Remake Learning Field Notes: February – May 2019

A seasonal update from Remake Learning director Sunanna Chand

This year started with the Remake Learning Network survey. We found that about 40% of network members have made between 1 and 10 connections as a result of the survey, while nearly all the rest have made more than 10. We’re most proud of the fact that network members are recognizing the focus on equity, and think this is the right direction. We saw comments such as “Remake Learning’s tightened focus on equity and underserved populations while supporting educational innovations is excellent and necessary” and “An intention/focus on equity is the right way to go.”

Since the year started, we’ve also brought new members to the team who are adding an incredible amount of creative energy and capacity so we may continuously support network members. Jackie Johns and Willy James are adding support to the Communications team, while Marita Garrett is heading up Reimagining Career Readiness Working Group and Jess Gold is moving full steam ahead to complete the Youth Voice Working Group standards of practice project.

With our team set and our wheels in full motion, we are forging an incredible future for this network—one centered on the intersection of innovation and equity, with a vision that each and every child in our region has access to engaging, relevant, and equitable learning.

The months ahead will bring more incredible work, from a #CSforInclusion summit, to Blueprint for Learning grants and Space Design Summit, to a Legislators Forum on Innovative Education in conjunction with iNACOL, and more. We couldn’t be more thrilled about Remake Learning’s direction.

Remake Learning Days

Remake Learning Days is an annual celebration of innovative experiences and opportunities for youth to develop their sense of creativity, perseverance and curiosity.

In May, Remake Learning Days returned for the fourth year in a row.

Remake Learning Days kicked off in Pittsburgh with more than 800 students from dozens of regional school districts building rockets and roller coasters at the DiscoverED event at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

Children wave at the kickoff event for Remake Learning Days

Remake Learning Days Kickoff / Photo by Ben Filio

Over the next 10 days, Remake Learning network members hosted more than 300 events in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia across the themes of Arts, Maker Learning, Outdoor Learning, Science, Technology, and Youth Voice.

Educators could get in on the action, too, at more than 25 professional development events for teachers and administrators.
For the first time ever, Remake Learning Days spread across America. Remake Learning co-hosted Remake Learning Days Across America with PBS and Digital Promise, along with host organizations, partners, and sponsors in nine cities and regions.

Remake Learning Days Across America tallied 851 events in:

  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Eastern Kentucky
  • Knoxville, TN
  • North Carolina Triangle
  • Northeast Ohio
  • Southeastern PA
  • Southwestern PA
  • West Virginia
A map of the United States with pins marking locations of Remake Learning Days Across America events

Remake Learning Days Across America location

All told, Remake Learning Days Across America is estimated to have reached 50,000 children and families. While the bulk of that engagement happened right here in southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the spirit of Remake Learning has started to take root in communities far from home. See more at

Network Activities

Remake Learning Network Activities are designed to cultivate and support a regional community of peer professionals committed to the vision and values of Remake Learning.

Funded Projects

In March, Remake Learning invited schools, educators, out-of-school time providers, and nonprofit organizations to answer the question: How could $1,000 ignite more engaging, relevant, and equitable learning for the young people you serve? Nearly 200 network members responded and Remake Learning awarded 103 $1,000 Ignite Grants to launch of new learning experiences.

Remake Learning continued to document and celebrate Great Remake projects through a mix of media including guest posts from grantees Jordon Rooney and Shimira Williams, a recut of the Great Remake grantee video and a portrait of Learning in Motion, a collaborative project between Attack Theatre and the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf which offers a moving example of the intersection of innovation and equity.

Rural Outreach

Remake Learning continued building network connections in rural communities, hosting two rural meetups and two rural lunch & learns, conducting extensive outreach, and launching a rural portal As a result, rural applications to the 2019 Ignite Grant opportunities were 30% greater than rural response to the 2018 Great Remake grant opportunity.

To help rural educators develop skills and capacity in asset-based storytelling, Remake Learning hosted no-cost storytelling workshops at West Virginia University, West Liberty University, and Connellsville Area High School. Educators from 15 schools, as well as out-of-school learning programs, colleges, and intermediate units, completed the workshop and took home a workbook to support ongoing storytelling in their organization.

Network Events

In 2019, network events kicked off with a Principal PD Meet & Greet where more than 60 school leaders gathered to explore challenges and opportunities peculiar to their role in the education ecosystem.

Throughout the winter and spring, Remake Learning and its partners hosted meetups and lunch & learns covering Rethinking the Role of Schools in Community Health, using biking and mentorship to create Positive Spin for youth, and understanding insights drawn from the PA Future Ready Index.

Through the Empowered Educators event series, Remake Learning and partners have created a forum for teachers, educators, administrators, counselors and others to think critically and openly discuss topics of race, equity, bias, and pedagogy. Each event in the series examines a facet of our collective imagination, for example the third event in the series took place within Dig Where You Stand, an installation by artist Koyo Kouoh created for the Carnegie International.

Conference Delegations

Remake Learning made its presence known throughout the world in early 2019.

