A decade of support for great instruction
ANet was founded over a decade ago in response to the need expressed by educators for timely, practical, actionable data on student learning.
Listening to educators
In 2004, recent Harvard Graduate School of Education graduates Marci Cornell-Feist and John Maycock began talking to a number of Boston-area charter schools about what they needed to help all their students achieve at the highest levels. They heard teachers’ frustration that the external assessments available to them weren’t as rigorous as the state summative tests, nor were the results provided early enough for teachers to take action in response.
As an article in Education Next described, the schools told us "they needed better assessments, better data, and help understanding how to use the information…They wanted assessments that would serve as an instructional tool and not another gotcha mechanism to punish teachers.” The schools also felt isolated, unable to collaborate with or benefit from the perspective of other educators tackling similar challenges.
A responsive organization, shaped by what’s working
In 2005, Marci and John began to build a team with the knowledge and skills to address educators’ needs. When research revealed that the kind of assessments teachers envisioned simply didn’t exist, they recruited educators with expertise in assessment design and deep content knowledge. They involved teachers and leaders from the founding cohort of schools and partnered with like-minded organizations supporting schools in other states. This larger team developed ANet’s unique assessments and refined them, year after year, with teacher input and new information about the standards.
They also developed our coaching program, in which specially-trained educators work alongside school leaders to implement best practices that ANet has learned from its partner schools.
And they made local and national school networks central to the architecture of the organization in order to facilitate collaboration and idea sharing.
And, from our founding, we’ve made school networks central to the architecture of the organization in order to facilitate collaboration and idea sharing about improving school practice and increasing student learning.
Over time, more specialists joined ANet to enhance our ability to support our partners with an array of teacher-requested tools and resources. And we introduced district and CMO consulting to respond to the need we heard to help systems foster strong practice across schools.
We're now 180 people strong, all dedicated to helping schools boost student achievement in over 700 schools.