Families & the Community Opinion

Partnership Broadens Our Reach And Impact

By Learning Forward, Stephanie Hirsh & Melinda George — February 07, 2017 3 min read
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Stephanie Hirsh
Melinda George

Our nation’s education system is in the midst of big and exciting changes. States are creating their plans for supporting students and teachers under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which will shape public schools for years to come. At the same time, teachers are taking on new roles and helping students develop skills like critical thinking, media literacy, and intercultural understanding, which are more important than ever before.

One thing we know for certain is that it’s essential we hold firm to a vision of excellent teaching and learning for all students. This is a belief that has driven both Learning Forward and the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF) for years. At Learning Forward, we work to build and advance systems that provide educators with high-quality professional learning which, in turn, can yield tremendous benefits for students. And NCTAF has focused on recruiting, developing, and retaining great teachers who prepare their students for future success. Our work often has intersected over the years, and we have collaborated to share insights across the full spectrum of a teacher’s career -- from recruitment to leadership.

Now, Learning Forward and NCTAF are excited to take our collaboration to the next level: We are combining our organizations. We believe that by working together under the Learning Forward banner, we can advance efforts to rethink and improve how we develop and support teachers so that all students have access to great teaching. And, as a result, we can make a greater positive impact at this critical time for the education field.

Here are just three reasons -- among many -- that we’re thrilled about this new partnership and our joint work to support teachers so that they can best support their students.

  1. We’re addressing the full professional journey of a teacher. Being a teacher is about much more than time spent in the classroom with students. It begins with that spark that inspires someone to teach and continues through preservice training, collaboration with fellow teachers, and learning opportunities beyond the school walls. Recognizing this, we’re proud that our work now will touch everything from preparing new teachers for the classroom to encouraging veteran teachers’ ongoing learning and leadership.
  2. We’re tapping into a wider range of perspectives. There are many people with great ideas about how to support teachers -- from the more than 10,000 practitioners in Learning Forward’s international network to thought leaders like NCTAF’s commissioners and Learning Forward’s board of trustees. By bringing all of these experts to the same table, we can advance the dialogue on teaching and learning, find more effective solutions, and have more powerful impacts on policy and practice.
  3. We’re broadening our reach and impact. Over the years, we have inquired into how to help teachers better support students -- and we’ve learned a lot. Now, Learning Forward’s practical tools and on-the-ground experience with professional learning systems across the country, along with NCTAF’s research-based recommendations for states to improve their teacher-related policies, can help leaders at all levels -- federal, state, district, and school -- make better teaching and learning possible under ESSA.

As leaders, educators, and students navigate the changing landscape of American education, Learning Forward is eager to ensure that teachers’ professional learning experiences are more effective than ever. By joining forces and uniting our complementary work, we believe this partnership will enable us to work with many others in the education community to have a greater impact on the factors that affect teachers the most -- and ultimately will drive us closer to our vision of effective teaching and learning every day.

Read more about the partnership between Learning Forward and NCTAF at our website.

Stephanie Hirsh
Executive Director, Learning Forward

Melinda George
Director of Policy, Advocacy, and Partnerships, Learning Forward

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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.