Scaling Student Success a California Partnership - Image Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

Scaling Student Success

Is a California partnership working to nurture the innate potential of each and every student by redefining student success to encompass the competencies and skills needed to thrive in our modern world? We act as both a partner and convener, bringing together educational leaders and community members at all levels to broaden our state’s perspective, unify the field, and create equitable opportunities for youth while strengthening the California economy.

Our economy demands that we prepare all young people for future success

No matter what their socioeconomic standing, background, or academic prowess

We are passionate about our work and inspired by our team

Why We Exist

Each and every one of California’s young people deserves an education that fully prepares them for the challenges and opportunities ahead. But too many California students – especially those from historically marginalized communities – are not getting the education they need and deserve. 

The Need

California’s current success measures paint an incomplete picture of career and college readiness, as vital career and life skills like critical thinking, collaboration, civic engagement, and self management are left out of our state’s current vision for student success. Getting California’s students ready to compete in today’s world and workforce will require redefining success to promote academic, career, and life skills side by side. Over the past decade, California communities have done groundbreaking work to pilot efforts that better prepare youth for success. These efforts have led to progress, but the improvements have been implemented in an uneven, fragmented way that benefits only pockets of students. 

Scaling Student Success a California Partnership - Image Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action
Scaling Student Success a California Partnership - Image Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

California is lagging behind other states in our adoption of new success measures:

  • The Aurora Institute recently published a policy brief that recommended defining “student success through a Profile of a Graduate” as the #1 recommendation to address in state policy for transforming K-12 education. 

California has not yet taken any of these steps.

Why We Exist

Each and every one of California’s young people deserves an education that fully prepares them for the challenges and opportunities ahead. But too many California students – especially those from historically marginalized communities – are not getting the education they need and deserve. 

The Need

California’s current success measures paint an incomplete picture of career and college readiness, as vital career and life skills like critical thinking, collaboration, civic engagement, and self management are left out of our state’s current vision for student success. Getting California’s students ready to compete in today’s world and workforce will require redefining success to promote academic, career, and life skills side by side. Over the past decade, California communities have done groundbreaking work to pilot efforts that better prepare youth for success. These efforts have led to progress, but the improvements have been implemented in an uneven, fragmented way that benefits only pockets of students. 

Scaling Student Success a California Partnership - Image Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action
Scaling Student Success a California Partnership - Image Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

California is lagging behind other states in our adoption of new success measures:

  • The Aurora Institute recently published a policy brief that recommended defining “student success through a Profile of a Graduate” as the #1 recommendation to address in state policy for transforming K-12 education. 

California has not yet taken any of these steps.

Graduate Profiles Across California

Dozens of communities across California have engaged local community members to collaboratively design a new vision of student success through the creation of a Graduate Profile.

Graduate Profiles have the power and potential to transform education. Realizing whole child outcomes for each and every student requires hard work and takes years. And our kids deserve it. Our goal is to help ensure all districts have the support, knowledge, connections, and resources they need to successfully bring their Graduate Profiles from “poster to practice.”

Graduate Profiles Across California

Dozens of communities across California have engaged local community members to collaboratively design a new vision of student success through the creation of a Graduate Profile.

Graduate Profiles have the power and potential to transform education. Realizing whole child outcomes for each and every student requires hard work and takes years. And our kids deserve it. Our goal is to help ensure all districts have the support, knowledge, connections, and resources they need to successfully bring their Graduate Profiles from “poster to practice.”

The Opportunity

California has a unique opportunity to weave together the current fragments to benefit students across all California communities. At Scaling Student Success, we seek to build on the progress made and grow the number of communities promoting competencies beyond the narrow lens of standardized tests. Through this shift, we give students a voice and a choice to pursue their interests, and affirm and validate their linguistic and cultural identities as assets, promoting equity across our entire public education system. 

California has a unique opportunity to weave together the current fragments to benefit students across all California communities. At Scaling Student Success, we seek to build on the progress made and grow the number of communities promoting competencies beyond the narrow lens of standardized tests. Through this shift, we give students a voice and a choice to pursue their interests, and affirm and validate their linguistic and cultural identities as assets, promoting equity across our entire public education system. 

Testimonial

“I enjoyed the atmosphere of trust and sharing. It was inspiring to be part of a team of educators and professionals who are at the core of a movement to change how we measure what students know and are able to do.”

