National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education

CompetencyWorks hosted a National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education in Denver, Colorado on June 21-23, 2017. The Summit convened 100 leading innovators to move the field of competency-based education through the next generation of ideas and actionable outcomes, with a specific focus on equity and diversity. The Summit tackled 6 issues: equity, policy, quality, meeting kids where they are, identifying emerging issues, and revising the working definition of competency-based education. Leading up to the Summit, CompetencyWorks designed a participatory process to engage a wider network of experts and ensure we’ve tapped into the collective knowledge of the field.


As a result of the Summit, CompetencyWorks released Quality and Equity by Design: Charting the Course for the Next Phase in Competency-Based Education, which seeks to advance K-12 competency education along four key issues: quality, equity, meeting students where they are, and policy. Download the report here.

In advance of the Summit, CompetencyWorks released new draft reports exploring key issues challenging the field of competency education:

CompetencyWorks has released a final version of Fit For Purpose: Taking the Long View on Systems Change and Policy to Support Competency Education, as a result of the Summit. This final version has incorporated the insights of practitioners and leaders who attended the event and are leading the work in competency education. Download the report here.

CompetencyWorks has also released Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students SucceedThis paper is a revision of In Pursuit of Equality: A Framework for Equity Strategies in Personalized, Competency-Based Education that incorporates the discussions with Summit participants.

CompetencyWorks has released Meeting Students Where They Are, which is the final revision of the Summit papers.

These papers, which draw on the collective leadership, creativity and expertise of leaders across the country, will chart the course for the field of competency education.


In March 2011, 100 innovators in competency-based education gathered at the first Competency-Based Learning Summit, the initial step toward advancing competency-based systems. Two papers were published to share developments from this Summit:

  1. Cracking the Code: Synchronizing Policy and Practice for Performance-Based Learning
  2. It’s Not A Matter of Time: Highlights from the 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit

Six years later, competency-based education is advancing across the country as a critical component of creating an education system able to personalize education while staying true to the vision of an equitable education system. As our understanding of competency-based education has grown, so has our understanding of critical issues that must be addressed in order to ensure equity of access and outcomes as well as high quality of implementation.

In response, we convened the second National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education to draw on the collective leadership, creativity and expertise to chart our course for the next wave of innovation, implementation and expansion.

Thank You to the Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs)

We have invited 100 innovators who collectively will bring substantial diversity to this conversation—racial and ethnic diversity, regional diversity, experience in all levels of the education system, and expertise in implementing competency education as well as related fields. Yet, across the country there are thousands of educators who have expertise in competency education that could make valuable contributions to these conversations. Thus, we have designed a participatory process leading up to the Summit.

As part of this participatory process, we created Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) for each of the following 4 key issues, where we shared a draft document and asked each TAG to share their insights at some point during a one-week virtual session. The field used this opportunity to engage their organizations, schools, professional learning communities and networks in deep conversations around these issues and shared their collective insights. The TAGs are listed below:

  1. Designing for Equity: How should we frame equity and the strategies to improve equity within a personalized, competency-based system?
  2. Developing Policy for the Long-Term: What are the long-term policies and structures needed to support personalized, competency-based districts and schools?
  3. Meeting Students Where They Are (managed by reDesign): As we shift from the traditional system with its focus on delivery of grade-level curriculum within a time-based model designed to sort students, to one that uses a learner-centered approach to ensure every student is reaching proficiency, what do we need to do differently to ensure that we are meeting the needs of students based on where they are?
  4. The Systems and Structures Necessary for Quality Implementation: How should we think about quality that can guide implementation while still allowing for variation of models and innovation?

How the TAG process worked: Each TAG provided insights on the draft document during the assigned one-week virtual session in google docs. CompetencyWorks and partners made real-time changes to the papers based on the shared insights and feedback. These papers helped gather input from a variety of perspectives and will be used to guide conversations at the National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education.

During the Summit, attendees discussed these key issues, collaborated on the field’s challenges, networked, and brainstormed solutions and best practices to advance K-12 competency-based education.

Thank you to the following people who dedicated their time and expertise in the TAG process:

Natalie Abel, Denise Tobin Airola, Amy Allen, Sharyl Allen, Thomas Arnett, Elliott Asp, Lexi Barrett, Mary Bellavance, Jan Bermingham, Elaine Berry, Mandi Bozarth, Kelly Brady, Betsy Brand, Colleen Broderick, Michael Burde, Harvey Chism, Rose Colby, David Cook, Carisa Corrow, C. Wesley Daniel, Randy DeHoff, Emily Dustin, John Duval, Karla Esparza-Phillips, Theresa Ewald, Daniela Fairchild, Dawn Ferreyra, Julia Freeland Fisher, Pat Fitzsimmons, Amy Fowler, Dan French, Dale Frost, Cynthia Freyberger, Thomas Gaffey, Laurie Gagnon, Liz Glowa, Jim Goodell, Brittany Griffin, Jill Gurtner, Renee Hill, Anne Hyslop, Ashley Jones, Thomas (T.J.) Jumper, Ian Kearns, Kristen Kelly, Michael Klein, Jeremy Kraushar, Tim Kubik, Christine Landwehrle, Susan Lanz, Steve Lavoie, Paul Leather, Diana Lebeaux, Bethany Little, Scott Marion, Kathleen McClaskey, Christine McMillen, Caroline Messenger, Gretchen Morgan, Mark Muenchau, Nikolaus Namba, Joy Nolan, Ellen Owens, Lillian Pace, Susan Pecinovsky, Shawn Parkhurst, Alfonso Paz, Ace Parsi, Susan Patrick, Karla Phillips, Alexandra Pritchett, Jeff Renard, Patrick Riccards, Antonia Rudenstein, David Ruff, Blair Rush, Bror Saxberg, Aubrey Scheopner Torres, Aaryn Schmuhl, Matt Shea, Don Siviski, Bob Sornson, Karen Soule, Andresse St. Rose, Dale Skoreyko, Katherine Smith, Andrea Stewart, Circe Stumbo, Vincent Thur, Barbara Treacy, Dixie Tremblay, Nat Truong, Jonathan Vander Els, Brenda Vogds, Glenda Weber, Karen White, SC Whitmore School, Mike Wolking, Jennifer Wolfe, Maria Worthen, Margery Yeager, Stacy Young, Bill Zima

