What is a Changemaker School?
Critical Thinking + Empathy + Innovation = Changemaking
Our founder, Kristina Kraychy first discovered the idea of a 'Changemaker School' as a Graduate Student at the University of San Diego, a designated Ashoka Changemaker University. After participating in an international Changemaker course where she spent time working in Changemaker schools and participating in Changemaking workshops in San Diego and Madrid, Spain, Kristina knew this was the model from which she would build the school she had been envisioning for over a decade.
Changemaker schools are not part of a franchise or specific ideology and Ashoka does not offer a set-curriculum or prescribed program. The common thread is that all members of the school community 'think outside of the box' and interact with empathy and respect for all.
Over the last three years, Ashoka has built a network of over 250 schools around the world that are cultivating changemaking skills in their students.
What is a Changemaker School according to Ashoka?
"The Ashoka Changemaker Schools Network is a global community of leading elementary, middle, and high schools that prioritize empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving as learning outcomes. These schools are leading a transformation in education that supports children as changemakers – individuals with the skill set and connection to purpose that enable them to generate ideas and take initiative to effectively solve problems and drive positive change...
Alignment: Changemaker Schools, in aspiration and practice, cultivate students as changemakers. They are vision-oriented and focused on the “who” rather than the “what,” developing children as active contributors rather than passive recipients. They have high standards of excellence for students, teachers, and staff alike. They are also making the development of empathy a priority in their curricula, culture, and systems. They may be far advanced in these efforts or just beginning, but school leadership is committed to an aligned vision and has taken steps in pursuit of it.
Innovation: Changemaker Schools are innovating. They have demonstrated their ability and willingness to develop and test new ideas, rather than just following established norms. The leadership fosters a culture of innovation in the school.
Influence: Changemaker Schools have the authority, reputation, and relevance needed to influence others in the education sector. There is no singular measure of influence, but Changemaker Schools – whether public, charter, independent, large, small, urban, rural, low-income, or affluent – all have clear aspiration and either the demonstrated capacity or obvious potential to attract others to follow their lead.
Change Leader & Change Team: Changemaker Schools have an individual change leader within the school, who has the vision and characteristics to effectively guide institutional change, and leads a cross-stakeholder change team, which may include teachers, parents, students, staff and/or community members. This team is committed to working with the change leader to highlight and advance the school’s efforts to ensure students develop the skill of empathy."