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Come Together

Bring people together and learn about what’s possible


Key Objectives

  • Learn how to bring a team of students, families, teachers, staff, and leaders together to tackle an urgent issue to make your school(s) more equitable and resilient.

  • Collect and apply qualitative and quantitative data from a range of sources (e.g., interviews, student assessments) to identify strengths and challenges in your school(s).

  • Study and explore schools with bold visions for teaching and learning, and use their examples to inform your work.

    A line with numbers 1, 2, 3. Number 1 is larger with pink shapes around it.


Overview

Making rapid, targeted, meaningful improvement to teaching and learning in your school(s) starts with thoughtfully bringing people together and learning about what’s possible.

To move towards equity (where each student receives what they need – academically and beyond) and resiliency (where the system for teaching and learning is flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of individual students and the world around them) requires a process that reflects these very values, as well:

  • An equitable process ensures that those people most impacted by the teaching and learning (students, families, teachers, and staff) – especially those at the margins – play a major role in the design.

  • A resilient process is one that allows you to stay present to meet the needs of today while simultaneously designing a better tomorrow.

In this first section, you will establish your team and start to imagine change through step-by-step activities and specific examples from real schools.

Who is deciding what more equitable, resilient teaching and learning looks like, and why? An essential first step to design work is bringing a diversity of perspectives, ideas, and experiences to the table. In this step, you will build your design team, reflect on who is – and is not – part of the team and what that implies for your work, and align on a purpose for embarking on this process.

Reflect

As you start these activities, ask yourself:

  • Who is typically included when decisions are made in our school(s)? Who isn’t? Why?

  • How do our different roles and experiences influence our work together?

  • What do we hope to improve through this process?

Implement

Complete the following activities:

Explore

Here are a few highlighted examples of equity and resiliency in action from Strategy Lab school systems who have completed the activities above. For more examples, explore the strategies themselves.

Who benefits from the way our classes and schools are designed today? Who doesn’t? Ensuring all students are supported begins by taking an honest look at why some are having trouble finding support. In this phase, you will assess your school’s current strengths and challenges using historical data and real-time feedback from students, families, teachers, and classified staff.

Reflect

As you start these activities, ask yourself:

  • How has the history of our school(s) and community influenced the challenges we face today?

  • Who benefits from the way our school(s) function? Who doesn’t? Why?

  • Whose voices should be prioritized in this redesign?

Implement

Complete the following activities:

Explore

Here are a few highlighted examples of equity and resiliency in action from Strategy Lab school systems who have completed the activities above. For more examples, explore the strategies themselves.

Who is leading the field in designing more equitable and resilient teaching and learning, and what can we learn from them? Look to those communities across the country who have already made changes – both big and small – to redesign schools to work for all students so that you can better understand what’s possible in your own context. In this step, you will explore the visions, practices, and research behind innovative schools across the country, like CICS West Belden in Chicago or Lindsay High School, to find inspiration for your work.

Reflect

As you start this activity, ask yourself:

  • What lessons can we learn from others who have trailblazed before us?

  • What shifts would I need to make to ensure an innovative idea works with my students, teachers, and/or community? Am I open to possibility?

  • How do our expectations of students differ from innovative schools?

Implement

Complete the following activities:

Explore

Here are a few highlighted examples of equity and resiliency in action from Strategy Lab school systems who have completed the activity above. For more examples, explore the strategy itself.

How has equity shown up in your launch of the design process? This requires a look back at who has been included in the design team, how your design team has functioned, who has been interviewed, and what data you’ve researched. In this phase, you will reflect on the ways that your design team has – or has not – lived out your commitment to equity in your early activities to learn about your school(s) from your stakeholders’ perspectives.

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