Our research brought to life with real-world results.

“A lot of things that we have learned have come from students in particular, having them in on the discussions, joining them in with us on the rubrics… getting their perspectives on things. It’s been a bit of an eye opener.”

“I am more selective of the activities I use with students…students are more open with providing feedback about what they enjoy doing/learning about. Students are more appreciative.”

“It was coming from the children… from their word of mouth… what they want to improve their education.”

“The Learner First workshops helped me realize that we should put our learner first before all the teaching procedures. We need to understand and figure out their identities first so that it will help our teaching become smoother. “

“[I] recognize that I’m allowed to be flexible in the classroom, that I can make small changes to my practice to enable a child to progress – it might take a week, it might take a month, it might take a term, but I can allow a student to do that.”

“…take the time to do this work, even if you feel you don’t have to–it will make a difference.”

“Overall, this experience has boosted my professional confidence and emphasized the significance of fostering a safe and supportive learning environment.”

“It’s good when the teacher gives us a voice to express ourselves in class.”

“Through our work with Chris Dench and The Learner First we know exactly what our students need because our students have told us and mapped their stories with their teachers. We are now using this knowledge to shape our Student Success Plan for 2024.”

“ [TLF Workshops]…made me appreciate the opportunity to conduct lessons in a more creative way, and also to allow students a broader experience and open-minded approach to their learning. “

“[Contributive Learning Design]… challenged me to think of more creative ways to engage students in learning in an AP course.”

“As a teacher, this [professional learning] prompted me to try a range of tools and strategies in the class. Student feedback has been helpful in identifying what has been and not been successful, however also be aware of levels of engagement in the strategies has been informative.”

“It [Contributive Learning Design] is making me much more aware of my classroom, and therefore the needs of the kid. It’s also made me a much calmer teacher, much more thoughtful, and a much calmer person in the classroom.”


interviews and perspectives from the educators in our partner schools

Margaret May Blackwell Fellow awarded to Dr. Jo Knox

KEA World Class Award Winner

TLF Math Executive Director Featured in Intrepid News Article

Enterprising Women of the Year 2022

TLF Maths in the Otago Times (New Zealand)

Edmund Hillary Fellowship

Cesar Chavez Teacher, Molly Jaynes: Part Two

Cesar Chavez Teacher, Molly Jaynes: Part One

Cesar Chavez Principal, Laura Morris: Part Two

Cesar Chavez Principal, Laura Morris: Part One

Cesar Chavez Librarian, Heidi Tuers-Jackson: Part Two

Cesar Chavez Librarian, Heidi Tuers-Jackson: Part One


An in-depth look at some of our partnerships

Goldendale School District, Goldendale, WA USA

Goldendale School District (GSD) is a district of three schools—Goldendale Primary School, Goldendale Middle School, and Goldendale High School—and 900 students. The district began its partnership with The Learner First (TLF) beginning in 2019 to support its vision of meeting the academic and social and emotional learning needs of all students through an implementation framework rooted in three core areas: (1) cultural conditions, (2) learning design, and (3) teaching and learning outcomes.

Goldendale School District and The Learner First 2020-2021 Report

New Zealand Ministry of Education

We partnered with the New Zealand Ministry of Education to design a national initiative aimed at supporting teachers to design better learning.

Designed as a national resource that is regionally based, the Curriculum Lead roles strengthen the Ministry’s frontline curriculum resources and engage schools, kura, early learning services, and kōhanga reo to create curriculum that is right for today and tomorrow, supporting the cultures, identities, languages, and well-being of all ākonga.

A National Initiative that puts well-being first

Queensland Schools Report, Australia

At the heart of the learning journeys of those engaged with The Learner First is a deeper understanding of who learners really are, not just as students, but as diverse individuals. By developing relationships built on trust and belonging, embedding new knowledge of their students in learning, and embracing the development of learners’ wellbeing as the true and real purpose of teaching and learning, schools are successfully guiding their students to improved academic and lifelong success.

Queensland schools partnering with The Learner First have reported and provided evidence that they experienced tremendous shifts in culture, mindset, practice and outcomes, supporting the progression not only of students but also of teachers and other school staff.

Queensland Schools Report February 2021

In the News

Partner schools who are making the headlines

Congratulations to the Goldendale School District (Goldendale, WA USA) School Board! (2021)

The Learner First has partnered with Goldendale School District (GSD) in Washington State since 2019. GSD’s School Board was awarded Board of the Year (2021) in the category of Small School Districts for its extraordinary efforts in supporting GSD’s focus on learning and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congratulations to the GSD School Board, Superintendent Ellen Perconti, and all GSD staff, students, and families for their tremendous success and distinction.

Blazing Trails in Oklahoma Public Schools (2016)

Sparked by their work with The Learner First, Oklahoma City Public Schools have ditched test driven teaching tools in favor of a bold, new direction: project-based learning. The exciting new teaching methods have drawn the attention of the Oklahoma Gazette.

Check out their awesome article about what this means for the learners in their district.

Ready to get started?

Contributive Learning™ develops self-understanding, connection, knowledge, and competency.

When these come together, we add to the world. And that leads to meaning, fulfillment, and well-being.

Reach out today to learn more or get started!

Develop self-understanding.
Cultivate knowledge.
Foster competency.
Make connections.

Don’t bring down—lift people up.
Don’t subtract—add to the world.

Learn to contribute, in your way, every day.