SoLD Alliance Design Principles for Schools Planning Tool

Teacher and diverse group of students in school hallway

The science of learning and development is a body of knowledge that describes how people learn and develop. It also provides many powerful lessons that can transform education systems, advance equity, and help every young person thrive. The Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance is a partnership of leading education research, practice, and policy organizations committed to building the interdisciplinary foundations and collaborative connections needed to catalyze durable, systemic transformation within and across education systems.

As a member of the SoLD Alliance, AIR has developed a Planning Tool for Developing a System for Thriving and Learning to assist educators in implementing the Guiding Principles for Equitable Whole Child Design as elaborated in the Design Principles for Schools playbook.

The Planning Tool can help education decisionmakers apply our best knowledge about how students learn and thrive to create equitable, effective, and transformative learning environments within their unique contexts. Decisionmakers can use the Planning Tool to think about and examine current and proposed programs, policies, structures, and practices. The tool uses a rubric to support individuals and teams to engage in action-oriented thought processes to consider whether plans and investments can create ideal learning environments.

The Planning Tool and related rubric are organized by three action lenses (and related playbook principles) are:

  • Positive developmental relationships in environments filled with safety and belonging;
  • Rich learning experiences that foster the development of skills, mindsets, and habits; and
  • Integrated support systems (ISS) that are strengths-based and support personalized and collective intervention.

The tool extends research that was supported by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in grants to Learning Policy Institute and Turnaround for Children.