Our Values

We are optimistsWe believe that every student can succeed and that educators, with the right supports, can lead them to success. We aren’t scared of challenges, but have the courage and sense of possibility to overcome obstacles while holding high expectations and maintaining a sense of possibility for students, educators, and ourselves. 

We are learnersWe know there are always ways to improve. We believe our long-term success is a result of how well we learn. We seek to understand the best of what is known, we reflect on successes and challenges and we always look for ways we can grow. 

We are big-heartedWe care deeply about each other and our work, and we know we can accomplish more together than alone. At all times, we communicate with kindness and empathy. We value diverse perspectives and honor individuality. We operate with no egos.

We are relentlessWe pursue excellence by setting ambitious goals, working hard to overcome obstacles and boldly trying new things to ensure each student learns at a high level.

We are practicalWe believe support should be thoughtful by meeting people, schools, and districts where they are. We look for ways to work smart, focus on the most relevant impact, and reduce friction to make it easier to take action.

We are direct: We honor each other by being honest, even when it is difficult. We are straightforward about what we know and what we do not. Our respectful directness allows us to align our relationships and conversations toward our shared goals.

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Our Commitment to Diversity:

Beliefs:

  • We live in a richly diverse country and we believe this diversity is a source of strength, power, and joy.

  • We believe our shared humanity and innate capacity for empathy transcend our differences and that we are called to know, seek out and love across our differences.

  • Given our mission, we believe that individuals who share the background of historically underserved student subgroups bring additional, valuable perspectives to our team. We commit to our work being led by those with personal experience with the challenges faced by students in poverty, students of color, English language learners, and students with disabilities.

  • We believe our orientation towards partnership means we need to work with a wide range of individuals in a respectful and collaborative manner.

3-Year Goals: (by FY2021)

  • Team diversity that matches or exceeds the diversity of the students we serve across the following four priority subgroups: person of color, English Language Learner, personal experience with poverty, personal experience with a disability/caregiver of a person with a disability

  • Board diversity matches or exceeds the diversity of the students we serve in our priority subgroups

  • Diversity of Standards Bootcamps Content Coaches exceeds the diversity of that state’s students in our priority subgroups

Actions:

Internal engagement:

  • We will specifically seek out, hire, and leverage the diverse and student-aligned experiences of team members at every level of the organization.

  • We will proactively pursue partnerships and spend disproportionate effort recruiting for both full-time and part-time staff members who grew up in poverty, staff members of color, individuals with disabilities, and those who grew up with English as a second language.

  • We will get to know each other across lines of difference and seek to build authentic relationships and understanding.

  • We will not factor prior compensation into compensation offers in order to not perpetuate inequity in compensation in building a diverse team.

  • We will make Instruction Partners an inclusive environment and we will see this as centrally linked to our diversity (see next section).

Our Commitment to Equity:

Beliefs:

  • We seek to become a country where all students get access to the knowledge and skills they need to continue their education, achieve economic security and contribute their talents to their communities. We view access to an excellent education for all students as a matter of justice. We believe there is justice in the standards and justice in consistent expectations for the preparation of all students.

  • We know students in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners are enrolled in every school and district in this country. Research has shown that, when given access to rigorous curricula and aligned instructional experiences, students in all identity groups achieve at a high level.

  • We also know that students in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities, and English Language Learners are at greatest risk for lowered expectations because of systemic racism and unconscious bias. We know we all unconsciously form stereotypes and prejudices of dissimilar social groups – including but not limited to different races and ethnicities - stemming from the tendency to categorize.

  • We believe self-awareness of our own biases is an essential step in addressing the barriers to excellent education for all students and interacting productively across lines of difference in our work together.

  • We know that we must live out our commitment to equity both in our work with partners and our work with each other internally.

3-Year Goals: (by FY2021)

  • In our partnerships, we will not only set goals and hold ourselves accountable for student growth in aggregate, we will set goals and hold ourselves accountable for accelerated growth for prioritized student subgroups (aligned to our partners’ goals and AMOs).

Actions:

Partner engagement:

  • We will specifically look for evidence of the alignment of materials and instruction to the standards to ensure equitable access to rigorous instruction.

  • We will ensure walkthroughs include observations of the instruction for every group of students in the school.

  • We will build out our knowledge and practice supports for intervention/RTI to better understand the practices that power accelerated rates of progress for students behind grade level.

  • We will dedicate additional time and resources to support recruitment efforts and new site development in districts and states with higher-than-average populations of students in poverty, students of color, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.

  • We will seek out and advance research on strategies and resources that will support each prioritized subgroup of students.

  • We will help districts increase the diversity of authors in curriculum selection and provide feedback to publishers when there is a high-quality set of materials that does not include this critical representation – both for the sake of students who share that identity and those who do not.

  • We will set the foundation of our work with partners on a vision of equitable access to great instruction and we will develop strategies and common approaches that help us identify when unconscious bias is at play for our partners and how to call this out in a direct and loving way.

    Internal engagement:

  • We will spend time building awareness of our own unconscious biases.

  • In our work within our team, we will review language of job descriptions to ensure equitable access.

  • We will not factor prior compensation into compensation offers in order to not perpetuate inequity in compensation in building a diverse team.

Our Commitment to Inclusion:

Beliefs:

  • We know people demonstrate their talent in different ways. To be our best and get the best out of our diverse team, we need to be open to different models of excellence. We also believe the best way to create an inclusive culture is to be as transparent as possible about the rules of the game and the keys to success.

  • We believe our shared mission creates urgency to ensure every student gets access to an excellent education every year in their schools. We believe our orientation towards partnership means we need to work with a wide range of individuals in a respectful, loving, and collaborative manner to live out this mission.

  • We commit to build and nurture a team culture that is respectful and inclusive for all (e.g., ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, political spectrum, religion, age, etc.). We do not extend the opportunity for team members or partners to wield hate and divisiveness in our work and relationships.

  • We will take special care to include and make welcome on our team people of color, persons who have experienced poverty, individuals with a personal or caregiving experience with a disability, and immigrants who were or are English language learners.

3-Year Goals: (by FY2021)

  • No gaps (within a normal margin of difference) in the self-reported staff experience by subgroup for the four prioritized groups – especially on welcoming environment

  • No negative gaps in staff retention by subgroup

Actions:

Partner engagement:

  • We will make our operating and performance evaluations practice transparent so everyone knows the rules of the game and what success looks like and requires.

  • We will ensure all managers do intentional work understanding their unconscious biases and the role these biases play in management, led by experienced facilitators.

  • We will conduct onboarding for all staff members on how we work together across lines of difference.

  • We will create mentorship opportunities within identity groups so all staff members see what a career trajectory looks like.

External partnership:

  • We will attend to teacher inclusiveness in action planning, by requesting the inclusion of special education and English as a Second Language teachers and leaders in school planning.

• We will take note of and make explicit whose voices are being included and whose are not in planning to encourage more expansive participation.