Attendees of the Deeper Learning Summit

Remake Learning delegation to Deeper Learning Summit

In March, a delegation of 30 network members attended SXSWedu in Austin, Texas and a smaller group attended the Deeper Learning Summit.

In April, members of the Pittsburgh regional STE(A)M Ecosystem working group joined peers from across the country at the national STEM Ecosystems community of practice convening in New Orleans, LA.

In May, Remake Learning joined the Pittsburgh AI delegation to the AI for Good Global Summit in Geneva, Switzerland.

Profile of a Learner

Since releasing the renewed mission, vision, and values in September 2017, network members have been building relationships, sharing knowledge, and developing practices to ignite more engaging, relevant, and equitable learning, especially for learners of color, learners impacted by poverty, learners in rural communities, learners with exceptionalities, and girls in STEM.

Recently, Remake Learning articulated its learning values into a Profile of a Learner that visualizes the aspirations and goals the network holds for the learners it seeks to serve.

A graphic depiction of Remake Learning values for learners

Remake Learning Profile of a Learner

Working Groups

Remake Learning Working Groups gather network members around specific topics and priorities that no single organization can impact alone.


Building on the CSforPGH Quickstart Guide published in December 2018, the CSforPGH working group is developing a “scaffold” of no-cost and low-cost tools and resources to support computer science education. A web-based digital resource, the scaffold is slated for launch in summer 2019.

As a leading voice advocating for more equity and inclusion in computer science and related fields, the CSforPGH working group hosted Making CS for All during Pittsburgh’s Inclusive Innovation Summit 2019 in April. In June, CSforPGH is leading a month-long conversation called #CSforInclusion through a series of Twitter Chats, a strategic discussion event, and a delegation from Pittsburgh to the PA CSforAll Summit in Harrisburg, PA.

Innovative Education Policy

In April, Remake Learning released Voices from the Field, a report sharing stories and strategies from school leaders across the Pittsburgh region and the country who have successfully linked policy to practice.

During Remake Learning Days in May, the Innovative Education Policy working group arranged a site visit for state legislators at Canon-McMillan School District where they saw demonstrations of elementary CS projects, an overview on the impact of PAsmart from CS Academy, and information from Microsoft TEALS on the tech labor market.

Maker Learning Collaborative

Following the State of Maker Learning summit in November 2018 and a strategy meeting in January 2019, members of the working group identified five ideas to support the continued development of maker learning culture and practice in the Pittsburgh region:

  1. Supporting deep, long-term, and funded relationships between organizations steeped in maker learning and organizations just starting out.
  2. Connecting professional makers with maker educators and students in more structured, long-term mentorship.
  3. Creating an online marketplace where local maker educators can sell/trade goods and services, maximizing the use of tools and expertise across our region.
  4. Curate a library of videos offering practical advice to frequently asked maker questions, likely produced in partnership with MuseumLab.
  5. Curate a collection of histograms showing how more established maker learning spaces developed. Where did they start? Where did they stumble?

Professional Learning Collaborative

The Professional Learning Collaborative gathered in February to develop and pitch ideas for projects for the working group to undertake, including a professional development quickstart guide along the lines of the CSforPGH Quickstart Guide, deepening the equity work, consulting with other working groups on high-quality professional development, and developing a conceptual coherence framework.

>Reimagining Career Readiness

The newest Remake Learning working group, Reimagining Career Readiness has been in development throughout most of 2019, with Marita Garrett leading the way. Following several months of background research, stakeholder outreach, and network one-on-ones, Marita hosted a Lunch & Learn on Reimagining Readiness in May.

STE(A)M Ecosystem

The STE(A)M Ecosystem working group reconvened in February to kick off the next phase of the STEM Observation Protocol for Cultural Competency, an examination of culturally relevant and sustaining instructional practices in STEM education.

In April, a delegation of working group members attended the national STEM Ecosystems Community of Practice Convening in New Orleans, LA. The community of practice gathers face-to-face at conferences to share information and expertise. This year’s convening coalesced around the theme of family engagement; namely, how ecosystems can improve their engagement with and communication to their local communities.

A photo of Remake Learning team members celebrating the Carnegie Science Awards

Remake Learning at the Carnegie Science Awards

In May, Remake Learning was honored with the Chairman’s Award at the annual Carnegie Science Awards. The STE(A)M Ecosystem working group, in particular, was noted for its role “at the center of a cross-sector collaboration to develop a regional vision, goals, and metrics for continuous improvement of STEM and STEAM learning opportunities, especially in under-served communities.”

Youth Voice

Over the winter and spring, the Youth Voice Working Group completed a series of design sessions to develop a Standards of Practice Toolkit, a new resources intended to bring attention to ageism in our region and begin to take concrete, evidence-based, hyper-local steps to address it. Facilitated by the LUMA Institute, these sessions gathered input from young people and youth workers, as well as the broader set of resources and literature informing the practice of youth voice and power. The toolkit is slated for release in summer 2019.

Published June 17, 2019

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