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Many individuals and organizations have supported the Design Principles project. Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond and Dr. Pamela Cantor were principal investigators for the project, which was ably managed by Laura E. Hernández and Abby Schachner from the Learning Policy Institute (LPI). Additional co-authors include Sara Plasencia from LPI and Christina Theokas and Elizabeth Tijerina from Turnaround for Children. Other advisors include Jennifer DePaoli, Senior Researcher at LPI; Evo Popoff, Senior Vice President at Whiteboard Advisors; and Susan Sandler, a trustee of the Sandler Foundation and the chair of LPI’s Board of Directors, to whom we are incredibly grateful for her time and insights.

The Forum for Youth Investment was also a key partner in the work. The authors thank Merita Irby, Priscilla Little, and Poonam Borah for their thought partnership in developing the design principles for schools and for their leadership in identifying design principles to support equitable whole child design in community learning settings, which is published under a separate cover, Design Principles for Community-Based Settings. The authors also thank the SoLD Alliance for its partnership and ongoing commitment to translating the science of learning and development into practices and policies that can support equitable school transformation.

This report benefited from the insights and expertise of the many individuals who composed the three intersecting committees to advise the project and review drafts of its work:

Learning scientists and human development experts who were tasked with ensuring that the design principles accurately captured the science of learning and development and supported comprehensive child development and whole child education.
  • Marc Bornstein, Senior Investigator and Head of Child and Family Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; International Research Fellow, Institute for Fiscal Studies; Senior Advisor for Research for ECD Parenting Programmes, UNICEF
  • Ron Dahl, Director, Institute of Human Development, Professor, School of Public Health, Adolescent Research Collaborative, University of California, Berkeley
  • Ritchie Davidson, William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Founder and Director, Center for Healthy Minds
  • Don Deshler, Williamson Family Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Special Education, Founder and former Director, Center for Research on Learning, University of Kansas
  • Carol Dweck, Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
  • Kris Gutiérrez, Carol Liu Professor, Learning Sciences and Human Development, University of California, Berkeley
  • Neal Halfon, Professor of Pediatrics, Health Policy and Management, and Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles; Founding Director of the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities
  • Zaretta Hammond, Education Consultant, Center for the Collaborative Classroom
  • Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Professor of Education, Psychology, and Neuroscience, Rossier School of Education, and Director of the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education (CANDLE), University of Southern California
  • Carol Lee, Edwina S. Tarry Emeritus Professor of Education and Social Policy, Professor of Learning Sciences, Professor of African American Studies, Northwestern University
  • Rich Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University
  • Na’ilah Suad Nasir, President, Spencer Foundation
  • David Osher, Vice President and Institute Fellow, American Institutes for Research
  • Jim Pellegrino, Co-Director, Learning Sciences Research Institute; Liberal Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor and Distinguished Professor of Education, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Todd Rose, Co-Founder and President, Populace; Founder and Principal Investigator, Laboratory for the Science of Individuality, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Claude Steele, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University
  • Melina Uncapher, CEO and Co-Founder, Institute for Applied Neuroscience; University of California, San Francisco, Department of Neurology, Weill Institute for Neurosciences, and Kavli Institute for Fundamental Neuroscience
  • Roger Weissberg, Chief Knowledge Officer and Board Vice Chair, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL); Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Philip Zelazo, Nancy M. and John E. Lindahl Professor, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota
Association and system leaders, policymakers, and subject matter experts who were instrumental in advising the project on the nature and presentation of the design principles, how to address barriers, and how to leverage policy and practice opportunities to amplify the work.
  • Howard S. Adelman, Professor of Psychology and Co-Director of the School Mental Health Project and National Center for Mental Health in Schools, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Desmond Blackburn and Ali Picucci, New Teacher Center
  • Sheldon Berman, Superintendent, Andover Public Schools
  • Michele Cahill, Distinguished Fellow in Education and Youth Development, National Center for Civic Innovation
  • Adam Carter, Executive Director, Marshall Street, Summit Public Schools
  • LaShawn Chatmon, Executive Director, National Equity Project
  • Dan Cogan Drew, Co-Founder, Newsela
  • Eric Cooper and Yvette Jackson, National Urban Alliance
  • Deb Delisle, President, Alliance for Excellent Education
  • Lisa Dickinson, Assistant to the President, American Federation of Teachers
  • Jason Dougal, CEO, National Institute for School Leadership
  • Nancy Duchesneau, Spencer Fellow for Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, The Education Trust
  • Camille Farrington, Managing Director and Senior Research Associate, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
  • Frances Gipson, Sanford Scholar, Harmony and Inspire Programs; Director, Urban Leadership; Associate Professor, School of Educational Studies, Claremont Graduate University
  • Loretta Goodwin, Deputy Director, American Youth Policy Forum
  • Nancy Guitérrez, President and CEO, The Leadership Academy
  • Donna Harris-Aikens, Senior Director, Education Policy and Practice, National Education Association (NEA)
  • Scott Hartl and Ron Berger, EL Education
  • Beverly Hutton, Executive Director, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
  • Robert Jagers, Vice President of Research, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
  • Lindsay Jones, President and CEO, National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD)
  • Bethany Little and Joaquin Tamayo, EducationCounsel
  • Eva Mejia, Chief Learning and Strategy Officer, Big Picture Learning
  • Kathleen Minke, Executive Director, National Association of School Psychologists
  • Karen Pittman, Co-Founder, President, and CEO, Forum for Youth Investment
  • Shael Polakow-Suransky, President, Bank Street College
  • Jane Quinn, Former Vice President for Community Schools at Children’s Aid; Director, National Center for Community Schools
  • Pedro Rivera, Former Secretary of Education of Pennsylvania
  • Lisa Roy and Amy Mart, Buffet Early Childhood Institute
  • Morton Sherman, Associate Executive Director, Leadership Services, AASA
  • Hal Smith, Senior Vice President, Education, Youth Development & Health, National Urban League
  • Tony Smith, Former State Superintendent (Illinois), District Superintendent (Oakland, CA)
  • Joseph South, Chief Learning Officer, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)
  • Georgia Thompson, National Black Child Development Institute
  • Susan Toth, Executive Director, KIPP DC
  • Joan Wasser Gish, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Boston College, Center for Optimized Student Support
  • Stephanie Wood-Garnet, President, Institute for Student Achievement (ISA)
  • Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer, Digital Promise
Experienced school designers, school leaders, and experts in the fields of learning, health, and wellness, who were instrumental in co-creating design principles materials and identifying resources and illustrations of practice that captured robust, equity-oriented examples of the science of learning and development in action.
  • Jacqueline Ancess, Co-Director, National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching (NCREST) at Teachers College

