Research, PERTS, Stanford University


Strand: Networks in Practice

Networks are a powerful strategy for accelerating our ability to learn and improve educational outcomes for all students. There are many strategies, tools, and approaches to collective improvement work. Per Carnegie’s approach, a networked improvement community 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 seeks to illustrate what is necessary to bring a network to life and to support it in reaching its improvement goals.

Compiled Lessons of Learning in CORE Districts: Improving Systems Through Continuous Improvement Over Time

This session will examine efforts by the CORE Districts—a collaborative of eight urban districts in California serving more than 1 million students—to leverage improvement community structures and a whole-child, whole-school data and analytics approach to improve student learning. This sequel to CORE’s sessions in the past five years will give participants a complete picture of CORE’s collaborative journey and the hits and misses for CORE’s flagship Improvement Community, focused on improving mathematics achievement. CORE’s leaders will highlight lessons learned about leadership moves and structures that empower school-site educators to collaboratively improve their practice.

Heather Hough, Executive Director, Policy Analysis for California Education
Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts
CORE District Superintendents

Reducing Variation While Improving Instruction and Student Achievement in Literacy

Sharing lessons from over 4 years working as a networked improvement community (NIC), this session will explore the deep learning produced by a set of 10 schools in Baltimore City as they worked to improve their instructional systems, reduce variation in performance, and create scalable changes that could inform work throughout the city. Participants will learn about Baltimore City’s successes and failures in multiple phases of the work, from NIC creation to attempts at scale through continuous revision of systems and processes to improve outcomes. Presenters will share specific examples of work from schools and classrooms, as well as structures developed reduce variation in work and outcomes while creating reliable systems of instruction to meet diverse student needs.

Jarrod Bolte, Founder and CEO, Improving Education
Kelly Rietschel, Director, Improving Education

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

Networked improvement communities (NICs) have become a popular strategy for working on complex problems of practice in education. Instructionally focused NICs face unique opportunities and challenges as teams grapple with ways to deeply address content-specific improvement in teaching and learning. In this session, we identify several critical elements of instructionally focused NICs and discuss common challenges they face. We use cases of such NICs to examine these opportunities and challenges, followed by a mediated discussion of the design and support implications.

Rosita Apodaca, Director of The Institute for Learning, University of Pittsburgh
Erin Hellmann, Data & Implementation Specialist, Bank Street College
Jennifer Lin Russell, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Jennifer Zoltners Sherer, Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh-Partners for Network Improvement
Leaders, Dallas Independent School District Institute for Learning Network for School Improvement Hub

Improvement Science Warriors: Empowering Teacher Leaders to Champion and Sustain Continuous Improvement Practices in Their Schools

Teacher leadership is a key lever for creating sustainable change in schools, and teacher leaders are uniquely positioned to champion the most powerful aspects of an effective networked improvement community. Teach Plus and the Rennie Center have partnered as grantees in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Networks for School Improvement (NSIs). to look at ways that teacher leaders best be trained and supported to become “improvement science warriors” who build routines and systems for continuous improvement that long outlast any given improvement project or grant period. This session will explore challenging questions about sustainability and highlight the wisdom of teacher leaders working to drive continuous improvement efforts to increase the number of African American and Latinx students, as well as students from low-income families, in achieving proficiency in 8th-grade mathematics.

Jennifer Husbands, Senior Program Officer, K–12 Education team, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Michael Savoy, National Managing Director, Teacher Leadership Programs, Teach Plus
Andrew Volkert, Senior Associate, Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy
Networks for School Improvement Teacher Leaders

How Our Network Learns: Evidence-Based Consolidation Allows Us to Accelerate Impact by Sharing Findings Across the Network

The New York City Department of Education’s Continuous Learning team acts as a hub for 21 school teams in Brooklyn working to improve outcomes for multilingual learners. To ensure that schools learn from each other’s progress, the network engages in a rigorous consolidation process. Improvement coaches assess progress against an internally developed rubric, and bright spot teams are identified and their successful practices articulated in a quarterly all-coach discussion. These practices are evaluated for impact, and the findings are shared at the next NIC convening. School teams can choose to integrate these practices into their next testing cycle.

Julie Leopold, Executive Director, Leadership for School Improvement, New York City Department of Education

Key Factors in Building and Sustaining an Engaged Network: Reflections From the BARR Model Experience

This session will present lessons learned and the structures, processes, and tools that foster sustained participation and engagement within the Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR) network. The BARR network consists of educators from over 100 schools in 15 states driven by the shared belief that every student—regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status—should have access to a high-quality education where adults know them, recognize their strengths, and help them succeed. Participants will experience several strategies that illustrate the importance of relationship building as the foundation of an effective network and discuss their own experiences in building and sustaining networks.

