What constitutes making a difference in the important business of education reform in the United States?
Increasingly, the answer(s) is becoming more complicated. Once upon a time, the answer could have been to create an environment that balanced learning with the needs of the family farm (or perhaps interfere as little as possible with the workings of said farm.). But today, for KnowledgeWorks, those answers look more like this:
- Create a school environment where engaged kids know how to solve problems, work in teams, and think critically.
- Create a learning environment where rigid seat-time requirements give way to anytime, anywhere learning, where teachers can be more effective because they have more flexibility to be creative – increasingly incorporating digital/blended learning as part of the pedagogy.
- Create an environment where folks in communities come together to decide what’s most important to the education achievement of students in their own backyards, and work with those communities to improve outcomes for students through the use of data.
- Create an environment where high school freshmen are empowered to take rigorous college courses on the way to gaining up to 60 college credits simultaneously during their high school career.
- Support an environment where states can successfully explore next-generation accountability – one that would incorporate competency-based learning strategies and community partners into a dynamic accountability system that promotes personalization.
KnowledgeWorks strives to create these kinds of environments every day in communities throughout the United States. We do this by primarily supporting the work of our school transformation subsidiaries, ED Works and New Tech Network, and supporting our Strive subsidiary, a national initiative that brings together leaders who are committed to improving educational achievement from cradle to career.
We equate making a difference to the number of students and communities we serve who are better equipped to flourish in a 21st-century economy. And this past year our organization experienced unprecedented growth.
Students this year will enter more than 40 new KnowledgeWorks-affiliated schools, including dramatic growth in New Tech Network and EDWorks schools. Strive added more than 35 new members to its national cradle-to-career network for a total of more than 60 members. Today, we have a presence in more than 20 states.
Thankfully, we are moving past a time when education seemed to revolve around the needs of adults, not students. Moving forward, as we seek aggressive growth across all of our platforms, our hope is that we are able to continue to create learning environments that keep kids front and center so that they are better equipped to thrive in a flatter, global environment.