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Education Elements

MAY 2019

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Personalized Learning Summit 2019

The PL Summit Is Here!
We are exactly a week away from our 5th annual Personalized Learning Summit. We are so excited to be headed to Atlanta to welcome 750 leaders to our event, and spend quality time learning with and from them.

For those who won't be able to join us, we will definitely miss you... but also, WE GOT YOUR BACK! 

The Education Elements team is happy to announce that we will be livestreaming the PL Summit 2019 general session on Wednesday, 7:30 am ET. The livestream will be available hereClick here to add a reminder with the livestream link to your calendar.


Education Elements 2019 Leadership Institute Series

Education Elements is pleased to host a series of leadership institutes in 2019 to support district leaders in thinking through some of their toughest challenges, including how to improve the way teams work, develop a culture of innovation, increase teacher retention, and create inspiring, responsive strategic plans. We are offering a 50% discount for registrations until May 16th, 6 pm ET. Register now to save your spot and enjoy the savings!

Learn more and register here.




Reimagining the Opening of New Schools

As we continue our work with the Wake County Public School System to streamline the opening of new schools, we are noticing a great need to change the mindset of “what we have always done”. One way we are addressing this issue is by meeting and interviewing multiple stakeholders to get their input on what needs to be changed about the current process in order to make better future processes. These new processes and systems are all being captured in a Playbook for the district to use when opening future schools.

At the same time, we are also addressing the mindset of Principals who might say, “I can't or don't know how to use this at my school,” by providing structures and experiences anchored in design thinking that help school leaders empathize with stakeholders and push them beyond their past experiences. We have used our time with school leaders to create Journey Maps, Visual Cues, Day in the Life and Week in the Life of a Student work products aligned with their school vision, and 30-60-90 day plans. Furthermore, we have invited district experts on data and digital portfolios to help streamline the planning process and make connections between district staff. Our work is a triangulation of capitalizing on student leader experiences, district resources, and process with design thinking to open new schools in the communities around Wake County.


School Comprehensive Education Planning in Newburgh

Over the past year, Education Elements has worked with Newburgh Enlarged City School District to implement shifts at both the classroom and district level that help create a more responsive school system. The principles from The New School Rules – such as planning for change, not perfection, adopting a safe enough to try mindset, and a focus on iteration – have guided the senior leadership team in becoming more responsive to the needs of Newburgh’s schools and students. Newburgh has begun testing these principles across initiatives. One such way they are testing these rules is with their School Comprehensive Education Plans (SCEP).

Four schools in Newburgh are testing a number of strategies to build out their SCEPs, most notably the tactic of iterative sprint planning aligned to the mantra of planning for change. Recently, each school sent a team of teachers, leaders, and parents to a 2-day intensive workshop with Education Elements to conduct a survey data deep dive and root cause analysis, commit to a SCEP theme and goals, and plan for stakeholder engagement activities. These include shadowing to gauge a day in the life of a student, surveys and empathy interviews with parents and staff, and town halls to connect with the community at large. The collaborative workshop allowed schools to not only identify their specific school priorities but also promote the sharing of tactics and ideas across Newburgh schools.

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"We Are Personalized. We Are in This Together."

Learning Design Cycle for Responsive OrgsThe district leadership team at Lakota Local Schools recognizes the importance of shifting the way they support leaders. At Lakota, they want to continue to build a strong culture of innovation. Their district’s newly released strategic plan states, “WE are personalized. WE are in this together.” As an organization, they are taking responsibility for developing their leaders to be innovative change agents who support and communicate more personalized approaches in their school and community.

Interestingly enough, the district is embodying the Education Elements Learning Cycle for Responsive Organizations with their principals. District leaders are utilizing in-person principal meetings and virtual collaborative calls to spark ongoing professional development through the learning cycle. Their driving questions around the work are:

  • How do we provide the foundation for principals to become instructional leaders of personalized learning in their buildings?
  • How can we support and inspire principals and teachers to bring their own energy and ownership to the PL journey?

Through the initial process of EE’s Learning Cycle, they soon realized that as they move into the 2019-2020 school year they want to continue to be mindful of how the principal’s professional learning aligns to the district’s professional learning plan. Interested in learning more about what’s happening in Lakota. We encourage you to follow them using the hashtags #WEareLakota #WEarePersonalized #WEareFutureReady.

For more information about the Ed Elements Learning Cycle for Responsive Organizations, download the Ed Elements Responsive Org Playbook.



How does personalized learning create a sense of belonging

How Does Personalized Learning Create a Sense of Belonging

Hear from Design Principal Justin Toomer about the role of personalized learning in creating a sense of belonging for students.

Watch the video


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What to Consider When Hiring a Consultant 

Learn from Partner Simma Reingold about the things to consider when hiring a consultant for your school or district, steps to undertake, and questions to ask.

Watch the video




Four Things to Understand About Education Consulting

About Education Consulting

As Education Elements continues to grow, I’ve been privy to the hiring process. I think it would be helpful to explain what exactly Design Principals do...after all, a job description can only tell so much. For those interested in joining our consulting team, this article serves as a brief introduction to the role. For clients, this is a peek into the work we do both on and off-site!

  1. Misconception: Education consultants walk into a district with the intention of telling people how to do their jobs
    The Truth: You are not the expert on your clients’ challenges; you are an expert on processes to solve them

Read More


Choice Boards, Playlists, Pathways...Oh My!

Choice Boards, Playlists, Pathways

For many districts and schools, choice boards, playlists, and pathways are used interchangeably to describe instructional designs that provide students with a menu of options to guide and own their learning. Yet we ask educators to use these design practices very differently. We often define other terms, like the different blended learning models, and the different levels of student compliance. How is it that we have not created clear distinctions between choice boards, playlists, and pathways yet? 

Read More







  • Responsive Conference: How Can We Imagine the Future of Work Across Sectors?
    • September 13-14, 2019
    • Zappos Headquarters in Las Vegas, NV
    • Use code EdElements for a discount!

See more events




A career at Education Elements is unlike any other. It’s not just what we do, it’s who we are and how we do it that makes this place so unique. We come to work every day because we love what we do. You can love your job too.

Check out our current openings here:

- Design Principal (East Coast & West Coast)
- Partner


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