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Beyond Classrooms: Scaling and Sustaining Instructional Innovations


by Jimmy Scherrer, Nancy Israel & Lauren B. Resnick — 2013

In this chapter, we describe the evolution of an intermediary organization, the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the University of Pittsburgh, devoted to improving teaching and learning in some of America’s largest and most challenged school districts. Over the nearly 20 years of IFL’s life, we have learned that design-based researchers have to move beyond classrooms and focus on entire school systems if they hope their innovations will scale and sustain. Specifically, we believe the best way to develop capacity for sustaining innovation is through the careful design of practices intended to provide an ongoing forum for mutual engagement among actors from various levels of the education system. These practices, we have found, provide a productive way for actors from different levels of the system to understand and support the local activity of other levels.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 112. No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 14, 2013, p. 426-442
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18360, Date Accessed: 3/24/2017 11:58:24 AM

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About the Author
  • Jimmy Scherrer
    University of Pittsburgh
    E-mail Author
    JIMMY SCHERRER is a member of the Learning Policy Center at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a consultant for the Institute for Learning (IFL). His research interests are in the study of individual and organizational learning. Among his recent publications are “Effects of a coding intervention on what teachers learn to notice during whole-group discussion” (2013, Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education) with Mary Kay Stein and “Measuring teaching using value-added modeling: The imperfect panacea” (2011, NASSP Bulletin).
  • Nancy Israel
    Institute for Learning
    E-mail Author
    NANCY ISRAEL is the executive director of the Institute for Learning (IFL). She is also actively involved in community and parent organizations in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, has co-chaired district-wide committees on restructuring the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and has been a member of the charter school review committee for Pittsburgh. Israel has a Ph.D. in Policy and Administration.
  • Lauren Resnick
    University of Pittsburgh
    E-mail Author
    LAUREN B. RESNICK is a Distinguished University Professor, University of Pittsburgh. She is founder and co-director of the Institute for Learning (IFL). Dr. Resnick is an internationally known scholar in the cognitive science of learning and instruction. Among her recent publications are “Nested learning systems for the thinking curriculum” (2010) Educational Researcher) and “How (well structured) talk builds the mind” (2010, in R. Sternberg & D. Preiss, Eds., From Genes to Context: New Discoveries about Learning from Educational Research and Their Applications) with Sarah Michaels and Cathy O’Connor.
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