Lincoln Public Schools

Reimagining what students must know, understand, and be able to do.


The Problem

As the world changes at lightning speed, school systems must define what dispositions, knowledge, and skills young people need to thrive in an increasingly complex world. Writing a “learner profile” is just the first step. Most of the time, these learner profiles become written documents that collect dust on the shelf. The real challenge is for leaders to figure out how to mobilize energy and conviction to shift culture and practice to align to bold learning goals. 

The Work

Lead an inspiration workshop for Lincoln Public Schools (LPS) teachers, leaders, and community members to learn from educators who have taken different approaches to creating and then operationalizing learner profiles that drive real, positive change for students. Partner with LPS’ leadership team to design a pilot to get their Portrait of a Learner off the ground.

The Learning

Franklin Street led a design process to help the Lincoln Public Schools team:

Expand what’s possible.

We sourced examples from all over the country of schools and systems creatively implementing learner profiles, showing LPS that there is no single path to success and that arduous as the climb feels, the journey to transform student learning is possible.

Capture and tell stories.

Looking at data and studying implementation plans can only get you so far. We wrote vignettes and curated a bundle of artifacts that told stories that LPS educators could remember and connect to.

Run small tests.

We encouraged LPS to make their strategic planning actionable and to design a small experiment to help them learn, as opposed to devoting tons of time trying to tackle it all and feeling overwhelmed in the process.

The Outcome

Dozens of teachers, community members, and school district staff joined our Inspiration Workshop. One participant shared: “The passion from the Edgecombe presenters was infectious…. I also believe that when a school district decides it's going to focus on the goals LPS has described it is an activist stance. The amount of deep commitment that is required is immense - and also so worth it.” LPS’ superintendent and leadership team debriefed the workshop and surfaced a shortlist of learning goals to achieve by the end of the 22-23 school year.