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CCE staff and partner reflections on our collaborative work to create schools where learning is engaging and rewarding, and every student is set up for success.

What Gives Us Hope

In the seemingly endless barrage of political turmoil and violence we bear witness to on the internet and social media, it can be hard to find a light in all of that darkness. However, take a step back and you might find that there is good, too, and it is quite powerful. We asked our staff members to share some of their recent experiences that have been giving them hope in their communities and the wider world of education.  

What Gives Us Hope


As part of a recent school visit, I got to hear several seniors make speeches recalling their high school experiences. One student recalled his discovery of his own voice as he became an activist for Black Lives Matter; another came out of his previous academic lethargy when he discovered a passion for Model UN. The speeches were as diverse as the students themselves, but one thing struck me forcibly in their confluence: once these youths found their voices and passions, they were transformed into engaged positive citizens – with huge potential to positively impact our world. 

-Diana Lebeaux, Program Director, Essential Personalized Learning  

I listened to middle school students from Brattleboro Area Middle School in Vermont share their experience of raising a Black Lives Matter flag at their school. They spoke about the movement and lead a discussion about activism with high school students and adults at the Up for Learning conference. Middle school students changing the hearts and minds of a community gives me hope. 

-Carisa Corrow, Senior Associate, Quality Performance Assessment 

Our mentors dedicate time after-school and in the evening to engage in Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency (LAUTR) activities and professional development that challenge their thinking about issues in schools today. The mentors do this because not only are they dedicated to supporting the new learning our residents are experiencing but because even as experienced educators these mentors continue to believe that all the students in the urban communities they serve can benefit from innovative strategies in education.  Yet, even when they can't take on another task they are willing to give more of themselves to help train a resident to continue to work for the greater good of education and that gives me hope. I am so lucky that I get to work with the mentors almost every day.  

-Ruth Ellis, Residency Coordinator, Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency 

School segregation is a seemingly intractable problem, compounded by privileged families’ efforts to resist even modest reforms. But last month, new Chancellor of the New York City Public Schools Richard Carranza spoke positively about a voluntary integration plan vehemently opposed by white upper-class families and appeared to favor a candid conversation about equity. He said, "I want parents to understand that the social compact we have. Living in a society means that we take care of the entire society.” I’m hopeful leaders like Carranza can shift the terms of our public discourse about equity and education to include more marginalized voices and take on previously taboo topics like opportunity hoarding. 

-James Noonan, Ed.D., Project Director, Massachusetts Consortium for Innovative Education Assessment 

Earlier this spring, I had the opportunity to attend a science and engineering fair. The auditorium was packed with about 100 elementary, middle and high school students and their parents. The students were a racially/ethnically diverse group and about half the students were girls—a sign of the progress that has been made in increasing access and opportunities to study science and engineering across groups that had been historically underserved. Perhaps even more importantly, the projects, which students had been working on for at least a month or two displayed their creativity, curiosity and tenacity—skills that are important not only in STEM but across the curriculum.  

-Andresse St. Rose, Ed.D.; Senior Director; Research, Evaluation, and Policy 

In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to see one of our partner high schools implement a number of strategies for bringing student voice to the table for school (re)design work. It gives me hope to listen to educators and school leaders discuss how the work cannot happen without the input and feedback from the most important stakeholders in our field—students. Witnessing student agency at play in focus groups, at planning team meetings, and in peer-led discussions brings me so much hope for the future of our schools!

-Laura Tota, Senior Associate, Essential Personalized Learning 

I am the Field Director for the Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency (LAUTR) and I am leading the summer PDs this week for our residency—recent grads who will begin their teaching careers in the fall. What brings me hope in this moment is our Alumni from the prior cohort who volunteered to come and present a best practice, tool, resource, etc. that they believe will help make the first year more manageable for the new teachers. THEY ARE AMAZING. And amongst the many great things they are sharing this quote kinda summed it up... "Our role is to facilitate students becoming excellent citizens; not everyone is going to be an excellent biologist." 

-Suzanne Edwards-Acton, Field Director, Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency 

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