The Council of State Governments (CSG) has created the Deeper Learning Focus Group, a diverse national panel of experts, for a series of meetings targeting what students learn, how they learn it and how they demonstrate their knowledge.

Deeper Learning is a teaching method that involves a more rigorous and student-focused curriculum than under traditional teaching strategies. It also involves learning that is research-driven rather than textbook-driven, critical thinking and problem-solving activities, effective communication, collaboration, and students monitoring and directing their own work.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is one of 26 members of this focus group.

The Deeper Learning Focus Group is comprised of state legislators, high-ranking officials from state education departments, members of state boards of education, local school district administrators, education advisers to mayors and governors, and representatives from national education agencies and corporate partners.

The group held its inaugural meeting March 8-10 in Las Vegas and began developing a comprehensive list of state and local policies and practices that will ensure new Deeper Learning strategies known are embedded in classrooms across the country.

Through Deeper Learning the role of the teacher is changing from a dispenser of information to a guide who helps students turn information into knowledge and understanding. The mission of the Deeper Learning Focus Group is to provide a roadmap to help policymakers navigate the best course to achieve these outcomes and overcome barriers they may encounter along the way.

“Reaching that point where deeper learning can occur will not happen in a vacuum,” CSG Education Policy Director Pam Goins said. “Deeper learning is the foundation to help ensure all students are college- and career-ready. State and local policies and practices must come together to make sure every student, regardless of where he or she lives, benefits from this high-quality redesign of public education.”

Members of the Deeper Learning Focus Group also will meet on April 26-28 in Hollywood, Fla. After that meeting, CSG will issue a report that will provide a framework for actions that can be taken by state policymakers to incorporate the principles of Deeper Learning in public education.

CSG’s Deeper Learning Focus Group members include:

  • Emilie Amundson, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Linda Archembault, Gibson Middle School, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Superintendent Jack Dale, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Senator Vivian Davis Figures, Alabama
  • Valerie Greenhill, EdLeader 21
  • Chairman Bill Harrison, North Carolina State Board of Education
  • Scott Hartl, Expeditionary Learning
  • Terrance Heron, Microsoft Corporation
  • Martez Hill, North Carolina State Board of Education
  • Commissioner Terry Holliday, Kentucky Department of Education
  • Allyson Knox, Microsoft Corporation
  • Denise Link, Cleveland Metropolitan School District Board
  • Assemblywoman Marilyn Dondero Loop, Nevada
  • Superintendent Susan Lusi, Providence Public School District, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Abbe Mattson, Explore Knowledge Academy, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Representative Lisa Meier, North Dakota
  • Rachael Peckham, Gibson Middle School, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Representative Sondy Pope-Roberts, Wisconsin
  • Steve Pound, Maine State Board of Education
  • Representative Karen Rohr, North Dakota
  • Angela Romans, Mayor Angel Traveras’ office, Providence, Rhode Island
  • Scheherazade Salimi, Mayor Vincent Gray’s office, Washington, D.C.
  • Marty Smith, Fairfax County Public Schools
  • Representative Jeff Thompson, Idaho
  • Janet Waugh, Kansas State Board of Education
  • Erin Wheeler, Clairemont Elementary, Decatur, Georgia

The Deeper Learning Focus Group is funded through a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from CSG’s 21st Century Foundation.

The Council of State Governments is the nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. With headquarters in Lexington, Ky., CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy.