Paul Bloomberg, TLC 2020 presenterOver the next few months leading up to the 2021 Teaching Learning Coaching Conference, we’ll revisit some of our favorite Coaching Conversations between Jim Knight and the amazing TLC 2021 presenters. Today’s featured Coaching Conversation features Paul Bloomberg, Founder and CEO of The Core Collaborative Learning Network.

On the day of Paul’s Coaching Conversation back in April, we ran into some technical difficulties which forced us to upload the video afterward instead of streaming it on Facebook Live as we normally would. The conversation was so fun, educational, and inspiring that Paul is fresh in our minds as we ramp up to TLC!

Paul is a force of positivity with an infectious energy. He channels this endless energy into his mission of improving schools and outcomes for all students. He truly believes that “We’re all better when we work together” and he goes out of his way to promote and elevate others. He is incredibly generous and thoughtful.


Paul partners with schools and districts globally with a focus on expanding learner ownership and agency through collaborative inquiry. While his work has always been innovative and differs from typical formative assement, the past year has sparked a new transformation to meet the changing needs of schools, emphasizing a question many of us are wondering as pandemic anxiety still looms: “What’s next?”

“When one of us does better, we ALL do better.”
—Paul Bloomberg

Impact Teams


The goal of Impact Teams is to develop an academic capacity, social capacity and emotional capacity. The number one goal is for kids to take ownership of their learning through self- and peer- assessment and goal setting, but that could apply to anything.

It could be emotional intelligence and kids acknowledging how they feel and what their next step is. It could be around collaboration. It could be around academic goals. Learning is not just about learning the standards. There’s a lot more to it than that.

It is also about growing stronger partnerships with teachers and flattening the organizational structure from a top-down approach to a more flat approach — also reducing power structures in the classroom, around partnerships with kids.

A Peer Power Revolution

Peer Power Revolution came from work with learning progressions and having kids in partnerships identify where they’re at on a progression. Then adding concepts that typically wouldn’t be in a fifth grade standard. All of a sudden, because the kids were peer assessing so much and talking about their learning through the lens of the criteria that were amped up through increased concepts or strengthening sub-concepts under others, language acquisition increased.

They started to engage and love meeting with their partners to dissect their work together. Then, kids would start integrating with social, emotional learning, and talk about how they were feeling when they got stuck and how they could shift that emotional state. The kids were having fun and the teachers just became more motivated to make it better and better.

The book came from that. Teachers donated chapters from all different content areas. It grew out of a need.

The Effects of the Pandemic

No one fully understands the impact that this has had on so many communities. More concerning than “learning loss” is the trauma kids, teachers, parents, and families will be carrying with them. However, one good that came from it is the deeper connection to families.

The youngest learners are some of the most vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic because of things like the lack of consistency with reading foundation. However, it is important to focus on what they did learn because there are also a lot of things that they have learned. If educators come back and don’t acknowledge the strengths that they’re all bringing to the table, we’re all going to miss the point.

Watch the full hour-long conversation below:


Paul Bloomberg is the co-author of the best-selling book, Leading Impact Teams: Building a Culture of Efficacy (2016, Corwin Press) and a lead author of Peer Power! Unite, Learn and Prosper: Activate an Assessment Revolution (2019, Mimi and Todd Press).






Coaching Conversations is a recurring ICG interview series on Facebook Live and YouTube in which Jim Knight speaks with leaders in coaching and education about their work and experiences.

Join us on Monday, June 21st, 2021 at 4:00pm CST for a brand new Coaching Conversation as Jim chats with Kristin Anderson, founder and CEO of the Brilliance Project, about the connection between pedagogy and professional performance.

Submit your questions for Kristin here >>