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The KnowledgeWorks Story

Improving education opportunities for students  has always been at the heart of the work of KnowledgeWorks. Though our mission has shifted slightly since our founding in 2000, as has the way we deliver services to adapt to current trends and needs, our focus has remained the same.

Learn more about the history of KnowledgeWorks:

Ensuring access

When KnowledgeWorks was founded, all efforts were focused on improving opportunities and access for underserved populations. We created and networked college access programs so that more people could realize the lifelong benefits of continuing their education beyond high school.

We also focused on low-wage workers and other adults who could use education as a springboard to better jobs. Our workforce development included the reorganization of adult education in Ohio so it became easier for workers to acquire new skills, as well as the creation of career pathway programs that pointed workers toward fields with growing demand.

We fostered community involvement in the planning of new school facilities to ensure that designs for new buildings would use the best research and apply community priorities to all decisions. We ensured longevity by building critical expertise in supporting policy changes to sustain these initiatives.

Creating better schools and learning communities

Access is critical. But access alone isn’t enough. Access doesn’t ensure the level of opportunity and accomplishment that we envisioned for every student. The quality of schools is a tremendous barrier to success, so we focused on improving urban high schools, with a special emphasis on creating small learning environments.

In 2004, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others, we created 35 small high schools in eight urban school districts and opened six early college high schools in partnership with universities.

These efforts impacted 50,000 students and trained more than 2,000 teachers in Ohio’s urban school districts. And the results have been dramatic – increasing graduation rates, improvement on test scores and students earning large numbers of college credits while still in high school.

KnowledgeWorks optimized the school improvement models behind this success by providing curriculum and instruction, supportive high school culture, aligned assessments and comprehensive student support.

At the same time, we focused on the need to create school systems that supported students from birth to career and created our community-based subsidiary StrivePartnership.

College and career readiness through personalized learning

You can’t prepare students for college and the careers of tomorrow without understanding what the future will require from our children. Since 2006, we have been engaged in a disciplined study of the trends shaping the future of education. We started developing forecasts of the future of learning, such as our most recent one, “The Future of Learning: Education in the Era of Partners in Code.”

We came to see that our factory-era education system had to be turned on its head. Instead of focusing on the needs of the institution and handing down information from on high, schools needed to respond to the needs of the learner and allow them to discover knowledge through hands-on experiences.

We began working to transform our outdated system of schooling into one that is focused on each individual student,

Key milestones

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