Maryann Corsello, Director of Research and Evaluation, BARR Center
Bryan Fleming, Network for School Improvement Associate Director, BARR Center
Kjirsten Hanson, Regional Manager and Coach, BARR Center
Angela Jerabek, Executive Director, BARR Center

Orchestrating the Building Equitable Learning Environments Network: Transforming Improvement Discourse

The Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) Network is a learning community established by the Raikes Foundation in 2016. BELE is led by five learning partner organizations and uses networked improvement to (1) create spaces where 10 school support organizations including The BARR Center, Community Responsive Education, Equal Opportunity Schools, EL Education, the Kingmakers of Oakland, Network for College Success, Summit Public Schools, Transcend, Turnaround for Children, Umoja Student Development Corps to build their equity consciousness, and (2) amplify the use of the science of learning and development to test, measure, and spread changes within their organizational models. This panel of representatives from the BELE Network will provide a window into this three-year journey, with particular emphasis on how multiple theories of action can be used to enrich equity work in education.

LaShawn Route Chatmon, Founding Executive Director, National Equity Project
Shay Bluemer Miroite, Lead Improvement Advisor, Shift-Results
Nicole Beechum, Senior Research Analyst, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
Dave Paunesku, Founding Director, PERTS, Stanford University
Representatives, BELE Network Member Organizations

Leaders in Conversation: Reflections on Their Journeys Leading Improvement Networks

A panel of three leaders of improvement networks—Tracy Fray-Oliver from Bank Street Education Center, Shelah Feldstein from the Central Valley Networked Improvement Community, and Mary Kathryn Wells from the Tennessee Early Literacy Network—will share their candid reflections, challenges, and learnings about leading improvement networks. They will describe important steps, instructive mistakes, key adjustments made in their networks, and what they would do differently were they to start an improvement network tomorrow. Participants will have the chance to reflect on their own improvement journeys, discuss those reflections with other participants, and ask questions of the panelists.

Shelah Feldstein, Network Director, Tulare County Office of Education
Tracy Fray-Oliver, Senior Associate Vice President, Bank Street Education Center
Mary Kathryn Wells, Executive Director, Improvement Networks, Tennessee Early Literacy Network

Lessons From the Field: Creating and Sustaining a Networked Improvement Community With 42 School Districts in South Jersey

In this session, participants will consider the strategies used to develop a networked improvement community (NIC) among the 42 member districts of the South Jersey Data Leaders Partnership (SJDLP). Working in collaboration with Catalyst@Penn GSE, SJDLP members spent two years understanding and applying the principles of continuous improvement in order to address teachers’ and administrators’ variable capacity to use data for decision-making. The presentation will address the following issues: managing differences in capacity among NIC members; fostering sustainability despite multiple pressures; and the role of mindset and skillset in building a community of practitioners engaged in continuous improvement.

L. Michael Golden, Executive Director, Catalyst@Penn GSE; Senior Fellow, Penn GSE
Marc Mancinelli, President and Founder, SJDLP; Director of Curriculum, South Jersey Data Leaders
Teacher Representative, SJDLP Member District
Researcher, Penn Graduate School of Education

Student Voice, Equity, and SEL: Moving Beyond the Buzzwords

In 2018–19, six Bay Area foundations joined 115 schools across 11 districts to form a networked improvement community committed to using student feedback to guide improvement. This NIC asked the question How can student perspectives inform the work of schools and the funders who support them? To answer this question, the NIC is measuring the non-cognitive factors that predict achievement and learning how social-emotional measures can inform school improvement and influence funders. In this interactive session, student, district, nonprofit, and foundation leaders will share actionable steps for making student voice the centerpiece of a NIC geared towards improving education outcomes.

Hawi Abraham, Youth Commissioner, West Contra Costa Unified School District
Bonnie Barron, P3 Early School Success Coordinator, Marin County Office of Education
Jen de Forest, Partnerships Lead, YouthTruth Student Survey
PK Diffenbaugh, Superintendent, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Fay Twersky, Vice President, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Leveraging a Network Approach to Scale High Quality Instructional Coaching Across a District

The Evansville, IN, school district and Mass Insight Education & Research built a network for educator development across 17 schools and the central office based upon a theory of improvement that focuses on instructional coaching. In 2 years, the district’s student growth outpaces other comparable districts in the state; 87% of the more than 1,000 educators who received coaching, believe it’s making them more effective teachers; and 100% of principals observe classroom improvement. Success comes from scaling and spreading promising practices with clear improvement metrics for each element of the change idea, and by bringing school and central office teams together to troubleshoot gaps and share what’s working. Presenters will share their tools and learnings.

Robert Jentsch, Managing Director, School Improvement, Mass Insight Education & Research
Velinda Stubbs, Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

Subject vs. Improvement Knowledge: The Transition Into a Network Improvement Community

Network for College Success, an organization that has led professional development for over a decade, will share its transformation journey into a network improvement community. Presenters will share their lessons learned, including the benefits of such a network and the challenges of rethinking existing parochial understandings of improvement.

