Leading Educators Joins Forces with Oakland Unified School District, EL Education to Boost Learning

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Adan Garcia, Associate Director of Communications
(202) 510-0827, marketing@leadingeducators.org

LEADING EDUCATORS JOINS FORCES WITH OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, EL EDUCATION TO BOOST LEARNING

Partnership will strengthen students’ opportunities for engaging learning in English language arts

September 5, 2019

OAKLAND, CA -  Starting this fall, Leading Educators will partner with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and EL Education to support engaging English Language Arts experiences for middle school students.   

OUSD has launched a three-year effort to adopt high-quality curricula across all subjects so teachers can ensure every student experiences challenging, grade-appropriate learning that prepares them to succeed.  OUSD has also built a strong leadership infrastructure that provides site-based instructional support roles known as Teachers on Special Assignment (TSA) in middle school. Through this partnership, Leading Educators will work with OUSD to align school-based professional learning for teachers to new curricula so teachers have consistent opportunities to strengthen their skills and apply new knowledge to lessons alongside peers. By enabling structural changes across the district that focus on creating consistently strong learning experiences, teachers will have more support to teach and inspire diverse learners to high levels no matter their starting place.

During the first year, Leading Educators will work with district and school leaders to establish supportive conditions that are foundational to continuous improvement across 11 middle schools.  These include diverse and distributed instructional leadership, time for teachers to learn and practice with the EL Education curriculum, limited priorities, and aligned assessments. Leading Educators staff will also consult on professional learning design for TSAs by leading experientials, sharing materials, and offering feedback on OUSD plans. These materials will help TSAs to lead curriculum-specific learning cycles for ELA teachers at their schools, building capacity for frequent reflection on student progress, practice with grade-level standards and content, and co-planning.  When teachers have the opportunity to set and reach a high bar for instruction together, students can expect to be challenged and supported to succeed regardless of classroom. 

“Districts like Oakland are often faced with the question: how effective is our teacher collaboration time to actually grow teacher capacity  and student achievement? We know that the surest way to improvement is by increasing our collective efficacy, which means content PLCs are our most important lever for change. We know that the Professional Learning Partnership with EL Education on quality curriculum and with Leading Educators on our content cycles will be transformative for us as a District,” said Abbey Kerins, Secondary Literacy Coordinator at OUSD.

Leading Educators is a notable partner to many pioneering school systems who have adopted equity-centric instructional approaches that connect high-quality curriculum to aligned professional learning and supportive conditions.  Other current partners within the Leading Educators network include Atlanta Public Schools, Baltimore City Public Schools, Chicago Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools Community District, several systems in Greater Grand Rapids and New Orleans, and Tulsa Public Schools. 

Chong-Hao Fu, CEO at Leading Educators, shared, “This collaboration with Oakland Unified School District and EL Education is an exciting opportunity for growth in the opportunities students and teachers have to engage in incredible learning.  By ensuring teachers have the high-quality materials, leadership, and professional learning they deserve, we hope they will feel empowered to foster equity and inspire every student to reach new heights.” 

EL Education brings deep expertise in design and implementation of top-rated curricula to this partnership.  The organization’s approach, which has a track record of student impact, prioritizes mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality student work. 

This partnership is made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Professional Learning Partnerships Initiative, an effort to advance professional learning (PL) services which will support the equitable implementation of high-quality instructional materials.  Collaborative design will begin in October with a planned roll-out of school-based support to pilot schools in June 2020.

###

ABOUT LEADING EDUCATORS

Leading Educators supports education leaders to foster sustainable environments where teachers and students thrive, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts.  We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design curriculum-based learning and support structures that create the conditions for continuous improvements in teaching across their schools--helping teachers create excellent and equitable student experiences every day.  www.leadingeducators.org

Detroit district high schoolers will start school using a new curriculum aligned with state standards

An article in Chalkbeat dives into the impact of new curriculum being implemented in Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD). Leading Educators CEO Chong-Hao Fu explains the importance of great curriculum.

