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New Photo Project Showcases Deeper Learning in Action

Nearly 500 Royalty-Free, High-Quality Images of Teachers and Students Available for Use by Editors, Educators, and Nonprofit Organizations

Washington, DC—The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) today released the second edition of its popular online photo gallery “American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action” aimed at demonstrating what deeper learning looks like in the classroom—both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The collection features nearly 200 new photos of teachers and K–12 students of all ages and backgrounds engaged in classrooms across the country just before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down schools. With the new images, the gallery now contains 487 original print-quality, royalty-free images of what deeper learning looks like in the classroom. The gallery will be updated in the near future with additional photos and b-roll footage for use in videos.

“These are some of the final images we have of classroom-based instruction prior to the coronavirus sending students and teachers home for months of online instruction,” said Deborah Delisle, All4Ed president and CEO. “The idea of deeper learning is evolving as schools across the country rethink how they deliver instruction, and we are excited to see what that shift produces in thoughtful, innovative ways of engaging students.”

The images are openly licensed photos and can replace the many outdated stock images of education that exist. They are available for noncommercial use by organizations, news outlets, website designers, and others. All4Ed is making the photos available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the 200 new images added to the photo gallery feature teachers and students from UCLA Community School in Los Angeles and Sutton Middle School in Atlanta.

The images were captured by Allison Shelley, a photojournalist based in Washington, DC. Shelley is cofounder of the nonprofit Women Photojournalists of Washington and has worked as director of photography for Education Week and as a staff photographer for The Washington Times. Her photography regularly is featured in publications such as National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Guardian, among others.

“This collaboration has been a refreshing opportunity to apply my experience with photography in the educational space for an organization that both respects creative teaching and learning, and values nonstaged image making,” said Shelley. “The deeper learning model engages students and teachers in unique ways, and I am excited to continue to document this approach as it evolves and adapts to meet these challenging times.”

Organizations and news outlets that have used the photos for reports, websites, and social media content include Black Enterprise, Education Week, KQED MindShift, Council of Chief State School Officers, Children’s Equity Project, Learning Policy Institute, and New America.

American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action” is available at


The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.


A free library of photos celebrating students—and the educators who teach them—in seven schools across the United States.
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