At the new Center for Inclusive Innovation, educators like Kimberly Smith are gathering creative ingenuity from communities across the country so it can more easily be shared among school leaders. They’re motivated by a radical commitment to equity in education for Black, Brown, and Indigenous students.
Kimberly is the executive director of the League of Innovative Schools at Digital Promise, which founded the Center for Inclusive Innovation. She has decades of experience creating digital curriculum, supporting educators, and developing learning tools for PreK-12 schools.
In this episode of our Opportunity Thrives podcast, we spoke with Kimberly about what educational leaders are focused on right now as they work to better support their students, parents, and staff.
In addition to all things related to the pandemic, she’s hearing about the importance improving the educational experience, sharing best practices, using sustainable technology, and delivering equity.
Improving the educational experience, sharing best practices
Administrators are well aware that they can move the educational process forward and reduce administrative burden by learning from each other, but collecting and studying best practices can be a full-time job.
A network of educational leaders like the one at the League of Innovative Schools allows superintendents, administrative office staff, and other school leaders to form peer-based relationships and access to a large variety of learning models in one place. This eliminates the need to search out and evaluate best practices individually.
As a longtime educational community builder who has held high-profile roles including Vice President of Education at PBS and Vice President of Product Development for Discovery Education, Kimberly is uniquely qualified to lead the Center for Inclusive Innovation’s efforts. Some of their recent explorations include innovative assessment models, teacher micro-credentials, maker learning spaces and experiences, and successful curricula to battle racism and promote equity.
Incorporating sustainable, dependable technology
Having sustainable technology systems—and making sure students have access to them—is on the minds of administrators across the country. Educational leaders are focused on evaluating and improving the systems they put together during the pandemic and discussing how to build a solid infrastructure to support technology and innovation needs moving forward.
Additionally, they acknowledge there is still work to be done to ensure all students have the basic utility of internet access.
Superintendents everywhere are expressing their desire to impact meaningful change and give every child access to the same resources. However, many don’t know where to start or how best to support equity and innovation.
Kimberly suggests beginning with an open mind and the phrase “I am willing.”
Something as simple as a pledge to intentionally be part of the solution can go a long way. From that starting point, she encourages leaders to be willing to try things that haven’t been done, to think differently, challenge policies, and deploy levers that haven’t yet been tried.
She emphasizes the importance of inviting those who are most affected to have a seat at the table. As with so many things, the effort needs to happen from the inside out; teachers are doing this work every day in the classroom, so it’s important for administrators to invite them into the discussion. This can lead to real change at the building or district level.
Listen to the full episode of this podcast at https://opportunitythrives.com/a-new-center-tunes-in-to-equity-and-innovation.
We regularly share conversations with thought leaders on what’s working in our schools today, what’s not and how we can impact positive, lasting change. Have ideas on topics you would like to hear or read about? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.