“The core is about evidence, the evidence coming from the text as opposed to pulling from anywhere,” said Chong-Hao Fu, CEO of Leading Educators, a nonprofit headquartered in New Orleans that trained Detroit teachers in the new English Language Arts curriculum. “We’re just starting to realize that what makes good readers is knowledge of the world.”

A new partnership between DPSCD and Leading Educators builds on DPSCD’s master teacher initiative with a focus on helping teachers make instructional decisions that accelerate learning breakthroughs. Over the next year, Leading Educators and DPSCD will increase district-level capacity for continuous improvement, scale shared leadership that allows master educators to mentor peer teachers, and implement regular collaborative learning opportunities for ELA teachers.

You can read the full article from Chalkbeat here.

Leading Educators will Support Baltimore City Public Schools' Efforts to Strengthen Math Instruction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Adan Garcia, Associate Director of Communications
(202) 510-0827, marketing@leadingeducators.org


LEADING EDUCATORS WILL SUPPORT BALTIMORE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS’ EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN MATH INSTRUCTION
Partnership will expand math content experts’ opportunities to accelerate growth

August 27, 2019

BALTIMORE, MD -  This fall, Leading Educators will launch a partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools to strengthen the district’s capacity for continuous growth in math. 

This partnership will strengthen City Schools’ district math team and Academic Content Leads’ (ACLs) support to middle school teachers as they use the Eureka math curriculum.  Strong professional learning opportunities and high-quality instructional materials empower teachers to bring engaging lessons to life that help students gain the skills, knowledge, and experiences they need to thrive in school and in life.  City Schools has established a strong foundation of teacher leadership and collaborative learning that holds potential for accelerating the success of black, Latinx, and economically-disadvantaged learners. This initiative stems from City Schools’ Blueprint for Success, a strategy designed to help students develop the knowledge and skills to meet their future aspirations.  

During the first year, Leading Educators will design professional learning cycles for 6-8th grade teachers mapped to the Eureka math curriculum. School-based content experts will use these resources to facilitate recurring learning and planning for their peers based on student data and teacher practice evidence.  Together, Leading Educators and City Schools will provide instructional leadership training and coaching for three pilot schools, observing these activities to make design adjustments before expansion to additional school sites. City Schools staff will lead these design, training, and coaching activities with eight additional schools by the second year with Leading Educators supporting with co-design, shadowing, and feedback.

Leading Educators has a strong reputation for developing scalable, equity-centric instructional approaches that connect high-quality curriculum and aligned professional learning.  Previous and ongoing partnerships with districts including DC Public Schools and Tulsa Public Schools have strengthened conditions for teacher growth, expanding teachers’ access to opportunities to build comfort using high-quality instructional materials.  Student achievement has accelerated as a result. This partnership with City Schools will work toward similar outcomes on a two-year timeline, paving a path toward effective improvement options for school systems that maximize existing resources. 

Janise Lane, Executive Director of Teaching at Learning at City Schools shared, “We are excited by this opportunity to partner with Leading Educators to maximize our professional learning in math. As we continue to build momentum for change in ELA, we now are granted the same opportunity in math classrooms. While the high-quality curriculum has ensured a foundation for equity in our classrooms, we can now ensure, through professional learning, that the implementation is providing accelerated outcomes for each and every student in City Schools.”

Chong-Hao Fu, CEO at Leading Educators, shared, “Baltimore City Public Schools is on the forefront of so many incredible innovations in improving educational equity - from deep commitments to accelerating students’ opportunities in literacy to adopting continuous improvement practices - and we know this partnership will help students and teachers alike to rise to great heights.” 

This partnership is made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Professional Learning Partnerships Initiative, an effort to advance professional learning (PL) services which will support the equitable implementation of high-quality instructional materials.  Collaborative design will begin in October with a planned roll-out of school-based support to pilot schools in January 2020.

