RESEARCH AND ADVISORY

Are you a philanthropic organization whose mission is to help shift the education system away from the traditional industrial model? Are you a government agency seeking to understand the current landscape of what’s working and how you might support continued growth of good work? What are your juicy questions related to this change work?

We love to partner with you to help shorten your learning curve and connect you with people and projects of link mind and mission. Some examples of what we've done for past clients:

  • Organized a series of exemplary school visits for a foundation President and accompanied him on the trip

  • Conducted research and compiled report on the K-12 transformational landscape

  • Researched leading edge assessment practices and built an open source database of assessment practices - designed by and for educators

"The results of working with Julie were better than I could have imagined and our partnership helped set the stage for our current work at the foundation. One of the limitations we all have in terms of thinking about change is our prior experience, in many ways, we are walled in by our prior experience. My experience with Julie helped to stretch those limits." – Arthur Levine, President, Woodrwo Wilson Foundation

CLIENT EXAMPLES

Woodrow Wilson Foundation

In support of the foundation’s strategic priorities:

  • Organized a series of exemplary school visits for the foundation President and accompanied him on the trip
  • Conducted research and compiled report on the K-12 transformational landscape
  • Conducted research and compiled report on new teacher competencies for the Woodrow Wilson Academy

FROM ARTHUR LEVINE, PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON FOUNDATION

I met Julie in 2013 over breakfast - to talk about education and the future.

As a result of that breakfast, having never met her in my life, I asked her to orchestrate a set of school visits across the country - I have never done anything that impulsive before in my life. I was bowled over by what she knew, who she knew, and what she thought was happening. She also agreed with me and that was a plus :) I spent two weeks with Julie guiding me through programs across the country at the cutting edge - together we developed an itinerary and she set it up. It had an extraordinary impact on me personally as a leader of the foundation and I shared everything I saw with the WWF staff.

At that time, the foundation was in the early stages of creating a brand new school of education. Fast forward four years and we have built that school of education - a school of education for the 21st century in collaboration with MIT. The notion behind the school is exactly the same as the underlying rationale for the Institute for the Future of Learning: we have an education system created for a national, analog, industrial era, but we find ourselves in the global, digital, information era. Schools of education focus on common times, processes, Carnegie units, content and subjects. We are changing the focus from teaching to learning. It’s a revolutionary change, it meant we had to create a competency based education for teachers and leaders and do away with the traditional unit of learning (i.e seat time). It is now a degree granting college.

Julie was one of the first people to whom I spoke about this initiative. We needed a Director for the project and she introduced me to a world of talent. I also wanted to know everything there was to know about teacher competencies - today and in the future - and Julie answered those questions, as well as offering insightful observations regarding how they were likely to change over time. She is one of those people with whom I meet periodically about where the school is going - to get her very gentle and wise feedback.

The results of working with Julie were better than I could have imagined and our partnership helped set the stage for our current work at the foundation. One of the limitations we all have in terms of thinking about change is our prior experience, in many ways, we are walled in by our prior experience. My experience with Julie helped to stretch those limits. Julie is terrific to work with; as well as being creative, she also does something that’s terribly traditional and important - she works on deadlines and makes those deadlines. She is creative, smart and dependable - it ain’t a bad combination.

I think she is a national resource - I know no one else like her.

NARA HJARTAT, Sweden and USA

Leading Edge Assessment Practices

  • Conducted research, interviewed thought leaders and wrote report on ‘Assessing the Learning that Matters Most’
  • Presented findings at SNS Stockholm
  • Built an open source database of assessment practices - designed by and for educators

FROM LINA VON POST, CEO NARA HJARTAT, SWEDEN AND USA

A friend and colleague met Julie at a seminar and he recommended we meet with her as we share a similar view of how and why the education system needs to change. After meeting online and in person, it was clear that we have a shared view on what is working and not working with the education system - in particular as it relates to social emotional learning and assessment.

When we met, Julie shared some examples of schools where they were assessing skills such as creativity and collaboration. We were eager to learn more and asked Julie to conduct some research on our behalf. We wanted to know how learning is being assessed from a whole child perspective, where great work is happening, examples of that work, and the challenges in helping this work to grow. Julie came to Stockholm to present the findings, and as a result of those findings, she created an open source database that categorizes these innovative assessment practices in different schools across the US. The database makes it easier for teachers, administrators and policy makers to search for inspiration and share best practice within this field.

Julie is both smart and warm - she has a clear vision and knows how to get results. She is a great collaborator who is able to incorporate different kinds of perspectives into the process. She was able to take our ideas and draft a plan that fit our needs and area of interest. We would never have gotten these insights if it weren’t for our partnership.

Next High School

Advisor and support to the CEO as he launched a new model of High School in Greenville, SC

  • Accompanied CEO on school visits as he drafted the vision for the school
  • Presented at introductory community event, providing context to the new school model
  • Designed and facilitated founding faculty summer retreat
  • Ongoing advisory with the CEO

FROM ZACH EIKENBERRY, FOUNDING CEO, NEXT HIGH SCHOOL

Julie and I got connected via a mutual connection on LinkedIn who had seen her TEDx talk. Early on she joined me on a vision trip for the school. She was there when the school was just an idea. I’m not a properly trained educator and knew that I shouldn’t try to pull down fences unless I knew why those fences were put up in the first place. I had to catch up and learn - where the education system came from, what’s working, what’s not. Julie helped me with that a lot. She helped validate our ideas for Next High School with stakeholders through a community conference, she introduced me to various folks in her network, and she helped onboard our founding faculty.

There are not a lot of folks out there who are cut from the cloth that Julie is - people who can discuss what is happening with public education, challenge things at a conceptual level, and dig into the bigger question of “why”. She was willing to disagree with folks who were being philosophically inconsistent - and did so in a way that furthered the discussion.

Her biggest impression upon our school’s DNA was challenging the batch processing paradigm. Her encouragement had us think that there is a big difference between student centered and human centered. This has gone deep into our processes - we will never treat our kids as students, we treat them as humans. That’s her legacy at Next High School.

On a personal level, leading this kind of change is challenging. Julie was my cheerleader and she let me know that pioneers get beat up the way I was getting beat up. It was helpful. Her work fits really well in organizations that are self aware and conscious - for an organization that wants to maximize the work she does, they have to be willing to address things about themselves that might make them uncomfortable. Her work will do best with a blank canvas - the more blank the canvas the more color she can paint.