Betsy McKinstry, irector, Career Technical Education, Antelope Valley UHSD

ACTIVE MEMBERS

Scaling Student Success offers support and guidance to districts, schools, and county offices of education eager to bring their Graduate Profiles to life. Participating in our Community of Practice allows them to close knowledge gaps, challenge biases and assumptions, break down silos, and create efficiencies across our education system. We eagerly support their efforts, embrace their lessons learned, and build on their successes. See their respective Graduate Profiles by clicking on the district names.

Our past and present members include:

ACTIVE MEMBERS

Scaling Student Success a California Partnership - Image Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

Our community of practice continues to grow. These districts participate in strand convenings and other opportunities to advance their Graduate Profiles. We eagerly support their efforts, embrace their lessons learned, and build on their success.

See their respective Graduate Profiles by clicking on the district names.

Practice Partners

We have established partnerships with more than a dozen organizations with demonstrated success in helping districts operationalize their Graduate Profiles. 

Our current partners include:

ConnectED: The National Center for College and Career (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

ConnectED: The National Center for College and Career

Over the past decade, ConnectED has led the field by supporting dozens of school districts to create a Graduate Profile as a student-centered, outcome-based, and locally-derived definition of college and career readiness. ConnectED supports district implementation of Linked Learning to inspire and better equip students to succeed in college, career, and civic life.

Crescendo Education Group
(𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Crescendo Education Group

Crescendo Education Group supports schools and districts with implementing grading and assessment practices that are more equitable–more accurate, bias-resistant, and intrinsically motivating–and that ultimately leverage educational improvements systemwide.

eKadence Learning (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

eKadence Learning

Working initially with Anaheim UHSD, eKadence built the first and only Learning Management Solution to marry academics with Graduate Profile outcomes. The collision of the two is where eKadence thrives. Now available to any interested district, eKadence is on a mission to help educators unlock true student potential and to empower students to find their purpose — because purpose truly is a powerful thing.

Envision Learning Partners
(𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Envision Learning Partners

Envision Learning Partners is known in CA and nationally as the leader in supporting schools and districts to establish systems of performance assessment, the most popular research-based strategy for measuring student progress on essential Graduate Profile skills, like collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity and innovation, and communication.

GENup (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

GENup

GENup is a California-based, nationwide student-led social justice organization and student-activist coalition that strives to advocate for education through the power of youth voices! GENup supports many important causes, including active student engagement and student agency typically found in districts working to realize the whole child outcomes articulated in a Graduate Profile.

Inflexion (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Inflexion

Inflexion equips principals and district administrators with the professional tools, knowledge and community they need to lead. We help create the conditions necessary for school improvement:

  • A sense of shared purpose and school identity
  • A common vision of student readiness
  • Commitment to equity in education
Lead by Learning (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Lead by Learning

By partnering with schools and districts, Lead by Learning (formerly Mills Teacher Scholars) designs professional learning cultures that are based on profound respect and trust for educator knowledge and capacity to improve their practice together. They do so by building the mindsets and practices for adult learning in service of equity, such as using data to make learners’ experience visible and practicing public learning.

Learner-Centered Collaborative
(𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Learner-Centered Collaborative

Recognizing the promise of learner-centered education and driven by the urgency to improve outcomes for today’s learners, education leaders and practitioners have teamed up as the Learner-Centered Collaborative (LCC), a comprehensive professional learning organization with decades of experience supporting schools, districts, and states in their shift to learner-centered models of education.
Partnership for Children and Youth (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Partnership for Children and Youth

The outcomes articulated on a Graduate Profile cannot realistically be achieved in 180 days per year, from 8:00am to 3:00pm. The Partnership for Children & Youth (PCY) is an advocacy and capacity-building organization championing high-quality learning opportunities for underserved youth in California, with an emphasis on after school, summer learning, and community schools.

Parsec Education (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Parsec Education

Parsec Education’s mission is to improve and transform K-12 education and student outcomes through modernizing, evaluating, improving, and standardizing the way schools view, interpret, and respond to data.
PBL Works (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

PBL Works (formerly Buck Instutute for Education)

Students have an opportunity to practice and demonstrate Graduate Profile outcomes (i.e., collaboration, communication, problem-solving, initiative, etc.) when they are engaged in varied forms of experiential learning. PBL Works builds teacher capacity so that all students have access to high quality Project Based Learning to deepen their learning and achieve success in college, career, and life.