Quinton Keith, Director of Data and Continuous Improvement, Network for College Success
Toney Vast-Binder, Lead Freshman Success Coach, Network for College Success

Capacity-Building for Networked Improvement

While much attention has been paid to how networks function and the tools they use to operate at high levels, it is equally important to talk about the skills and capabilities that organizations must have to support a high-functioning network. In this session, participants will learn about Catalyst:Ed’s Network Capacity Framework that illustrates the critical skills and abilities of successful network leaders. Participants will also have the ability to self-assess their organization against these capacities and learn how to get support for capacity improvement if needed. In addition, support partners who have led capacity-improvement projects in network intermediaries will share their strategies for success.

Bernadette Doykos, Partner, Measurement, Learning & Evaluation, Catalyst:Ed
Rachel Klein, Partner, Strategic Initiatives, Catalyst:Ed

Talking to Each Other, Not Across Each Other: Data for NIC Success

Participating in a network can be exhilarating and transformative, frustrating and fruitless, and everything in between. Even the most well-constructed networks—those that intentionally build relationships, develop clear and compelling aims, account for challenges of change management, and share accountability—can fall short of their intended outcomes. Data is often called as the source of these shortcomings. This session explores how the data collected and the practices established to use that data can create or inhibit the conditions that lead to productive collaboration across diverse networks.

Adam Carter, Executive Director, Marshall Street Initiatives, Summit Public Schools
Megha Kansra, Director of Strategy and Operations, Marshall Street Initiatives, Summit Public Schools
Kyle Moyer, Director of Continuous Improvement, Marshall Street Initiatives, Summit Public Schools

Using Data to Drive Equity at Scale

This session will give participants insights into how New Visions for Public Schools is laying the groundwork for continuous improvement work in increasingly effective ways at scale. These efforts are to advance its goal of increasing the number of students of color from low-income families graduating from high school on time and well-prepared to succeed in college and career. In particular, this session will focus on how New Visions uses data to inform its strategy and uses its learning to inform future development of its web-based school management application, the New Visions Data Portal, which supports closing the achievement gap between Black/Latinx students and non-Black/Latinx students.

Shannon Curran, Chief Schools Officer, New Visions for Public Schools
Mark Dunetz, President, New Visions for Public Schools

Networked Improvement Communities Changing Outcomes for Students with Disabilities

While networked improvement communities (NICs) have become increasingly popular to drive changes of K–12 system-level conditions, there are fewer NICs organized to attend to systems that serve students with disabilities. This session presents two cases of NICs that launched specifically to improve outcomes for students with disabilities: California’s Central Valley Special Education Learning Collaborative, a NIC that involves WestEd and the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Differentiated Assistance Program, among other partners; and Denver’s NIC that brought together educators with district specialists and an improvement science facilitator with the aim of going from 0 to 21% of students with disabilities reaching grade level expectations.

Nicole Cooper-White, Senior Team Lead, Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment, Denver Public Schools
Sandra Lochhead, Director of Leadership Preparation, Denver Public Schools
Matt Navo, Director of System Transformation, Center for Prevention and Early Intervention, WestEd
Annie Sharp, Director of Differentiated Assistance, Fresno County Superintendent of Schools
Simone Palmer, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Partnering to Improve Principal’s Practice and School Leadership Using Improvement Science Principles

In this session, participants will learn about two different partnerships focused on promoting the development of school leadership capabilities to lead improvement. Presenters will offer lessons on what it takes to develop these capabilities among school leaders, as well as factors related to the partnerships that were developed to accomplish this novel work together. Included among these lessons is how to do this important work at scale, which presents unique challenges in developing applied knowledge for diverse contexts.

Cynthia Barron, Coordinator, Ed.D. Program in Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago
Erick Pruitt, Deputy Chief of Office of Network Supports, Chicago Public Schools
Jennifer McDermott, Director of Innovative Initiatives, University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership
Max Silverman, Executive Director, University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership
Steve Tozer (moderator), Director Emeritus, Center for Urban Education Leadership, University of Illinois at Chicago; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Changing Relations and Developing Shared Commitments to Using Improvement Science to Change Teacher Preparation Programs

Creating networks of learning communities across programs and institutions remains a fairly new journey for many teacher education programs. In this session, participants will learn about two state-level efforts to create NICs focused on using improvement science methods to improve various outcomes relevant to teacher education programs: California State University System partnership with WestEd and Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation partnership with the Carnegie Foundation. In this session, participants will hear from the organizers of these unique NICs that are trying to improve teacher preparation programs and promote collaborations among programs.

