All Together Now: How to Engage Your Stakeholders in Reimagining School


Suzie Boss

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    The last 15 years of education policy and debate in the United States have failed to transform our education system. We find ourselves in essentially the same corner we found ourselves at the dawn of the 21st century, but drawn more urgently than ever toward a new paradigm. At this juncture, we must empower local communities, school boards, and superintendents to reenergize and refocus our schools and districts for the 21st century. Federal and state policy makers have been wracked by steep ideological divisions, confused by differing visions of the purpose of education, and obsessed with punitive accountability measures and outdated standards. It now falls on local education leaders and their stakeholders to lead our nation’s schools beyond our country’s politicized and systematic intransigence.

    The good news is that there are dozens of leaders and communities ready for this challenge. For the last six years, I have had the privilege to advise and to learn from these leaders as the CEO of EdLeader21. Our professional learning community comprises education leaders committed to transforming their schools and districts so their students are truly ready for the challenges of 21st century life, citizenship, and work. Our collaboration has led me to a very optimistic but clear-eyed view of what can happen if we give our local education leaders and their communities the flexibility and support they need to move education transformation forward.

    The most successful leaders of this groundbreaking work demonstrate a variety of shared commitments. They are devoted to disrupting the traditional education model, to engaging their communities in dialogue, and to changing classroom pedagogy and practice so that every student actually develops the necessary skills to be successful in the 21st century. When I address education transformation, I often ask who would make the better employee, family member, and citizen: “Student A” or “Student B”?


    Invariably, school stakeholders select Student B—then wonder, after endless years of fierce debate and countless millions of dollars invested, how we can still be stuck in an education system devoted almost exclusively to Student A.

    Rejecting decades of myopic education debate, policy, and practice, the dynamic education leaders in our PLC have had the courage and conviction to rally their schools and districts around the growth of Student B. They often articulate the proficiencies of Student B in a “Profile of a 21st Century Graduate” (see, then engage their stakeholders in robust and sustained dialogue about it. These leaders realize that in order for transformation to be successful, it needs to be rooted in a vision that stakeholders not only understand but also have been given the opportunity to shape and support.

    Suzie Boss’s work in All Together Now: How to Engage Your Stakeholders in Reimagining School provides educators with the first comprehensive guide to engaging each of their school community’s key constituencies—students and their families, teachers and principals, school board, youth groups, and business leaders—in dialogue about 21st century education transformation. The book not only suggests helpful strategies to approach each group but also provides impactful ways to frame and sustain dialogue with them. This “stakeholder guide” will be invaluable to those education leaders who are undertaking the transformation dialogue with their communities and will be hailed as such for years to come.

    At the end of the day, all of our schools’ stakeholders recognize, or can be helped to recognize, the urgency of retooling our schools and districts. They must support the development of young people who can engage with their communities to identify and address their most vexing problems. They must help students collaborate across difference to harness a diversity of strengths and perspectives. They must help students learn to reinvent themselves, their institutions, their products, and their communities to serve the needs of a changing world. These skills will provide young adults with economic opportunity and empower them to respond to a vast array of 21st century challenges in their society, their workplace, and their world. Simply put, those who develop these skills will be successful in the coming decades; those who don’t will not.

    This reality applies globally. Over the last few years, I have had the privilege to visit Finland, Thailand, and Singapore and to participate in a global conference on 21st century education hosted by Fernando Reimers at Harvard. In these international contexts, my global colleagues confirmed that there is much attention being paid to the development of transformative 21st century educational systems outside the United States. And they have confirmed how important vision, messaging, and community engagement are to the success of these efforts in their countries.

    Around the globe, students need to learn to adapt and to change. They are depending on our schools to do the same. More and more local education leaders and their communities are seizing the freedom, agency, and courage to exercise these skills themselves; together, they will usher in the next great era of education. This crucial book will be indispensable to supporting their efforts.

    Ken Kay

    Ken Kay was the founding president of The Partnership for 21st ­Century Skills in 2002. He now serves as CEO of EdLeader21, a ­professional learning community of leaders dedicated to implementing 21st century education. He is the coauthor of The Leader’s Guide to 21st Century Education: 7 Steps for Schools and Districts.


    Earlier in my career, I worked for an educational research lab. Much of our work focused on putting good ideas into practice to improve academic results in high-poverty communities. The goal wasn’t so much adopting break-the-mold models of education as it was catching up with schools that did better by traditional measures. My work often involved translating educational research for lay audiences. As I listened for questions from parents and other community members, I heard a common concern: How is this going to be better for our kids?

