Integration Design Consortium
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Leading an Integration and Innovation Fellowship for education leaders at the state education department, district, and school level.


Education First's Approach

Education First, in partnership with Aspen Education and Society Program, is helping state education agency (SEA) and local education agency (LEA) leaders build integrated state reform strategies to improve support for educators and outcomes for students. They are facilitating the Coherence Lab Fellowship in which teams of education leaders from three different states—Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin—learn to identify and break down barriers to meaningful collaboration and engagement while addressing key problems of practice. This 18-month learning experience is organized in rapid cycle bursts of learning, practice, and reflection, and aims to transform how these agencies work to support a coherent policy-to-practice experience for teachers and principals.

State of Ohio
To fulfill Each Child, Our Future, the state’s newly adopted five-year strategic plan for education, the Ohio Department of Education seeks to improve its processes, structures and culture so that all districts, particularly those with priority schools, benefit from quick access to clear guidance, accurate answers to questions and two-way communication aimed at supporting school and district leaders to address challenges and improve student outcomes.

State of Nevada
Moving towards a comprehensive early childhood system, SEA, LEAs, and Community Partners will work to align standards and practices across publicly funded pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms.  The team will engage teachers to better determine the problems that stem from a fragmented system as well as solutions. Nevada’s PoP will focus on increasing access to high quality pre-k programs aligned with developmentally appropriate kindergarten classrooms, the transition between the two grades, and demonstrate the connection to Read by Grade 3.

State of Wisconsin
Wisconsin has clear data showing that students living in poverty and students of color have a disproportionate chance of having an inexperienced or out of field teacher. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI) hypothesize that although many factors contribute to the state’s persistent student achievement gaps, this disproportionality is one important reason.  WDPI is creating systems and structures to build and maintain both intra- and inter-agency communication and collaboration. They are engaging districts and educators in the design and implementation of high quality, standards-aligned instructional materials and professional learning opportunities in an effort to mitigate the effect of inexperienced teachers.


Coherence Lab Fellows building initial prototypes to explore areas ripe for improvement in their agencies.

Coherence Lab Fellows sharing initial prototypes to reflect on what worked and what could be improved.

Coherence Lab Fellows in a fishbowl discussion about experiencing fragmentation.

Coherence Lab Fellows engaged in cross-state discussion on issues of implicit bias.

Coherence Lab Fellows engaging in a team-building exercise: The Marshmallow Challenge.

Coherence Lab Fellows completing a Paseo: Circles of Identity activity.





Addressing Fragmentation in Public Education

Coherence Lab Fellowship Two Pager - A primer about the Coherence Lab Fellowship

Coherence Glossary - Education First created a glossary to ensure Fellows shared a baseline common language entering the Fellowship. They have been adding to this list throughout the experience.

This graphic displays the Fellowship’s curricular themes and coherence elements of focus.

This graphic displays the Fellowship’s curricular themes and coherence elements of focus.



Jenn Vranek - Founding Partner at Education First

Jenn Vranek - Founding Partner at Education First

Cristina Muñoz - Senior Consultant at Education First

Cristina Muñoz - Senior Consultant at Education First

Alissa Peltzman - Independent Education Policy Consultant

Alissa Peltzman - Independent Education Policy Consultant



About Education First

Education First is a mission-driven strategy and policy organization with unique and deep expertise in education improvement. They partner with practitioners, policymakers, funders and advocates to design and accelerate policies and plans that help all young people— particularly students in poverty and students of color—succeed in college, careers and life.

In working towards a world in which income and race no longer determine the quality of education, Education First approaches their work by studying gaps and inequities, asking tough questions about structural racism and more deliberately engaging diverse voices in problem-solving. Education First has a robust Race, Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (RIDE) strategy to build their organizational capacity to lead on issues of equity, as well as a deep commitment to—and growing experience with—helping clients elevate, interrogate and take seriously how they pursue equity in their work.

About The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program (Aspen Education) improves public education by inspiring, informing, and influencing education leaders across policy and practice, with an emphasis on achieving equity for traditionally underserved students. Aspen Education supports leaders at all levels, from networks of urban superintendents and their teams, to state chiefs and their cabinets, to elected officials and their staffers. They convene groups that are diverse by design – policymakers and practitioners, union leaders and reformers, Republicans and Democrats – to question conventional wisdom, elevate evidence over ideology, and promote innovation that addresses vexing challenges. By providing off-the-record venues for authentic learning and honest dialogue, and producing a range of resources and tools, Aspen Education assists education leaders in designing, implementing, and continuously improving policy and practice.