Jonathan Dolle, Senior Improvement Specialist, WestEd
Paul Tuss, Director, Educator Quality Center
Cody Huie, Vice President of Programs, Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation
Melissa Wetzel, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, The University of Texas at Austin
Jon Norman, Associate, Managing Director, Evidence & Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Increasing Use of Data and Changing Views on What Data Matters to Improve High School Experience and Postsecondary Success

In this session, participants will learn about the Counselor and Coach Collaborative (CCC), a networked improvement community of high school counselors in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) developed and facilitated by UChicago Network for College Success to collaboratively address the challenges of supporting high school students in the college planning process.  Presenters will share how they used innovative data practices like Motivational Interviewing with students to improve graduation rates and broaden access to college and career opportunities.

Kate Pressler, Postsecondary Coach, Network for College Success
Regina Pretekin, Lead Postsecondary Coach, Network for College Success

Systems of Support at the School and District-Levels to Catalyze and Sustain Improvement Efforts

In this session, participants will learn about supports for building improvement capabilities among teams inside schools. Focusing on issues related to intraschool inequities and promoting improvements in classroom instruction, the two networks in this session will share information about tools and practices that promote the development of school wide continuous improvement and collaborative inquiry in varied contexts.

Donna Braun, Executive Director, Center for Leadership and Educational Equity
Shelah Feldstein, Network Director, Tulare County Office of Education
Christine Roberts, Staff Development and Curriculum Specialist – Mathematics, Tulare County Office of Education
Dave Sherer, Associate, Evidence & Analytics, Carnegie Foundation

Spotlight on Northwest Regional Education Service District: Leveraging Statewide Infrastructure to Support Continuous Improvement

The Northwest Regional Education Service District (NWRESD) was selected as a 2019 Carnegie Spotlight honoree because of its clear case of interagency collaboration in building infrastructure to make measurable improvement on a state-level education policy priority at a large scale. Leveraging this infrastructure, NWRESD collaborated with its 31 schools to establish a common improvement aim, analyze underlying causes of low success rates, and devise interventions aimed at supporting deeper learning and equity in its 9th-grade classrooms. NWRESD leaders will underscore how the central elements of this infrastructure supported schools and districts in their continuous improvement efforts to understand and address systemic challenges that were undermining students’ success in high school.

Kimberley Ednie, Co-Lead, 9th Grade Success Network; Professional Learning Specialist, Northwest Regional Education Service District
Daniel Ramirez, Co-Lead, 9th Grade Success Network; Professional Learning Specialist, Northwest Regional Education Service District
Donald J. Peurach (moderator), Associate Professor, University of Michigan; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Understanding Leadership in Network Hubs: A Workshop to Strengthen a Carnegie Framework for the Field

Efforts within the Carnegie Foundation to advance understanding around the role of leadership in network hubs has yielded a framework detailing essential dimensions of the work of hub leaders and the challenges that routinely complicate these leaders’ work. This session is structured as a design workshop in which practicing hub leaders will collaborate in reviewing, refining, and extending the framework, with the goal of strengthening it as a resource supporting the professional development of both emerging and expert leaders.  This session is limited to network/hub practicing leaders at all levels of experience.

Anna T. Foster, Research Assistant, University of Michigan School of Education
Kelly McMahon, Associate, Evidence and Analytics, Carnegie Foundation
Emma Parkerson, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Donald J. Peurach, Associate Professor, University of Michigan; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Jennifer Lin Russell, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Jennifer Zoltners Sherer, Research Associate, Learning Science and Policy, University of Pittsburgh

Common Outcome Measures to Help Math in Common Districts Learn and Improve Together

What helps school districts learn from each other about how to improve math instruction? The Math in Common initiative identified two important factors. One factor is a common source of outcome data that illustrates how different students and schools are progressing over time in each district. A second factor is the opportunity for cross-district teams to discuss variations in outcomes and what (school- and district-level) strategies are linked to stronger signs of improvement. Math in Common partners will share strategies and lessons learned from the initiative about using student outcome data for improvement.


Rebecca Perry, Senior Program Associate, WestEd
Neal Finkelstein, Senior Research Scientist, WestEd

Learning From and With Networks for School Improvement

Since August 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has made grants to 30 organizations working with middle and high schools across more than 23 states to improve outcomes for Black, Latino, and low-income students. The Foundation is interested in learning from these grantees how schools can use continuous improvement to advance high school graduation and college success rates. In this session, they will share what their grantees have accomplished to date and what they have learned from their efforts. This session will also address how the Gates Foundation plans to evaluate these grants.


Strand: 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.  In these sessions, leaders who have taken on this daunting challenge will share how and why they led these efforts and what lessons they have learned along the way.

A Fireside Chat and Q&A with Summit Keynotes

Join Summit keynote speakers and authors of Despite the Best Intentions: How Racial Inequality Thrives in Good Schools, Amanda E. Lewis and John B. Diamond, in a fireside chat and Q&A following their presentation. Understand how inequalities became so deeply embedded in educational systems and how these systems often continue to perpetuate inequitable outcomes. Most importantly, learn about the efforts that have proven to be successful. Note: this breakout session is designed only for those who attended the morning keynote.

