On Friday, July 17, over 120 attendees packed into the Sprint Accelerator in Kansas City's Crossroads to hear Cohort 2 of Lean Lab Fellows from the Incubator Fellowship pitch their ideas to change Kansas City education. Five solutions from the 4.5 week program demoed their plans to impact students in the 2015-16 school year.
Fellows spent 4.5 weeks with The Lean Lab, learning about Kansas City's history of education reform, interviewing at least 25 community members to validate the problem they were attempting to solve, testing a solution to that problem at least twice, forming partnerships to get their idea off the ground, and learning how to pitch their venture to an audience of stakeholders.
Of those solutions, a general theme continued to emerge from the community outreach that Fellows conducted. Namely, teachers, students, and administrators expressed a common lack of time, resources, and ability to connect with others in education to provide excellent academic opportunities and learning. The 8 Fellows in the Incubator Fellowship addressed this common theme in different ways, tackling the issue from various angles: school design, hands-on learning, teacher retention, professional development, and collaborative thinking. Here are the solutions that demoed on Friday's Launch Day:
Founder: Emily Grand
Mentored is a mentoring program for 1st and 2nd year teachers to gain critical feedback and support from an experienced teacher through online feedback, one-on-one coaching, and consistent support that seeks to improve overall school culture and teacher retention.
Bring Us Science
Founder: Katie Gore
Bring Us Science is a mobile bus that brings hands-on science lessons and laboratories for students in grade K-4. Students experience pre- and post-learning activities around the bus’ labs to ensure retention and to assess student outcomes.
CoFounders: Katie Laird & Kirsten Brown
KCoRE, Kansas City Collaborative for Reform in Education, aims to bring together school leaders (principals, vice principals, ED’s, etc.) to collectively support one another to reform Kansas City education through monthly cohort meetings, an online platform to share resources, school visits, and peer-to-peer mentoring.
Founder: Catina Taylor
DreamsKC is a new school model that seeks to break the school-to-prison pipeline in Kansas City’s urban core by providing project-based learning, wrap-around services, parent engagement, gender-based classrooms, and culturally-relevant curriculum to minority students in a school-within-a-school model. Upon successful implementation, the school model would scale into its own independent school.
Create By Connect
CoFounders: Eliana Hudson and Jeanella Clark
Create By Connect allows teachers to build a professional network to make learning relevant and engaging for students. Create By Connect facilitates workshops that enable a teacher to connect to business professionals, co-teach lessons, and create dynamic, interdisciplinary lesson plans relevant to real-world experiences.
Cohort 2 of the Incubator Fellowship is expected to make a large impact on Kansas City students, both this year and into the future. The inaugural cohort of Lean Lab Fellows built the capacity to impact 2,400 KC students in the 2014-15 school year, but Cohort 2 is already on track to outpace those numbers. Just one of the solutions, KCoRE, with a pilot group of 6 administrators, will have the capacity to impact 2,000 KC students before the end of the 2015-16 school year.
Keep up to date with Fellows' progress in their pilots this school year and subscribe to The Lean Lab newsletter.