Envision Learning Partners


January 2014 Monthly Newsletter  

In this Edition:
  • Spotlight: Deeper Learning Community of Practice
  • A New Chapter: Envision Learning Partners
  • Register Now: Deeper Learning MOOC
  • Register Now: Envision's Defense Design Studio
  • Making it Happen: Tools & Resources
  • Partnering for Success

Spotlight: Deeper Learning Community of Practice


What's Finger Painting Got to Do with Deeper Learning?

Bob Lenz, CEO & co-founder, Envision Education, shows his team's finger painting.                          
What does deeper learning mean to you? How do you represent it in a finger painting? Envision Learning Partners posed this challenge to members of the Deeper Learning Community of Practice (CoP) in their meeting held in December 2013.

What seemed like a simple collaborative task proved to be challenging, provoking stimulating conversations about deeper learning and resulting in the creation of visual representations of this concept in action. Participants universally agreed with Envision CEO Bob Lenz, who commented, "We had a great discussion, but the short timeframe and the requirement to present our final artwork was what really pushed our thinking and made it a more concrete and deeper learning experience. Plus, it was really fun."   


Integrating arts into learning and assessment offers opportunities for creative expression of learning. Envision Learning Partners (ELP) leads the Bay Area Performance Assessment Network (BAPAN) in collaboration with the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) to promote arts integration into Envision's deeper student learning assessment system. Learn more about BAPAN in the February 2014 edition of Reflections.

At the December 2013 CoP gathering, members created observable criteria to describe what deeper learning looks like in action. Members started with the Deeper Learning Competencies developed by the CoP members in partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation*:

  1. Master core academic content
  2. Think critically and solve complex problems
  3. Work collaboratively
  4. Communicate effectively
  5. Learn how to learn
  6. Develop academic mindsets

Members shared evidence of deeper learning that they had collected during schools visits to Envision Academy in Oakland, MetWest in Oakland, and the International High School of San Francisco on the first day of the gathering. Collaborative teams of CoP members across organizations created draft criteria for each of the competencies to be completed during the spring 2013 Deeper Learning Community of Practice.  


*For more information about the Deeper Learning Competencies, go to the Making It Happen: Tools & Resources below.


Graphic notes describing draft criteria for deeper learning created by Deeper Learning Community of Practice members at the December 2013 gathering (by Rachel Brian).
The Deeper Learning Community of Practice (CoP) is a network of 10 members committed to spreading deeper learning across the nation. Each of the Deeper Learning CoP members has a unique approach to bringing deeper learning to life. To find out more about the members, check out their websites:

Asia Society -  http://asiasociety.org/  

Big Picture Learning -  http://www.bigpicture.org/  

ConnectEd - http://www.connectedcalifornia.org/  

EdVisions -  http://www.edvisions.com/  

Envision Education -  http://www.envisioneducation.org/  

Expeditionary Learning -  http://www.elschools.org/ 

High Tech High - http://www.hightechhigh.org/  

Internationals Network for Public Schools - http://internationalsnps.org/  

New Tech Network -  http://www.newtechnetwork.org/  

New Visions - http://www.newvisions.org/  


Thanks to generous funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Deeper Learning CoP members have gathered a few times a year to create and implement strategies to spread deeper learning within their networks and to interested schools and districts across the nation.

Here is what some of the deeper learning members say about the value of the Community of Practice:


"The real value for each of us has been around connecting and learning from others.... In particular, there's been something very powerful about being around organizations that have similar philosophies, but whose details are actually quite different." ~Ben Daley (High Tech High)


"It's broadened my perspective on the CoP, really seeing the diversity of our vision-and our vision moving toward equity." ~Gia Truong (Envision Education)


Envision Learning Partners is proud to lead the Deeper Learning Community of Practice and is committed to sharing these promising practices with our school and district partners. To find out more, please contact us at info@envisionlearning.org.


Fun guaranteed, finger painting optional.

A New Chapter: Envision Learning Partners


The ELP Team    


With a new executive director, partnerships with districts and an expanded focus on leadership development, Envision Learning Partners (ELP) opens a new chapter. Since 2010, ELP has partnered with schools and districts across the nation, bringing Envision's deeper learning student assessment system to over 10,000 students.


Check out ELP's team, including new members!   



2013-2014 ELP Partners   


Our mission at Envision Learning Partners is to partner with teachers and school and district leaders seeking practical and proven solutions to transform their schools to achieve a higher level of college and career readiness for all students.    


We work in partnership with schools and districts across the nation to co-design and implement elements of Envision's deeper student learning assessment system.    


California:  Arise High School, Berkeley High School, Community School for Creative Education, James Madison Elementary School, La Tercera Elementary School, Los Angeles Unified School District, Oakland School for the Arts, Oakland Unified School District, Piner-Olivet School District, Sacramento City Unified School District, San Rafael High School, Stevenson Elementary School, Terra Linda High School

Hawaii:  Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, Kamaile Academy, Ka Waihona o Ka Na'auao Charter School, Mid-Pacific Institute, 
School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability

Massachusetts: Chelsea High School 
Michigan: Education Achievement Authority of Michigan 
Washington: Salmon Bay School

Interested in finding our more about partnering with Envision Learning Partners? Contact Rachel Maida, program manager, rachel@envisionlearning.org.

