Creating better education systems so learning is accessible for all young people is about who is designing those ideas, where the power and resources are, and how we’re defining learning.
Listen to this 5-minute clip explaining RESCHOOL’s model for transforming systems of learning Head over to RESCHOOL Design Lab to learn more.
This video RESCHOOL co-created with partners in 2017 highlights some of the concepts that have emerged from RESCHOOL working with this model over the years
Supporting Families to Access, Resource, and Navigate Learning
Every parent has aspirations for their child’s education, and future. Their children also have opinions about what, where, and how they want to engage in learning and life. Yet, it can be difficult to know what goals are appropriate at different stages, what opportunities exist, which ones are the best fit, and how to have conversations together (parent and child) to make decisions about which schools and other learning experiences reflect their family context, academic goals, interests, and cultural identity. Having a trusted partner (we call this person a learner advocate) to walk alongside them through this process and build upon their capacity to navigate increasingly complex learning options has become essential.
The infusion of learner advocates into our communities is a way of responding to a need raised by families in our networks. RESCHOOL’s learner advocates meet with parents to guide them in their pursuit of purposeful and relevant learning paths from birth to career. The first learner advocate network we created was in partnership with Boulder Housing Partners, a model they continue to grow years after our first prototypes together. The second iteration of this concept was run by RESCHOOL, in partnership with employers that offer access to our learner advocates to working parents as an employee benefit. RESCHOOL is currently piloting how to best invest in learner advocates that already exist in communities and organizations. These individuals are providing crucial learner advocate services to families, though often without many resources or a network to support the work they are doing.
See how we put this into practice with organizations.
Equitable Access to Learning Everywhere
Young people spend 80% of their waking hours outside of school. Access to the learning that happens outside of school is not equitable and the gap is widening.
We take steps to fund and provide more access to learning within and beyond school. Whether this means offering funds to support with technology and school supplies, funding for tutoring sessions or funding to participate in extracurricular programs, families should be able to access what they need.
Some ways we are supporting a broader learning ecosystem:
- Offering Learning Dollars to families to supplement learning purchases. Watch this 1-minute video to see how this impacts families.
- Creating the DISCOVER learning resource which allows families to learn more about local learning opportunities available to them
- Funding learning providers to support their programming
We’ve worked with learning providers in a variety of ways over the years including:
- Partnering with organizations to link scholarship money they have to families before program spots fill up
- Piloting ideas to create more inclusive and welcoming environments for young people
- Providing feedback on organization application processes to increase accessibility
- Connect learning providers to each other and other potential partners
See how we put this into practice with families and learning providers.
Investing in the Learning Opportunities Young People Choose
Learning Communities Initiative
RESCHOOL’s work with families and community organizations led us to discover networks of people, across households and geographies, who are supporting each other to access, create, and resource learning experiences. We wanted to learn more about how these networks formed and functioned and what impact they were having in their communities. So we started The Learning Communities Initiative (LCI) to raise funding and invest in local learning networks.
How it works:
- Cohorts have been parent, youth or mentor-led
- LCI participants lean into others in their group to solve for barriers they are experiencing and decisions they need to make about their children’s learning.
- RESCHOOL learns from these cohorts and provides them with resources (such as learning dollars), and stipends for their participation.
This effort draws inspiration from Up Together (formerly Family Independence Initiative)
We are encouraged by Path4Ward, which we are supporting the implementation of in its inaugural year. It allocates up to $4000/person in state funding to eligible students that graduate high school early to access post-secondary opportunities of their choosing, post-graduation. These types of publicly-funded programs, that can be bundled around learners’ needs and aspirations at various times in their educational journeys, offer new ways to expand opportunities, and close equity gaps.
Step Into What Is Possible
We need to orient around new experiences and frameworks to actualize an empowering, meaningful education experience for young people.
RESCHOOL has co-created immersive experiences like REVOLVE and visualization exercises like School’s Out to center learner’s experiences and give people the space to better design our systems of learning in new and creative ways, and consider a broader definition of learning. RESCHOOL also created Design Lab, a set of tools and practices for co-creating new ideas with community and then trying those ideas.
It is hard to step outside of ourselves and the current state of education to create a relevant, learner-centered system. Harder still to find the time to think, innovate, create and dream. To ensure we’re centering learners and how they experience learning in our work.
Engaging in an experience and having new tools to orient around makes these things infinitely easier.
We can’t wait for one education leader, one school, one nonprofit organization or one policy to come along and fix the inequities in education for us. We need to engage the unique talents, experiences and networks of everybody who impacts education from parents and young people, to teachers and administrators, to nonprofits, policymakers, funders, community leaders, businesses and beyond.
Time is a luxury many impacting education do not have. We need quick, effective ways like REVOLVE, Design Lab and the School’s Out Visualization Tool to unleash the creativity and ideas within many to create better systems of learning.
We hope these tools will serve as inspiration for everyone to affect change with their own context which is crucial in systems change work… because it’s going to take all of us.
Take a look at the resources we make available for everyone who’s interested in transforming education systems.
Our greatest hope is to inspire, support and resource shifts in the education ecosystem so that meaningful learning is accessible to all young people in Colorado.
It will take all of us to accomplish that.
Your talents are unique. You offer a particular value to your community and context. If you’re interested in being part of this work, start by exploring this site—it’s “chalk” full of ways to jump in.