Big Bet Learning Network FAQ

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What are CEI’s ‘Big Bets’?

What are CEI’S ‘Theories of Change’ for High School Redesign and CB/PL?

What is the difference between the Learning Network and Design Network phases?

If we participate in a Learning Network, do we have to participate in a Design Network and vice versa?

Can we participate in both the High School Redesign and CB/PL Learning Networks?

How do we submit our Letter of Interest (LOI)?

What kind of funding can we expect?

Will CEI provide any travel or sub reimbursements for the two Learning Network convenings?

What kind of data will we need to access and use in the Learning Network?

Who needs to be on our ‘team’?

Can we participate if some or all of my team cannot make it to the convening(s)?

Should we apply if my school/district is already partnered with CEI through other project(s)?

Can multiple schools within a district apply to be a part of the high school redesign learning network?

What are CEI’s ‘Big Bets’?

CEI has identified three big bet areas where we will target our work in the next three years: High School Redesign, Competency-Based/Personalized Learning (CB/PL), and SpaceLab. These areas were chosen because they include work that:

  • has the potential to drive the outcomes we seek with an eye towards equity,
  • has high potential to move systems and make them responsive,
  • has momentum in Colorado and nationally, and
  • leverages our skills and experience.

The Learning and Design Networks focus on CB/PL and High School Redesign.

CEI’s goal for our CB/PL work is to push the development of educational systems that reliably produce at scale, the academic, professional, personal, entrepreneurial and civic student outcomes critical for success after high school. In the next three years CEI will support Colorado school districts to begin building education systems that promote student agency by tailoring learning to students’ strengths, needs, and interests and where each student will progress through and exit the system based on demonstrated mastery of postsecondary and workforce readiness, so they are prepared for postsecondary learning, work, and life.

Our goal for our High School Redesign work is to help Colorado high schools design and implement personalized learning environments that attend to all students’ social and emotional needs and offer relevant and rigorous experiences to prepare them for postsecondary learning, work, and life.

What are CEI’S ‘Theories of Change’ for High School Redesign and CB/PL?

CEI has put together an overview of our current point of view or theory of change on the most critical components of High School Redesign and CB/PL in order to lead to systems transformation and the academic and non-academic outcomes we believe are most important for all students. This point of view emphasizes common mindsets and conditions for scale, as well as areas of practice unique to High School Redesign and CB/PL.

High School Redesign

Competency-Based/Personalized Learning

What is the difference between the Learning Network and Design Network phases?

The January 2018 CEI call for participants is for the Learning Network phase of the High School Redesign and CB/PL projects. Learning Networks will offer schools and districts an opportunity to learn more about High School Redesign and/or CB/PL strategies, participate in meaningful data reflection and inquiry about their systems, and identify key aspirations and goals based on their learning. The Design Network phase will follow the Learning Network phase and will focus on implementation of strategies aligned to those identified goals through a continuous improvement approach.

If we participate in a Learning Network, do we have to participate in a Design Network and vice versa?

We believe that the Learning Network phase by itself will be a valuable experience for any school and district. We also believe that the participating in the Learning Network phase will lead to stronger implementation as part of the Design Network phase. However, we recognize that some schools and districts may decide to not move forward in the Design Network phase based on their learning and reflection in the Learning Network. Additionally, we anticipate there may be schools or districts that choose not to participate in the Learning Network phase but are still interested in the Design Network. In rare cases, CEI may still partner with these schools or districts during the Design Network phase. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis by CEI and partners.

Can we participate in both the High School Redesign and CB/PL Learning Networks?

The High School Redesign Learning Network will focus on school-level change, while the CB/PL Learning Network will primarily entail learning about district systems. With that in mind, the primary point person will be a school leader for High School Redesign and district leader for CB/PL, although both Learning Networks require meaningful representation and engagement from both school and district staff. Therefore, it is possible that some districts will have participants in both the High School Redesign and CB/PL Learning Networks. While the Learning Network convenings will be held in the same location for both Big Bets, we encourage applicants to consider the feasibility of full participation in both networks when selecting team members. See below for more information about team requirements.

