05/28/2015

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This post was written by Sarah Groh, a Senior Analyst with New Profit's Reimagine Learning Fund.

At every turn in our nation’s history, young leaders have stood at the front lines of powerful movements for change. As Marshall Ganz would say, we come of age with a critical eye and a hopeful heart. The barriers we’ve overcome are still fresh in memory, our knees still scrapped from the concrete, but we face the future inspired by its vastness and driven to build something better for those who come up behind us.


A community isn’t just where we’re from. It’s woven into who we are. It’s the combination of lived experiences, responses and reflexes, challenges and opportunities. it is in the communities we know the best first hand that we can often make the most powerful and lasting change; be it a tangible 10 block neighborhood or a group of students with shared experiences.


Our Reimagine Learning effort is a collaborative driven by educators, entrepreneurs, policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers united in a shared commitment to making a powerful difference for students who face barriers to learning.


As we gather together in June to move this work forward; young leaders driving innovative community solutions will bring critical perspectives to the forefront. Reimagine Learning begins with the stance that our work together must make a significant difference for students from low resource communities who face stark barriers to learning like trauma and violence, and learning and attention issues. We have put a stake in the ground that beginning with a learner centered approach and recognizing that every student has their own set of strengths and challenges, can make a difference not only for the students who have been marginalized the most, but can also shift the way we think about learning for all students.


I am inspired and humbled by young leaders who have not only overcome barriers but have also committed their time and energy to systemically breaking those barriers down for others. Those who have lived it bring a powerful perspective about what change truly looks like.


As we think about working together to empower students and design learning environments that are personalized and responsive; that means we have to truly understand what it means to authentically engage students.


I would argue that as we think about the most pressing social issues of our time across the board, the unique vantage point of young people who are leading systemic change efforts in local communities, is critical.


Young leaders like Marquis Cabrera, Amanda Matos, and Natalie Tamburello, just to name a few, are charting the way on how we do this well.

We’re grateful to have powerful partners from so many sectors at the table for this effort and I’m inspired by the young leaders in our corner sharing the stories that need to be front and center.