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Empower School Improvement With CURIOSITY WORKS®

Imagine a school where every student arrived self-motivated, eager, and passionate about their learning. At McREL, we believe that curiosity is the key to unlocking boundless opportunities for student engagement, motivation, and deep learning.

Distilling years of school improvement and instructional leadership research into specific, actionable guidance, CURIOSITY WORKS® provides evidence-based instructional strategies teachers can use to spark curiosity in their classrooms, creating exciting opportunities for student engagement, motivation, and deep learning. CURIOSITY WORKS® also provides leadership strategies that principals, school leadership teams, and teacher teams can use to:

  • take ownership of what goes on in their building,

  • foster professional curiosity, and

  • support continuous improvement and innovation.

Unlock the Power of Curiosity with Our Consulting & Professional Development

Customized to fit your needs, we offer a variety of online and on-site professional learning formats that will guide your team to use curiosity to ignite effective teaching and learning.

Our approach walks educators through six phases of curiosity-based school transformation, and we provide practical resources, tools, and activities based on solid research and evidence to make the concepts come alive in your school. Curiosity Works is for all schools—from those struggling to improve to those looking to raise the bar through innovative, learner-centered practices.

Curiosity isn’t static, it’s a continuous journey, and McREL can be your guide.

Contact us today to get resources, coaching, professional learning, and consulting to boost curiosity in your school or system.
800.858.6830 |

Curious about Curiosity Works? Clue in with these videos.

Introduction to
Curiosity Works

Dr. 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

Learn how Curiosity Works is different from traditional school improvement approaches, working to help school teams move toward real collaboration, shared expertise, and innovation.

Inside Out

Learn how McREL’s Curiosity Works approach helps schools make “inside-out” changes that focus on existing bright spots, and how this is more powerful than traditional “outside-in” top-down mandates.

Books & Resources for Curiosity

Books and reports to kick off your study of curiosity on your own, with a study buddy, or with an entire school team.

Building a Curious School: Restore the Joy that Brought You to School

Explore the nature of personal and communal curiosity with educator/executive Bryan Goodwin, and rediscover the yearning to learn that makes everything we do more meaningful.


Tools for Igniting Curiosity

Mysteries! Controversy! Emotion! These are just some of the levers of curiosity that, once pushed, lead to practically infinite opportunities for going deeper with content and making the learning stick.


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

Start here for an in-depth look at the way Curiosity Works unites the bodies of knowledge that McREL has been sharing with clients for decades.


Curiosity Works: Moving Your School from Improvement to Innovation (free white paper)

Yes, your school has bright spots, and yes, you can capitalize on them to launch a transformational process. A free introduction to the Curiosity Works model based on the book.


Unleashing Curiosity Quick Guide Series

Get tips for professional dialogue and learn a better way of transforming schools—not through top-down pressure, but through teachers and school leaders working together to make a difference.


Related Resources for Curiosity

Use these additional  resources to support curiosity among teachers, leaders, and learners in all kinds of communities and at every level of learning.

Learning That Sticks

By way of an easy-to-use six-phase model of learning, this book analyzes how the brain reacts to, stores, and retrieves new information, helps you “zoom out” to understand the process of learning from beginning to end, and helps you “zoom in” to see what’s going on in students’ minds during each phase.


Using Brain Science to Make Learning Stick (Quick Reference Guide)

Learn the what, why, and how of 14 learning strategies with this laminated, fold-out guide for teachers that gives quick insights and tips on how to merge the instructional strategies from The New Classroom Instruction That Works with the learning phases from Learning That Sticks in the Classroom.


Student Learning That Works: How Brain Science Informs a Student Learning Model (free white paper)

Combining the science of teaching with the science of learning—understanding how memory works—can produce classroom tactics that make learning more joyful, engaging, & memorable for students.


The New Classroom Instruction That Works

The book that inspired millions of educators to refine their approach to teaching returns for an all-new third edition. Built on a more rigorous research base and updated to emphasize student diversity, equity, and inclusion, The New Classroom Instruction That Works reveals 14 instructional strategies proven to promote deep, meaningful, and lasting learning. Explore each strategy and learn how to incorporate them into your lesson plans for maximum impact on student learning and achievement..


Research-Based Instructional Strategies That Work (Quick Reference Guide)

Dive deeper into the what, why, and how of the 14 learning strategies from The New Classroom Instruction That Works, which are shown to dramatically improve student performance and close achievement gaps. This quick guide compiles data from decades of research in neuroscience with the hands-on knowledge from teachers with years of experience working in diverse classroom environments to find the common denominators in the most successful learning methods for students today.