InnovateEDU at Ten: Pioneering Education Innovation and Launching a Portfolio Approach

Posted on • Reading Time: 3 min read

This article was written and Published by InnovateEDU on June 24, 2024 

In just a few short months, InnovateEDU will celebrate ten years of impact in accelerating education innovation toward an equitable, inclusive, and radically improved future for all learners. Reaching this milestone evokes a desire to reflect on our journey.

Starting as a school-based program in NYC, InnovateEDU has grown into a robust constellation of national coalitions (we call them uncommon alliances) and projects addressing system-level education challenges through transformative design. Our initiatives span infrastructure challenges like data interoperability, the safe use of AI, evidence-based edtech implementation, and human-centered concerns such as educator shortages, pandemic recovery, and solutions for students with disabilities. Collectively, we’ve engaged thousands of industry leaders, districts, nonprofit advocates, and policymakers, and created hundreds of resources to accelerate sector-wide change.

One of our most notable successes has been moving interoperability to the forefront of K12 educational priorities—elevating awareness from technical audiences up to the First Lady. Through Project Unicorn, our team has driven investment in data-driven decision-making and helped build durable infrastructure that prioritizes interoperability, privacy, and security for school systems across the country. Additionally, The Pathways Alliance has enhanced the quality of teacher residencies and apprenticeships by emphasizing competency-based education, progressive wage schedules, and pay equity, creating more diverse and inclusive entry points into the profession. The BIRD-E project’s data schema has laid the groundwork for a more impactful, accessible, and understandable future in education research.

Our success stems from our ability to unite divided stakeholders and mobilize resources for shared goals—what we call the 80% common mindset. (Read our manifesto here). Specifically, InnovateEDU leads with a simultaneous supply- and demand-side approach that ensures industry vendors and educators each have a seat at the problem-solving table. Often, this involves fostering open conversations and learning and building enough trust to address the difficult issues holding us back. This approach requires flexibility, unwavering commitment, and pragmatism to recognize support from unexpected sources.

Although the journey has given us much to be proud of, it has also created an even greater urgency to drive sector change. We envision a world where every learner can access the educational opportunities and supports that prepare them to contribute to and succeed in a global society and economy. This necessitates keeping pace with technological advancements and intentionally designing scalable solutions that tackle the sector’s everyday challenges. To achieve this vision, we must continue to collaborate across various verticals, interests, organizations, and geographies.

Despite our achievements, systemic issues and inequities persist, demanding urgent attention to resource disparities, teacher support, and student outcomes. While AI holds transformative potential, it is not a silver bullet; its implementation in K-12 schools must be safe, effective, and equitable, prioritizing privacy, security, and interoperability.

Our team will continue to advocate for policies and practices that address these challenges with hope and determination. Internally, we are launching InnovateEDU’s second decade with a strengthened approach to model deep collaboration and expand our impact. Starting in July, we will reorganize into three portfolios: policy, technology, and sector capacity building. This restructuring will foster greater efficiency and alignment, enabling us to better navigate our complex and rapidly changing times.

Looking ahead, we are excited about future opportunities and confident that, with our partners and supporters, we’ll continue transforming education. Our commitment to a future where every learner thrives is unwavering. Join us on this journey, and stay tuned for updates on our portfolios in June, July, and August as we embark on our second decade of innovation, impact, and inspiration.

Skip to content