    A couple decades later, a new call for school transformation is once again raising questions from stakeholders. I’m at a different point in my career now as an education writer and consultant focusing on project-based learning and innovation. I have been fortunate to work with schools of all descriptions, both across the United States and internationally, that are retooling to be more relevant for today’s learners. I hear challenging conversations unfolding in a wide range of settings, including public school districts and charters, independent schools, and international schools. Across diverse contexts, there’s little disagreement that schools based on last century’s model must change. Blue-ribbon panels, best-selling authors, and impassioned keynote speakers have made a convincing case: if we want today’s students to be better equipped to tackle the complex challenges ahead, we must update or reinvent how schools help them learn.

    Yet hard questions remain when it comes to moving forward: How fast, how far should changes go? Which traditions and instructional strategies are worth preserving? How can we ensure that new approaches, including the use of digital tools, will lead to better learning outcomes? How can learning spaces be redesigned to support reimagined instructional goals? How will we avoid burnout or indifference among teachers who have seen previous initiatives come and go? And, of course, the essential question we must ask of any school change: How is this going to be better for our kids?

    One more question is making the rounds, too, in communities that are taking real action to reinvent education. Today’s parents and community partners don’t just want to know how or why education is changing. They also want to know, How can we help? As schools look beyond the classroom to create real-world learning opportunities for their students, new avenues are opening for family and community participation. Students themselves are speaking up about how, when, and where they learn best.

    That’s good news. At a time of rapid global change and an explosion of information, schools can’t expect to find all the answers within their own campuses. Instead, many schools are turning outward, engaging everyone in their communities—­students, teachers, parents, school boards, business leaders, and other partners—to dream together about the future of learning and then work together to make it happen.


    This book is for anyone who is concerned about the future of K–12 education, committed to engaging students in more meaningful learning, and convinced that school change will require collaborative effort by stakeholders who may not have a track record of working together. The primary audience includes the diverse community of educators who focus every day on serving their students’ best interests. This includes school and district leaders, teachers and instructional coaches, technology and media specialists, school governance boards and policy makers. Readers are also likely to include parents and other allies for school change from the business community, nonprofits, philanthropic sector, and school architects and others in the design field. Additionally, the book offers practical ideas that should be useful for networks and affinity groups already pursuing initiatives such as project-based learning, design thinking, makerspaces, and other efforts to promote more meaningful, student-driven instruction.

    By now, nearly two decades into the 21st century, we can look to a substantial body of literature to understand why last century’s model of schooling fails to adequately equip students for careers and citizenship in our fast-changing world. That’s why, in the pages ahead, readers should not expect to find another treatise on the need for school change. Instead, this book is about what happens next, once your community decides that it’s time to stop debating and start working together to prepare your students for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

    Approach and Organization

    Like instructional practices that are grounded in inquiry, this book prompts readers to make their own meaning by considering a series of questions. Abundant examples and case studies from the frontlines of school change provide inspiration and ideas you can adopt or adapt for your context. Discussion prompts are included to promote and provoke conversations—both inside and outside school—with everyone who has a stake in student success (including students themselves). Working together, through collaborative inquiry and hard conversations, you will arrive at your best answers for how schools should adapt for your context and your children.

    The book is organized to guide you through a four-part process for engaging stakeholders in school change.

    Part I: The Why focuses on motivation. What’s the shared “why” that is motivating community members to tackle the hard work of school change? The first chapter briefly recaps global efforts to transform education, acknowledges barriers to change, and asks readers to evaluate their community’s readiness for disruption. Chapter 2 introduces stakeholder engagement strategies that communities have used to effectively “engage the willing” in rethinking school.

    Part II: The How is about moving from shared vision to new reality by keeping everyone engaged. Chapter 3 describes grassroots visioning processes that invite the perspectives of diverse stakeholders, from within schools and from the broader community. Chapters 4 through 7 focus on strategies to engage specific stakeholder groups critical to any change initiative, including teachers, students, families, and other community allies.

    Part III: The What-ifs focuses on maintaining momentum and overcoming resistance. Chapter 8 guides readers to start with the end in mind and to clearly define the goals of change efforts and the indicators of progress. To anticipate roadblocks and overcome pushback, readers consider how they will respond to common concerns (“yeah, buts” and “what-ifs”) that can slow or derail initiatives. Troubleshooting strategies help leaders become more effective change managers.

