District Leading for Equity Redesign Network (LERN)

What can we learn from this moment of explosive innovation about how to create more equitable and culturally responsive districts, schools and classrooms? 

What future will we create by the conscious actions we take today?


As we navigate a time of unprecedented global upheaval and disruption of our basic social systems, it is imperative that the coming year is guided by resilient, humanizing, bold and innovative educational leaders with a commitment to equity. The crisis is far from over, but if we lean into learning and acting courageously now, things will never be the same again. Leading for Equity in this time requires that each of us has knowledge, skill and capacity to lead differently than we ever have before. 

As leaders we are called upon to respond, recover, and ultimately redesign (Transcend Education, 3 Jobs that Matter for Schools Navigating a COVID world, May 2020) our systems to care for our young people and communities and ensure equitable access to the learning experiences and educational opportunities that every young person needs to thrive. 


  • Equity work cannot be done alone – we need each other and can have a more powerful impact by working collectively.
  • Now more than ever there is a need to connect and learn with other school districts from who are actively engaged in efforts to increase educational equity for their students and particularly those students whom we have served least well in our schools and communities.
  • We are facing complex, messy challenges that require “host” leadership, engaging multiple perspectives, and learning with and from one another (rather than “hero” leadership of planning the work and working the plan).
  • Working together we can get clearer about identifying barriers to opportunity and can both navigate and challenge those barriers.
  • By supporting meaningful relationships with others in a network, we can contribute to well-being and sustain people in their work, as we do the same in partnership with families and communities.


Working together with like minded leaders from across the country, participants in the LERN Network will have access to the support needed to create the schools we need now more than ever.

The LERN Network will provide on-going, networked, professional learning and capacity building opportunities for a team of leaders from your district. Each participating district will create a team of teachers, site administrators, central office administrators, school board members, and student leaders to participate in Network activities. 

Teams will:

  • Form your district’s Leadership for Equity Redesign Network (LERN) Team and learn how to work collaboratively across roles to learn about and make progress on equity focused change efforts.
  • Learn, apply, and reflect on the skills, mindsets, and tools in the National Equity Project’s Leading for Equity Framework to guide leadership, team development, and professional learning.
  • Review a broad set of quantitative and qualitative data to identify a priority student-centered equity challenge in your system.
  • Utilize the skills, mindsets, and modes of the National Equity Project’s Liberatory Design Process to learn about this equity challenge by listening to students and families, observing, conducting surveys, utilizing student feedback data, and reflecting with colleagues across districts and within the District LERN Team.
  • Partner with students and families to reimagine policies, practices, and ways of working to increase student belonging, engagement, and learning.
  • Demonstrate learning and strategic leadership development to address the equity challenge.  Make measurable progress and document and share learning and changes that contributed to improved outcomes.


Through monthly virtual District LERN Team meetings, cross-network learning sessions, consultancies and collaborative inquiry, District LERN Teams will engage in facilitated site level and collective, cross-district learning. 

Participation Includes: 

  • Three 3 hour Leading for Equity Redesign Network (LERN) convenings, designed to support collaborative learning across districts and collective leadership actions in service of creating equitable learning experiences and outcomes.
  • Up to 6 Virtual Professional Learning Sessions open to staff from across your district at the discretion of your Equity Design Team. These sessions will be based on the NEP’s Leading for Equity Framework to include core practices and mindsets for leading with Equity, Complexity, Liberatory Design, and Culturally Responsive Learning.
  • Coaching and facilitation by National Equity Project staff to include:
    • Monthly leadership development and strategy sessions with your identified District Equity Design Team (typically 1-1.5 hour meetings)
    • Monthly executive coaching sessions and resource support for members of the District Equity Design Team.


In the 2019-2020 school year, NEP convened school district teams from 7 districts in the Midwest region. Here are some testimonials from that network:

  • “NEP has been an amazing experience for me as a teacher. It has allowed me to reaffirm my role within a system that needs reinventing.”
  • “I have found this experience meaningful and it has expanded my leadership skills and mindsets to lead for equity.”
  • “The opportunity for an ongoing focus and how the work of other districts has inspired and motivated our efforts.”
  • “Learning from the equity research. Partnering across the district. Understanding how students are doing game changing work across the district.”


All sessions, coaching, and resources will be delivered virtually. For more information about program fees, logistics, and how your district can participate in the network please complete this form and we will follow up.

Image source: Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash