Remake Learning: A Networked Approach to Education for the 21st Century

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Remake Learning:

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In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas, an innovative and collaborative approach to learning is growing and flourishing. A network of more than 250 schools, universities, libraries, startups, nonprofits, museums, and others, Remake Learning works to ignite engaging and relevant learning opportunities for every student — opportunities that leverage technology, art, and the learning sciences to help young people thrive amid unprecedented social and technological change.

Emerging from the loss of steel and other industries upon which the region long depended, greater Pittsburgh has remade itself as a hub for research and technology. Where students once looked to steel mills for purpose and employment, they now look to hospitals, universities, and software firms. By collaborating across these sectors and more, Remake Learning’s partners work to provide all learners with opportunities to develop their interests, work collaboratively, solve real-world problems, and prepare for a changing labor market. Together, the network has turned the region itself into a kind of campus — a place where learners can pursue their passions by leveraging the people and programs that Remake Learning convenes. The network’s partners include such groups as Allegheny Partners for Out of School Time, Carnegie Mellon University, Chevron, Duolingo, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, dozens of school districts, and many more.

Whether learners pursue science, technology, the arts, or something else entirely, Remake Learning’s partners work together to help them chart paths through tomorrow’s uncertainties. That’s why it’s common, now, to see kids flying drones in local classrooms, or recording music in libraries. That’s why it’s typical to see educators teaching alongside gamers and designers, and to see learning scientists planning summer camps with museum curators. There’s no other place in America yet doing collectively what the network’s partners do: remake learning together, in all the places a child might learn.

To learn about the effectiveness of this community approach to innovative learning, Remake Learning conducted an impact evaluation using ten years of data. The full impact report was released at the forum, but early findings demonstrate increases in test scores, reductions in dropout rates, and increases in summer learning.

Panelist Biographies

Gregg Behr
Executive Director, Grable Foundation
Co-Chair of Remake Learning Council

Twitter: @greggbehr

Gregg Behr is in his eleventh year as executive director of the Grable Foundation. In this role, he manages a grantmaking portfolio advancing high-quality early childhood education, improved teaching and learning in public schools, and robust out-of-school time support. From 2002-2006, Mr. Behr served as president of The Forbes Funds, another Pittsburgh-based foundation that supports nonprofit capacity-building, research, and leadership development. Nationally, he is a trustee for and Grantmakers for Education. In Pittsburgh, he co-chairs Remake Learning. In 2016, the White House recognized Mr. Behr as a Champion of Change for his efforts to advance making and learning; in 2015, he was recognized as one of America’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers, and Trailblazers by the Center for Digital Education; and in 2014, Gregg accepted the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award on behalf of Pittsburgh’s efforts to reimagine and remake learning.

Mary Murrin
Social Investment Team Lead, Chevron USA
Co-Chair of Remake Learning Council

Twitter: @mwmurrin

Mary Murrin is a communications executive with 20 years’ experience building innovative strategies to tell compelling stories of pioneering products in industries including energy, K12 digital education, telecommunications, web content, and manufacturing. She has led marketing and public relations programs for three Global 500 corporations and five technology start-ups evolved from Carnegie Mellon University. Mary is an 85 Broads Mentor, President of the Board of Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre, an elected member of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, and Chief Executive Mother to three young men.

Dr. Bart Rocco
Superintendent, Elizabeth Forward School District
Twitter: @brocco187

Dr. Bart Rocco has been superintendent of the Elizabeth Forward School District for three years. Previous to this, he was assistant superintendent for two and a half years for the West Mifflin Area School District, assistant principal and principal for fourteen years (mostly) at Thomas Jefferson High School, and began his career with ten years as a teacher of English and Journalism at South Park High School. Bart was raised in the Monongahela Valley before pursuing his undergraduate degree in Education and Communication and master’s degree in education at Duquesne University. He continued his education at California University of Pennsylvania, where he received his principal’s letter, and then at the University of Pittsburgh for a doctorate degree in the Educational Leadership Department. As superintendent, Bart’s goals are to take a small district with limited resources and “make sure that all children have an opportunity to learn and grow in a safe, caring student-centered environment.” While he enjoys developing programs alongside teachers and other administrators, he still revels in children’s excitement about learning, especially when he has the time to visit classes and teach writing activities. He says, “The students are the best,” a belief that informs his work with the District in “providing amazing educational activities for students that will prepare them for the future.”

Jane Werner
Executive Director, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
Twitter: @PghKids

Jane Werner’s 34 years of museum experience includes 26 years at The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Werner leads the team responsible for all aspects of the Museum’s mission and vision, exhibits, public programming, funding and operations. The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh expanded in November 2004 after the completion of a $29M capital campaign. Attendance grew from 80,000 to currently 306,000. The project was the recipient of the 2006 American Institute of Architects National Award and National Trust for Historic Preservation Award. The Museum received the 2009 National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for its work in the community and in 2017 the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh was named one of the top 5 museums for children by USA Today. Under Werner’s leadership and in partnership with the Warhol Museum, the Children’s Museum reopened the closed New Hazlett Theater, raising over $2million. In 2012, the Museum opened Buhl Community Park, a $6.5million public park in front of the museum. In 2013, the museum was cited by AAM Press in the book Magnetic as one of six museums with powerful internal alignment and a compelling vision allowing it to attract the critical resources for success. Jane is past president of the Association of Children’s Museums, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Board and New Hazlett Theater. She is on the boards of the Maker Education Initiative, Carnegie Mellon University’s Studio for Creative Inquiry, Remake Learning Council, Fred Rogers’ Center and Benedum Foundation. She holds an honorary doctorate from St. Vincent University and is a graduate of Syracuse University. Jane received ASTC’s 2007 Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the field, 2012 YWCA Woman in the Arts Leadership Award and was named a 2013 Pittsburgh Businesswoman Leader. She is a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF’s events and policy reports are made possible by the support of a consortium of philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.

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