CURIOSITY WORKS™ | Powered by McREL

McREL’s Curiosity Works resources provide the tools and methods to support curiosity among teachers, leaders, and learners at every level of learning. We’ll help you understand, create, and develop effective, sustainable, and curiosity-driven learning in your school that unleashes the power of curiosity and enhances learning for everyone—teachers, students, and school leaders.

Curiosity is not static, it’s a continuous journey, and McREL can be your guide. Contact us today for resources, coaching, and consulting to boost curiosity in your school or system.

Contact Us

by phone
800.858.6830
by email
info@mcrel.org

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What if all our students came to school eager to learn, self-motivated, and passionate? What if they were, in a word, curious?

And what if we could also unleash educators’ professional curiosity, tapping into the yearning professionals feel not just to survive, but to thrive in what we do? Wouldn’t our classrooms be happier and more productive?

Introduction to
Curiosity Works

Kristin Rouleau, a school and district improvement expert at McREL, gives an overview of Curiosity Works, McREL’s approach for guiding school teams along pathways to school improvement and innovation.

Curiosity Works &
School Improvement

What’s the difference between school improvement and school innovation? Kristin Rouleau, a school and district improvement expert at McREL, explains how Curiosity Works is different from traditional school improvement approaches, helping school teams move toward collaborative, shared expertise and innovation.

Inside Out
Approach

McREL’s Curiosity Works approach helps schools make “inside-out” changes that focus on existing bright spots, the small things their school is already doing well that can be scaled up to help more students succeed. Kristin Rouleau, a school and district improvement expert at McREL, explains how this is more powerful than traditional “outside-in” top-down mandates.

Our approach walks school communities through six phases of transformation, using each of the five components from McREL’s research-based What Matters Most® framework as starting point for improvement efforts:

Curricular Pathways to Success
Challenging, Engaging, and Intentional Instruction
Whole-Child Student Supports
High-Performance School Cultures
Data-Driven, High-Reliability Systems

Some schools will progress straight through, while others will move in and out of phases throughout their improvement journey as they focus on each component. Curiosity Works is for all schools—from those struggling to improve to those looking to raise the bar through innovative, learner-centered practices.

The six phases of transformation, from ensuring readiness to building a purposeful community, are illustrated in this infographic.

Consulting & Professional Learning

Unleashing Student Curiosity to Learn Workshop

July 10–11 | Denver, Colorado
October 25–26 | Denver, Colorado

Explore why and how curiosity can be sparked and sustained within your students, helping them become engaged, motivated, self-directed learners who “own” their educational journeys. Get tools, tips, and ideas for creating challenging learning tasks and higher-order questions that push students to deeper levels of content understanding and application. Participants will also receive extended virtual coaching during the 2018–19 school year.

We highly recommend reading Unleashing Curiosity with Challenging Learning Tasks for this workshop. Once registered, you will receive a special discount code to receive 20% off your purchase of this quick guide in our bookstore.

JULY 10-11 SESSION

OCT 25-26 SESSION

How to Move Your School from Improvement to Innovation: A Guided Pathway for Success Workshop

July 19–20 | Denver, Colorado
September 27–28 | Denver, Colorado

Learn why curiosity is an important lever for learning and how to cultivate it in teachers, leaders, and learners using the five improvement and innovation pathways found in McREL’s Curiosity Works™ approach. You’ll leave this intensive two-day session with an understanding of the important differences between an inside-out, curiosity-driven approach to school improvement and an outside-in or top-down approach. Learn how to focus for improvement or innovation and identification of high-leverage strategies for action and gain an understanding of the importance of monitoring change, both for the organization and for individuals. Participants will also receive extended virtual coaching during the 2018–19 school year.

We highly recommend reading Curiosity Works: A Guidebook for Moving Your School from Improvement to Innovation for this workshop. Once registered, you will receive a special discount code to receive 20% off your purchase of this book in our bookstore.

