Our Approach

We focused the field on select high-leverage root causes of the STEM teacher shortage

A Co-owned Map

We can’t solve a problem we don’t understand: to address how hard it is to get and keep great STEM teachers, we must first know why. 100Kin10 coordinated a massive and participatory process where thousands of people contributed to identifying the underlying causes of the STEM teacher shortage. The resulting map also revealed which among the 100+ causes are the most powerful levers for change. We called what emerged the Grand Challenges, dubbing the highest-impact ones the “catalysts.”

Keep an eye out for this badge across the site to learn more about how we're tackling the catalysts.

An Orientation Toward Teachers

We over-indexed toward STEM teachers themselves as we coordinated the creation of the Grand Challenges, engaging more than one thousand of them. Teachers are too often treated as objects of research and thought leadership; we knew that getting the Grand Challenges right was dependent upon centering the voices of teachers, the individuals most proximate to the problem. Different issues emerged when we talked to teachers. Their perspective and expertise was paramount to understanding the entirety of the problem...and continues to be central to how we take action on the Grand Challenges. The Teacher Forum is 100Kin10’s way of listening directly to teachers to keep our fingers on the pulse of what is happening in schools. Since 2017, the Forum has included more than 150 STEM teachers, through whose leadership we heard from over 1,400 teachers across the nation.


100Kin10 has pushed people to include teacher voices--a lot of times in these spaces, there are no teachers! By including teachers at events and always bringing it back to them, 100Kin10 has been pretty influential. People overlook the teacher and only focus on the student and their experiences, but teachers’ experiences are just as important.


- Ashley Clark, former Director of Recruitment, Academy for Urban School Leadership

Toward the Root

We aligned all 100Kin10 programs and experiences to the Grand Challenges. Doing so encouraged and supported partners to address the root causes themselves, rather than adjacent or symptomatic pain points. It also helped partners to move faster and have greater impact by finding others who were working on the same or related challenges and by accessing the research associated with a particular challenge. The Grand Challenges also provided rationale to boards and funders for strategic priorities.


The reason I was particularly excited to go to the first Summit was because of [the] Grand Challenges --when I stumbled upon them, the fact that [100Kin10] did the legwork of really diagnosing the challenges and strategically diagnosing the mutually exclusive and completely exhaustive activities to address those challenges. It gave me a really interesting roadmap to think about the challenges in this space.


- Eileen Yang, former Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship at Genentech

High-impact Focus

We even took a step beyond aligning our work to the Grand Challenges. Armed with the knowledge of which issues were the most powerful levers to unlock change (dubbed “the catalysts”), we mobilized the network to make inroads against them, one set of catalysts at a time. First, we took on nurturing positive work environments for teachers in schools; next, fostering joyful and authentic foundational math learning; and third, spurring equity in high school STEM. We prompted greater action on the catalysts in several ways: raising awareness about their importance, providing easy and on-demand access to research and knowledge, fostering issue-specific communities for idea exchange, and offering structure and time to work on these issues in particular. As a bonus, taking up one catalyst at a time (and adding more annually) not only helped us tackle the high-leverage issues -- it also re-energized people around the moonshot and helped make it feel more attainable.

of partners increased their focus on at least one of our catalyst focus areas

Hourglass Perspective

Since the earliest years of 100Kin10, we had the privilege of talking to hundreds of organizations and hearing from STEM teachers through the Teacher Forum, getting a glimpse into what was going great and what was keeping them up at night. We were uniquely positioned as the hub of a network to take in all of this information, process it, and then share it back out with the network and the field to inform their priorities and strategies. This cycle of current information and trends complemented the Grand Challenges by maintaining a steady flow of fresh ideas and ongoing progress against them and came to life in several ways, including through our annual Trends Report.


Not only did the Grand Challenges provide the inspiration for how we could think about mapping our assets, but it also provided a framework that we’re implementing at the regional level. This couldn’t have happened without 100Kin10.


- Amanda Smith, Director of K-12 Engagement, Penn State University Center for Science and the Schools

Systems orientation

The Grand Challenges map simplified the complexity of the STEM teacher shortage, breaking it down into distinct and solvable problems. At the same time, it illuminated how interrelated those problems were, enabling the field to see the system in its entirety, and with all of its distinct yet interconnected parts. A systemic view of the STEM teacher shortage, one that had never previously been possible, enabled new partnerships and initiatives that crossed traditional boundaries and yielded greater impact.