Moving from Aspirations to Action with Learner-Centered Practices

Escondido Framework for the Future

Escondido Union School District

Moving from Aspirations to Action with Learner-Centered Practices

Urban/Suburban public school district
Serving 15,000 students in grades Pre-K through 8 in Escondido, California


Diagnostic Assessment, Guiding Coalition, Framework for the Future, Learner Profile, Learning Model, Blueprint


Escondido Union School District has strengthened its redesign efforts as they shift their focus from ideation and increased investments to their system design in implementing desired outcomes that yield learner-centered instructional practices. In order to create these changes in practice surrounding instruction, processes, and structures, EUSD recognized that their work must first start with an aligned vision grounded in authentic experience and clear steps that would transform their aspirations into action.


Eager to see notable change towards learner-centered practices, this partnership kicked off with a session for principals emphasizing urgency among leadership on why these shifts were needed now. In order to identify actionable changes, the district’s approach to strategic planning began with listening to learners. Nine schools hosted student forums that helped orient EUSD’s vision and create focus areas for district transformation.

Understanding student experiences on what is working well and what can be improved, EUSD hosted Design Team sessions to define the characteristics of a learner profile and pathways for their learning model. The Design Team includes various community stakeholders including administrators, classified staff, principals, educators, parents, and more. The EUSD Framework for the Future website documents the progress from these sessions. 

EUSD also prioritized community connections to learn from other schools in the district and discover new and different models that align with the established vision and desired learner profile. The Scout Team conducted three visits and was composed of approximately 25 representatives from the Escondido learning community, including teachers, classified staff, site and district administrators, family representatives, and community leaders. These visits helped inspire a collective vision for the process of reimagining EUSD and offered opportunities to reflect, celebrate, and validate that redesigning can be done when there is clarity, alignment, and district support for actionable transformations.

The team is now creating a blueprint on how to connect these aspirations with their framework and the shifts needed to achieve their vision. Design sessions will be held working with the guiding coalition team, a cross-sectional group of leaders, in order to determine 3-5 big moves that the district can commit to doing. Moving forward, the team will define criteria to select schools that will receive coaching and facilitated thought partnerships to implement the change management process.


  • Facilitated three school visits with a scout team of 24 EUSD representatives
  • Finalized the Learner Profile and Learning Model to anchor the design process
  • Published a Framework for the Future website to document the design session progress and increase transparency across the district with greater feedback from all stakeholders
  • Nine schools hosted student forums resulting in key focus areas for growth
  • Design sessions include 73 participants from a wide variety of roles in the learning community

The work we are doing is about responding to the needs of our students. Times have changed and the needs of our students have changed and so we have to change, too. We are working towards transforming our system to provide meaningful authentic learning experiences that are truly for, about, and in the service of our students… It is about hope, and about our belief that our children are our future and that we can positively contribute to supporting each of them to actualize their unlimited potential. 

– Laura Philyaw, Deputy Superintendent, Escondido Union School District

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