A new release from Georgetown University's FutureEd highlights Leading Educators' efforts with DC Public Schools to launch and scale LEAP (LEarning together to Advance our Practice) as one of several human capital reforms that have strengthened teacher expertise across the district.
In A Policymaker’s Playbook: Transforming Public School Teaching in the Nation’s Capital, FutureEd Director Thomas Toch examines key milestones over the past decade that have raised expectations for teacher quality and driven higher student performance. The report highlights the challenges DCPS experienced in the roll-out of Common Core-based instructional standards, which led to the development of Cornerstones lessons. Realizing that teachers needed more support to align their instruction to curricular shifts, the district worked with Leading Educators to define an adult learning curriculum and build LEAP as a new school-based solution.
Since the launch in school year 2016-2017, the program has created capacity for grade-level and subject-matter teams to meet for 90 minutes each week to co-plan, examine student work and student data, and build knowledge about upcoming units. This change in the weekly work of a teacher has shifted the locus of improvement from individual teacher to the school. Jason Kamras, cited throughout the paper, reflects, "LEAP is a key to building teacher morale in an era of high standards. It says, 'We get that this is hard and we want to help you.'"