Remake Learning network members celebrating at the Big Remake Bash

Remake Learning Field Notes: June – September 2022

A seasonal update from Remake Learning Network Director Tyler Samstag

As we transitioned from summer months to the start of a new school year, Remake Learning too shifted attention to celebration: commemorating the 15th birthday of the network.

Kicking off in late-summer, Remake Learning’s blog began posting 15 stories of 15 years, capturing the journeys of 15 network members, including Melanie Claxton (Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation); Colleen Smith (Penn State New Kensington); Josiah Gilliam (City of Pittsburgh); Jane Werner (Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh); Kashif Henderson (Neighborhood Alliance); Junlei Li (Harvard Graduate School of Education); and Tyler Samstag (Remake Learning).

In September, Remake Learning hosted the Big Remake Bash, celebrating 15 years of learning together. The night was chock full of exciting announcements, taking a look back at the last 15 years, celebrating the current state of the network, and looking where we might go as we look ahead to our next 15 years.

Program Highlights

The Big Remake Bash

On September 15th, Remake Learning hosted The Big Remake Bash at The New Hazlett Theater and MuseumLab. At this sold-out event, we revisited memorable moments from the network’s past, recognized the people and organizations making an impact in the present, and glimpsed the future through the eyes and ideas of local young people.

MC DS Kinsel and DJ Arie Cole provided an enjoyable element to the evening, with presenters that included Gregg Behr, Ryan Rydzewski, Michelle King, SLB Youth Council, Valerie Kinloch and Peter Kope.

Performances at the Bash included an opening drum performance from Legacy Arts Project and Sankofa Village for the Arts, a coordinated dance from Attack Theatre, and closing musical performance from Hip-Hop Orchestra.

Guests traveled far and wide to celebrate the network milestone, including former director Sunanna Chand and council member Jessica Trybus, traveling from California, as well as a delegation from Doncaster, England.

The night concluded with networking at the MuseumLab, where many network members were able to reconnect and celebrate after a long hiatus from large, in-person convenings.


The big announcements made at the Big Remake Bash included more than 50 major commitments from organizations across the greater Pittsburgh region totaling nearly $100 million for the 2022-23 school year.

These commitments marked a milestone in the network’s evolution: having grown from a handful of people in 2007, Remake Learning now includes thousands of educators, researchers, artists, and others from more than 600 member organizations. Collectively, these commitments —from such industry partners as Argo AI, PNC, and Simcoach Games; such philanthropic partners as the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Grable Foundation, and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation; and such educational leaders as Carnegie Mellon University, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, and the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild—represent an unparalleled bet on tomorrow, with dozens of diverse and game-changing institutions going all-in to uplift the region’s learners.

A full list of commitments can be found here.

WISE Award

Also announced at the Big Remake Bash was the exciting news of Remake Learning being selected for the 2022 WISE Award.

WISE awards logo

Each year, the Qatar Foundation selects 6 global recipients for the WISE Awards, aiming to highlight projects that have demonstrated impact in their communities and have the potential to set international standards and best practices worldwide

As part of this distinction, Remake Learning will participate in a conference and ceremony taking place in early 2023 in Doha, Qatar.

Network Activities

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


In June 2022, members of the Remake Learning team traveled to London and Doncaster, England for a study tour. While in England, members of the Pittsburgh delegation, which included Tyler Samstag, Stephanie Lewis, and LaTrenda Leonard Sherrill of the Remake Learning team, along with Remake Learning Co-Chair Gregg Behr and Robert Scherrer (AIU) visited organizations such as Big Change and the London Interdisciplinary School.

Members of the Remake Learning team pose with colleagues on a trip to Doncaster, England

While in Doncaster, the group visited schools, attended a community-planning session on ecosystems, and explored future opportunities for partnership.


Over the last few months, we have been busy researching, writing, and presenting at conferences throughout the United States and Canada.

In July, Stephanie Lewis and Erin Gatz co-presented at the Connected Learning Summit on asset mapping with community members. Later in July, Erin Gatz and Dr. Tom Akiva co-presented at the International Researching Work and Learning Conference about how engagement with Remake Learning influences educators. In August, we wrote about how education networks advance equity based on our five network support strategies. In September, we published the 15 year snapshot which highlights network achievements since our start in 2007. In October, we published the Pittsburgh Principles, a report which offers key insights into how to start, strengthen, or sustain a learning ecosystem. Additionally, we have two research articles about network impact currently under review at academic journals.


In July, members of Remake Learning’s rural communities affinity group traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee for participation in the Public Education Foundation’s second cohort of the Innovation Educator Fellowship. The lessons learned from this leadership summit were captured in this blog post, published in September.

The past few months of work have been centered around making connections to current rural network members and planning opportunities to uplift and highlight amazing educational opportunities in our rural schools and communities. Event opportunities are coming into fruition for the fall months.

Working Groups

Remake Learning Working Groups actively explore topics through events, communications, learning opportunities, mini-grants, and more

Maker Learning Collaborative

In early fall, the working group launched the Maker Learning Collaborative Discord Server, an online chat platform where maker educators in the region can connect with others, find and share opportunities, and learn with and from one another!

Also in fall, the Maker Learning Collaborative hosted a bi-weekly book club which brought together working group members to discuss the book Lifelong Kindergarten, culminating in an in-person discussion and celebration in October.

Pittsburgh Regional STE(A)M Ecosystem

Over the summer, the Pittsburgh Regional STE(A)M Ecosystem kicked off a new 5-part book club. Launching in July at The Citizen Science Lab, a copy of The Fifth Season was distributed to all participants. Subsequent meetings were held every Thursday in August at the Hill Community Development Corporation.

Educators at the STEAM ecosystem general body convening

Also over the summer, Remake Learning team member LaTrenda represented Remake Learning at a Pennsylvania Statewide STEM Ecosystem (PSSA) retreat, held at Penn State.

The Pittsburgh Regional STE(A)M Ecosystem held its general body meeting in October with guest presenters from 100Kin10.

Personalized Learning Working Group

The Personalized Learning working group is focusing on taking their personalized learning framework from theory into practice. Members will have various opportunities to engage throughout the next year:

  • Steering Committee: a small group will meet twice to learn updates and discuss progress against goals
  • Framework Design Committee: this group will continue to build out the framework by developing competency progressions, possible “look-fors,” and resources aligned to the components
  • Storytelling and Advocacy: this group will develop a stakeholder map and work with a communications team to build out stories relevant for legislative advocacy and public will building

In September, working group leads facilitated a session at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, bringing together the framework design committee to begin drafting competency progression.

On October 26th, over 50 network members attended the first working group site visit at California Area School District. At this event, district superintendent Laura Jacob shared how the district has implemented personalized practices aligned to the working group’s framework.


As we started this school year, CSforPGH kicked off with their first fall meeting. The working group networked and brainstormed the format of their upcoming joint quarterly meeting with the CSTA Pittsburgh Chapter, which is being held at CCA’s Techworks at the Waterfront in Homestead.

The working group also released a mini-grant opportunity, which will award 10 organizations or teachers $5,000 to promote at-home STEM learning.

Additionally, the working group will be present at the CSforALL Summit in Memphis to represent Remake Learning and the three commitments to computer science learning that were submitted.

Graphic that reads "We made a 2022 CSForAll Commitment!"

CSforPGH has added a new offering this year, a coffee and conversations series. The group is also planning for a new CSforInclusion Week, tentatively scheduled for March of 2023, which will include 4 organizational partners and a TED talk-style event.

Author: Tyler Samstag, Network Director