JULY 19-20 SESSION

SEPT 27-28 SESSION

Overview of Curiosity Works

1-day onsite professional learning session for school and district leaders
  • Learn why curiosity is an important lever for learning and how to cultivate it in teachers, leaders, and learners.
  • Learn to use instructional rounds to find and leverage bright spots.
  • Discover the power of peer coaching for school improvement.
  • Practice using an initiative planning template to articulate next steps for improvement.

Getting Started with Curiosity Works

2- or 3-day onsite professional learning session for leadership teams
  • Articulate and strengthen your school’s core values, mission, and vision.
  • Engage in a data review process that focuses on bright spots as well as opportunities for growth.
  • Establish a focus for improvement or innovation, and identify high-leverage strategies for action.
  • Draft a peer coaching plan.
  • Identify leadership actions to support implementation of change initiatives.

Maintaining Momentum with Coaching and Ongoing Support

  • Once a school begins its improvement and innovation journey with Curiosity Works, we offer ongoing support to school leadership teams and entire faculties with customized professional learning sessions.
  • We can provide a variety of coaching services, from online check-ins to multi-day onsite visits.

Measuring What Works

  • You’ll want to know if your school improvement efforts are making a difference.
  • We can help with an extra set of eyes on your performance data, informing deeper professional learning.
  • Our surveys will help you gauge progress in areas such as data use, school culture, and trust.
  • Our online platform, EmpowerEd, can make it simple for you to collect and review data about implementation of instructional practices.

Publications

Curiosity Works: A Guidebook for Moving Your School from Improvement to Innovation

Curiosity Works: Moving Your School from Improvement to Innovation dives into McREL International’s Curiosity Works approach for school improvement and innovation. It’s for K–12 educators and school leadership teams who are ready to drive what goes on in their building and harness the power of curiosity to advance student learning and teacher effectiveness. This guidebook leads school leadership teams through a six-phase journey toward powerful improvement and innovation, and includes 17 practical tools to help your staff work together toward great outcomes. This approach incorporates key elements of McREL’s What Matters Most framework and Balanced Leadership® program that tens of thousands of teachers and leaders globally are already using to gain actionable insight into their profession, and layers on improvement pathways and phases of development to guide you and your team.

Unleashing Curiosity Quick Guide Series

Our Unleashing Curiosity guides are part of McREL’s Curiosity Works resources. Based in part on a successful system-wide effort in Melbourne, Australia, that improved student achievement by unleashing student curiosity, these resources give teachers and school leaders tips, suggestions, and ideas to encourage professional dialogue with other teachers and increase student curiosity. Combining these insights with McREL’s analysis of best education practices from around the world, our Curiosity Works resources support a better way of transforming schools—not through top-down pressure, but through helping teachers and school leaders work together to develop shared professional expertise and leverage the power of motivation and curiosity.

Curiosity and Powerful Learning Series

Curiosity drives the impulse to learn—and our Curiosity and Powerful Learning model shows school teams how to systemically develop and support curious learners and create an effective, sustainable learning system supported by students, staff, and school leaders. Based on a successful school improvement effort in Melbourne, Australia, this program is designed to help teachers, instructional coaches, school leaders, and system administrators embark on a professional journey to lift student literacy, numeracy, and curiosity. Written originally for Australian educators, the theories of action and recommended activities outline practices that have been tested and refined in schools over time and can be adapted and used by schools and districts around the world, including the U.S.

Free White Paper | Curiosity Works: Moving your school from improvement to innovation

What if every student were curious, self-motivated, and passionate about their learning? Wouldn’t our classrooms be more joyful and dynamic and our schools be more innovative? In this white paper, Kristin Rouleau lays the groundwork for a powerful new model for school improvement—an inside-out, curiosity-driven approach—that looks for and builds on schools’ bright spots in ways that go beyond improvement and help unleash both student and educator curiosity. This innovative approach relies on a school’s readiness to commit to shared values within a purposeful community, a focus on teaching and learning, support for professional growth among teachers using a triad peer coaching model, and a consistent, deep practice that weathers the storms of change.