March 16, 2017

From: Erin Dodge

Arapahoe High School

2201 E Dry Creek Rd.

Centennial, CO 80121

To: Yidan Prize Selection Committee


Greetings and salutations:

It is with great pleasure that I take time out of my day as a high school teacher to endorse and recommend the Colorado ASCD P-20 Framework 2021 for the Yidan Prize. The criteria identified for individuals receiving the Yidan Prize is that they contribute something sustainable, innovative, future-oriented, and transformative in education. While the Colorado ASCD Framework contains all four elements, the one that I want to spend time towards in my letter today is the project’s innovative qualities.

As a relatively new classroom teacher, I foresee the Framework putting forward an innovative process for forming and disseminating pedagogical approaches that are useful for all teachers and students. I am an educator of five years and a holder of an Master’s of Arts in my content area, and my perspective on education combines the newer approaches that are now taught in universities and a more objective view on current trends in education.

Research has shown time and again that a strict adherence to a completely standardized or one-size-fits-all education does not enhance student growth and development over time. As a teacher, I have seen firsthand that a student will learn enough information to pass the curriculum unit assessment but will forget the material as soon as the next unit begins. Another example of current trends that I have noticed is: teachers and students obsess over standardized tests, wondering how much test preparation can be offered before the next testing date for the ACT or SAT. Despite passing benchmark tests, more and more students graduate from secondary school or even from university without a sense of purpose or direction, because they have not practiced self-reflection, self-direction, critical thinking, or action in the wider world.

With the introduction of the Framework, members of Colorado ASCD are providing a set of tools and resources that refocus on what is best for students -- varied, scaffolded learning over time that encourages the creation and retention of life skills. Because the Framework has been and will continue to be made with the help of classroom educators who are in constant contact with students, the lesson ideas that the Framework offers are ones that have worked in the classroom. Moreover, because the Framework offers multiple pathways for teaching and learning, students can benefit from instructional approaches that are appropriate to their particular developmental stage and their particular background knowledge. The types of pedagogy involved with the Framework push students towards higher order thinking, including the Framework’s Inquiry and Play-Based Learning sections.

While the Framework still requires some additional time and feedback in order to reach a more finalized state, the potential behind this project cannot be ignored. The Colorado ASCD members creating this tool present innovative solutions to existing problems in education, and with the Yidan Prize, the road to finalization will be made even more clear.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Erin Dodge

Language Arts Teacher

Arapahoe High School

Instructional Excellence Partners, LLC

6208 W. 126th St.  Overland Park, Kansas  66209

Dear Yidan Prize Committee:

I am pleased to write this recommendation supporting the nomination of Colorado ASCD’s Framework 2021: A P-20 Vision for Learning in Colorado project for the Yidan prize. I have served as a teacher and administrator, authored several books on instructional practice, and provided professional development for teachers and administrators in the United States and internationally for over 40 years. I am an Apple Distinguished Educator and former National Principal of the Year.

With each of these experiences, I have seen firsthand the need for tools that help teachers design high quality lessons that integrate technology, are geared to students’ interests, and focus on developing the critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills that are necessary for students to succeed in school and beyond. The Framework of learning experiences developed by the Framework 2021 project is a tool that meets teachers’ needs and prepares students for the demands of their future work environments. The framework broadens the traditional curriculum framework to include the social and emotional expectations today’s students will need to be productive and valued citizens, employees, and innovators.

In addition to providing the kind of guidance teachers need to develop high quality lessons, the Framework 2021 project also attends to development of teachers’ leadership skills. By focusing on shared leadership, the Framework 2021 project recognizes that teachers are at the core of instructional improvement and provides ways for them to focus their improvement efforts, working collaboratively with one another and their administrators. This aspect of the project is both innovative and transformative, as are the connections that are made between P-12 education and higher education.

I am certain that the Framework 2021 project will have long-lasting impact in Colorado, and potentially have a broader impact. For teachers, the project provides unique opportunities for professional growth, both in terms of what they learn about sharing leadership and the insights they gain into teaching and learning. Most important, students have learning experiences that are engaging, relevant, personalized, and purposeful. For these reasons, I strongly support Colorado ASCD’s Framework 2021: A P-20 Vision for Learning in Colorado for the Yidan prize.

If you need additional information, please contact me at or by phone at +1-720-838-4606.


Howard Pitler, Ed.D

Founding Partner, Instructional Excellence Partners, LLC




Instructional Excellence Partners, LLC


Digital Journey

209 Hobby St.

Georgetown, TX. 78633 USA



Yidan Prize Selection Committee

Yidan Prize for Education Research


Phone:  (852) 2155 1581

RE:  Support letter of recommendation

As an International Educational Consultant in the area of School Improvement, utilizing 21st Century Skills, I am writing this letter of support for the Framework 2021 Project. 

This project is led by Colorado ASCD, an education organization that focuses on providing professional growth, voice, and innovation for Colorado educators and advocating for the success of each Colorado learner.   I am a past board member of this outstanding and innovative  organization  that has provided educational leadership to the communities in the state of Colorado.

For leaders to be effective in changing a school environment and an organization, they need to demonstrate the characteristics of “Innovative Leaders”.  The Colorado ASCD has demonstrated the following characteristics over the past four years.

1.    Visionary – The organization knows how to design, create and implement a shared vision.  They can take a “powerful vision” and break it down to what it looks like in the classroom. 

