The Movement Builder Network: Uniting Regional and National Advocates for Learner-Centered Transformation

10 January 2019


“It was incredibly beneficial to be in a room where people understood the enormous lift this movement will be and that understood it is a paradigm shift—not just making some changes in classroom practice.”

David Cook, AdaptED Futures

The Movement Builder Network is Education Reimagined’s newest program—hosting our first Movement Builder Intensive in November 2018. The Network is a community of regional and national learner-centered advocates who are committed to transforming education in the United States.

The Movement Builder Intensive is a two-day convening designed to harness the collective power of these leaders and their organizations and create the conditions necessary to accelerate the movement beyond what we currently see as possible.

The inaugural gathering of this community was designed to:

  1. Explore what a learner-centered future would make possible for our young people, our communities, and our society;
  2. Gain insight into the transformative nature of the learner-centered education movement and why that matters;
  3. Confront what it will really take to make the transformation to learner-centered education inevitable and irreversible for all children in this country;
  4. Build meaningful relationships with each other as unique and passionate individuals and as partners in advancing a new future for education; and
  5. Leave committed to discovering what we can accomplish working in concert that we cannot accomplish working in isolation from each other.

Every time we have the pleasure of hosting learner-centered leaders, we find ourselves in a room where the conversations are pushing the movement further and further into the unknown—stretching everyone’s thinking of what is possible. This makes every training for our programs, be it our oldest (The Learning Lab) or our newest (Movement Builder Network), an iterative process—utilizing the information gathered from our participants to contribute to accelerating the movement faster and faster each year.

During our first Movement Builder Intensive, we had the pleasure of reflecting on the possibilities for future gatherings thanks to the open and honest responses from the participants.

Did you confront what it will really take to make the transformation to learner-centered education inevitable and irreversible for all children in this country?

“I think we started. What I would like to see is a room where an ecosystem rolled up their sleeves and started to map out this possibility.” —Chris Unger, Northeastern University

“We created a list for what it meant to serve all students. That was an outstanding, effective innovation. And, I think we need to do much more work to really dig into what it will take.” —Michael Soguero, Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center

Did you build meaningful relationships with others in the room as unique and passionate individuals and as partners in advancing a new future for education?

“Many amazing people. Thank you again for the wisdom, warmth, and welcoming that creates these gatherings!” —Mark Wilding, Passageworks

What value did you get from the Movement Builder Intensive?

“Strengthening connections and networks between the work of attendees, the emerging/growing learner-centered movement and our own priorities and work at IEL was of great value. Deepening my understanding of the goals of the movement and the ways in which we can add value and concretely contribute was also quite valuable.” —Kwesi Rollins, Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL)

“Having the high altitude discussion I love and don’t have in most of the rooms I am in.” —Andy Calkins, Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC)

“It was exciting to be a part of the next phase in the movement that focused on the lens beyond practitioners. The ability to accelerate the work with everyone who was in the room is so very powerful, but only if there is actual movement.” —Nik Namba, Lindsay USD

“I met passionate people. I met great kids. I let my mind be changed about people I doubted on first impressions. I made contacts. I think I saw possibilities. But I remain impatient.” —Ira Socol, Independent Consultant

Given your organization’s work (or your own), what do you now see that we might be able to shift or amplify to make a bigger impact on the learner-centered movement

“That the need to make the shift at the systems level (states and federal) is more crucial than ever. We must move the policy conversations as we move the practice conversations.” —David Cook, AdaptED Futures

“I don’t think we have been using learner-centered language enough in our communications efforts. We have been “soft” on what we are talking about. I think there are ways to leverage the assets of Education Reimagined and the work of those in the room to help grow the movement. I also think I, personally, feel more more committed to the five elements.” —Emily Leibtag, Getting Smart

“I can work to begin to change some admissions processes and programs at the college level to give access and opportunity to learner centered learners.” —Alden Stout, Morningside College

What would you like to see next for the movement builder community?

“Some clearer sense of where we are all headed and how we can each contribute to that destination. I think that we need to convene again (and maybe again) to keep the field building and emerging.” —Katherine Prince, KnowledgeWorks

“Really get to the tactics for change. What are the leverage points in the system? What projects can we take on around these leverage points? How can these projects build on what many of us already doing?” —Cynthia Leck, Transcend

New resources and news on The Big Idea!


We recently announced a new R&D acceleration initiative to connect and support local communities ready to bring public, equitable, learner-centered ecosystems to life.