Phase 2: “Implementing our Imaginations” for Transformative Impacts

Phase 2: Implementing and Refining the New Theories and Processes Co-Designed in Phase 1

Shifting from Phase 1 to Phase 2

Phase 2 officially launched in the fall of 2017 with five of our co-design partners from Phase 1. To read more about our solidarity-driven process of partnering download this PDF. Building from our learnings during phase 1, these partner sites committed to a set of collectively determined partnering processes. These included:

Families and Communities as Co-Designers of their Own Solutions

Practically, this means:

  1. starting with and privileging family and community stories, lived experiences, knowledges, and cultural practices,
  2. ensuring families and communities are actively present and shaping decisions throughout the work, including envisioning and enacting solutions to self-identified problems, and
  3. engaging in social dreaming – collectively imagining futures founded upon educational justice, community wellness, and critical solidarities.

Engaging Multiple Identities and Perspectives in Interactions and Relationships

Practically, this means:

  1. asking and enabling people to bring their whole selves into the work, including recognition that individuals hold multiple identities that bring value and new perspectives to problem solving,
  2. inviting people to participate in the design space who have not historically been seen, heard, or powered; for example, youth, multigenerational families, minoritized peoples, Indigenous peoples, etc., and
  3. addressing asymmetric power dynamics in relationships between and across individuals, organizations, and systems.

Reflexive and Iterative Learning Processes

Practically this means:

  1. engaging in iterative learning to reflect on and improve our practices, expectations, and positionalities in order to enact more just relationships and develop theories and practices for a broader audience,
  2. being willing to be changed as well as push others towards change, and this may require “vulnerability” and “courage” to do so,
  3. committing to repairing relationships, and
  4. taking up tools and processes to engage in this reflexive work.


Taking on Current and Ongoing Tension Points

Practically this means:

  1. acknowledging tensions existing within our families, communities, and work that emerge as forms of internalized or lateral violence by seeking to heal from these symptoms as well as to redress the systemic cause,
  2. recognizing that tensions within relationships and understandings of problems and solutions reflect structural and systemic inequities across generations and requires a critical historical analysis to unpack, and
  3. addressing these tensions by envisioning new work, new possibilities, and taking on the immediate and pressing needs of families and communities, especially those facing systemic oppression.

Imagining and Enacting Change

Practically this means:

  1. advancing both theory and practice through iterative design processes of dreaming and enacting,
  2. making space for messiness, both/and’s and letting go of the expectation that there will be a single or perfect model, explanation, or solution,
  3. taking up new ideas, pushing beyond our current practices to imagine new “how can” practices, and thinking together across differences, and
  4. creating knowledge products and tools to support field capacity and shifts at multiple levels in practice and policy.

Over the course of 1.5-2 years we will engage within and across our phase 2 partner sites and local family leaders to co-design and implement research, practices, measures and tools to catalyze shifts in policy and practice towards community wellbeing and educational justice 0r “implement our imaginations.”

Phase 2 will be structured through at least three cycles of intensive co-design and implementation, periodic data retreats, collective site visits with each of the Cohort 2 partners, and dissemination of tools, knowledge products, and learning.

Our 5 Co-Design Partners:

Cohort 1: We are leveraging the expertise and longevity of two sites with more mature partnerships: University Neighborhood Partners in West Salt Lake City, Utah and CADRE-LA in Los Angeles, California. These two partners have over a decade of experience each building parent leadership and working for K-12 educational systems change. They also have support from local university research partners at the University of Utah and the University of California, Los Angeles, respectively. They will engage in their own co-design sessions and support each other in making sense of data and designing tool and practices to deepen and expand their ongoing work. The UW research team will support this “cohort 1” partnership through partial funding, quarterly co-design meetings, and monthly “all-call” co-design meetings with the “cohort 2” sites.

University Neighborhood Partners – Salt Lake City, UT – This partnership between University Neighborhood Partners, University of Utah, and Salt Lake City Public Schools is re-imagining how the School Community Council in West Salt Lake City might center majority Latinx parents and communities in school budget decision making.

CADRE – Los Angeles, CA – Within the context of disrupting the school-to-prison pipeline and implementing new school discipline policies in LA Unified Schools, CADRE-LA is working to create humanizing relationships between predominantly Latinx and African American families and teachers towards racial justice.

Cohort 2: Our cohort 2 sites are earlier on in their partnerships and work, and thus, offer opportunities to provide more in-depth support to emerging collaborations and innovations. These three sites will engage in monthly one-on-one co-design meetings with the UW, monthly “all-call” co-design meetings, and site visits in order to support implementation.

Global Indigeneity – Chicago, IL – Across urban indigenous communities, the American Indian Center, the American Indian Health Services, and the Aloha Center are cultivating intergenerational learning opportunities to support Indigenous knowledges, identities and practices

Southeast Seattle Education Coalition – Seattle, WA – This coalition of organizations is working to deepen community capacity to have conversations about race and to foster cross-racial solidarities.

Southfield Public Schools – Southfield, MI – With systems leadership, principals and parents are working to realize families and educators as equal partners in raising and developing whole, healthy children and a thriving African American community


Phase 2 Sites’ Progress Reports

Since launching Phase 2 of the Family Leadership Design Collaborative, we have engaged in cross-site collaboration with FLDC partners in Chicago, IL; Salt Lake City, UT; Los Angeles, CA; Southfield, MI; and Seattle, WA. We would like to share sites’ progress reports from the second phase of the co-design work and change-making they have undertaken in their local contexts to catalyze transformative educational possibilities.

Salt Lake City, UT Design Team – The SLC design team works to collaboratively design spaces where families have real, collective impact on school-site decision making and can engage in true collaboration with educators. This site’s theory of change is that by re-designing school community councils (SCC) around principles of equity, partnership, and community welcoming, SCCs can be used by families to shift the power relationships between schools and communities, and shift schools and their resources toward community-identified priorities.

Chicago, IL Design Team – The Chicago Global Indigeneity Project is working to cultivate intergenerational learning opportunities to support Indigenous knowledge, identities and practices. This pursues solidarity as a primary theory of change and measure by which to reflect on changemaking processes. They are providing opportunities for the community to practice community solidarity by offering programs and activities that allow participants to tell their own stories such as the creation of digital stories, Veteran’s circles, writing workshops, Social Dance Night, etc.

Seattle, WA Design Team – The Seattle design team is working to deepen community capacity to reclaim their histories, facilitate conversations about race in educational equity work and to foster cross-racial solidarities. Their theory of change is by building and investing in a stronger network of diverse people and working with people of color and communities of color they will see a more connected and resilient network able to support students and families of color.

Los Angeles, CA Design Team – The LA Design Team is working towards shifting asymmetrical power dynamics and disrupting systemic oppression through humanizing parent-teacher relationships and everyday interactions between predominantly Latinx and African American families and school-based educators. Their theory of change is based on supporting the change-making capacity of South LA parents through consciousness, healing, and vision/hope; understanding of structural and systemic changes versus individual change; and narrative shift, both personally, as South LA parents, and as a South LA community.