    Part IV: The Future Story highlights the power of storytelling to sustain change and build optimism for future efforts. Chapter 9 explains how sharing stories of school transformation helps communities celebrate early wins and stay committed to long-term change. Chapter 10 revisits the big questions asked throughout the book and encourages readers to plan their next steps.


    What should readers know and be able to do by the end of the book? Outcomes will no doubt vary, depending on your starting point and readiness for disruption. In broad strokes, however, readers can expect to come away with these things:

    • Greater clarity about their community’s readiness for school change
    • Creative ways to identify diverse and perhaps underrepresented stakeholder groups and engage them as school change partners (including nontraditional roles for parents that leverage their talents and interests)
    • Practical ideas to amplify student voice in learning and leadership
    • Strategies for overcoming resistance to change and avoiding initiative fatigue
    • Suggestions for making deliberate use of digital tools and storytelling to shape the narrative about education in your community
    • Permission to dream big about the future of teaching and learning
    Special Features

    Throughout the book, special features are included to help guide your inquiry:

    ImageWorth Asking: Each chapter includes questions intended to prompt individual reflection or spark group discussions about featured case studies and other examples of creative community outreach. Share your responses with a broader community on Twitter by adding the hashtag #alltogethernow.

    ImageCrib Sheet: Short, jargon-free summaries of key terms are included to ensure that everyone is talking the same language about current trends in education. Along with brief definitions, you’ll find links for additional resources and hashtags to connect with communities of practice.

    ImageTry This: Watch for practical ideas that are ready to borrow or adapt. Try This suggestions challenge readers to apply specific activities or outreach strategies that other schools have found to be beneficial.

    ImageWeb Resources: All the online resources and links mentioned in the book will be available for readers to access at

    How to Use This Book

    This book will ask you to wrestle with big questions about where education is heading. There is no answer key, although there are abundant examples and case studies to inspire your thinking. This emphasis on inquiry shouldn’t be surprising, given my longtime advocacy of project-based learning and other approaches that emphasize open-ended questions as springboards for deep and meaningful learning. Finding the right answers for your community will depend on your local context and your prior experiences. Some readers will likely be deep into visioning work with their communities. Others may be just beginning to consider whether their schools are overdue for an update to meet the needs of today’s learners.

    The focus on stakeholder engagement makes the book ideally suited to read and discuss with others. Case studies and questions throughout the book are included to promote and provoke conversation. Perhaps those conversations will be a first step toward deeper community engagement. This might happen informally or in more structured ways, such as in a book group or professional learning community. To that end, you will find a discussion guide in Appendix B.

    A Note on the Stories and Sources

    The book includes extensive examples and case studies from schools and communities in diverse settings, both in the United States and internationally. Several such stories are woven throughout the book, illustrating how innovative schools and communities have advanced their own journeys to create new learning opportunities for students. Unless otherwise indicated, stories in the coming chapters were shared by sources personally interviewed by the author. They have granted permission to be quoted in the book.


    Many people contributed stories and suggestions to bring this book to life.

    I would like to thank the team at Corwin for helping me think through the message I wanted to share and the audience I hoped to reach. Thanks especially to Arnis Burvikovs and Desirée A. Bartlett for editorial advice that helped to shape the book. Thanks, too, to Amy Harris for her careful copyediting and to Kaitlyn Irwin to attending to myriad publishing details.

    I am honored that Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21 and a longtime advocate of 21st century teaching and learning, agreed to share his perspective by contributing the Foreword.

    Fittingly for a book titled All Together Now, stakeholders from a variety of contexts shared insights about the challenges facing schools and the courage required to rethink education. Among those who offered their wisdom about schools around the world were leadership expert Scott McLeod, Shabbi Luthra, and Scot Hoffman of the ­American School of Bombay, global school planner Frank Locker, and Brett Jacobson from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School. Silvia ­Tolisano, connected-learning expert, contributed important ideas about storytelling as a vehicle for improving our practice as educators.

    I was inspired by the creativity and collaboration to reinvent learning across the Remake Learning network in Pittsburgh, ­Pennsylvania. Thanks especially to Gregg Behr of the Grable ­Foundation, Cathy Lewis Long of the Sprout Fund, Superintendent Bart Rocco of Elizabeth Forward School District, and Shaun Tomaszewski from Pittsburgh Public Schools.

