Education Redesign Lab Expands Its Impact on Communities
In February 2016, the Harvard Graduate School of Education announced the launch of By All Means: Redesigning Education to Restore Opportunity, a 2.5 year initiative aimed at supporting mayors and superintendents in leading cities to develop integrated systems of education and child well-being to close achievement gaps. As the Education Redesign Lab wraps up phase one of the initiative, the Harvard Graduate School of Education is happy to announce the launch of By All Means (BAM) 2.0 and two additional initiatives to support communities in expanding services and opportunities for children.
“We are proud of what these visionary mayors and superintendents [from Louisville, Kentucky; Oakland, California; Providence, Rhode Island; and Salem and Somerville, Massachusetts] have achieved on behalf of children over the last two years, and we are excited to continue to work together to more effectively meet children’s needs inside and outside of school,” said Paul Reville, director of the Education Redesign Lab. “Their successes and the leadership example they are providing the nation are particularly important in this moment. They are redefining the social compact and stepping up for children and our future.”
Mayors and superintendents participating in the initiative have pointed to the value of its goal and framework of support. “By All Means’ goal is the most important goal: to ensure that every child is able to reach their full potential, stop the systems of oppression, and give opportunity to all,” shared Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “To be able to do that in partnership, to have some guiding principles, but to allow room for innovation and customization — which really is a unique part of how Paul has designed this initiative — that is what has made it so valuable.”
Salem Superintendent Margarita Ruiz reflected that “we are an example of a city that had great intentions, with great people, great staff, and great organizations, and what this initiative has done is given us the time, the place, and the platform to organize and be strategic around that. This is one of the best things I've done as a superintendent, and I know that Mayor Driscoll feels the same way.”
While By All Means 2.0 will build off the initiative's original framework — featuring local children’s cabinets, biannual convenings, and city-based consultants — there will also be a new focus on specific areas of work, including creating individualized student success plans and identifying the resources necessary to expand educational opportunities for children. The Lab will also be helping cities develop intermediary organizations to manage the cradle-to-career initiatives over time. The cities will continue to measure their progress using a Lab’s Measures of Success framework.
The priorities for By All Means 2.0 have been informed by the Lab’s research, Building City-Wide Systems of Opportunity for Children: Initial Lessons from the By All Means Consortium. The report’s overview features a series of checklists that outline effective strategies, which were culled directly from the challenges and successes experienced by the cities as they got their BAM work off the ground. Among those lessons include the importance of having an effective governance structure for managing the Cabinet and the initiatives, establishing a shared vision for the priorities and goals, and the necessity to strategically leverage or generate new resources to expand the services and initiatives for children. The report’s Keys to Success also provide a high-level roadmap for leaders looking to engage in cross-sector work on behalf of children in their community.
The Education Redesign Lab is also launching a new city network for more than 20 additional communities. The Lab will support this network in creating and supporting cross-sector children’s cabinets through light technical assistance support, webinars, annual convenings at Harvard focused on best practices, links to experts in the education and child development fields, and other networking opportunities. The Lab is also launching a Leadership Institute for up to 80 community leaders who run intermediary organizations implementing collaborative impact agendas on behalf of children in communities across the United States.
Launched in 2015, HGSE’s Education Redesign Lab’s mission is to design an integrated, comprehensive set of systems for education and child development that will ensure all students, especially economically disadvantaged, have a fair chance of mastering the skills and knowledge necessary for success. To achieve this, the Education Redesign Lab engages in research, field work, and movement building activities to support the development of this vision. To stay up to date on their work, you can visit their website, sign up for their quarterly newsletter, and follow them on social media.
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