Greetings playbook reader!

I'm so glad we found each other! I'm Nina. Together with lots of amazing people, I'm part of the crew that makes Assemble happen.

Welcome to the Assemble playbook! Here you’ll find the big ideas underpinning our approach to learning, the tiny details that actually make those big ideas work, and lots of other things of all shapes and sizes in between.

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But wait, what is Assemble? Well, it's lots of things: an art gallery, a summer camp, an afterschool program, a community center. It's a noun. It's a verb. We'll get into all of that later, but I'm here to tell you that the what doesn't matter much without the why and the how. Those are the things this playbook focuses on. We're not trying to make a bunch of duplicate cookie-cutter Assembles pop up all over the place. We're trying to help you create the conditions for change that we’ve seen over the past decade at Assemble: students gaining confidence, teachers becoming better learners, families participating in their children’s learning, and communities getting more connected. This is what an Assemble approach can make possible.

We’ve been Assembling since 2011. We've learned a lot in that time about how to create spectacular learning experiences in partnership with students, teachers, families, and communities. From time to time, people have asked us how to do it themselves. Truth is, we don't have a simple answer for that. That's because Assemble is a remix of ideas, experiences, and theories that we're constantly building as we experiment with our neighbors and friends. Assemble is still changing, and it always will—being experimental is part of our DNA.

This playbook is our attempt at sharing everything we know about assembling. We know that starting from scratch is hard. We made this playbook so you don’t have to. We hope it gives you just enough to begin.

We’re so excited for you to read this, try out some of our ideas, keep the things that work, skip the things that don't, and remix it all with your own ideas in your own way with your community. That's the spirit!

Yours in Assembling,

Nina Barbuto November 2020

P.S. Just like Assemble itself, this playbook is a group project. Making it for you was a labor of love by more than a dozen Assemble teachers, past and present. The pages of the playbook represent their collective brilliance.

I'm forever grateful to each and every one of them for the time, talent, and care they put into building Assemble with me over the years, and their generosity in sharing their wisdom to create this playbook. Thank you thank you thank you! 🤗

See everyone who contributed to the playbook in the Acknowledgements.

Ready to get started? Find out How to Use This Playbook.

Or, return to the table of contents Some Assembly Required to choose your own adventure.