Live From Summit 2017: Achieving Breakthroughs with R&D

May 17, 2017

This thought-provoking and discussion-based session was moderated by Stacey Childress, the CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund and Russ Shilling from Digital Promise.


The session discussed the need to emphasize R&D within education, how it might work, and then had small breakouts to gather insights from session participants on problems an R&D organization should prioritize and focus on solving. The session began with Stacey sharing out key insights from the R&D concept paper, followed by a discussion between Stacey and Russ. (See video and slide presentation) Joining them were Nancy Lue, Meghan Amrofell & Tonika Cheek Clayton from NewSchools Venture Fund, and Mary Jo Madda from EdSurge who helped facilitate the small group breakouts. Some of the major learning challenges participants shared included having a widely adopted definition of what success looks like for students, examining the whole ecosystem from birth to career, rethinking the traditional brick and mortar school, and enhancing parent engagement. Ideas generated by 110+ participants will certainly push education R&D forward.

A Q&A session followed with some thought provoking questions prompting a discussion on some underlying challenges in R&D:

  • What’s the role of policymakers in this? School board members and politicians will play a role; how to translate R&D and into policy?
  • How do you apply methodology affecting hearts and minds vs. outcomes that are in measurable/quantitative metrics?
  • Building on hearts and minds: In terms of sustainability, how do we properly frame for those outside of the network?; Why house this in a non-profit space knowing the challenges as opposed to embedding this into the Dept. of Ed.?
  • How to bolster sustainability and risk-taking culture?