May 11, 2020

R&D Specialist a.k.a Learning Engineer

  • Transcend
  • Remote (New York, NY, USA)
Full-Time Remote/Virtual Data Evaluation and Analysis Research Remote/Virtual Role School Support

Job Description

R&D Specialist

a.k.a Learning Engineer


Start Date: Immediate/ Flexible

Role Type: Full Time

Location: 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:

  1. We expand the supply of innovative, replicable school models to give communities everywhere a broader and more diverse range of options to adopt
  2. 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 assets 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.


The Opportunity:  

At Transcend, we work with communities around the country who have high aspirations for their children’s learning and want help getting to their vision. This requires communities - and Transcend - to use evidence to innovate and continuously improve. Evidence includes insights from community members’ lived experience, academic research, quantitative data, learnings from piloting, etc. Learning Engineers at Transcend lead teams through the process of getting and using evidence in service of innovation and continuous improvement - whether that’s through accessing existing research and practice, undertaking rapid-cycle pilots to try out something new, or evaluating a program that’s further along in its evolution. 


Who You Are:

You are a disciplined, hands-on person with a scientific mind. You value evidence-based decision-making and you’re quick to test out ideas with users vs. fully baking ideas first. You constantly probe for why things work the way they do and how they could work better, and you feel triumphant when you've found data-backed solutions that can be implemented. You have a way of getting others as excited and curious about their data as you are and value the importance of making meaning with others from various perspectives. Your approach to continuous improvement leaves people feeling energized rather than evaluated. Other people know they can come to you to take their big ideas from ideation to testable hypotheses to smooth implementation! You believe deeply in the power of education to change lives, and can’t wait to hone your analytical and facilitative skills to help schools make radical changes to reinvent school in America. 

Role You’ll Play in this work:

Learning Engineers at Transcend help school partners navigate R&D cycles at whatever stage they are in their journey of designing and implementing better learning environments. In the first 6 months on the job for example, a Learning Engineer might, with plenty of support and onboarding:

  • Join 2-3 teams working with school partners to help:
    • 5 high schools in a large district redesign aspects of their learning environments to better support post-secondary planning and matriculation
    • 3 middle and high schools in a charter network redesign aspects of their learning environments to improve students’ felt experience of school
    • An innovative career-technical-education (CTE) center embedded within a large district to continue advancing its design and preparing to share key features of its model with other centers around the country
  • As a Learning Engineer on those teams, you’ll specifically accomplish things like:
    • Helping the schools craft a learning agenda to guide the decisions they make throughout the year on iterations to their design
    • Accessing existing research on belonging or project-based-learning to help school teams embed evidence-based practices into their designs
    • Helping schools plan pilots and gather evidence throughout the pilots in order to make thoughtful iterations to their design over the course of the year
    • Completing interviews with 10 students at a school to better understand their felt experience of school and identify root causes that might provoke redesign ideas
    • Helping schools plan for how to scale up an idea from a small pilot to a full rollout over 18 months, using qualitative and quantitative evidence to bolster the school’s change management and coalition-building in doing so


To thrive in this role, you will: 

  • Bring experience in teaching and learning and/or managing continuous improvement processes in educational settings.
  • Have analytical and inquiry skills and an ability to pull together effective assessments or surveys or interviews that answer questions and help educators rapidly learn and improve their practice.
  • Have persuasive and clear written and verbal communication skills.
  • Have experience working with diverse populations in terms of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  • Be able to manage multiple projects that move quickly; multitasking and prioritizing effectively.
  • Be proficient in a variety of word processing and communications software (e.g., Google docs, PowerPoint) and data analysis (e.g., Excel).
  • Be a flexible, enthusiastic teammate who builds positive relationships and stays constructive amidst the ambiguity, resource constraints, and rapid shifts that can occur in a scrappy start-up.
  • Be hungry for feedback and growth based on a personal commitment to excellence and constant learning – thriving on constant input, feedback from multiple sources, and fast-cycle iteration to arrive at the best possible product.
  • Be deeply motivated to bring your skill-set to building equitable, innovative learning environments.
  • Eagerness to embrace and live into Transcend’s core values: love, long term, play big, perpetual beta, diverse voices, and results for kids.


Join Us!

Are you excited about rethinking what it means for schools to deliver an outstanding education? If so, apply below! 

At Transcend, we celebrate, we support, and we thrive on difference and diversity for the benefit of our team members, our partnerships, and our community. Transcend is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and hires without consideration of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status or disability. If you have a disability or special need that requires accommodation, please let us know.

Apply Now