2.    Networked – Personal Learning Networks are imperative to growth and innovation.  They are connected to many communities in the state of Colorado.

3.    Open Risk Takers – They do not accept the status quo. They understand how to effectively execute an innovative idea, whether they do it themselves or delegate to a small team of others.

4.    Scale – They know how to scale their innovation to a level that can affect many educators and students.

5.    Models Learning – They understand and know how to create  new and better ideas. They desire to do better things for students, and are willing to immerse themselves into new learning opportunities.  They have discovered that educators rarely create something different until they experience something different.

6.    Focused on Relationships – Colorado ASCD has demonstrated that spending time with people and building solid relationships with them leads to educators going miles beyond what is expected and move away from “what has always been done”.  When educators know they are valued and safe in trying new things, they are more likely to do something better. 

I fully support the purpose, goals and vision of the Framework 2021: A P-20 Vision for Learning in Colorado.  I firmly believe that the Colorado ASCD project will improve instruction in order to fully engage students in their learning and prepare them for the world in which they will work and contribute.

Thank you for your consideration of Colorado ASCD for the Yidan Prize for Education Research.  This project is an innovative and creative project that will provide a strong and educationally sound foundation to address the pressing problems of student engagement, development of students’ thinking, problem-solving, and life skills.  It is based on the beliefs that reflect Colorado ASCD’s commitment to uniting and influencing the Pre-K through university (P-20) educational community to promote equity and success for each learner.

As the C.I.O of Digital Journey, I highly support the Framework 2021 Project.  It is my belief that by funding the project, it will provide educators and students opportunities that include play-based learning, inquiry-based learning, personalized learning, experiential learning, competency-based learning, design-thinking, and connected communities.

If you have any other question, please feel free to contact me at my Email address:


Howie DiBlasi, Ph.D


Digital Journey

Kiffany Lychock

Director of Educational Innovations

Boulder, Colorado 80303


March 16, 2017

To Whom It May Concern: 

I am pleased to write this letter in support of the Framework 2021 project in development by CO ASCD. This framework sets forth a vision to improve instruction for all students. This project will help to align work happening across the state in pre-k through undergraduate college degree programs. Admirably, this work is being done by the experts in the field, our teachers.

In addition to providing alignment of instructional outcomes for student success skills (often referred to as “21st Century Skills” or “Soft Skills”), Framework 2021 has the potential to have a much bigger impact through its focus on global connectivity. The emphasis on support for schools in our rural areas will have a significant impact on positive outcomes for students.

We are at an important crossroads in education. As we move away from a system that was by and large designed for an agricultural and industrial society toward one that supports the needs of modern day college and career readiness, Framework 2021 gives our educational leaders and teachers an opportunity to make instructional shifts that are grounded in research and supported through quality professional learning.

Receiving the Yidan Prize would allow for this well-designed and facilitated work to continue its work in a sustainable and thoughtful manner. As a leader in education, I encourage you to consider not only the impact of the Framework 2021 on students in the state of Colorado, but also the potential for it to support a global shift in how we think about student outcomes due to the focus on connectivity in the Framework. Should you have further questions for me concerning my support for the work of CO ASCD, I would be happy to speak with you via phone at 720-384-7613 or via email at


Kiffany Lychock

Director of Educational Innovations for the Boulder Valley School District

March 16, 2017

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing this letter in support of Colorado ASCD’s nomination for the Yidan Prize for their pioneering work in crafting Framework 2021: A P-20 Vision for Learning in Colorado. It is an innovative approach to aligning standards and outcomes for all the children of Colorado, and it is worthy of your serious consideration for this recognition.

Key to the success of this project is its grassroots approach to reform, bringing together education practitioners from across the P-20 Colorado educational community to develop, disseminate, and use the content of the Framework, to practice knowledge and soft skills in authentic ways across all content and levels. This began initially with gallery gatherings that were held region by region across the state, gathering input from teachers and administrators, alike.

The data collected from the gallery gatherings was foundational in planning teacher leadership training, to give stakeholders the skills needed to help develop and implement the framework as an organic, iterative process. Unlike the typical top-down approaches to education reform, Framework 2021 builds a living, breathing document that everyone from preschool teachers to college professors can use to align the education experience of Colorado students everywhere in the state.

This can have an especially profound impact on teacher training programs within the state. With the framework in place, colleges of education will be able to prepare teachers with content, strategies and pedagogy that truly engage pre-service teachers in the skills, values and attitudes that are critical to success in the 21st century. The result will be outcomes for teachers and students that help Colorado claim and retain a competitive edge in attracting industries and employers seeking communities that invest in education and provide graduates who are truly college, career and citizenship ready.

The processes and strategies used to craft Framework 2021 are replicable and scalable for any state or nation willing to create the same kind of alignment in education for students across their educational career. The framework is applicable across cultures and practices, focusing on the skills, knowledge and contexts that help all children everywhere to become engaged global citizens who contribute to society. Colorado ASCD is ready and willing to share their work and experience with all interested local, state and federal education agencies interested in making the framework their own.

What is key for me in witnessing the initiation and growth of this project is the impact this project will have on Colorado students for generations to come. Framework 2021 is a legacy Colorado ASCD can be proud to leave to its state, and I am excited at the possibilities for extending this legacy to schools around the world. I heartily endorse Framework 2021 as a worthy recipient of the inaugural Yidan prize.



Dennis N. Corash, PhD

303 437-6509

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