Our Context

Schools are widely understood as places to focus on student learning. What is often forgotten is that to make that possible, schools must also be places that intentionally attend to educator learning.

We understand that teacher-learners require opportunities to steer their own learning, have access to education research, and learn in connection with one another.

We also know that in order to deeply impact practice in positive ways and to support ambitious teaching, educators need opportunities to learn alongside students in order to:

  • Better understand children’s thinking

  • Better learn to access students’ funds of knowledge

  • Enact their own new learning in the real life context of working with students

  • Model lifelong learning

  • Transform schools into spaces that forefront learning together 

We also understand that school communities include classroom teachers and students– as well as school leaders, coaches, interventionists, librarians, after school providers, and families. School communities are also impacted by district leaders, cultural and geographic communities, and out-of-school learning organizations. In order to develop school cultures that deeply support student learning, we believe in designing experiences that cross the historical boundaries of these roles.

We also know it is especially important to develop this type of teaching and learning alongside students, families, and educators in communities with rich cultural experiences, knowledge and strengths, but often historically inequitable opportunities to access and impact our education system. We acknowledge this lack of robust opportunities is due to institutionalized and systemic oppressions. We also acknowledge that these oppressions have kept our education system from accessing multiple ways of knowing and understanding. This lack of access has stifled innovation in the field of education and has negatively impacted the ability of public education to meet the needs of all students. We work to actively challenge these oppressive power dynamics in our organization, our collaborations, and in the organizations of education with which our work connects.

Finally, we know the UW College of Education plays an important role in developing and participating in those partnerships. Authentically reciprocal learning partnerships between the College and the larger regional community lead to more relevant and impactful research and practice to improve student learning and learning experiences.