John Diamond, Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education
Amanda Lewis, Professor of African American Studies & Sociology, Director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago
Louis Gomez (moderator), Professor of Education and Information Studies, UCLA; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Executive Leadership Framework for Transforming Into a Continuously Improving Organization

The Carnegie Foundation’s Executive Leadership for Improvement project has examined the role of executive leaders in transforming their educational organizations by developing the conditions and capacity for continuous improvement. At the 2019 Summit, the project team presented a preliminary Executive Leadership Framework to inform the work of current and aspiring executive leaders and the institutions who develop and impact them, and gathered participant input on how to improve the framework’s utility. In this sequel session, the team will share a revised framework, offer real-life examples from panelists about how to put it into practice, and reflect together on how to advance executive leadership for improvement in the education field.

Christina Dixon, Consultant, Carnegie Foundation
Patricia Greco, Superintendent Emeritus, School District of Menomonee Falls; Senior Director of Thought Leadership, Studer Education
Michael Hanson, Former Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Simone Palmer, Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation

Continuous Improvement in Education: Ideas for Federal Policy Makers

With the presidential and Congressional election campaigns in full swing and the prospect of the next reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on the horizon, a pivotal moment of potential change in federal K-12 education policy may be approaching. This inflection point poses both challenges and opportunities for advancing continuous improvement principles at the local, state, and national levels. With this context in mind, this panel of educators with federal policy interests is coming together to consider how federal policy can and should help create, sustain, and scale continuous improvement infrastructures across the country. During this interactive session, which includes facilitated panel conversations, small group chats, and feedback loops, panelists and participants will think through a non-partisan policy framework on continuous improvement for federal policy makers.

Joe Conaty, Adjunct Professor, Stanford in Washington; Retired, U.S. Department of Education
Michael Hanson, Former Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation
Janice Jackson, Senior Advisor for Equity and Inclusion, Transformative Educational Leadership; Former Assistant Secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; Former Deputy Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Jim Kohlmoos (moderator), Principal, EDGE Consulting Partners; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

The Nature and Critical Importance of School, District, and System Change

While the ”wrong drivers” continue to plague system reform, recent developments are beginning to show new possibilities for success. This session will examine closely what distinguishes highly effective schools and districts versus those that are superficial and ineffective. Using hands-on examples and opportunities for participants to examine their own situations, the session will focus on the kind of leadership –what we call “nuanced leadership”—that makes for success at the school, district/region, and state levels.

Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
Santiago Rincon-Gallardo, Education Consultant and Chief Research Officer, Michael Fullan Enterprises
Laura Schwalm, Senior Partner, California Education Partners; Former Superintendent, Garden Grove Unified School District

Organizational Energy: The Fuel of High Performance Cultures

Building energy for change is a critical component of improvement. Energy is the capacity and drive of a team, organization, or system to actively pursue and achieve its goals. It is a fundamental driver of everything we do, yet often takes a backseat to the more tangible aspects of our work. This session will provide an understanding of the different types of individual and organizational energy, the role of positive and negative energy and culture in driving or hindering efforts to improve quality, and strategies for tapping into energy to affect change. During the session, individual energy will be assessed, and small-groups will discuss various team case profiles including discussion of how to work with each type of team.

Christina Krause, Chief Executive Officer, Patient Safety and Quality Council, British Columbia

Building Leadership Capacity for Racial Equity-Focused Improvement Science

Participants will learn how to support leaders to set up psychologically safe team-building opportunities to explore racial identities and biases, and establish guidance for how networks of schools use improvement science processes to improve outcomes for historically underserved student populations. In addition to hearing about lessons learned, participants will receive resources and tools for building and sustaining leadership capacity for disciplined inquiry through the lens of racial equity and learn how to use these tools in their unique professional settings. The presenters are members of the central team supporting implementation of the new Instructional Leadership Framework (ILF) which encompasses the instructional practices of Advanced Literacy with Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education as the driving force.

Imani Jones-Ratcliffe, Instructional Leadership Partner, New York City Department of Education
Betty Lugo, Instructional Leadership Partner, New York City Department of Education

The Leaders Role in Lean Daily Management

This interactive session is designed for leaders to explore one of the most critical aspects of strategy deployment—daily management. Aligning day-to-day work with strategic priorities is an essential part of successfully reaching your organizational goals. Daily management is what connects individual goals to the overarching organizational strategy set by the executive team and enables staff to see, assess, adapt, and ultimately improve performance. Without daily management, strategy often falls flat, with limited results or improvement. Led by a senior transformation sensei, this session provides participants with an overview of effective daily management, details the six principle elements of daily management and the leader’s role within each of those elements, and provides practical examples of daily management in practice. Attendees will gain exposure and practice with tools and creating reliability through techniques like leader standard work, gemba rounds, respect for people, and engaging team members.

