Our Approach

Highlander Institute focuses on creating student-centered, personalized learning environments, particularly for historically underserved student populations in RI and across the nation. For years, the Institute has worked on improving education by centering on the educator: providing unique, tailored, embedded supports at the classroom, school, and district levels.

As a result of deep partnerships with hundreds of schools over the past 10 years, we have developed a multi-faceted approach to educational change that meets schools where they are and builds ownership through full stakeholder engagement.

Our approach includes three strands of work that each target specific sectors of our constituency. Our engagements, services, and resources are each designed to deliver value at varying levels of depth, cost, and time while offering comfortable entry points for both individuals and organizations.


Implemented through an equity lens, our Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Pedagogy (CRSP) framework drives academic improvement. Persistent achievement gaps are the result of deficient systems, not deficient students. Our instructional approach begins with awareness, encouraging teachers and leaders to recognize how current systems undermine student confidence and under-develop cognitive processing skills. Our progression of high-value teacher moves is aligned with student data and paves the way for improving student engagement, elevating higher order thinking skills, and nurturing self-directed learners -- resulting in enhanced achievement and empowered students.


Our Pathway to Personalization framework acts as a guide for scaling best practices across a school or district. In order to build momentum in any redesign effort, teachers, students, and other community stakeholders must unite as agents of change. Our framework serves as a roadmap for determining how to engage stakeholders, how to build momentum, how to align and communicate efforts, and how to measure progress along the way.

Our Offerings


Deep multi-year partnerships with schools and districts centered on change-management and professional growth


A calendar of learning opportunities for individuals to develop practical knowledge and skills related to personalized learning


A suite of free/low-cost learning materials that allow anyone to engage with our work regardless of geographic or financial considerations