  • Michele Cahill, Senior Advisor, XQ Institute
  • Daren Dickson, Founder, Valor Charter Academies
  • Lydia Dobyns and Kim Cawkwell, New Tech Network
  • Jeff Duncan-Andrade, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University; Founder, Teaching Excellence Network, Community Responsive Education Group, and Roses in Concrete Charter School
  • Ronni Gambardella, School Counselor, Consultant
  • Karen Hunter Quartz, Director, Center for Community Schooling, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Merita Irby, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President, Forum for Youth Investment
  • Cynthia Leck, Partner, Transcend Education
  • Joe Luft, Executive Director, Internationals Network
  • Sharon Olken, Director, Gateway High and Middle School
  • Carolyne Quintana, Senior Director of Social, Emotional and Academic Development, Institute for Student Achievement
  • Cynthia Robinson-Rivers, Head of School, Van Ness Elementary
  • Laura Sikes, Director of Content Design, Turnaround for Children
  • Kelly Wilson, Dean, High Tech High Graduate School of Education

We thank all of our committee members for the care and attention they gave the project and its related products. The authors also offer a special thank-you to the following committee members who provided extensive reviews of report materials and/or lent direct written content for inclusion: Howard Adelman, Jacqueline Ancess, Ron Berger, Kimberly Cawkwell, Daren Dickson, Ronni Gambardella, Joan Wasser Gish, Karen Hunter Quartz, Joe Luft, Jane Quinn, Cynthia Robinson, and Kelly Wilson. The authors are especially grateful to these individuals for their deep engagement with the project team and their efforts in co-developing the playbook’s content.

In addition, we thank Erin Chase and Aaron Reeves for their editing and design contributions to this project and the entire LPI communications team for its invaluable support in developing and disseminating this report. Jeremy Koren from Turnaround for Children and Jackie Ross from the SoLD Alliance were also provided important design contributions and supported dissemination efforts. Without their generosity of time and spirit, this work would not have been possible.

This research was supported by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Core operating support for the Learning Policy Institute is also provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Raikes Foundation, and Sandler Foundation. We are grateful to them for their generous support. The ideas voiced here are those of the authors and not those of our funders.

The appropriate citation for this report is: Learning Policy Institute & Turnaround for Children. (2021). Design principles for schools: Putting the science of learning and development into action.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

This report was originally published in June 2021. It was revised in September 2021 to add interactive elements and update recommended resources.


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