Ellen Noel, Senior Transformation Sensei, Virginia Mason Institute

Using Improvement Science to Redesign Principal Preparation

How can university principal preparation programs—working in partnership with high-needs school districts, exemplary preparation programs and the state—improve their training so it reflects the evidence on how best to prepare effective principals? This session will feature how the University of Connecticut and Western Kentucky University, working with the University of Illinois-Chicago are using an inquiry-based improvement approach to redesign their principal preparation programs. As a result of their inquiry process, the UConn Administrator Preparation Program now aims to graduate principalship candidates with demonstrated knowledge, skill, and judgment to realize equitable student achievement outcomes through three core competencies: instructional leadership, talent management, and organizational leadership. Over the last three years, the WKU program has worked to develop a true partnership with districts by asking for and engaging in a needs assessment based on problems of practice the districts identify as being critical to student success.

Marguerita De Sander, Associate Professor in Educational Administration, Leadership and Research Western Kentucky University
Richard Gonzales, Associate Professor in Residence in Educational Leadership, University of Connecticut

Leaders Building and Sustaining a Culture of Literacy in Secondary Schools

The leadership team from Tahoe Truckee Unified School District will share their leadership journey toward creating and sustaining a culture of literacy improvement in their secondary schools. They will share how they made significant shifts in literacy practices to improve learning for all through the use of improvement science tools. This session will provide an opportunity for participants to examine efforts by administrators, teachers, parents, and students to address the learning gap. Over time, each school deepened their commitment using data and improvement strategies to increase capability within schools. Their session will detail the critical lessons learned throughout their journey beginning with their personal application of PDSA cycles to improve their email inboxes, to developing a driver diagram and improvement strategies, engaging staff and communicating their expanded vision with their community and district.

Sydney Dion, District Literacy Instruction and Design Coach, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District \
Hien Larson, Principal, Alder Creek Middle School
Logan Mallonee, Principal, Truckee High School

Maiming the Aim: Actionable Lessons from an Honest Improvement Narrative

This session traces seven years of a public secondary school network’s journey to use the tools and principles of improvement science to ensure educational equity for a diverse student body. Summit Public School leaders will speak openly and honestly not only about their successes, but also about the hard-won lessons learned by taking an approach of targeted universalism to the business of merging the science of improvement with the art of teaching. They will share with participants their experience of improvement as a mindset, a skillset, and an adaptive knowledge base that can transform a learning organization if there is a multi-year dedication to the improvement journey.

Adam Carter, Executive Director, Marshall Street Initiatives, Summit Public Schools
Kyle Moyer, Director of Continuous Improvement, Marshall Street Initiatives, Summit Public Schools
Giovanna Santimauro, Improvement Advisor, Marshall Street Initiatives, Summit Public Schools

5 Years, 10 Lessons, Continuously Learning and Improving to Close the Enrollment Gap for Early College

Many districts have targets aligned to increased college access, yet they struggle to reach traditionally disadvantaged students with those efforts. The Belvidere School District has gone through multiple improvement cycles over the last five years in this area, making significant pivots after each cycle. Initially, pivots failed to have the hoped for impact, but after a persistent commitment to continued learning about the system that created their results—and pivoting based on each lesson learned—they have eliminated enrollment gaps for early college credit courses in gender, socio-economic status, and ethnicity subgroups. This session will review how leaders must be determined to continuously learn about the system producing their current outcomes in order to see measurable improvement.

Karen Owen, Education Coach, Studer Education
Daniel Woestman, Superintendent, Belvidere Community Unit School District 100

Vermont's Continuous Improvement Journey: Scaling the Six Core Principles of Improvement Across the State

The Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) has been engaged in a four-year process integrating the six core principles of improvement into school districts and supervisory unions across the state to change practices for positive student impact. Their improvement journey included building continuous improvement capacity and a culture of improvement at the state level to support the continuous improvement work at the local level. Teams examine data using a case management approach, which has led to innovation being born from deep discussion of root causes at the team level. Additionally, partnerships with regional researchers and subject matter experts have contributed to both state and local education agency professional development. During this session, agency staff and district administrators will share their perspectives of the roll-out and impact of the policy changes. Participants will also have the opportunity to brainstorm change ideas for addressing challenges that emerged from the changes in policy and hear how the agency addressed some of these challenges.

Lori Dolezal, Education Quality Manager, Vermont Agency of Education
Donna Stafford, Education Quality Manager, Vermont Agency of Education

Building a Culture of Continuous Improvement: A Developmental Continuum

StriveTogether’s work instilled continuous improvement methodology in school districts and across communities. Participants will hear case studies and learn about the essential steps to building a culture of continuous improvement. They will also learn the prerequisites needed to begin the work, how the most advanced districts and communities are building capability and improving outcomes for every child, and the key benchmarks for building and sustaining a culture of continuous improvement.

