The Deeper Learning Dozen

Transforming school districts to support deeper learning for all


DLD Mission:

The Deeper Learning Dozen supports superintendents, through a community of practice, to transform their school districts to support equitable access to deeper learning experiences and outcomes for all students and adults, through changes in leadership, school and district systems, adult learning, and pedagogy. In addition we intend to learn from the collective experience of our districts and share with the field.

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Our Theory of Change

Three DLD Principles: (in)equity is structural; Adult learning and student learning are symmetrical; Leadership accelerates emergence.

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The Hope and Challenge

A community of practice is anchored by common values and aspirations. In aspiring to give all students access to deeper learning, we are aiming for all students to have experiences that develop their mastery, identity, and creativity. 

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The Three Goals of the Deeper Learning Dozen

These operate in mutually reinforcing ways: each will further the other, and each is only possible with the others. We have seen what deeper learning looks like in classrooms and sometimes schools; the core motivating question for the project is how to build policies, systems, roles, and a learning culture to create this kind of learning equitably district-wide.

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Spreading Deeper Learning

How might we achieve this for more students, more of the time? For as long as there has been a notion of education as something that could be improved, reformers have been challenged by the problem of scale.

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The limits of “scaling” and the need for a new perspective.

The notion of scale as replication implies a top-down perspective (or “seeing like a state”) which is increasingly challenged in the field of education. Top-down reform approaches of test-based accountability, “evidence-based programming,” and teacher evaluation are not generating the returns reformers hoped for. In addition, “scaling” has a long history as being treated as a technical problem, deriving from early studies of technology transfer. While many recognize that in fact, in education, scale is a complex adaptive challenge of spreading human learning and collective meaning-making, in actual practice and organizational systems we still seem stuck in old ways of thinking about it.

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If we want significant changes in practice, we need to change the system.

We have set out the impact we desire to have on learning and education outcomes. To do so, we have to create changes in the discourse, processes, and structures of education systems.