Course Overview

Inequities in education, healthcare, and other social services are often rooted in systemic challenges that organizations must work together to address. Working together requires accessible methods for organizations to collaborate, develop shared goals, and coordinate efforts to drive systemic change. Continuous Improvement (CI) offers a tried-and-true framework for organizational change and transformation. Yet, if not done with a focus on advancing equity, improvement efforts risk reproducing or exacerbating inequities instead of eliminating them. The Improvement Methods for Equity (IM4E) course brings together individuals or teams interested in learning the fundamentals of continuous improvement. The goal of IM4E is learning continuous improvement approaches that can be used in service of increasing equitable outcomes in your context.
Watch Intro Video

Shift's Approach to Improvement

IM4E introduces participants to a comprehensive set of improvement skills that will move your community toward improved, equitable outcomes. In this course, participants will learn how to:

  • Identify high-impact root causes of system problems and the most effective and lasting levers for change with a Pareto analysis.

  • Visualize your system as a whole and look critically at the present state of how your system is designed to gain a better understanding of the ways in which various elements interact with each other.

  • Learn how empathy and other skills will positively impact your improvement process by helping to foster trust, increase engagement across your community and, ultimately, create long-lasting outcomes centered on what really matters.

  • Develop shared goals by establishing scaffolded aims, linked to long term equity imperatives that go beyond the typical framework of being specific, measurable, actionable and realistic, to also ensure that the aim is inclusive and equitable.

  • Co-design change theory with a key driver diagram (KDD) to coordinate and communicate change efforts to help realize your vision for change and achieve your intended outcomes.

  • Design a portfolio of diverse and accessible measures for learning and improvement.

  • Learn how to use Run Charts to interpret your data in order to know whether the changes you’re testing are having the desired impact.

  • Use PDSA cycles to methodically test and observe how changes interact with your system so you know which ones work as intended.

The design of IM4E creates an intentional bridge to facilitate the transfer of learning to application. Participants first learn the skills with simple and accessible examples and then practice through the complex and realistic Shift Academy case study. In the next phase of the project, participants will apply the skills in their own contexts. This intentional design spans the gulf between simple learning examples and the complexity of participants’ reality.

Course Details

IM4E is a four-day virtual course facilitated over Zoom. The registration fee includes access to an online learning platform of course content facilitated by our Improvement Advisors, course learning materials, participant discussion boards, and four live webinars.

Program Schedule

  • Day 1

    Community building; Shift approach to continuous improvement; Building empathy and capacity for change

  • Day 2

    Understanding root cause with Pareto Charts; Scaffolded approach to setting a SMARTIE Aim; Creating a Theory of Change

  • Day 3

    Designing a diverse portfolio of measures; Process maps

  • Day 4

    Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles; Measurement for learning; Seeing the whole: applying continuous improvement in practice

Participant Reflections

Garner Andrews, Social Studies Teacher and Team Leader at Alexandria City High School, Alexandria City Schools, Internationals Network

“When I learned about this tool, it just opened my eyes to what I felt was missing in past years of attempting to do student growth goals … and what we’ve been doing slightly wrong. We applied [the key driver diagram] at the end of the past school year, and it was one of the most productive conversations that we had as a leadership team.”

Jon Roure, EVP & Chief Innovation Officer of the Student Leadership Network

“I felt like I had a hammer, nail, and a couple of screw drivers... then coming into IM4E, all the tools, templates, and videos, I felt like I walked into Home Depot. There were just so many more tools, so many more avenues available to me and my staff to figure out how we take this concept and put it into practice.”

Meet The Instructors

Lead Improvement Advisor

Shay Bluemer-Miriote

Improvement Advisor

Cori Davis

Lead Improvement Advisor

Karen Zeribi


  • Who should join this course?

    This course is for individuals or teams looking to learn the fundamentals of improvement and how they can be used to advance equitable outcomes.

  • What's the difference between Improvement Methods for Equity and the Inclusive Design Intensive?

    Improvement Methods for Equity (IM4E) is a prerequisite for the Inclusive Design Intensive (IDI). In IM4E, individuals or teams will learn the fundamentals of improvement and how they can be applied in service of advancing equitable outcomes. Participants will apply their learning to a Shift case study. The Inclusive Design Intensive is a team-based workshop on the key elements in designing and running your improvement initiative or network.

  • How many people will be participating in my workshop?

    That depends! This is a group learning experience where we do a fair amount of teaching but also structure the learning so that you can learn from one another. We feel that the experience needs a minimum of 16 people to be fully engaging, and will offer an alternate course date or a refund if we have fewer than 16 participants enrolled two weeks prior to the course start date. We cannot accept more than 100 participants per course at this time.

  • What is your cancellation policy?

    While we would be sad to see you go, we do offer a full refund if cancellation is made at least 24hrs before the start of the course. We cannot offer refunds once the course has started, but will do our best to make sure that you have access to all of the course materials.

  • Are there additional dates that you will be offering this course?

    We will keep the site updated with our current course offerings. If your organization has a special request, please reach out to us at

  • Need more help?

    Contact us at

Join us!

Foundational improvement skills used to advance equitable outcomes

Stay in Touch!

Add your email to the mailing list to hear about our latest offerings.