How do we submit our Letter of Interest (LOI)?

LOIs for the Learning Networks need to be submitted online by 5 pm MT on February 6, 2018. If you have any technical issues submitting your form, please reach out to Sarah Forbes at sforbes@coloradoedinitiative.org or 720-502-4751. We suggest that you use the Word versions of the LOI questions to first write, edit, and finalize your LOI responses and then input them into the online form once they’re final.

High School Redesign Submission
LOI questions Word document
Online LOI submission

What kind of funding can we expect?

As stated in the project overview, there will be no direct grant funding provided to schools or districts that participate in the Learning Network phase. However, participants will receive technical assistance, professional development, and many other direct benefits while participating.

Will CEI provide any travel or sub reimbursements for the two Learning Network convenings?

CEI is not able to cover sub reimbursements for the convenings, but there may be limited funds available to offset some travel costs for those traveling a long distance. More information will be available upon notification of acceptance into the Learning Network. All meals will be provided during the convenings.

What kind of data will we need to access and use in the Learning Network?

Learning Network teams will be asked to compile school- and district-level data that, for the most part, should already be collected in their schools and districts. CEI will provide supports for data inquiry and reflection throughout the Learning Network phase, and we hope to also provide guidance for ways to compile and view these data in meaningful ways. Data reflection and inquiry will likely be a key component of the first convening on March 7, and CEI will share more information about data collection when we notify Learning Network partners in mid-February. Generally, data examined in the Learning Network will be aggregated at the school or district level, but participants should also expect to disaggregate data by student subgroups when possible. For example, High School Redesign schools could compile recent data on tardies and disaggregate that data by student demographics. CEI will not ask participants to share any personally identifiable information (PII). Learning Network participants will also learn about empathy-building tools and gain qualitative research skills.

Who needs to be on our ‘team’?

We ask that participating schools and districts form a core ‘team’ that will participate in all the sessions and activities during the Learning Network phase and lead this work in their schools and districts. These teams will pull in additional school or district staff as needed (for example, during CEI site visits or data review activities) and will disseminate learning throughout their system.

For the High School Redesign Learning Network, teams must include a minimum of four members: the building principal, two additional school staff, and a senior district leader.

For the CB/PL Learning Network, teams must include a minimum of five members, including at least one each of the following roles: a building principal, teacher leader, and senior district leader. The ideal CB/PL Learning Network teams will include the superintendent (or designee), a principal, a teacher leader, a parent, a school board member, and a community/business representative.

Can we participate if some or all of my team cannot make it to the convening(s)?

Teams that are able to fully participate will be more competitive in the LOI review process. However, if no members from your team can participate, we still encourage you to apply and provide some context about your conflict, what you hope to gain from the Learning Network, and how you might engage despite missing the convenings.

Should we apply if my school/district is already partnered with CEI through other project(s)?

CEI’s Theory of Change and objectives for both Learning Networks focus on equity and empathy mindsets, conditions for scale, and catalyzing a learning community of districts across Colorado seeking to leverage this work for broader system transformation. While we believe the Learning Network phase will be a valuable experience for any school and district, we remain committed to meeting our partners where they are at. If the work planned through each convening seems redundant to work you have done or are currently engaging in with CEI, but you are still looking for meaningful ways to participate, let us know. We will do our best to accommodate each team in ways that do not detract from the development of a robust learning community that is a primary goal of this phase.

Can multiple schools within a district apply to be a part of the high school redesign learning network?

There is no rule or limit to the number of schools in a district who can apply, but for mid-size or large districts, it may be strategic to select 1-2 of the high schools who have the most readiness and capacity to begin this work now. Given the team requirements (see above), districts with multiple school applicants need to consider the implications for the district staff representation on each team and ensure that the district has the capacity to fully engage in each team.

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