###

ABOUT LEADING EDUCATORS

Leading Educators is helping education leaders build sustainable environments where teachers and students thrive, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts. We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design curriculum-based learning and support structures that create the conditions for continuous improvements in teaching across their schools--helping teachers create excellent and equitable student experiences every day. www.leadingeducators.org

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

circle-cropped.png

BY SULYN WEAVER, M.Ed.

SuLyn Weaver is a math educator of 19 years with Kentwood Public Schools in Greater Grand Rapids, where she also serves as a teacher leader. She is active on Twitter at @eunmi220


This summer, my family didn’t take any big vacations or go to the beach. We did spend some time in the sun, went to an outdoor movie (Crazy Rich Asians), and I was cast for a role in a short film.  For much of the past three months, I was preparing myself to be my best for students on day one.  Here’s a taste.

First, I created a new attendance system for our summer school administrator and then taught two groups of students for six weeks. My first assignment was to help prepare incoming high school students for the demands they will experience this year in freshman Algebra. It was as much about building relationships and confidence as it was about developing mathematical skills and knowledge. My second group of students will return to us this fall. We worked together to close gaps in their learning so they have the skills and confidence as students to embrace grade-level work.

I also planned to implement a new curriculum resource. Each time the middle school math department adopts a new curriculum, in many ways, it feels like hitting a reset button. I’m preparing for the hours I’ll spend aligning lessons to standards and assessments to lessons. I’m preparing for unit mapping and setting an implementation guide that will be my base for the following year. I’m drawing on all the knowledge I’ve gained through professional development, conferences, and collaboration to set up my math peers for success.

Accepting that I haven’t always done what is best for my students, but instead what was best for me, is a hard pill to swallow.”

Yet another part of my summer was devoted to my development as a teacher leader with Leading Educators. Through learning experiences with the LE team, I have felt personal growth of colossal proportions in my knowledge and awareness of:

  • the standards, 

  • the essential math shifts of focus, rigor, and coherence, 

  • how to analyze a lesson for the most crucial components of the mathematical tasks,

  • and how to plan and teach through a lens of equity. 

Beyond sessions, we heard from a group of exceptional student performers who shared poetry and stories of self that reminded us why we were there. Leaders from Godfrey-Lee Public Schools and Kent ISD also shared data about the opportunity gaps that exist within our own schools and the responsibility we have to ensure the likelihood of success is not dependent on a student’s skin color.  Accepting that I haven’t always done what is best for my students, but instead what was best for me, is a hard pill to swallow. 

This work has afforded me a safe place to examine my own practice with a more critical focus. I spent two full days with our district’s Leading Educators coach and her colleagues. The time is intense, vulnerable, and profound; it is also exhausting. As each day closes, we’re asked to summarize it using a survey. This year, as I struggled to access words, activities, and learning, I reflected on the numerous times my students might feel that same mental exhaustion throughout the day. I have new empathy for them as they’re also working through all the conundrums of adolescence.

My last, and most personal, activity this summer has been joining an organization which endeavors to support, advocate for, and amplify the voices of educators of color. I teach in the most diverse school district in our state, but there are times I don’t interact with an adult who is a person of color all day. As I think about my own daily interactions, I reflect on the implications for my students and with whom they interact. I am excited for what this network of educators will collectively bring to the community.


Read another Grand Rapids leader’s take on preparing for the new school year here (via EdNet).

Leading Educators Partners with Atlanta Public Schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Adan Garcia, Associate Director of Communications
(202) 510-0827, marketing@leadingeducators.org

LEADING EDUCATORS LAUNCHES MATH TEACHING  PILOT WITH ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Professional learning approach will help teachers bring engaging math lessons to life

August 12, 2019

ATLANTA, GA -  As Atlanta Public Schools (APS) students return to school today, math educators from some of the district’s schools have new supports to help them create excellent and equitable student experiences every day.