Heidi Black, Director of Collaborative Improvement, Strive Together
Cheryl Broadnax, Senior Director District Improvement, Strive Together

Fueling a Culture of Continuous Improvement in Sacramento City: The Story Yet to be Told

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing” has been Sacramento City Unified School District’s mantra since Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar joined in July 2017. The district’s guiding principle is to ensure that all students are given an equal opportunity to graduate with the greatest number of post-secondary choices from the widest array of options. In this session, Superintendent Aguilar and his team will share their improvement journey that began by designing an ambitious plan to build understanding of improvement science across the district. While long-entrenched culture often challenged the idea that the district could become a productively focused improvement community, slowly and systematically, mindsets are shifting. Through monthly principals’ meetings, the leadership team’s focus has been to build a theory of change, improvement capabilities, and awareness about disciplined inquiry across the district and disrupt long-held cultural mindsets. The Board of Education, Superintendent, educators and stakeholders are steadily embracing a recently-adopted Equity, Access, and Social Justice continuous improvement framework.

Jorge A. Aguilar, Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District
Rick Miller, Executive Director, CORE Districts

Spotlight on the Queensland Department of Education (Australia): A 10 Year Improvement Journey with Compelling Student Outcomes

The Queensland Department of Education (Australia) is being spotlighted for its impactful 10-year improvement journey at a significant scale. Triggered by comparatively lower student achievement than most other Australian states and territories, its statewide improvement approach dramatically transformed the nature of instruction. Compelling improvements have been achieved in student outcomes, most significantly for the Indigenous students. The urgency of its focus on each and every student is undeniable, as is its intentional development of system leaders across regions and schools to support quality in its continuous improvement efforts. Participants will learn how Queensland uses data to inform and align its decision making and improvement efforts, how its School Improvement Model defines the roles and practices for all teachers and leaders, and how its professional learning communities support school efforts with scaling what is working for whom and under what specific conditions.

Stacie Hansel, Assistant Director, General State Schools Performance, State of Queensland Department of Education
Penny Carver (moderator), Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

“We Shake Hands at the Door:” How Chula Vista’s Focus on Relationships Is Driving Improvement

WestEd, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, and the California Department of Education are partnering in an effort to identify exemplary districts across California that can serve as models of continuous improvement for other California school districts. In this interactive session, participants will learn how leaders in San Diego’s Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) have effectively improved student outcomes. The session will focus on several key strategies that have contributed to CVESD’s success including the use of data to identify and sustain an instructional focus, developing a system to monitor progress toward district goals for student performance and well-being, and CVESD’s intentional, deep, and sustained commitment to building positive and trusting relationships across the district. Participants will have time to consider the culture, processes, and practices developed in CVESD and discuss the application to their context.

Gloria Ciriza, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Chula Vista Elementary School District
Francisco Escobedo, Superintendent, Chula Vista Elementary School District
Matthew Tessier, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation and Instruction, Chula Vista Elementary School District

The Continuous Improvement for Equity Project: Findings and Outcomes

In education, continuous improvement (CI) processes have the potential to drive improvement by providing a rigorous, structured approach to planning and implementing change. However, not all CI processes are intentionally infused with an equity focus. The Continuous Improvement for Equity Project convened national leaders in education improvement and diversity, equity, and inclusion to develop resources and strategies that intentionally infuse equity into continuous learning and improvement processes. Work was premised on the idea that reform efforts must address equity directly and explicitly if they are to disrupt the systems and power structures that underlie inequitable outcomes. This session will review project findings, including considerations for more equity-focused approaches to continuous improvement, and will introduce a protocol and resource repository for selecting and sharing resources.

Tracy Fray-Oliver, Senior Associate Vice President, Bank Street Education Center
Vivian Mihalakis, Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
David Montes de Oca, Deputy Chief of Improvement, CORE Districts
Karen Zeribi, Founder and CEO, Shift Results
Louis Gomez (reflector), Professor of Education and Information Studies, UCLA; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Chad d’Entremont (moderator), Executive Director, Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Powerful Teams: Creating the Conditions to Scale Teams

Collaboration between teachers and leaders is vital to improving user-centered problem solving. Together, they can create and scale powerful learning that shifts practice and improves student performance. The School District of Menomonee Falls focused on the conditions leaders create to facilitate powerful individual and team learning. This session will examine the team behaviors and conditions that impacted teacher practice and resulted in significantly higher student and teacher performance. The presenters will share their working framework for powerful teams and the conditions and leader/teacher behaviors needed to scale learning results for the students, teams, and system.

