Keystone Policy Center is working at the forefront of efforts to expand access to quality education, improve student outcomes, and plan for the challenges of an evolving global economy. Keystone partners with educators, policymakers, communities, and industry leaders as they increasingly focus on the challenge of ensuring all students are prepared for tomorrow’s opportunities, with equitable access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the college or career path of their choice.

Keystone offers experience and expertise in designing and convening productive conversations among diverse stakeholders on a wide array of complex issues in education policy and practice. Spanning all levels of education from early childhood to post-secondary, Keystone’s education projects address a range of objectives including preparing and supporting the educator workforce, increasing access to high-quality courses and instruction that prepare students for success, supporting development of innovative learning experiences that meet the varied needs of students, and facilitating effective engagement of families and other stakeholders in the education system.

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Featured Projects

Education System Resiliency and Innovation Initiative

The initiative assembles education system leaders, educators, government officials, and stakeholders from within and outside the education system to develop new approaches that will improve support for the teaching workforce, deliver instruction that better prepares all students for the challenges of an ever-evolving world, and address issues within the education system that perpetuate inequities and achievement gaps that are only exacerbated during disruptive events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Education Leadership Council

Keystone serves as an advisor for the Colorado Education Leadership Council (ELC) and assists the council in implementing the framework outlined in the “State of Education” report. The report was released December 2018 and serves as a “roadmap for educators, policymakers, business and community leaders, and others to identify ways to drive our system forward, together.” Keystone provides strategic engagement of community, private sector, education, and other leaders through a series of in-person meetings and gatherings bolstering a robust stakeholder engagement process by a diversity of communities.

Colorado Educator Preparation Innovation Coalition

Although Colorado has made tremendous strides in supporting great teaching and improving outcomes for kids, many state policies governing who trains teachers and how they do so have remained largely unchanged and driven by a series of inputs. Existing policies are viewed by some as overly prescriptive for preparers and candidates alike. These policies have not been shown to improve the effectiveness of new teachers entering the profession. Current policies create barriers to entry for some candidates and limit preparers’ abilities to explore innovations in preparation practices. Onerous requirements can limit the types of people who are interested or able to become teachers or preparers of teachers.
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Puerto Rico Career Pathways

Keystone supported the development of employment and career pathways for students completing their K-12 education in Puerto Rico. We secured partnerships with private sector employers to establish work-based learning and direct employment opportunities for students graduating in 2018. Through this direct outreach to employers and a student survey, we matched 127 students with opportunities aligned with their interests. We also convened a summit, Creating Pathways to Employment for Puerto Rico’s Students, in November in San Juan, PR. The main objective was to increase collaboration among employers and education leaders to ensure that every student has the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to be successful in the local economy and that local employers have a well-educated workforce to help them grow and improve the Puerto Rican economy.

Education Projects Featured in the Keynotes Podcast

Past Projects

Licensing Educators for Academic Development (LEAD) Compact

Educator quality is broadly recognized as the single most important school-based factor that influences student achievement. Because of this, one of the key issues facing Colorado is the need to create an education system that attracts, supports, and retains diverse, high-quality educators.

In recognition of the importance of educator quality and research by the State Council on Educator Effectiveness, the Keystone Policy Center convened the Licensing Educators for Academic Development (LEAD) Compact in August 2013 with the support of the philanthropic community. The Compact was tasked with exploring the following four questions:

  • How can we increase the quality and quantity of teachers and principals wanting to enter the profession?
  • What should the pathways for entry to the profession be, how should we understand the differences between them, and what should candidates be able to demonstrate to show readiness?
  • How do teachers and principals advance through the profession in a way that recognizes their unique talents and provides professional growth and development in areas that need improvement?
  • With the goal of retaining our most effective teachers and principals, how do we recognize and reward them and provide growth opportunities?

LEAD Compact meetings took place between August and December of 2013 and were open to the public.

Massachusetts Educator Licensure

The Keystone Policy Center worked at the behest of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education — and in partnership with TNTP (formerly known as The New Teacher Project) — to identify ways of aligning teacher licensure with the state’s educator quality standards to support student success. Through focus groups and regional meetings around the state, Keystone solicited and analyzed the perspectives of teachers, administrators, preparation program leaders and faculty, school support personnel, and district personnel to inform the design of potential changes in policy and practice.

Colorado Blended Learning

Keystone Policy Center developed a statewide roadmap to assist Colorado educators, district leaders, and state policymakers support and expand the use of blended learning — a teacher-led instructional method or strategy that combines classroom and digital learning, and through which students have some control over when, where, and at what pace they learn. Keystone worked with education leaders, teachers, and members of the public to develop the roadmap, including hosting more than a dozen meetings across Colorado, utilizing an online survey, and conferring with experts in other states.

Louisiana Teacher Preparation

At the behest of the Louisiana Department of Education and supported by a grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, the Keystone Policy Center is facilitated discussions with Louisiana educators to inform proposed changes to state education policy. Specifically, Keystone convened focus groups and outreach sessions between November 2014 and April 2015 across Louisiana to gather and synthesize perspectives of university, district, and school leaders on how best to enhance teacher preparation.

Colorado Higher Education Funding

Focused on making higher education funding more understandable and accountable for Coloradans, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 14-1319 to kick start a statewide conversation about a new base funding formula that considers role, mission, and performance. The Keystone Policy Center and Engaged Public partnered with the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) in 2014 to facilitate stakeholder engagement and a public input process to confront this long-term, systemic issue. The process solicited input through key informant interviews and stakeholder meetings in 16 communities with more than 400 attendees.

Keystone’s collaborative process resulted in recommendations for a new funding formula to better allocate state general fund dollars among the state’s public institutions of higher education. The state is in the process of implementing the new formula that Keystone’s work and outreach yielded.