 Learning Opportunities  

Register Now: Deeper Learning MOOC   


The Deeper Learning MOOC is a free, flexible, nine-week online course that will allow educators to learn about deeper learning. Deeper learning involves elevating student thinking and student voice. The Deeper Learning MOOC (DLMOOC) will begin January 23, 2014 and is facilitated by High Tech High, Peer 2 Peer University, the MIT Media Lab, and the  Deeper Learning Community of Practice.


The facilitators particularly encourage groups of educators to sign up together to get the most out of this experience.


Three features of this particular MOOC (massive, open, online course) that are interesting:


  • This is a MOOC about deeper learning, but it's also a MOOC that aspires to model deeper learning. Some MOOCs mostly utilize an outdated "sage on the stage" pedagogy. We are hoping participants will lean forward and actively participate, not lean back and passively receive information.

  • Some of the most pedagogically interesting  schools in the country are participating. If you'd like to visit these schools, but can't do it physically, here is a free way to get some insight into what they are doing.

  • A MOOC can be overwhelming: "I don't have time to take a class right now." This is one explanation for why many people sign up for MOOCs and then drop out. Our theory is to make our MOOC "guilt-free." Take what you want and can. "You haven't fallen behind." We have some cool resources and opportunities. We invite you to join us when it works for you.


You can sign up now at  http://dlmooc.deeper-learning.org. More information, including a syllabus, is available on the website. Check out this Deeper Learning MOOC video:

 What is deeper learning? 2 

Join us for our most exciting time of year! The College Success Portfolio Defense is Envision's signature professional development session. Be a part of Envision's graduating senior defenses and learn how you can design a similar system in your school or district.






Tarshea Intro.Artifact I 
Tarshea - College Success Portfolio - 12th grade,
Spring 2013 



Gibran Artifact II 
Gibran - Benchmark Portfolio - 10th grade, Spring


Akin to a dissertation defense, students stand before a panel of their peers, adult educators, and mentors to demonstrate the depth of their knowing, doing, and reflecting as evidenced by their academic work and self-reflection.  During this one of a kind professional development opportunity you'll have a chance to see behind the scenes into the elements that are necessary for a strong defense. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to witness the culminating moment when students defend their work.  


Spaces are limited. Register now.     



Making it Happen: Tools and Resources


Deeper Learning Competencies:  Deeper learning is an umbrella term for the skills and knowledge that students must possess to succeed in 21st century jobs and civic life. Check out the Competencies on the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation website:  


Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the  
21st Century:
Published by the National Academies Press in 2012, this report includes a comprehensive review of research on deeper learning skills (i.e., 21st Century skills). Download a free PDF version here:


Deeper Learning: Authentic Student Assessment: Check out Bob Lenz's Edutopia blog on deeper learning: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/deeper-learning-student-assessment-bob-lenz 


Leading for Deeper Learning: 10 Proven Strategies. Read Tom Vander Ark's blog in EdWeek describing proven strategies for leading deeper learning identified through interviews of school and network leaders using deeper learning strategies to achieve strong academic results. Read more here: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2013/08/leading_for_deeper_learning_10_proven_strategies.html  


How Digital Learning Contributes to Deeper Learning: Getting Smart (Tom Vander Ark & Carri Schneider) reports out ways in which digital learning can promote deeper learning. Read more here: http://gettingsmart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Digital-Learning-Deeper-Learning-Full-White-Paper.pdf   


Criteria for High Quality Assessment: In this June 2013 report, the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) describes criteria for high-quality assessment and what a high-quality assessment system should look like. Learn how to develop a system aligned to the Common Core and more here: https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/criteria-higher-quality-assessment_2.pdf 


Common Core in a Nutshell: Check out this Haiku slide deck synthesizing the Common Core: http://www.haikudeck.com/p/bVbO1WhoOe/common-core-in-a-nutshell 

Partnering for Success


Inspire: Capture and share student and teacher success!

Inform: Learn more about Envision Learning Partners (ELP) and partnership opportunities. Contact Rachel Maida, program manager, rachel@envisionlearning.org.

Involve: Participate in Envision Learning Partners (ELP) events. To be on ELP's mailing list, contact Rachel Maida, program manager, rachel@envisionlearning.org.

Influence: Spread the word about Envision Learning Partners. Forward this newsletter to colleagues and friends. Encourage them to sign up at http://www.envisionlearning.org.

Invest: Interested in investing in Envision Education? Contact Kate Schwass, director of development, kate@envisionschools.org.  

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Envision Learning Partners
111 Myrtle Street, Suite 203
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 451-2415, ext. 156