About the Project

The Transformation Design Project launched in October 2018 under the servant-leadership of Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC).

The project began with a question: How can our education systems and operating habits best enable next generation learning, rather than obstruct and diminish it?

With funding from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, NGLC invited a team of leaders from innovative districts as well as leading experts in educational change to answer this question by identifying, synthesizing, and disseminating effective change strategies for schools and school districts moving toward next generation learning and school redesign.

Next Generation Learning

Next gen learning is a modern alternative to the industrial-era, compliance-oriented school model that prevails across K-12 education. At NGLC, we use the term next generation learning to capture the range of high-quality, engaging learning designs that develop students in well-rounded ways—addressing academics, life skills, wellness, and citizenship. They may be labelled student-centered, personalized, competency-based, equitable, experiential, authentic, and technology-enabled; these are all part of next gen learning. Every next gen learning design is unique because it is created by educators and their local communities working together to ensure equity of opportunity and success.

The Project

In this research and development (R&D) project, we conducted a deep exploration of the literature on managing change as well as case study site visits to leading districts. We convened partner districts and experts, launching a community of practice to better understand what change toward next gen learning looks like in practice.

As a community of practice, we converted our research findings into a district change framework to guide districts interested in transforming themselves as an organization in order to transform learning in their schools. We invited more district leaders and change experts into the project and created strategies, tools, and resources to help districts use the core practices of the Transformation Design framework. We also started working closely with a highly aligned initiative, the Deeper Learning Dozen, which is helping districts in the U.S. and Canada transform learning through practices that parallel those of Transformation Design.

Looking ahead to the 2020-21 school year and beyond, the project partners are adapting to the changing circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and greater awareness of the impact of systemic racism in U.S. K-12 education. We are broadly disseminating what we have learned. We are testing and refining the framework of core practices in more district contexts. And we are building strategy guides and support systems while continuing to invite districts to join in.

About NGLC

Next Generation Learning Challenges, a project of Tides Center, is a community of forward-leaning educators who are working in their communities and together as a network on the most urgent challenges in public education today. A national nonprofit initiative, NGLC was founded in 2010 with the understanding that, while we all have a role to play, it is the educators who should lead the transformation to next gen learning, because they are closest to the students and the learning. NGLC’s role is to enable those educators with the vision to transform their schools and the passion and courage to pursue it. Learn more.

Explore the Transformation Design Framework

Learn more about the three phases and six core practices of Transformation Design as well as the research and practice base that is the foundation of our project. Explore the framework.

  • Transforming Learning for Equity photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.