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Mission


Together, we can build beyond the limits of today's school design

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Mission


Together, we can build beyond the limits of today's school design

Transcend—a national nonprofit—supports communities to create and spread extraordinary, equitable learning environments.

We do this by playing two roles:

  1. We support communities to ignite and advance design journeys so that more and more of them are eager and ready to pursue extraordinary, equitable learning environments.

  2. We partner with schools and other entities to build and spread “catalytic models,” so communities have a diverse range of outstanding, relevant options to adapt into their unique contexts.

What We Believe


What We Believe

What We Believe


What We Believe

  1. It’s time to reimagine school as we know it. Instead of a 100+ year old industrial model, learning environments can make a variety of Leaps in their design, to better help all young people thrive.

  2. Communities must be in the driver’s seat of design journeys. Educators, students, families, and community members create the conditions to pursue and realize their unique, local visions.

  3. Targeted supports can help design teams advance progress. These include: coaching, structured processes, practical tools to apply research and pilot new ideas, exposure to promising examples, and a support network.

  4. Effective models that others have developed can offer communities more options for how to bring their local visions to life. They can provide inspiration and help avoid starting from scratch.

  5. Design, done right, can and must disrupt patterns of inequity. This work must involve diverse stakeholders and entail constant vigilance to identify and disrupt patterns of inequity.

  6. None of this is easy, but ALL of it is possible. And it is happening!

Purpose


The Need for Change

Purpose


The Need for Change

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Nearly every facet of society—from technology to jobs to demographics—has transformed over the last century. With that, the skills and mindsets people need to thrive have changed too.

But in most schools across America, our students are sitting in classrooms that look and operate like those of a century ago. This “industrial model” design of schooling persists throughout mainstream education. It was not created to prepare students for the demands of our rapidly-changing world. It also perpetuates inequity by taking a “one size fits all” approach, defining success narrowly, and emphasizing compliance and passive learning. 

Most such schools fail to prepare students for the challenges of today. In this fast-changing 21st century, our children need even more than academic skills and knowledge; they also need learning mindsets, creativity, communication and collaboration, critical consciousness, and leadership skills—skills that the industrial model was not designed to foster.

Together, these conditions call for fundamentally new learning environments. Tweaks around the edges of school won’t cut it.

8 Great Leaps


Eight Great Leaps

8 Great Leaps


Eight Great Leaps

Transcend does not advocate for one single, new model of “school.”  Rather, we see the need for a diversity of models that makes eight great leaps toward changes, such as more personalized and flexible learning methods, students driving their own learning, interdisciplinary experiences, and deliberately diverse communities. Click through in the graphic below to see each leap:

Our Theory of Change


Our Theory of Change

Our Theory of Change


Our Theory of Change

*** NEW RELEASE! ***

*** NEW RELEASE! ***

Transcend supports school leaders in developing, iterating, and scaling innovative learning models. Through bringing evidence-based insights, expert capacity, and a diverse network of cutting-edge schools, researchers, and design talent, Transcend serves as a catalyst for school communities to make changes to learning models that better prepare 21st-century children for the demands of today’s society.

Two papers written by Transcend co-founders, Aylon Samouha and Jeff Wetzler, along with two Transcend board members, Stacey Childress and Diane Tavenner, capture Transcend’s theory of change. The first—Dissatisfied Yet Optimistic: Moving Faster Toward New Models (published in 2016)—describes a vision for better school models that prepare and inspire all students for long-term success, and an emerging theory of change for what it would take to support their design and proliferation in the coming years.

The second—Still Dissatisfied, More Optimistic, Fully Committed (published in 2018)—focuses on what it takes for communities to support the evolution of their school models toward ones that best prepare young people to thrive in today’s world and realize their full potential.

Download both papers & share your reactions with us!

Building the Future


Building the Future

Building the Future


Building the Future

Learn more about our approach