Summit Participants

Participants for the Summit included:

  • Denise Airola, Office of Innovation for Education, University of Arkansas
  • Amy Allen, Parker Varney Elementary
  • Guadalupe Alvarez, Lindsay Unified School District
  • Amy Anderson, Donnell-Kay Foundation, ReSchool Colorado
  • Diego Arambula, GO Public Schools
  • Laureen Avery, UCLA Center X
  • Dixie Bacallao, reDesign
  • John Bailey, Consultnat
  • Amy Barger, Fulton County Public Schools
  • Susan Bell, Windsor Locks Public Schools
  • Bryant Best, CCSSO
  • Mandi Bozarth, West Wind Education Policy
  • Kelly Brady, Idaho State Department of Education
  • Yvonne Brandon, Petersburg Public Schools
  • Rhonda Broussard, Beloved Community
  • Trevor Brown, New Profit
  • Mike Burde, Kenowa Hills School District
  • Deb Bushway, Lumina & Competency-Based Education Network
  • Cris Charbonneau, KnowledgeWorks
  • Harvey Chism, South Bronx Community High School
  • Rose Colby, Consultant
  • Brandon Corley, NYC Men Teach
  • Margaret Crespo, Thompson School District
  • Jenny Curtin, Barr Foundation
  • C. Wesley Daniel, Ambitious Initiatives
  • Jon Deane, Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Sunny Deye, National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Elena Diaz-Bilello, Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation at the University of Colorado Boulder
  • Nicholas C. Donohue, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • Cederick Ellis, McComb School District
  • John Fischer, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Amy Fowler, Vermont Department of Education
  • Julia Freeland Fisher, Clayton Christensen Institute
  • Tom Gaffey, Building 21
  • Laurie Gagnon, Center for Collaborative Education
  • Sajan George, Matchbook Learning
  • Leah Hamilton, The Barr Foundation
  • LeViis Haney, Lovett Elementary, Chicago Public Schools
  • Karin Hess, Educational Research in Action
  • Caroline Hill, CityBridge Foundation
  • Renee Hill, Riverside Unified School District
  • Rebecca Holmes, Colorado Education Initiative
  • Christina Horner, Great Schools Partnership
  • Alison Hramiec, Boston Day and Evening Academy
  • Amreena Hussain, Achieve
  • Lindsay Jones, National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • Christy Kingham, Young Women’s Leadership Academy, New York City Department of Education
  • Jeremy Kraushar, Mastery Collaborative, New York City Department of Education
  • Paul Leather, New Hampshire Department of Education
  • Tony Lewis, Donnell-Kay Foundation
  • Chris Liang-Vergara, LEAP Innovations
  • Phyllis Lockett, LEAP Innovations
  • Alex Magaña, Grant/Kepner Beacon Middle School
  • Scott Marion, National Center for Assessment
  • Michael Martin, Montpelier School District
  • Adriana Martinez, CCSSO
  • Robert Marzano, Marzano Research
  • Danny Medved, Denver School of Innovation & Sustainable Design
  • Rebecca Midles, Mesa County Valley School (District 51)
  • Rosmery Milczewski, New York City Department of Education, Flushing International High School
  • Tiffany Miller, Thompson School District
  • Tony Monfiletto, New Mexico Center for School Leadership
  • Gretchen Morgan, Career Wise Colorado
  • Al Motley, Matchbook Learning
  • Nikolaus Namba, Lindsay Unified School District
  • Juan Carlos Oco’n, Benito Juarez Community Academy – Chicago Public Schools
  • Eric Palleschi, RSU2
  • Ace Parsi, National Center for Learning Disabilities
  • Alphonso Paz, PazLo Education Foundation
  • Doug Penn, Chugach School District
  • Karla Esparza-Phillips, Foundation for Excellence in Education
  • Linda Pittenger, Center for Innovation in Education
  • David Richards, Fraser School District
  • Tom Rooney, Lindsay Unified School District
  • Antonia Rudenstine, reDesign
  • David Ruff, Great Schools Partnership
  • Chris Rush, New Classrooms
  • Kata Sandoval, Native American Community Academy
  • Sydney Schaef, reDesign
  • Don Siviski, Center for Secondary School Redesign
  • Megan Slocum, Springdale School District
  • Andresse St. Rose, Center for Collaborative Education
  • Wendy Surr, American Institutes for Research
  • Diane Tavenner, Summit Public Schools
  • Cyndy Taymore, Melrose School District
  • Alan Tenreiro, Cumberland High School
  • Saskia Thompson, Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Amy Torres, University of Chicago, Network for College Success
  • Eric Toshalis, Jobs for the Future
  • Charline Toulmin, Nellie Mae Education Foundation
  • Donald Trujillo, R5 High School, District 51
  • Claudette Trujillo, Metz Elementary – Westminster Public Schools
  • Kendra Vair, Thompson School District
  • Jonathan Vander Els, New Hampshire Learning Initiative
  • Matt Williams, Knowledgeworks
  • Bill Zima, RSU2
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