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We are Capacity-Builders
We are Capacity-Builders

Schools are filled with limitless capacity for great learning, teaching and leading. We strip away complexity and turn silos into systems. We clear a path that leads ‘from good to great’, and we stay around for the journey. This is how we meet our mission: Everybody Learns.

We are Culture-Builders
We are Culture-Builders

Schools are learning cultures so we intentionally co-construct all the features of a great learning culture: a shared learning language, shared beliefs, values and norms, shared transfer goals, shared artifacts, shared celebrations of learning.

We are Curriculum-Builders
We are Curriculum-Builders

Learners need learning pathways so we co-create a seamless learning continuum for our times: clear Learning Goals embedded in compelling Learning Modules, connected in one coherent Learning Matrix.

We are Community-Builders
We are Community-Builders

It’s only a culture if everyone owns it…so we work actively with the school’s leadership to reach all learning stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, Boards, to build ownership of your learning culture.

We are Context Builders
We are Context-Builders

We always co-create in context. We can also help to co-create the context: all the supporting systems that make a school. We are particularly experienced, for example, in supporting schools with their accreditation process, and creating strategic plans that synthesise the school's priorities with accreditation recommendations and CGC initiatives so that the school only has one plan, not multiple versions. We do love simplicity!

We are Principle-Driven
We are Principle-Driven

The Common Ground Collaborative is bonded together by a set of values that create a shared picture of the future of learning that is distinctly different from anything else “out there”.

See our principles

The Common Ground Collaborative (CGC) is a non- profit organization headquartered in the USA, with Regional Offices in Europe and Latin America. The CGC has grown in impact and influence since our founding in 2014. Our members include international and national schools, both independent and public.

We work with everyone from new schools in Quito to well-established independent schools in Toronto. We work in public school districts in the USA and in public ‘experimental schools’ in China. We work with partners, both nonprofit and for-profit, to reach thousands of learners currently mired in learning poverty.

Our primary process is conversation. When schools join the CGC, they do not adopt a fixed programme, they join a conversation. Together we puzzle out what is best for the school, or other organization, co-creating customized models in context, using the CGC’s acquired experience and practical models.

Our theories are built backwards from decades of experience in leading, teaching and learning in multiple contexts and cultures and yet are rooted in decades of research and acquired wisdom drawn from the rich well of progressive, constructivist education.

We hope that you will find our work interesting, and perhaps intriguing enough for you to contact us with a view to joining our global conversation.

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David Perkins' great book, 'King Arthur's Round Table' states that 'organizations ARE conversations'. Michael Fullan observes,' We are all sense-makers, and our best sense-making tool is conversation'. That statement highlights a long-standing if hidden, division in education...between those who see education as information-passing and those who see it as meaning-making.


A typically thought-provoking post from Holly Reardon reminded me of a great insight shared in a workshop by a young teacher at Clarion School in Dubai. To paraphrase, she said, " I think of owning learning like owning my apartment. If I own my place, I invest in it, I look after it. I furnish it with care. It reflects who I am and the things I've done and collected. It's part of my identity. It's mine, it's me.

Read More about OWNING or RENTING?

Based on a synthesis of teachings from Plato to contemporary philosophers, Fr. Spitzer identifies five transcendentals: truth, love, justice/goodness, beauty, and home/being. These five transcendentals describe aspects of ultimate reality that we all not only have an awareness of but desire to be perfect. 

Read More about WHERE IS BEAUTY?
ON School, IN School

It's funny, whenever I'm on a webinar discussing the need to transform education, we all seem to be in violent agreement...and yet...the knowing-doing gap seems as wide as ever. A good friend of mine, a school director, shared a reason: 'It's hard to work on school, in school'. He's right...IN school we are bombarded with the daily firehose of's hard to step back and design transformational systems. It falls to those of us who are no longer IN school, to work ON school in support of our immersed colleagues.

Read More about ON School, IN School

If schools are cultures, and if a culture only works if everybody buys in, then it makes sense to engage our learners in co-creating our culture. With that in mind, I've been engaging with learners in tapping into their insights into the learning process. Not through surveys or focus groups, but through a different approach.