#EdClusters19: Forging Ahead for Equity and Excellence - Digital Promise

#EdClusters19: Forging Ahead for Equity and Excellence

October 11, 2019 | By

Last month, Digital Promise and Remake Learning hosted the 2019 Education Innovation Clusters Convening (#EdClusters19) in Pittsburgh, bringing together nearly 100 educators, entrepreneurs, funders, researchers, and community stakeholders from more than 20 cities and regions across the U.S. to accelerate innovation in education and advance equity and excellence for every student.

Education Innovation Clusters are local communities of practice that work together to support innovative teaching and learning in their region. Together, partners form a network that is uniquely positioned to design, launch, iterate on, and disseminate breakthrough learning practices and tools.

Though EdClusters are grounded in local ecosystems, the annual convenings allow these regional networks to forge connections, share best practices, collaborate on solutions to shared challenges, develop resources, and set agendas for the future–all face-to-face.

Made possible through the generous support of The Grable Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, #EdCluster19 centered around the following topics:

  • Collaborative R&D and Community Co-Design
  • Partnership Models for Equitable Stakeholder Engagement
  • Students at the Center: Powerful Learning and Equity in the Ecosystem

Lessons Learned from Pittsburgh

#EdClusters19 kicked off with site visits to the Barack Obama Academy of International Studies 6-12; the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – East Liberty; the University of Pittsburgh: Community Engagement Center – Homewood; and Assemble, a community space for arts and technology.

Participants at #EdClusters19 experienced interactive and engaging stops to see community building, inclusive innovation, and multi-sector partnership in practice.

Across academic, philanthropic, and civic sectors, local leaders are creating awareness and access to meaningful, equitable learning experiences for young people and their families — both in and out of school.

#EdClusters19 also heard from regional voices, such as Remake Learning Director Sunanna Chand, who explained how their network leverages working groups that address challenges through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

Keynote speaker and member of the Remake Learning Council, Dr. Temple Lovelace underlined equity as essential to the network’s work and asked how innovation might disrupt institutional inequities and accelerate true equity across networks.

Programming also included a Remake Learning Community panel moderated by Sunanna Chand with Taliya Allen (1Hood Media), Tylor Hart (Pittsburgh Public Schools), Asia Mason (Pittsburgh Public Schools), Chase Patterson (Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh), and Debralyn-Woodberry Shaw (ELIE Circle), who shared their expertise and experiences building equity across traditional and non-traditional learning environments.

Sharing and Amplifying the Work of EdClusters

On the Tuesday evening of the convening, Digital Promise and the Grable Foundation welcomed Pittsburgh educators for a learning showcase of Digital Promise-supported work in the region. The reception provided an opportunity to recognize the powerful placed-based collaborations creating and sustaining positive changes in education in Pittsburgh.

To highlight the work of EdClusters further, Digital Promise formally launched Innovation Portfolios for Education Innovation Clusters – a rich, multimedia platform to share first-hand accounts of innovative ideas, programs, and practices. Innovation Portfolios make it possible to showcase the innovation happening within EdClusters in an interesting, accessible way – both to people inside and outside of our networks. Hosting partner Remake Learning was the first to share their work and stories.

To explore the Innovation Portfolios, go to portfolios.digitalpromise.org.

Launching a New Phase of Work

Returning to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the location of the 2015 EdClusters convening, #EdClusters19 provided an opportunity to celebrate and reflect back on the past five years of the national network – looking at the growth of individual regions and considering how the collective has evolved together.

The future of EdClusters is electric with possibility and excitement. Regions and organization around the country are approaching the work at hand with revitalized focus, specific aims and agendas, and intentional efforts toward designing for equity and dismantling inequity.

The 2019 convening is a reminder of the collective power of networks – of the village – to drive incremental and incredible change. We look forward to continuing the conversation and work together.

Check out the #EdClusters19 hashtag on Twitter to see more from this year’s convening!

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