    In Chesterfield County Schools, Virginia, former Superintendent Marcus Newsome and Chief Academic Officer Donna Dalton generously took time to reflect on the process that has engaged stakeholders in school change. The team at Iowa BIG shared its powerful story about rethinking high school. Thanks to Dr. Trace Pickering and Troy Miller for your insights.

    I had the opportunity to deepen my understanding of how architects and educators are collaborating to reimagine schools by attending the National Summit on School Design. Thanks to the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) for hosting, and thanks to Ron Bogle, AAF CEO and president, for follow-up conversations about the Design for Learning initiative.

    As an example of school–community partnerships, I have followed with interest the development of the EF Glocal Challenge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Thanks to Shawna Sullivan Marino from EF Education First and Jennifer Lawrence with the city of ­Cambridge Community Development Department for thinking through their strategies for building an effective program that enables students to take on real-world challenges.

    I greatly appreciate the students who contributed insights and perspectives. Zak Malamad and Andrew Brennen from #stuvoice were particularly helpful in bringing student voice into the conversation. And Sylvia Martinez helped me appreciate that student voice involves more than listening; it’s about student action. Thanks for the useful feedback.

    Finally, I’d like to acknowledge the many others who are hard at work on making school more meaningful and engaging in communities across the United States and around the world. I hope you continue to share your stories, setbacks, and strategies so that others can learn from your experiences.

    Publisher’s Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    • Virginia E. Kelsen, Executive Director, Career Readiness
    • Chaffey Joint Union High School District
    • Ontario, California
    • Renee Peoples, Instructional Coach
    • West Elementary School
    • Bryson City, North Carolina
    • Judith A. Rogers, Education Consultant
    • Associates for Educational Success
    • Tucson, Arizona
    • Winston Sakurai, Upper School Principal
    • Hanalani Schools
    • Mililani, Hawaii

    About the Author

    Suzie BossSuzie Boss is a writer and educational consultant who focuses on the power of teaching and learning to improve lives and transform communities. She is the author of several popular books for educators, including Bringing Innovation to School, Reinventing Project-Based Learning (coauthored with Jane Krauss), and Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning (coauthored with John Larmer and John Mergendoller). She is a regular contributor to Edutopia and the Stanford Social Innovation Review in addition to being a member of the Buck Institute for Education National Faculty. She is collaborating with award-winning global educator Stephen Ritz on The Power of a Plant, which tells his inspiring story of creating green classrooms and healthier outcomes for children and communities across New York’s South Bronx and around the world. Inspired by teachers who push the boundaries of the traditional classroom, Suzie consults with schools internationally that are ready to shift away from tests and textbooks and engage students in real-world problem solving. She has helped project-based learning take hold at schools in India, Europe, Mexico, and South America, as well as all over the United States. Beyond the regular school day, she has developed programs that teach youth and adults how to improve their communities with innovative, sustainable solutions. Her wide-ranging interests in education were shaped by several years as a writer, editor, and field researcher for the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (now Education Northwest) and earlier experiences as a community college instructor and journalist. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she enjoys exploring the outdoors, playing tennis, and spending time with her husband and two grown sons.

  • Epilogue

    Just as I was finishing this book, the winners of a nationwide competition for break-the-mold public high schools were announced. Over the coming five years, 10 new or redesigned schools across the United States will be underwritten with $10 million each from the XQ Super School Project. This philanthropic effort to spark innovation in education is the brainchild of Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.

    Many aspects of this ambitious project are remarkable, including the willingness of Powell Jobs to double down when she saw the outpouring of bold ideas from communities across the country. The original plan to fund five schools turned into a commitment to underwrite 10. (Iowa BIG, described in detail in the previous chapters, was named a runner-up and will receive $1 million over the next five years.) The winning entries, a mix of district and public charter schools, were selected from a pool of nearly 700 initial applications, which were winnowed to 348 semifinalists who submitted more detailed proposals. That tells us something about the wealth of ideas waiting to be implemented to transform teaching and learning.

