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From the ashes

Just over a year ago, very suddenly, a statewide education impact organization with a presence that was ready to model out to four other states up and disbanded. At the time, I was leading the US2020 RTP program. NC New Schools was a model for us. They had grown in size and influence in ways I could only dream of. I hoped that one day we would be able to do for students in STEM what they had done for teacher and educational leadership.

From the ashes of NC New Schools arose an organization with somewhat similar goals that aims to also have a tremendous impact on education in our state. To properly tell the story, it’s important to point out that there really was no lull between these two events. Once New Schools disbanded, the many schools who had relied on the services they provided came calling the people who they had worked with. Two of those people, Mia Pumo and Jay Korreck, decided that they didn’t want to see the positive work that they had done over the years go to waste, so they decided to take a chance and start their own venture. With that, Constructive Learning Design was born.

As has been widely reported for a number of years now, North Carolina has a problem when it comes to teacher recruitment and retention. Significant shortages exist in many key academic areas, and local districts and the state have struggled to make significant improvements in these areas. Mia and Jay center their approach on trying to effectively impact this reality by instituting a number of the successful techniques employed by NC New Schools, and also by trying new and innovative approaches to coach and support educators. One of their passions lies in making sure new teachers have the support they need to cement their status as career educators, and in doing so help to shore up a lot of the classroom departures we’ve seen from teachers here in North Carolina, whether for other states or for other fields within the state.

The power of a network tasked with learning and sharing best practices across educational practice can provide tremendous benefit to a variety of stakeholders in the field. Constructive Learning Design’s approach is based on the principle that by convening educators from across the state, and by offering up rich content which will inspire conversation and a shift in thinking, we can affect change in tremendous ways. Their dedication to using the design process to solve some of education’s biggest problems also sets them apart. By combining these approaches with a true belief in the power of community, they have formulated a unique path forward on behalf of all who value education in North Carolina.

Their nonprofit project is now off the ground and beginning to dig in to do this vital work. A steering committee has been formed, and the first events have been planned. An invitation is extended to take part in these new efforts, to learn and to lead from them, and to do so for the good of the state of education in the state we call home.

The kickoff event for Constructive Learning Design is fast approaching. On June 7th and 8th, they will host what they’re calling a Powerful Learning Event in Greensboro. This event is taking place immediately following, and in the same location as, the Cooperative and Innovative High Schools’ Leadership Institute. You are encouraged to take a closer look at what could very well become the next great change agent in the effort to continuously improve education here in North Carolina.

Brett Brenton

Brett Brenton is a former public educator now serving as Senior Director of Programs for the Research Triangle Foundation.  He is also a member of the Constructive Learning Design steering committee.