The Math PLC Pilot Program, launched in partnership with Leading Educators, focuses on strengthening professional supports for teachers within schools as they implement the Eureka Math curriculum.  To accelerate student learning outcomes, APS has made big bets on scaling adoption of higher-quality instructional materials and deepening teachers’ knowledge of math content, simultaneously building their awareness of implicit biases that affect teaching decisions and providing pedagogical approaches to address them.  Research demonstrates that teaching is the most influential within-school factor on a students’ success. Leading Educators will support APS leaders to foster alignment around a vision for excellent math instruction and work to strengthen the conditions for exponential student growth across classrooms and schools.

Over the next year, Leading Educators and APS will collaborate around the professional learning key lever in the APS Academic System.  The school-based professional learning approach provides weekly opportunities for math teachers to co-plan, practice teaching approaches, and analyze data with the guidance of “PLC leaders” in their building to implement the Eureka Math curricular program.  These school-based leaders will have access to supports including professional development workshops focused on refining the skills necessary for facilitating learning for their peers, and leadership coaching.  

Leading Educators is a rapidly growing innovator of equity-centric instructional improvement for school systems across this country.  In addition to APS, the organization currently serves students in Chicago, Detroit, Greater Grand Rapids, New Orleans, and Tulsa Public Schools.

Earlier this summer, school teams enrolled in the pilot program participated in summer professional learning designed to prepare them for instructional leadership through an equity lens.  School-based professional learning activities begin this fall. 

###

ABOUT LEADING EDUCATORS

Leading Educators is reinventing professional development for teachers, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts. We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design curriculum-based learning and support structures that create the conditions for continuous improvements in teaching across their schools--helping teachers reach more equitable student outcomes every day. www.leadingeducators.org

Taking Coherence Across the Chasm in Tulsa

“Taking Coherence Across the Chasm” spotlights the district’s efforts to support teachers in bringing powerful lessons to life

August 5, 2019

TULSA, OK -  Nearly one year ago, Leading Educators launched an innovative partnership with Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) to help teachers foster equity in the classroom by developing their practice.  Today, these efforts are the focus of a new publication, “Taking Coherence Across the Chasm”, which highlights the importance of adopting a coherent instructional approach and districts who are leading the way. 

Every day, educators make countless in-the-moment decisions that shape a student’s opportunities to learn.  Before this point, many teachers spend 7-8 hours per week searching for instructional materials to supplement their lessons, which is neither a good use of their time nor a reliable way to ensure students engage with the content they need.  Instead, when schools and districts adopt a coherent instructional system that aligns time for meaningful collaboration, quality curricular materials, and supports for strong teaching and learning, teachers are more likely to create teaching experiences that set up every student to succeed. 

TPS is among a group of “early adopters,” visionary districts who have been willing to experiment with new ideas and pursue innovative systemic change.  This approach could be misperceived as risky, so leaders at TPS made concerted efforts to coordinate a network of support partners including Leading Educators, TNTP, and Education Resource Strategies who could bring expertise and technical assistance to the design and implementation. This required setting a strong vision with a narrow yet deep focus on instructional improvement to succeed.  One year into a five-year roll-out of Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA), there is promising evidence that the conditions for effective teaching and learning are improving.

MCB-08190.jpg

In the piece, TPS Deputy Chief of Academics Danielle Neves shares, “CKLA takes a long time.  [The curriculum] requires 120 minutes for K-2, 150-180 in grade 3, and 90 in grades 4-5.” The authors note that, without thoughtful design, either the curriculum would be implemented poorly or leaders would have to let go of other priorities. 

Early adopters like TPS are critical to generating new learning and establishing proof points of practices and strategies that may work in other systems.  Devin Fletcher, Chief Talent and Learning Officer at TPS, shares “Teachers are rapidly building their knowledge both in content and the pedagogical process.  [Seeing the progress] from where they self-assessed at the beginning to where they are now is exciting.”

Grantmakers and mission investors have an important role in helping coherence take hold at large: increasing compatibility with existing systems and initiatives, providing capital for iterative product and service development, and building research and evidence-sharing capacity.  Learn more at leadingeducators.org/coherence.