CCSSO Convenes National Summit on Modernizing the K-12 Education System

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Washington, D.C. (April 11, 2023) – The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) today hosted Imagining More: A Summit on Modernizing Our Education System to elevate the urgency and momentum for pursuing innovative, student-centered education models. State education leaders shared innovative, student-centered models, including those undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic, to leverage the energy of what works and create the conditions for the changes needed to transform the K-12 education system.       

"State education leaders are seizing this moment of historic opportunity to move from pockets of change in education to systemic transformation,” said CCSSO Chief Executive Officer Carissa Moffat Miller. “Innovation isn’t any one specific program and it often looks different from one school district to the next, but state chiefs are committed to moving forward and applying the lessons learned during the pandemic to set conditions to innovate.”

Coming out of the Summit, CCSSO will publish a report on promising innovations for states. Summit discussions included the following topics (A full summit agenda can be found here):

  • How does the state set conditions for redefining how we think about school? The pandemic accelerated our need to embrace new ways of delivering content to students, such as virtual and hybrid learning models. New policies are needed to support new delivery models. Community partners demonstrated support for school communities in new ways that have the potential for long-term impact.   
  • How does the state set conditions for student-centered learning in schools? To support students in maximizing their potential, there is an opportunity to create transformative learning opportunities that are uniquely tailored to students’ individual strengths, needs and interests. New policies may be needed to foster this change by removing barriers to allow districts and schools to explore different staffing models.    
  • How does the state set conditions for defining mastery? There is increasing urgency to move beyond the traditional approach of the Carnegie Unit to recognize that time alone is not an adequate measure of mastery of content. Mastery may be measured both within the school walls and outside through career pathways and other learning opportunities.

“From North Dakota to North Carolina, states are not interested in returning to the pre-pandemic days of education,” said North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction and CCSSO Board of Directors President Kirsten Baesler. “This is our moment to leverage all of the creative work and energy that states and districts put in during COVID to grow, scale and fundamentally change the way we teach students.”

Leading thinkers and innovators from across the education field participating in the Summit included:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Carissa Moffat Miller, chief executive officer, CCSSO
  • Jean-Claude Brizard, president and chief executive officer, Digital Promise 
  • Michael Horn, co-founder, Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation 
  • Timothy Knowles, president, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching 
  • Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer, Baltimore City Public Schools

Chief State School Officer Participants: 

  • Kirsten Baesler, state superintendent of public instruction, North Dakota, and president, CCSSO Board of Directors
  • Sydnee Dickson, state superintendent of public instruction, Utah  
  • Frank Edelblut, commissioner of education, New Hampshire
  • Jason Glass, commissioner and chief learner, Kentucky
  • Angélica Infante-Green, commissioner of education, Rhode Island
  • Katie Jenner, secretary of education, Indiana    
  • Penny Schwinn, commissioner of education, Tennessee  
  • Catherine Truitt, state superintendent of public instruction, North Carolina 

National Leader Participants: 

  • John Arthur, 2021 Utah teacher of the year, 6th grade teacher at Meadowlark Elementary 
  • Carole G. Basile, dean, Arizona State University, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College  
  • Stephen Bowen, executive director, Hoover Education Success Initiative
  • Lizzette Gonzalez Reynolds, vice president of policy, ExcelinEd
  • Ray Hart, executive director, Council of the Great City Schools  
  • Karen Hawley Miles, chief executive officer, Education Resource Strategies 
  • Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and founding president, National Parents Union  
  • Hal Smith, senior vice president for education, youth development and health, National Urban League 


 The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.

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