Manager of Innovation and Learning

The Primary School - East Palo Alto, CA - Full time


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The Manager of Innovation and Learning (MIL) will be responsible for building and leading a systematic learning system to understand what elements of our program are having the greatest impact on child and family outcomes, and develop insights that will help us improve our day-to-day work.

The MIL will build and support a data rich ecosystem our team can actively use to help us understand, develop, and refine the various elements of our new model to deliver the best possible outcomes to our children and families. This role is action based - we seek real-time information that can help us modify the way we serve children and families, immediately.

Over the long term, The Primary School seeks to contribute to national change in policy and practice, across multiple sectors that affect children and families, by understanding and disseminating what works. We have a dual mission of 1) directly achieving the best possible outcomes for the children and families we serve and 2) broadly impacting the space through policy and practice change. The MIL will play a key role in understanding and documenting what works and what can be replicated in other environments.


  • Develop an overall strategy for the organization to help us learn as quickly and precisely as possible what works, and drive insights that will improve program design and delivery.
  • Foster a culture of learning across the organization.
  • Refine the theory of change of the TPS model (and subset of interventions) to identify hypotheses, logic models/driver diagrams with specific aims for what we are testing and how.
  • Identify and develop tools, instruments, and metrics to evaluate elements of the model.
    • Develop process measures and interim outputs as early indicators of success.
    • Review and revise overarching TPS child and family outcomes, short and long term.
  • Design and perform a variety of measurement activities to understand the value of our model:
    • Collect and analyze data on child and family outcomes and teacher professional development and model implementation quality.
    • Conduct focus groups and observations.
    • Set up small scale/rapid cycle experiments to test refinements to our program.
    • Perform human behavior research to understand family needs, preferences, and constraints.
  • Design and lead program improvement initiatives:
    • Work with program directors and staff to understand the specific aim of their work, tools to capture learning, and to implement improvements.
    • Learn about ways to achieve even better results by analyzing insights
    • Lead efforts with program staff to reflect on progress.
    • Provide professional development and coaching to other staff to set up continuous learning processes.
  • Evaluate program costs.
  • Work with our national scientific advisory board to understand and translate work from the field.
  • Lead targeted research efforts to answer questions affecting our programs.
  • Stay abreast of emerging science and practice in the field that may have practical impact on our work.
  • Over time, collaborate with external researchers to evaluate TPS’s programs.
  • Document our practices, program elements, and lessons learned both to guide internal efforts and to share externally.
  • Provide clear and useful reports for staff, board, and other stakeholders.
  • Support early efforts to disseminate what we are learning to practitioners and policymakers.


  • You believe in the mission of The Primary School and that all children and families are capable of extraordinary things.
  • You have a high level of excitement about working alongside program developers and implementers, and recognize the symbiotic, mutually reinforcing relationship among the different roles and responsibilities.
  • You have extensive knowledge of quantitative data collection and analysis, various evaluation methodologies, and different techniques for collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data.
  • You have experience with the design and evaluation of social services programs (e.g., education, family supports, healthcare) is preferred.
  • You support an evidence-based/-informed innovation and improvement approach that spurs a creative and adaptive culture.
  • You are able to balance the rigor of academic research with the speed of business innovation.
  • You are decisive, adaptable, and results driven, and bring a systems building mindset.
  • You are practiced in project management, planning and both oral and written communication.
  • You have an appetite for new approaches and the patience and skill to implement change.
  • You are highly collaborative and excited to work with an interdisciplinary team.
  • You have a track record as an exceptional communicator, particularly in cross-cultural situations; experience preparing and making effective presentations to diverse groups large and small with different interests, priorities, and experience with data
  • You excel in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial, and innovative organization.
  • You are deeply kind, humble, and courageous.


  • You are an East Palo Alto or Belle Haven native and/or have experience working with a community similar to East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.
  • Spanish fluency or proficiency

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Experience Level

Mid Level

The Primary School


The Primary School (TPS) is a new non-profit organization dedicated to dramatically improving health and educational outcomes for children. Fueled by the belief that the current model of school is too limited to close the achievement gap for our nation’s most at risk children, TPS is designing a new model of primary education and primary care which braids together education, health, and family support services starting at birth. We pair high expectations and joy, in a powerful community of supports to care for the whole child. We partner with a progressive health center that aims to redefine the boundaries of primary health care. With this innovative new model, we aim to expand the traditional definition of “school” in order to prepare all children to succeed in college, career, and life.

The Primary School approach has three defining characteristics:

  • Provide integrated supports: We partner with an existing health care organization to address the needs of the whole child. Educators, parent coaches and healthcare professionals come together as a team to provide integrated academic and health (physical, mental, and socio-emotional) services to students and families.
  • Start early: We admit students at or before birth, and will provide parent-driven, early childhood supports alongside medical care during the critical years of child development, ensuring that students are ready for school at age 3. Our infant-toddler program consists of regular parent-child playgroups to support the goals of attachment, language development and resilience.
  • Offer two-generation supports: We put families at the center of this work and focus on building parent capacity to support the health and education of their children. Families receive services, including primary care, parenting coaching and connection to other social services, to help them better support their children and become healthier themselves.

We opened our first site in East Palo Alto in 2016 and will serve 300 children and their families (ages 0 to 5) by spring of 2017. TPS was seeded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a major national philanthropy.

TPS is committed to designing a model that is replicable in other communities and redefines what is possible for our highest need children and families. We are investing in design, research, evaluation, and dissemination that will allow us to replicate our model and transfer our learnings to others.

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