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Systemic Change At RE@L Becomes “SYS-STEM-IC”: Steering A Needed K12 EdTech Mission That’s STEM-Based

by | May 15, 2018 | RE@L StudentCorner

Our RE@L President and CEO, Paul Gullickson, recently reminded us what constitutes Systemic Change. 


Paul also told us it’s critically important to keep our RE@L system on-course if we are going to meet one of our major, RE@L goals for our products and services.


We at RE@L want more kids to learn more!
We also want more teachers to know more and have more tools so these positive changes can happen.
Screenshot 2018-04-27 13.25.36 

Here’s what Paul stated are: “The Ingredients for Systemic Change”-

  • A Common Purpose – We all need to be focused on the same goal.
  • A Common Understanding – No matter the complexity of work goals, we all need to understand them in the same way.
  • A Common Way to Make a Difference – To make positive differences happen, we all need to be pushing forward in the same direction.

 Here’s how Paul translated these ingredients into our “Mission-Driving RE@L Terms”-

  • A Common Purpose – Our RE@L Investigations Content – There’s a long line of RE@L Investigation products and software that we all here at RE@L work to make a reality.
  • A Common Understanding – To share knowledge and skills, our RE@L Teacher/Student Training can be delivered via our RE@L STEM Portal and RE@L STEM On-Line Courses.
  • A Common Way to Make a Difference – Connecting Teachers and Students in one STEM classroom to other classrooms and real world practitioners anywhere, via our RE@L View™.

ascn_logo.v3To get a better handle on the breadth and depth of our STEM-based Sys-STEM-ic™ change, we looked to other pertinent sources for more useful information and related visions. We found this next source, ASCN, Accelerating Systemic Change Network™. Even though it’s a Higher-Ed Mission Statement, it still overlaps with our K12 EdTech vision here at RE@L.

Read on:

ASCN Higher Ed Mission Statement

“People involved in STEM Education change often don’t consider change theories and models or forget to consider the larger system in which they seek to make a change. This working group seeks to help people engaged in change efforts to understand change theories and models that could profitably inform systemic change work. One long-term goal of this work is to build a common framework and language, with the ultimate goal of building and sharing a strong knowledge base for change in STEM Education.”

REAL believes in the same kinds of framework and language. That’s why we include many talents and resources in our RE@L workgroup, from savvy entrepreneurs, experienced teachers, insightful students, caring parents, and those who deliver our revolutionary software products to schools and STEM teachers, while gathering their input, insights and tips for improving what we do here at RE@L. We listen!


Here are Key Questions from ASCN for which we need continuing and better answers in K12:

Some Key Questions

Unknown1. How do people come to understand change?  YES, WE KNOW A LITTLE, BUT WE NEED TO KNOW FAR MORE…

2. What knowledge best helps people trying to effect change? WE BELIEVE SYSTEMIC KNOWLEDGE, SEQUENTIAL AND RELEVANT IS THE RIGHT DIRECTION…

3. Because change depends a great deal on one’s local context, to what extent can theoretical frameworks be generalized into concrete actions? ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT QUESTIONS OF ALL: HOW CAN WE MAKE CHANGE THAT LOOKS EFFECTIVE ON PAPER BECOME EFFECTIVE IN THE CLASSROOM? CONSTANT FEEDBACK IS CRITICAL.

4. How can change agents translate theory so it can inform (but not dictate) practice? WE BELIEVE THERE IS NO ONE THEORY THAT ADDRESSES ALL PRACTICES.

5. What can we learn from what is already happening? How do successful activities get generalized for others to use? SHARING WITH OTHER PROFESSIONALS IN OUR RE@L PORTAL IS A GOOD START.

6. What change theories and models of change are in current use, both explicitly and implicitly? RE@L BELIEVES THERE IS NOT NEARLY ENOUGH OF EITHER.


Screenshot 2018-04-27 13.31.42RE@L believes we also need to look at Systemic change from a school district viewpoint. After all, there are over 15,000 public school district in the USA, and that does not count charter, private or parochial schools. The K12 view is different from the Higher-Ed View, necessarily. But that’s not to say there isn’t overlap.

What Is Systemic Change for K12?

By Michael Holzman, Education Program Officer at the American Council of Learned Societies

Systemic means working with school systems, district bureaucracies or state departments of education to effect change.  RE@L adds: it won’t work long run if you don’t.

mission-statement-clipart-1Systemic means working with every school in a system. RE@L adds start out small and work your way to big and entire.

Systemic means working with every aspect of the school system.  RE@L adds that all K12 circles intersect from testing to busing and beyond.

Systemic means systematicRE@L adds that change requires a strategic and tactical plan….the big vision as well as each detail.

Systemic means fundamental change. RE@L adds that far too many changes are not bold enough. Start out simple but adjust and keep modifying as you go.

If teaching and learning are to improve for all students, we need change: fundamental change,

affecting every aspect of our schools and every school in our school systems.

Lastly here’s some helpful mission guides for SYSTEMIC changes in science education, courtesy of Science-Ed Consultant, Kirk Robbins:

 SYSTEMIC changes in science education address Diversity 

Screen Shot 2018-03-17 at 7.55.25 PM

The nation faces challenges to achieve excellence in its science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce; and, the importance of fostering diversity in STEM teaching is fundamental to this success. Several theories support the importance of having educators in the classroom who reflect the background and experiences of the students in their schools. Across the nation, there are programs that aim to increase the number of STEM teachers or programs to increase the number of teachers from diverse communities at large, but very few programs aim to do both at the same time.

Together, these experts identified several opportunities that can impact a school district’s path toward increasing the diversity of STEM teachers in the classroom, while preparing these same STEM teachers for science leadership opportunities. One identified need was a playbook of recommended discussions, practices, and tools that a school district could use to foster change. This playbook will provide school district decision makers and change makers with a starting point to begin their efforts

Click on this link for more helpful information on “Fostering Change” and “Best Diversity Practices.” 

RE@L believes this compendium is a thoughtfully designed resource

to add to your toolbox of equity-focused science resources.

Join RE@L in making changes and best “SYS-STEM-IC” practices for all learners!

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Randy Nelson & Dale LaFrenz


/// Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L, Inc and one of the founders of MECC, Inc - the Minnesota company that brought “Oregon Trail” and more than a hundred products to millions of K12 students across the world. HIs RE@L Inc continues to serve K12 as a LearningProduct "launching pad" for schools, online learning and the rapidly growing STEM market. /// Randy Nelson recently joined RE@L as a BlogMeister and Director of Education for RE@L's new STEM-based LearningProducts. Randy has long been an advocate for more positive, effective changes in K-12 teaching and learning, from his teaching days to his former career as a Superintendent who positively reformed the school district of LaCrosse Wisconsin.w