This page is an archive of CES’s Year of Demonstration, our theme for our final year of operations in 2016.

While the dream of personalized, equitable, and intellectually challenging schools for every student has yet to be realized, in every state there are schools, teachers and students that have created just these kinds of learning environments for themselves and for one another. We need your help to elevate stirring examples of the kind of schools that enable the greatest hope for democracy. Our nation needs those voices – your voices – now and we are engaging in a year of activities to elevate the work of progressive educators in the United States.

The Coalition of Essential Schools and The Common Principles

For more than 30 years, the Common Principles of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) have guided the design of schools and the daily work of educators to engage, inspire, and educate students in every type of community across our nation and around the world. The principles have helped define student-centered, democratic, progressive teaching and learning in schools affiliated with the Coalition of Essential Schools and in classrooms and community organizations that span many other networks.

Three decades after these principles were created by CES founder Ted Sizer, in collaboration with educators, our nation has drifted further toward standardized forms of assessment and teaching. Yet schools and classrooms continue to use, with tremendous results, the democratic, student-centered practice the Common Principles, and other important progressive writings, espouse. We are spending this year documenting the impact of these ideas in our schools. We hope everyone whose lives have been touched by CES directly and indirectly will find ways to be involved in the 2016 Year of Demonstration. Together, we will imagine new ways to promote the shared principles of progressive education.

The Year of Demonstration: Progressive Education Works

We want to identify the places where participatory, progressive education is showing results and leverage a national portrait of the effectiveness of these strategies. During this Year of Demonstration, the Coalition of Essential Schools will invest in four strategies to identify and gather a broad portrait of the vibrant, progressive education happening in our nation with two specific goals in mind:

  1. To elevate examples of the Common Principles and student-centered learning are succeeding in communities across the country, and
    To help practitioners find one another, knowing that the best ideas come from other schools rooted in work with teachers and students.
  2. Year of Demonstration Activities

Throughout 2016 we will highlight the ways that the ideas behind progressive, democratic education have driven enduring improvements in public education. These activities will be the final formal work of the Coalition of Essential Schools.

1. Raise Your Hand: Mapping the Field of Progressive Educators

The Coalition of Essential Schools has been driven by its member schools and organizations. During this Year of Demonstration, we are inviting as many schools and organizations as possible that are engaged in building student-centered, democratic classrooms to “raise their hand” and be listed in our directory of affiliates. We want to create powerful portraits of the many places where students are engaged in deep learning.

Joining CES is free and will enable you to:

  • Connect to other educators and supporters
  • Be listed on our national map of progressive schools (coming soon)
  • Create a profile about your work on our web site (coming soon)
  • Share job and event announcements
  • Take advantage of priority discounted registration at Fall Forum, our December 2016 national gathering of progressive educators

 Learn more about Raising Your Hand and affiliating with us.

2. Call for Progressive Voices

We want to elevate the voices of individuals engaged in student-centered, personalized education. We need your help to elevate stirring examples of the kind of schools that enable the greatest hope for democracy. Stories from progressive educators and students will be:

  • Shared on our digital channels
  • Selected for publication in a published book
  • Sources for op-eds and articles pushed to mainstream media

We will be accepting submissions on a rolling basis.

Learn more about the Call for Progressive Voices.

→ Read our growing collection of stories!

3. Sharing Resources

After 30 years of work, the Coalition of Essential Schools has one of the most extensive mailing lists of individuals in K-12, higher education, research and policy who care about animated, engaged, student-centered learning. This network has been both the heart and braintrust of our organization. Throughout the Year of Demonstration we will continue to share new and enduring resources through our digital channels.

4. A National Gathering: The Final Fall Forum

On December 1, 2, and 3, 2016, we held an extraordinary final national gathering in Providence, Rhode Island, where CES was founded. We gathered the CES network and progressive educators from other networks to consider what we have learned and discuss sustaining outstanding schools for every child. Fall Forum 2016 convened more than 500 people to exchange resources and build the network of progressive voices. Please visit our Fall Forum 2016 page for more information.

Find out what’s next

The best ways to get involved in the Year of Demonstration are to stay in touch. Please sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit this site as we demonstrate the power and influence of progressive education.