    Here’s what else we can learn from this project: the 10 Super Schools are going to be laboratories of community partnerships. Stakeholder engagement was built into the application process, which required that proposals come from teams. New schools will work with community partners in all kinds of ways. Furr High School in Houston, Texas, which until recently suffered from a low graduation rate and a high number of disciplinary problems, plans to have students work with experts on environmental restoration projects with the goal of turning the school into a green hub for the community. Students at Brooklyn Laboratory in New York will look to the region’s artists, universities, and tech sector as charging stations for engaged learning. At Grand Rapids Public Museum High School in Michigan, thousands of museum artifacts will be the launching pad for inquiry into community projects, including one of the country’s largest river restoration efforts. Several schools serve students in high-poverty communities where innovative learning opportunities have been scarce. In the coming years, we can expect to learn more from these demonstration sites about how partnerships can improve outcomes for students and communities.

    Meanwhile, many of the also-rans hope to proceed with their plans even without philanthropic backing. They may have to scale back their ambitions to meet budget realities or seek other sources of support, but they aren’t ready to walk away from their inspiring visions to improve education. One team that didn’t get past the semifinalist round told me that the very process of working on the application increased stakeholder engagement. The opportunity to think big together about the future of teaching and learning generated energizing conversations that included students, parents, teachers, school leaders, academic experts, and community partners. It was as if stakeholders were just waiting for the invitation to roll up their sleeves and get to work together.

    I hope that the ideas in this book will provide the same kind of invitation to connect and collaborate with diverse stakeholders in your community. The challenge of transforming yesterday’s schools into the learning environments that today’s students deserve is too big, too important for any of us to tackle alone.


    • All Together Now Online Resources
    • All Together Now Reading Group Guide
    • Books and Media to Spark Community Conversations
    Appendix A: All Together Now Online Resources

    The following links, mentioned as resources in All Together Now (many of which are displayed in shortened URL in the text) are included here in the order that they appear in the book.

    Chapter 1
    Chapter 2
    Chapter 3
    Chapter 5
    Chapter 7
    Chapter 9
    Appendix B: All Together Now Reading Group Guide

    The focus on stakeholder engagement makes this book well suited to read and discuss with others in your community or in a professional learning network (PLN) of teachers. Here are some questions to frame your reading group conversations and encourage you to consider next steps.

    Chapter 1: Are you ready for disruption?

    The opening chapter suggests that diverse stakeholders bring different experiences, expectations, and perspectives about school. Begin your shared reading experience by discussing how your own education has served your needs. Can you recall specific school experiences that built a foundation you continue to draw on as an adult? Did school ignite passions that continue to burn bright for you? Looking back, do you recognize gaps in your education that you have had to overcome to achieve your goals? How well prepared do you think today’s K–12 students will be to tackle the challenges ahead of them?

    Chapter 2: How will we engage the willing?

    The three case studies in this chapter (Pittsburgh, Cedar Rapids, and Dallas) begin with different conversational catalysts that engaged community members in thinking together about the future of education. Can you imagine similar stories unfolding in your community? What might be the spark to get people thinking together creatively about education?

    Chapter 3: How do forward-looking school leaders take charge of change?

    Leadership expert Scott McLeod suggests that few school leaders feel a sense of urgency about school change. Do you agree? If you have worked with leaders who do bring a sense of urgency to the work, how does that affect everyone else in the school? (For example, is it inspiring or perhaps unsettling?) Has your school or district generated a profile of a graduate (as recommended by EdLeader21 and illustrated by the Mount Vernon Mind)? If not, take time now to discuss what you hope your students will know and be able to do by the time they graduate. How might you adapt an approach such as the dual operating system used by the American School of Bombay to fit your context? What would you anticipate as advantages and challenges to introducing such an idea? What else would you want to know before moving forward?

    Chapter 4: How will we support teachers as they become 21st century educators?

    This chapter cites research indicating most teachers do not think their voices are heard when it comes to making decisions about education. Compare your own experiences of how your school community either invites or discourages teacher voice. When you have had a voice in decision-making, how did that influence your willingness to try something new? This chapter describes examples of peer-to-peer professional learning, such as edcamps. If you have participated in these events, what were your takeaways from the experience? How might your school do more to deprivatize the act of teaching, as we heard about in the Pittsburgh example? What feels risky about opening the classroom doors?

    Chapter 5: How will we amplify student voice?

    Brandon Busteed of the Gallup Organization argues that the drop in student engagement for each year students are in school “is our monumental, collective national failure.” How would you rate the level of student engagement in your community? Is your assessment based on personal experience, hard data, or a combination? Would students reach the same conclusion? This chapter describes a number of practical ways to increase student voice in learning. Discuss these ideas. Which ones are you interested in prototyping in your classroom or community?