Casey Blochowiak, Director of Curriculum and Learning, School District of Menomonee Falls
Patricia Greco, Superintendent Emerita, School District of Menomonee Falls; Senior Director of Thought Leadership, Studer Education

Leadership Behaviors for Equitable and Sustainable Change

Presenters from two state Departments of Education will share how they are bringing about scalable and sustainable systemic improvement by aligning and cohering their education systems at the state, regional, district, and school level using practice policy feedback loops in a continuous improvement process. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of organizational readiness for change and the importance of co-creation in efforts to engage educators at every level of the system to implement, sustain, and scale-up a practice with the goal of achieving equitable student outcomes.

Gail Anderson, State Transformation Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Andrea Craig, Implementation Specialist, Kentucky Department of Education
Kathleen Ryan Jackson, Implementation Specialist, National Implementation Research Network

Accelerate Continuous Improvement and Center Equity in Your Work with Authentic Family and Community Partnerships

Often leaders of continuous improvement efforts either forget or do not have the needed competencies to engage their communities in the work of improving. Participants in this session will discover how deep and authentic family and community partnership will help to better identify the root causes of the problems the system is attempting to solve and center equity throughout implementation of continuous improvement efforts. They will learn about the strategies that the Colorado teams used to build empathy with, understanding of, and momentum for the users they hoped to benefit through their continuous improvement efforts. Participants will also have an opportunity to practice some of the strategies used to engage family and community partners in the work of continuous improvement and create a plan to test their own design with a short PDSA cycle.

Alex Carter, Vice President, Implementation, Colorado Education Initiative
Landon Mascareñaz, Vice President, Family and Community Partnership, Colorado Education Initiative

Culturally Responsive School Leadership: An Engine for Equity at Scale

Aspects of schooling that privilege or oppress certain groups have, over time, become normal and invisible. At the same time, educators tend to overlay “new reforms” directly on top of these historical practices. This session will discuss how leaders must first make visible that which has become invisible if they want to bring about any change to the school’s culture and practices. To achieve this aim, leaders need to engage in deep learning and critical personal and system self-reflection. They must be able to look at the school environment as exclusionary and inclusionary, and at their role in instructional leadership related to curriculum and pedagogy. This session will provide practical tools related to hiring and teacher observation, and share vignettes of these approaches in practice in the schools. Participants will gain new knowledge about the role of race, oppression, and privilege in schools, and in the power that school and system leaders possess to impact the inequitable outcomes in the nation’s schools.

Muhammad Khalifa, Professor, University of Minnesota,
Professor Katie Pekel, Principal in Residence, University of Minnesota

Equity at Work: High-Leverage Leadership Moves to Dismantle Inequities and Enhance Learning for All

During this session, presenters from NYC Leadership Academy will share their latest tool, Equity at Work, that offers practical moves to dismantle inequities in 10 high-leverage “equity action” practices, such as personnel, discipline, pedagogy, and cultural competency. Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of these practices—compiled by interviewing superintendents and other district leaders across the country who effectively addressed disparities in student learning and school culture—have an opportunity to analyze the greatest inequity within their context, and create a plan to address that inequity.

David Rease, Jr., National Leadership Facilitator, NYC Leadership Academy

How Leaders Create the Conditions for Continuous Improvement: Learning from Menomonee Falls and Sanger

Learning to lead continuous improvement is a complex and never-ending journey. This session will offer insights from research and practice about how district leaders can effectively navigate this journey, focusing in on the key mental models, behaviors, and organizational shifts that drive success. Following a brief presentation of research findings, former superintendents from two very different school districts will share concrete methods that they used to transform their organizations to be capable of continuous improvement and improving student outcomes. Participants will then have an opportunity to reflect on their own leadership practice to identify strengths and opportunities in their contexts.

Christina Dixon, Consultant, Carnegie Foundation
Corey Golla, Superintendent of Schools, School District of Menomonee Falls
Patricia Greco, Retired Superintendent of Schools, School District of Menomonee Falls; Senior Director of Thought Leadership, Studer Group
Adela Madrigal Jones, Superintendent, Sanger Unified School District
Matthew Navo, Director, Systems Transformation, Center for Prevention & Early Intervention, WestEd

Creating the Leaders Necessary: The Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) Network

This structured poster symposium presents the work of the Carnegie Foundation’s Improvement Leadership Education and Development (iLEAD) network. Representing a mix of public and private universities and urban and rural districts across the country, iLEAD is a network of 13 university-district partnerships that use improvement science and Networked Improvement Communities to build leadership capacity and address local and persistent problems of practice. iLEAD advances a collaborative, place-based, and problem-focused approach to cultivating improvement capability and redressing longstanding inequities in educational outcomes and opportunities. This session highlights iLEAD’s shared working theory and progress indicators, and some of the key accomplishments, progress, and challenges that partnerships have experienced to date.

Manuelito Biag, Senior Associate, Networked Improvement Science, Carnegie Foundation
Al Bertani, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Foundation

Applications to present at the 2020 Summit are now closed. If you are interested in presenting a session at a future Summit, please subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when requests for proposals are released.