Project-Based Learning and Professional Development

Project-Based Learning Guide
(download pdf)

We wrote this project-based learning design guide for the Digital Storytelling Project of the National Academy Foundation and the Pearson Education Foundation. The Guide addresses several key PBL issues including the “Six A’s” of project design.

Project Design Template
(download pdf)

This detailed design template leads teachers through the essential considerations when building a new classroom project. Facilitated project design time using tools such as this is a staple of our PBL training sessions.

Great Groups, Terrific Teams
(download pdf)

Group Skills Rubric
(download pdf)

Project Scaffolding
(download pdf)

These handouts represent a few of the popular tools from our 100-page Project-Based Learning training packet. “Great Groups” addresses cooperative learning challenges commonly experienced during project work, the “Group Skills Rubric” is an example of a high-quality process rubric, and “Project Scaffolding” provides an overview of key project implementation supports necessary for success.

Professional Learning Community Tool: The Rigor and Relevance Circle
(download pdf)

This staff development protocol, developed from our work at Sir Francis Drake High School, provides an engaging structure for teacher groups to examine the factors that make student work rigorous and relevant.

Anatomy of A Project: Everyone Teaches, Everyone Learns (contact for availability)

This professional development resource includes a project design handbook and video documentary analyzing a well-designed high school project. We developed this tool in partnership with national education expert Bena Kallick and our longtime technology teacher partner Steve Kuever.

School Design/School Redesign

School Change Rubric
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We developed this in-depth school redesign evaluation tool during our initial design work with the Oregon Small School Initiative, a program of the Portland-based Employers for Education Excellence. The tool, which helps schools evaluate their progress on over 20 different dimensions of change, has since been shared with many other small schools nationwide.

Small Schools Toolkit – OSSI
(download pdf)

We designed the majority of the tools in this school reform toolkit through our work for the Oregon Small Schools Initiative. The toolkit includes several useful tools for individuals who are leading small school design work.

Alternative Pathways Project
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This report, written for the Youth Transition Funders Group, highlights policies and practices that push children out of school, suggests strategies for overcoming barriers to re-enrolling in school, and gives direction for expanding educational alternatives that are effective for vulnerable youth. Swanson & Cosgrave Consulting co-wrote this with national youth development experts JD Hoye and Chris Sturgis.