Prospect Studio (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Prospect Studio

Prospect Studio expertly guides districts and communities through a visioning process that results not only in a Graduate Profile for students, but also the adult/educator competencies necessary to foster the articulated outcomes in young people, and the system conditions and organizational culture that enables expected teacher and leader capacity and student progress toward Graduate Profile skills, competencies, and mindsets.

Sonoma County Office of Education (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Sonoma County Office of Education

In 2019, Sonoma COE engaged regional stakeholders, including representatives from each of 40 school districts to create a countywide Portrait of a Graduate. As a partner, SCOE will support other County Offices of Education interested either in developing a countywide Graduate Profile or supporting districts in their county to create and operationalize their own Profiles.

Turnaround for Children (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

Turnaround for Children

Turnaround for Children equips teachers to cultivate calm, engaging learning environments that foster healthy student development and academic achievement. TfC knows that educating the whole child requires positive relationships, safe environments, and integrated supports that enable the intentional development of critical skills, mindsets and habits articulated on Graduate Profiles.

YouthTruth (𝘩𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘭𝘪𝘱)

YouthTruth

Through their validated survey instruments and tailored advisory services, YouthTruth partners with schools and districts to enhance learning for all students. By knowing what students are experiencing in their school and classroom, YouthTruth helps link student perceptions to academic outcomes. Surveys are a viable way to assess student progress on hard-to-measure Graduate Profile outcomes.

Data, Policy, and Research Partners

Advisory Board

Scaling Student Success’ volunteer Advisory Board is made up of innovative and bold educational leaders, executives from our practice partner organizations, and other experts who offer valued perspectives and professional connections. Together, our advisory board members help keep us focused and efficient as we work toward our mission. 

Superintendents

or cabinet-level designees from each of the Participating Districts

Executive Directors

or designees from each of our Practice Partners

At-large members

who offer unique perspectives, needed expertise, and professional relationships

See Roster

Staff

Roman Stearns

FOUNDER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Roman operates from a deep conviction that each and every child deserves an education that fosters the qualities and skills that futurists, scholars, and researchers contend are needed to advance us toward a sustainable future. Yet, he knows that getting there is a humbling, collaborative process that involves dismantling structural inequities, valuing local experimentation, building trusting relationships, shifting hearts and minds, making strategic decisions, and ultimately adopting or adapting sustainable systems. Together, these create the right conditions for organizational change.

After 10 years serving as a public school teacher, Roman Stearns has spent the past 20+ years successfully directing large-scale multi-faceted projects and partnerships focused on systemic educational transformation in California, designed to make real-world learning the norm for the vast majority of students. All of the projects had policy implications and required development and management of sustained partnerships bridging K-12 education with partners across all stakeholder groups.

As a father of two mixed-race sons who have experienced the impact of a system that reinforces racist and oppressive policies coupled with implicit bias, this work is highly personal (see personal equity statement).

Portrait of Roman Stearns Founder of Scaling Student Success a California Partnership

Professional Summary

Working at ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, Roman first served as Director for Policy, building a surprising coalition of partners to support Linked Learning (which evolved into the Linked Learning Alliance), and then, beginning 2008, served as Director for Leadership Development, directing the CA Linked Learning District Initiative – a large-scale, 7-year, $30M proof of concept demonstration with 9 medium and large school districts (942,000 students) to pilot and expand Linked Learning across California.
Working at the UC Office of the President, Roman first directed the statewide “a-g Guide Project” aimed at better aligning university eligibility and admissions with high school reform efforts. For the latter part of his tenure, he served as the Special Assistant to the Statewide Director of Undergraduate Admissions, still overseeing the project, but taking on broader responsibilities aimed at shifting university admissions practices and policies to more equitably serve the current and future needs of CA youth, particularly those who had chosen non-traditional paths to the university (i.e., middle/early college HS, online course-taking options, home schooling, independent study, career pathways, Big Picture schools, etc.).
Working at the Alameda County Office of Education, Roman served first as associate director and then director of EASTBAY Learns, one of the largest school-to-career partnerships in California. With a $5M federal grant, he directed systemic shifts to better align education with workforce development in an expansive effort that included 20+ school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, along with 10 community colleges, Cal State East Bay, and EASTBAY Works (a network of 10 one-stop career centers).