Education Re(Open) to surface Los Angeles community’s best school ideas

March 23, 2021

USC Rossier’s Center EDGE launches new platform to harness innovative and timely solutions

By Rossier Staff

Photo licensed under Flickr Creative Commons via user Henrique Pinto

After a year of massive challenges in trying to address huge gaps and needs, and as many families begin to return to in-person learning experiences in LA and across the country, the Education (Re)Open offers students, parents, teachers, school leaders and education stakeholders the opportunity to think big and restart education in ways that are safer, smarter, stronger and more inclusive.

With educators, students and families across the region continuing to struggle to make distance learning work under extraordinarily difficult conditions, the Education (Re)Open offers them the opportunity to share their collective wisdom and be a part of the solution, helping to create the Solutions Exchange, a public repository of solutions to support school communities. The Education (Re)Open, powered by the Andrew Nikou Foundation, will award $1,000 prizes to solutions that are ultimately featured on the Solutions Exchange, along with advice from education experts.

The public can submit ideas and solutions for The Education (Re)Open on IDEO’s open innovation platform beginning Tuesday, March 23rd. Prize winners will be announced during the week of June 7, 2021, in concert with the launch of the public Solutions Exchange. This Exchange will include the most innovative, achievable and adaptable ideas that will serve L.A. and other educational ecosystems as a public repository of solutions that can help improve school communities. Over Summer 2021, the top solutions will be given the opportunity to be implemented throughout the region, so that they can embed in partner schools for the Fall, 2021 school semester.

The Education (Re)Open is supported by a broad group of partners.

“When faced with a challenge as momentous as our entire education system and society being ravaged by a pandemic, we must innovate—and do it in ways that fully utilize all of our resources. This is a historic moment in time, and by crowd-sourcing solutions and implementation by those that know it best, we can not only address the plethora of issues caused by COVID-19, but the long-standing teaching and learning inequities across all of education,” said Alan Arkatov, founding director of USC Rossier’s Center EDGE.

“Students, educators and parents from across Los Angeles County have demonstrated unprecedented ingenuity, dedication and commitment over the past year,” said Debra Duardo, LA County Office of Education superintendent of schools. “This challenge is an incredible opportunity to promote what has worked for students and share those insights with a broad audience. We believe in our education community – and we need their guidance through our regional recovery.”

“We know that the status quo before the pandemic was failing many of our most vulnerable young people. We are now at an inflection point, where new approaches are possible and new resources to support recovery efforts are available,” said John Garcia, president of the Greater L.A. Education Foundation.

“The Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are excited to be a part of The Education (Re)Open,” said Paul M. Escala, superintendent of schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “We are proud to contribute towards fostering teaching and learning solutions to meet the many challenges and opportunities our students face now and in the future.”

“The pandemic has demanded extraordinary creativity and adaptability from our teachers and from our schools,” said Deborah Dowling, executive director of the California Association of Independent Schools. “Sharing the most effective ideas and solutions will help all of our students.”

“Our education system is inadequate, failing many students before they even arrive within school doors—and COVID-19 only exacerbated these issues. As schools reopen, we need to think about deep inclusion and cultivate environments that dismantle the barriers between us,” said Andrew Nikou, president of the Andrew Nikou Foundation and the lead funder for the Education (Re)Open.

The Education (Re)Open invites solutions from anyone interested in supporting school communities as they navigate the pandemic and reopen in-person to use the intuitive and accessible online platform to collaborate, and share ideas and solutions. The Education (Re)Open has identified three distinct themes for participants to align their ideas to ensure they can have the greatest possible impact: Communities Reconnecting; Collaborative Teaching, Learning, and Leadership; and Collective Health and Well-being.

Lead funding provided by the Andrew Nikou Foundation with additional funds provided by Great Public Schools Now, Joseph Drown Foundation, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Annenberg Foundation and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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