In our effort to model and practice continuous improvement, earlier this year we sent an online satisfaction survey to every principal participating in the Learning School Alliance, then followed up with phone conversations as part of our mid-year check-in process with LSA schools. The purpose of the check-in was to gauge how well LSA is supporting their needs to create, sustain, or improve professional learning communities on their campuses.
The feedback we received was eye-opening, and I found the principals’ candor and willingness to talk frankly about their experience thus far to be incredibly valuable. The principals ran the gamut from seasoned veterans to first-year school leaders, but there were a number of common themes in their responses.
Participants liked being in a cohort with schools facing the same challenges they have, and were quick to say they prized the interaction with other schools, campus teams, and facilitators. They see their LSA facilitators as trusted supporters of their learning who they can rely upon to coach them, supply resources, and serve as a sounding board to help their teams get unstuck.
One thing they brought up that we will continue to work on is including more differentiation of LSA content to speak even more specifically to the problems of practice they examine throughout the year. Also, they asked that we be sure to include strategies for “high flying” schools that want to take their professional learning communities up a notch.
Finally, LSA participants want to continue developing skills that help them move beyond the mechanics of professional learning communities and get to the high-level implementation phase where adults are totally responsible for their learning and the learning of their students. And that is a key goal for us in working with all of our LSA schools: that we will continue to build a network of schools that are committed to developing, improving and maintaining a culture where continuous learning for all educators leads to increased achievement for all students.
Learning Forward is currently taking applications from schools interested in joining the next cohort of the Learning School Alliance. The application deadline is March 15. Learn more about LSA and apply here.
Carol V. Francois
Director of Learning, Learning Forward
The opinions expressed in Learning Forward’s PD Watch are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.