Stories of Change: Educators Shift Practices to Reach All Learners

EdSurge Research has been visiting schools, convening educators and sharing stories about how school communities are shifting practices to meet the needs of all learners, the obstacles they've faced and how they’re measuring success.

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Stories of Change: Educators Shift Practices to Reach All Learners


Across the country, educators are changing practices to match a changing world. To get a peek behind the curtain, EdSurge has been visiting schools, convening educators and asking them to share about the novel ways they’re making learning more personal by rethinking what teaching the whole child really means, using evidence-based practices, incorporating innovative technologies and leveraging what we know about how humans learn to meet the needs of all learners.

Here are their stories.

To find the stories most meaningful to your practice, navigate through common themes and questions below:

Reaching All Learners: These stories explore how practitioners are addressing students’ needs and circumstances in order to empower all learners to flourish. Topics include: school models, identity development, alternative approaches to discipline, and integrated supports and services.

Building Character & Skills: These stories explore how practitioners are helping learners build social, emotional and academic skills that will prepare them for the future. Topics include empowering learners, relationship-building, project-based learning, work skills and wellness.

Evidence of Growth: These stories explore how practitioners are gathering, analyzing and using evidence to improve outcomes for students and school communities. Topics include alternative assessment, data analysis and professional learning.

From Research to Practice: These stories explore how practitioners are leveraging research, data and evidence to help students learn more effectively. Topics include: using research, data and evidence to guide practice and leveraging the science of learning and neuroscience.

Learn More About This Project

How are schools designing and modifying their models to better address the needs of underserved populations?

How are educators supporting identity development among diverse learners?

How are educators addressing trauma, behavior and discipline in ways that acknowledge the social and emotional needs of diverse learners?

How are schools partnering with external organizations to provide integrative supports and services for students and families?

How can students be empowered to become advocates for their own learning?

How can educators build inclusive communities, foster social awareness, and help students develop relationship skills?

How can project-based learning be used to help students flourish?

How are educators preparing learners for the work of the future?

What strategies are educators using to manage stress and promote wellness for themselves and their students?

What alternatives to traditional academic assessments exist or are emerging?

How are educators and administrators leveraging data from personalized learning initiatives to advance goals?

How are professional learning opportunities advancing teachers’ goals and helping to improve student outcomes?

How are teaching and learning communities using research, data and evidence to guide practice?

How are teaching and learning communities drawing on neuroscience research and what we know about how the brain learns to create conditions that will result in better learning outcomes?

About the Project

Schools across the country are making changes—big and small—to move the needle for students. To better understand the landscape of change, we sought out stories rooted in implementation and anchored in authentic experiences with real students. Our project consisted of the following four elements:

Stories: We sourced, curated, edited and published 60 stories told by educational practitioners, EdSurge reporters and researchers. Then, we categorized these stories into themes and essential questions that are relevant to practitioners.

We held Teaching and Learning Circles (intimate, local educator gatherings) in 22 cities across the country, in which educators and administrators came together to share challenges and best practices for serving the whole child.

We administered pre- and post-surveys to Teaching and Learning Circle registrants related to current and planned practices to serve the whole learner, challenges, strategies for addressing challenges and methods for evaluating effectiveness.

We conducted follow-up interviews with a subset of our Teaching and Learning Circle survey respondents.

For more on methodology, download our report or contact

Read Sections
Project Overview
Reaching All Learners
Building Character & Skills
Evidence of Growth
From Research to Practice

This EdSurge Research project is made publicly available with support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (Read our ethics statement here.) This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Learn more about EdSurge operations, ethics and policies here. Learn more about EdSurge supporters here.
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