Partner, SCHOOL DESIGN SYSTEMS
Start Date: Immediate
Role Type: Full Time
Location: Chicago, Central Texas/Gulf Coast, Bay Area, DC are priority geographies; also
open to other geographies/flexible.
Who We Are:
Transcend is education’s “R&D Engine,” enabling communities to imagine, create, and spread learning environments that truly prepare all students for what the future demands. We do this by playing two vital roles:
- We expand the supply of innovative, high-quality, and replicable school models to give communities everywhere a broader and more diverse range of options to adopt
- We grow demand and readiness for innovation in communities across the country so they are eager to adopt these models and innovate in effective ways
To play these roles, we are building three core capacities that not only serve our work, but also grow the field’s capacity for R&D in critical ways:
- World-class school design offerings that support communities as they imagine, design, build, test, codify, and share innovative school models
- An open-source knowledge hub that captures, synthesizes, and shares key insights, evidence, and products to reimagine school
- A vibrant network of schools, talent, experts, other education nonprofits, and funders who support and amplify our - and each other’s - work
In its current form, school will never reach our highest aspirations -- even with herculean efforts. It was never designed for anything close to this. However, the system as we know it can be redesigned. Transcend partners with brave, ambitious school communities that are driving efforts to redesign school so that all kids can thrive.
The Partner, School Design will have an enormous opportunity to influence the larger field and directly improve students’ immediate experience with school through leading school design teams to ignite, advance, and spread innovative school models.
Specifically, Partners on our School Design Services team coach and support school design teams to:
- Reimagine and create new school model designs grounded in their unique community’s context and aspirations
- Build the conditions for innovation in their school communities (including the capacity to do ongoing, practical R&D in their context)
- Help create the networks and partnerships schools need for their innovation efforts to take root and thrive
Working in teams, Partners use various methods to achieve these aims, including facilitation/leadership of in-person workshops, 1:1 coaching (virtual and in-person), resource creation and sharing, and forging connections to support the work. Below is a list of super powers required for each type of work that we do in School Design Services.
While these super powers (aka, strengths) are not exclusive to these strands, those who work in these strands spike in these areas. Our Partners tend to work on projects that cluster in one or two of these strands, depending on their skill set, though some engage in projects across all three. At this time, we are eager to bring on talent to support our work in each of these three categories.
Phases/Strands of a School Design Journey
Ignite a School Design Journey
This work is for schools at the very early stages of reimagining what learning environments could look like.
- Experience Design: Create experiences that model strong adult learning practices and inspire teams to commit to the school redesign process.
- Facilitation Prowess: Structure and facilitate experiences that stoke teams’ conviction in the need to reimagine school, sharpen their visions, and build their capacity to innovate.
- Rigorous R&D: Help teams base their designs on a deep understanding of their community, the science of learning and development, existing innovative models, etc.
- Provocateur: Provoke and encourage teams to think big and challenge the status quo.
See this work in action! Ignite Video: Excellent Schools New Mexico Cohort
Advance a School Design
This work is for schools looking to build the tools and systems to implement, study, and improve their design.
- Content Builder: Develop the teams’ capacity to design and build school schedules, curriculum, instructional practices, professional development, etc., in alignment with their innovative vision, research, and best practice. You likely bring deep expertise in one or more content areas.
- Strategist: Help teams effectively plan for their short and long term approaches to implementing their vision.
- Rigorous R&D: Help teams pilot their innovations: from setting up effective pilot structures, implementing pilots, and summarizing their learning to inform their overall design and immediate next steps.
- Team Builder: Advance the school team’s conditions for innovation, and help teams engage and manage the people required to successfully execute the model/innovation.
See this work in action! Advance Video: Incorporating Maker-Centered Learning at Van Ness
Codify and Spread a School Design
This work is for schools who believe that their school model, or model component, is worth spreading and they want to codify, spread, and study the process.
- Codifier: Synthesize and distill the key elements of a “thing” -- to help teams capture the essential elements of their school design/ innovative school component.
- Strategist: Develop/ co-develop the long term strategy for spreading the school design and helping others to adopt it.
- Rigorous R&D: Support the team in studying the design/component in its efforts to spread.
- General Manager: Manage the product development, school partner recruitment, support, and process of studying the impact of adoption -- and integrating feedback from adoption efforts effectively back into the school design.
See this work in action! Codify + Spread Video: Compass Camp
*Of note, some projects are a hybrid e.g., advance and spread and will need:
Partners (across all areas):
- Leads with a deep commitment to Transcend’s mission of transforming education, with a passion for creating innovative, breakthrough new school models that generate unprecedented results for all students
- Shows a strong and demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and quality learning experiences for all kids. Enable all school partners to interrogate how to develop an equitable design and design process
- Effectively manages relationships and communications with a diverse range of stakeholders, including Transcend teammates, funders, independent contractors, school/project team members, research partners, etc
- Leads or participates on a Transcend team responsible for managing the project, building and stewarding strong team culture, codifying learnings from the project, and communicating with the larger Transcend team about what is being done and learned
- Serves as a leader and strong team member within Transcend, by living into Transcend’s core values and supporting others to do the same
- Has significant experience working / leading in schools or high performing education non-profits, preferably with direct experience with design, innovation, 21st century skills, change management and/or “next generation” school models
- Demonstrates an entrepreneurial hunger to build, learn, and lead in a lean and at times ambiguous context
- Has capacity to travel 35-45% (anticipated up to 3 trips/month at ~2 nights each)
Transcend is an equal opportunity employer. We are building a diverse team that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.