The National Network for Educational Renewal provides professional development for those interested in advancing the social and political democracy. Our growing membership of higher education institutions and local education agencies in partnership with communities support one another through shared learning, idea exchange, and advancing policy and quality practices that support our mission. Our overarching strategy to advance the AED is through the simultaneous renewal of P- 12 education and institutions that prepare educators for our schools. Members enjoy strong partnerships across institutions and true networking opportunities.
The network comprises university faculty in the arts, sciences and education, public school educators, and community members. This broad spectrum of voices, each committed to the same mission and vision, has the capacity to make significant changes in schools, institutions that prepare teachers, and communities. Simultaneous renewal, as outlined in Dr. John Goodlad’s Teachers for Our Nation’s Schools and in his Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools, requires collaboration. Central to the NNER work is developing collaborative leadership skills and supporting efforts to work across institutional boundaries to ensure that all students have access to a quality education supported by their school and university partners.
Members are part of a large and vibrant network that has been operating for more than 20 years. We work collaboratively across the United States and Canada to advance a shared mission and vision founded on developing an informed public that works to improve our social and political democracy.
|Purpose:||To actively advance the Agenda for Education in a Democracy. Distinct from school reform initiatives, the Agenda is committed to the simultaneous renewal of our nation’s schools and teacher preparation institutions — an ongoing process of improvement.|
|Members:||20 school/university partner settings in 20 states and one Canadian province, as well as ongoing development of community member partnerships including more than 42 universities and colleges, over 200 school districts and 1000 partner schools.|
|Joining the NNER:||Members are school/university partners that agree to work together to advance the public purposes of education and work collaboratively. The network supports new and potential members in the membership process with mentoring, setting visits, information, and conference sessions.|
|Brief history:||The Agenda for Education in a Democracy is advanced by the National Network for Educational Renewal, envisioned and established by Dr. Goodlad and his colleagues more than 20 years ago.Created in 1986, the National Network for Educational Renewal supports the institutional and social infrastructure necessary to the advancement of the simultaneous renewal agenda over time.|
The network’s activity is characterized by sharing successes and challenges, ongoing dialogue that examines the conditions necessary to implement the Agenda, shared approaches to problem solving, and systems of mutual support and assistance among members. Central to the network’s mission is a commitment to advancing opportunities for everyone to fully participate in quality education and therefore fully participate in this democracy.
NNER member settings benefit by being part of a network of colleagues who have shared values to advance the public purpose of schooling in a democracy. The networking supports collaboration across departments and institutions.
Individuals within settings benefit by having institutional support to advance the NNER mission in specific roles that promote collaboration and partnerships across institutional boundaries.
Specific examples of opportunities to develop networks of support are the NNER annual fall conference that is hosted by a setting or a consortium of settings. The conference, held in October, provides local hosting groups to develop a conference theme that promotes local initiatives related to current NNER goals and areas of interest. The venue includes many diverse opportunities to learn with colleagues from other areas, build collegial networks, and explore new approaches to implementing the Agenda for Education on a Democracy. Settings are provided with 3 complimentary registrations each fall (i.e., on average conference registration is about $350 per person).
The summer symposium is held each July and is designed to give people new to the NNER a working background in the mission and the research on which the NNER is founded and develop ways to implement the mission in various roles. The symposium is offered at a greatly reduced cost by virtue of all presenters volunteering their time and effort.
The organization has a small grant program to provide support for local work including leadership development and renewal (i.e., setting can qualify for both of these grants – up to $3000 each).
The NNER journal provides a publication venue for collaborative work and initiatives that advance the mission. It is also a valuable resource for members and is distributed to all attendees at the fall conference.
The most significant benefits are found in the local work that promotes collaboration and implementation of partnership strategies.
Partner schools are an integral strategy for the NNER and membership creates a large and vibrant network of colleagues who are engaged in partner school work based on a shared purpose. Resources such as the Hybrid Educator, a publication developed with a group of Arts and Science colleagues, provide examples of effective work across roles.
Special interest groups are organized and supported where people can come together to work on issues related to advancing quality and equitable access to learning for all.
The NNER is committed to engaging with communities and there are many current initiatives across the settings that provide examples of this work and serve as resources.
The NNER is also committed to Teacher Education for Sustainable Development and works with other organizations and individuals to promote sustainability in teacher preparation and school curricula.
Here are some specific examples of membership benefits from the settings:
Pershing Elementary School has become the center of numerous activities to engage the members of this small rural community in democracy. Lexington, Nebraska, underwent dramatic demographic changes about 15 years ago when its primary employer, a combine manufacturer, closed down and was replaced with a beef packing plant—bringing a huge influx of immigrant workers. The population grew from around 7,000 to more than 10,000 and is now 57% Hispanic from Central an South America, with a growing African refugee population.
“Immigrants often are on the outside looking in and don’t feel they can be included in the community,” said Jerry Bergstrom, principal at Pershing Elementary School. “That disparity hurts everyone.”
With its National Network for Educational Renewal partner, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Pershing Elementary received a grant funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation through the Institute for Educational Inquiry. The goal was to create ways to increase democratic participation, with the understanding that many participants are not citizens.
Successes include student-led boundary breaking activities; “Together for Children,” bringing together teachers, bilingual specialists and parents to better support children’s school work in and out of the classroom; an informal, technology-based opportunity for parents to practice English at their children’s school.
“This grant was a catalyst for discovering each other,” explained Bergstrom. “Members of the community have gotten to know each other—people who probably never would have crossed paths—and sat down to discuss the things that matter most to them in life. We’ve built lasting relationships by finding out we have more in common than we thought.”
Located on the border of Mexico, the University of Texas at El Paso(UTEP) serves as the primary source of certified teachers in the region. Since the typical UTEP student has been taught by teachers it has prepared, the university has a special stake in teacher preparation. It has become a model institution for helping to prepare students to make a difference in their communities.
“We can’t do a good job if we think of teacher education as separate from the schools and communities we serve. NNER has been critical in transforming our communities and empowering our members to live better lives,” said Dr. Howard Daudistel, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UTEP.
The University of Texas at El Paso is engaged in the renewal of teacher preparation through the Teachers for a New Era (TNE) initiative, funded primarily by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The initiative builds on UTEP’s long-standing partnership with area school districts and the El Paso Community College toward improving educational opportunities for students.
In addition, through The Center for Civic Engagement, UTEP students interact with the community daily through countless efforts, including mentoring youth, encouraging people to vote, aiding the elderly and teaching English to immigrants and refugees.
UTEP also partners with The El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence, a quietly powerful force in schools throughout the El Paso community. The El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence is directed by Dr. Susana Navarro, who, along with a number of UTEP deans and vice-provosts, has long been engaged with NNER. “Concretely, NNER has contributed to a community effort that has focused on education in its entirety and helped the UTEP faculty see their role in the larger perspective,” explained Dr. Daudistel.
National Network for Educational Renewal 2125 First Ave. #2305 – Seattle, WA 98121 Tel: 206 850 2017 You can email our co-executive director, Ann Foster, at email@example.com and co-executive director, Greg Bernhardt at firstname.lastname@example.org