    Chapter 6: How will we engage families as partners in school change?

    Michele Brooks, former assistant superintendent of family and student engagement for Boston Public Schools, describes how parental roles need to shift at different stages of a child’s life so that young people can become independent and capable of advocating for themselves. You may notice that none of the roles she describes include helicopter, a popular term for parents who are overly involved in managing their children’s lives (often well into adolescence). What do parents need to understand about the importance of these stages when it comes to preparing students for the future—whether in college, careers, or citizenship? How might you help parents appreciate the importance of stepping back and allowing students to take more responsibility? Later in the chapter, you heard about strategies to engage parents who have not traditionally been involved in their children’s education. What is your school doing to open the doors between school and home?

    Chapter 7: Who else will join us?

    This chapter describes several examples of school–community partnerships. How are the Iowa BIG model and other examples different from the way your school system has approached partnerships with community organizations in the past? Do you have a “litmus test” for partnership opportunities, as Troy Miller of Iowa BIG describes? For the Glocal Challenge, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is clear about setting expectations—for both youth and city staffers who serve as mentors. If you are recruiting adults for a similar mentoring role, how do you help them overcome challenges in dealing with students or troubleshoot problems as they arise?

    Chapter 8: How can we address challenges and build momentum?

    This chapter encourages you to define better when it comes to results for students. What is the “end in mind” you are imagining for students in your community? How will you know whether change has been worth all the effort and disruption? This chapter recounts familiar excuses (“yeah, buts”) and concerns (“what-ifs”) that naturally arise with any change effort. Which ones resonate? How will you prepare to address stakeholders’ honest concerns without halting or derailing change efforts?

    Chapter 9: How will we share our story about the future of learning?

    Wooranna Park Primary School in Melbourne, Australia, communicates its engaging approach to teaching and learning in words and videos shared online (for example, with a detailed raison d’être). These go well beyond the typical mission statement published on school websites or brochures. Other schools use social media to share scenes of transformed teaching and learning. How might your school expand its use of storytelling (both digital and face-to-face) to communicate what’s worth knowing about your approach? What would you hope to gain from telling your story?

    Chapter 10: What are your next steps?

    At the end of this chapter, readers are prompted to consider these questions: What’s your next step? Who’s with you on your journey? Discuss your answers to those questions. How will you begin to shift from talking to doing?

    Appendix C: Books and Media to Spark Community Conversations

    The following titles were mentioned in All Together Now as resources that have been used for shared reading or viewing to provoke community conversations about school change.

    The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods, by John McKnight and Peter Block, challenges communities to look within and recognize assets that may be hiding in plain sight.

    Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, by Tony Wagner, explores the back stories of several young adults who have already made their mark as innovators.

    The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, by Michael Watkins, focuses on the challenges that leaders must face at times of transition. Although not written specifically for an education audience, the book addresses strategies that should resonate with school leaders in times of change.

    The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don’t Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need—and What We Can Do About It, by Tony Wagner, summarizes the skills demanded by the 21st century economy and the role of citizens in a globally connected world.

    Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, by Sylvia Martinez and Gary Stager, connects the dots between constructivist learning and the maker movement, with an accessible discussion of tools and technologies to support learning by making.

    Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions, by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana, introduces a simple but powerful formula for igniting student voice through inquiry.

    Making Hope Happen: Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others, by Shane Lopez, offers a psychologist’s insights about the power of hope to fuel dreams and build resiliency.

    A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, by Warren Berger, celebrates the power of questioning as a foundation of problem solving and suggests strategies to keep genuine inquiry from “falling off a cliff” as students make their way through school.

    Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era, by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith, accompanies the film by the same title (, which gives a close-up look at teaching and learning inside High Tech High in San Diego, California. Many communities have combined a screening with a panel discussion to provoke conversations about the future of school.

    The Power of Vulnerability ( is a TED talk by Brené Brown, a researcher who studies vulnerability, empathy, and shame. She shifts her focus from the academic to the personal in this popular talk.

    The Third Teacher: 79 Ways You Can Use Design to Transform Teaching and Learning, a collaboration by three design forms (Cannon Design, Bruce Mau Design, and VS Furniture), explores the links between learning and built environment, offering case studies and visuals to inspire new visions.


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