To identify potential users of the new system and design it alongside them, we leveraged Clayton Christensen's Theory of Disruptive Innovation to narrow in on existing gaps in the market where a new system could offer something new or better. Through our work together, we identified three groups of "non-consumers" of current education systems: those who opted out of the current system (e.g., homeschoolers), aren't part of it yet (e.g. 0-5-year-olds, especially those utilizing friends, families, and neighbors for care instead of formal child care), and young adults who have dropped out or want a different path from high school through post-secondary to careers and life.
The Buechner Institute serves to inform policy development through research and evaluation and provides consultation to nonprofits seeking to make real impacts on communities and the world. We partnered with researchers at the center to build early financial models for ReSchool Colorado, based on data for existing public funding streams in our state. These financial models have been transformed into financial learner profiles, which will demonstrate how learners of various ages could be funded through this new system and will provide some detail on how dollars would flow to various entities within the system itself.
The Colorado Children's Campaign has served as a thought partner to the ReSchool team since the beginning of the initiative. They served on our initial advisory group during the Request for Information process conducted in 2013 and provided expertise on important areas critical to the policy design of the new system, including early childhood learning and care, governance, finance, and our political and advocacy strategy.
We have long turned to the team at Bellwether as collaborators and thought partners on various topics related to systems change. As we design ReSchool Colorado and they design the Urban School System of the Future, we have both grappled with how to reimagine education governance in our respective efforts. As such, we co-hosted a Governance Summit in 2015 (also in partnership with the Gates Family Foundation who is equally interested in new governance models). It was a fascinating 2-day event that brought together people from across the country who were either designing new governance models to be tested at some point in the future or those who were already in the midst of implementing new governance models in a handful of cities across the nation. We expect to see continued collaboration in this area with Bellwether going forward.
Our partners for almost two years, Greater Good Studio (GGS) is a human-centered design firm focused on social impact. They have helped us conduct deep ethnographic research to identify unforeseen opportunities and solutions for one group of non-consumers: the families of early learners age 0-5. Based on our experience shadowing families, GGS helped us articulate A New Vision for Early Learners and later designed a prototype combining several of these elements, including the pre-loaded debit cards and the support of learner advocates. Most recently, GGS has been a partner in the design of an interactive game which we use to creatively engage communities in the ReSchool vision and community-based design across the state of Colorado.
Fidelis Education is a "one-stop shop for out-of-class support services." The pilot we created together focused on the relationship between the advocate, technology, and a drive for student agency. Fidelis' Learning Relationship Manager platform was attractive to the ReSchool team because it provides a vehicle through which learners can articulate a clear purpose, pursue personalized pathways, and cultivate a network of people to help accomplish their goals. In addition to Fidelis, we partnered with five organizations in Colorado to test the platform's use and effectiveness with young adults who had an advocate through one of these organizations in order to better understand how technology can amplify and support the advocate role.
Entangled Solutions is a leading innovation agency for organizational change in higher education. They are a team of entrepreneurs (including our longtime collaborator Michael Horn) with deep experience in strategy consulting, program design, marketing strategy, business model development and implementation planning. In our first collaboration, Entangled helped us design a prototype in the summer of 2016 with five learning providers in metro Denver serving 15-21-year-olds. Together we gained greater insight on how the needs of learners are currently being met in out-of-school spaces, how learning providers define and ensure success towards a set of outcomes, and how our Framework for the Future of Learning supports shared commitment of student learning. In 2017, Entangled Solutions continues to support us with ongoing strategy as we structure a pilot of the Learner Advocate Network.
Boulder Housing Partners (BHP) holds unique, trusted relationships with the communities of families they serve. Their mission to provide quality, affordable housing as a mechanism to inspire vibrant communities and change in people's lives is deeply aligned to our values. In the fall of 2014, we shadowed BHP families with young learners 0-5 using Family, Friends & Neighbor care, which led to the co-creation of A New Vision for Early Learners. The following summer, we facilitated the Learning Opportunities Prototype in which the same group of families were equipped with the support of an advocate and access to a debit card with their learning dollars, two concepts lifted from A New Vision. This prototype empowered parents to design a summer of learning for their kids from an expanded landscape of opportunities. Since then, BHP has been working to create their own network of advocates within their housing communities.
We have been fortunate to have local and national funding partners who believe in our vision. Thanks to:
James Walton Fund
Gary Community Investments
Gates Family Foundation
Walton Family Foundation
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Tom Vander Ark, Getting Smart