What is a Changemaker School?

Ashoka’s Changemaker Schools aspire to create a world where all children are empathetic leaders, capable of working in teams to solve problems for the good of all. Ashoka selected and supported schools that were ready and able to help lead the transformation in education. We work with these schools as thought partners to articulate this shared vision for education, amplify their best practices, and grow their impact by facilitating collaboration with Ashoka’s global community of leading social entrepreneurs, business leaders, and other innovators in universities, media, and many other sectors. Together, we can re-imagine, co-create and lead a transformation in education such that every child becomes a changemaker. 

Changemaker Schools Share a Common Identity: 

Changemaker Schools are schools of all age levels, types, geographies, and demographics. Despite their diversity, the schools share common characteristics as they have been elected on the basis of the following criteria: 

  1. Empathy and Changemaking: Changemaker Schools, in aspiration and practice, cultivate students as changemakers. They are vision-oriented and focused on the “who” rather than the “what,” developing children as active contributors rather than passive recipients. They have high standards of excellence for students, teachers, and staff alike. They are also making the development of empathy a priority in their curricula, culture, and systems. They may be far advanced in these efforts or just beginning, but school leadership is committed to an aligned vision and has taken steps in pursuit of it.

  2. Innovation: Changemaker Schools are innovating. They have demonstrated their ability and willingness to develop and test new ideas, rather than just following established norms. The leadership fosters a culture of innovation in the school. 

  3. Influence: Changemaker Schools have the authority, reputation, and relevance needed to influence others in the education sector. There is no singular measure of influence, but Changemaker Schools – whether public, charter, independent, large, small, urban, rural, low-income, or affluent – all have clear aspiration and either the demonstrated capacity or obvious potential to attract others to follow their lead. 

The Role of Change Leaders:

Changemaker Schools have an individual Change Leader within the school, who has the vision and characteristics to effectively guide institutional change, and leads a cross-stakeholder change team, which may include teachers, parents, students, staff and/or community members. This team is committed to working with the Change Leader to highlight and advance the school’s efforts to ensure students develop the skill of empathy. 

Purpose Statement of The Change-leaders Community of Practice:

“Advocating education practice that ignites the potential of educators and young people to become changemakers; in a way that increases individual and collective capacity for perspective, empathy and agency so that we can reframe success and meet the challenges of our complex world.”

Changemaker Schools in the UK & Ireland

Since 2017, we have stopped electing additional Changemaker Schools and we are focusing on developing synergies within the existing network, while building a shared community of practice. Meantime, we look for different ways to engage with like-minded allies in advancing our Everyone a Changemaker vision through Changemaker Education. If you are interested in getting in touch, please contact us at [email protected].

Staff Members