Why We Advocate for Equity and Access Through Personalized Schools and Tools

We are advocates for innovations in learning. We believe access to a high-quality education is the best shot young people have at shaping, contributing to and ultimately benefiting from a better future.

The future is here–it’s just not evenly distributed. There are hundreds of next-generation schools (see our lists of elementary and secondary schools worth visiting) that offer deeper learning experiences and tens of thousands of schools that are already well on their journey. And these new learning environments are also more supporting and more interesting places for teachers to work and grow.

Teachers and students deserve deeper learning experiences (be they project-based, place-based or blended) that push them to develop critical thinking and 21st-century skills, to master academic content, learn how to learn, communicate effectively, work collaboratively and develop academic mindsets.

We help EdLeaders craft the path forward–a vision for what students need and a picture of the experiences and environments that will help them get there.

Getting Smart Services helps organizations form and advance big ideas. We:

  • Build thought leadership campaigns that shape the memes that leaders and learners discuss at conferences and water coolers. We engage experts and practitioners and produce podcasts, blogs, graphics, videos and publications around a theme.
  • Shape strategies that scale big ideas;
  • Provide insightful research to foundations and companies–big ones like Microsoft and small ones (like your next big idea);
  • Design and facilitate professional learning experiences that change hearts and minds. Our design sessions are powerful, our school visits are inspiring, our coaching is personalized.

While we are advocates for many advances in teaching and learning, as of late we have been really focusing on supporting work and organizations in the following three areas:

Personalized Learning

Too many students lose interest in school because it isn’t relevant or doesn’t meet them where they are academically or socially and emotionally. Each student ought to spend a significant part of their school day, be it individually or in collaborative groups, working on skills specific to their own learning path, choosing how they work and even what they work on. We believe personalized learning creates the opportunity for each student to reach their fullest potential and that great educators are at the helm of creating the future of learning.

High-quality teachers and school leaders have the potential to make the most difference. We are advocates for providing the opportunity for high-quality educators to ideate and implement innovative teaching practices that engage students in more personalized learning.

Examples of our work:

Rethinking Systems, Spaces and Supports

In order to support each of these innovations in teaching and learning, technology, tools, resources and support are needed. We know how important ecosystems are to support teachers and edupreneurs (see Smart Cities). We are advocates for rethinking systems, space and supports that best fit innovative teaching and learning practices, and meet the needs of the students that are being served.

Examples of our work:

  • Supported learner experiences and conversations around next-gen learning systems and spaces at One Stone in Boise, Idaho
  • Designed and led school tours with Kansas City community members and educators as part of the Kauffman Foundation’s #KCGreatSchools effort to rethink what great teaching and learning ecosystems and spaces look like
  • Helped facilitate the update of the El Paso Independent School District’s strategic plan.
  • Visited and have written about learning spaces around the world that work well for 21st-century learners and support educators interested in using deeper learning practices

Equity and Access

Above all else, we are advocates for equity and access. All students deserve a world-class class education with access to high-quality teachers, learning environments and tools. We believe that strong communities and parental support, and the development of strong educational ecosystems designed for innovative schools and next-generation ideas, help support equity and access.

Examples of our work:

As we continue to learn and grow, inevitably our areas of advocacy focus will evolve and change. If you are interested in Getting Smart advocacy services, please contact Emily at [email protected].

For more, see:

Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. For a full list of partners, affiliate organizations and all other disclosures please see our Partner page.

Emily Liebtag

Emily Liebtag, Ed.D., is Education Reimagined's Senior Partner for Systems Transformation. Formerly, Emily served as the Vice President of Advocacy at Getting Smart.

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