Scalable, Self-Sustaining Strategies
Our partners form a diverse network of traditional district and public charter networks who predominantly serve students of color and students who are economically-disadvantaged. Though we have a tried and true approach, each strategy is designed for coherence with school systems’ contexts, highest priorities, and existing initiatives.
Building on Tulsa Public Schools' “Destination Excellence” vision of inspiring and preparing every student to love learning and achieve ambitious goals, the Empower program creates weekly opportunities for teams of teachers in a content area to lead collaborative learning and practice grounded in rigorous standards and best teaching practices. The approach stems from a central belief that schools are a critical unit of social change, and teacher leaders should be drivers of that change in pursuit of equity. Planning began in 2017, and direct support to school teams began in the summer of 2018 with an inaugural cohort of 55 leaders. The first phase of the partnership serves 10 schools.
Leading Educators launched a partnership with Atlanta Public Schools in July 2019 to pilot school-based supports for improving math instruction. Over the next year, Leading Educators and APS will collaborate to implement weekly opportunities for math teachers to work with the Eureka curriculum, co-plan and practice teaching approaches, and analyze data with the guidance of teacher leaders in their building.
New Orleans, La
New Orleans was established in 2008 as the flagship site for Leading Educators’ original teacher leadership development program. Since then, the 2-year Fellowship program has evolved into providing customized, instructional improvement support and custom professional learning design to a network of single- and multi-site charter systems. Whereas past programmatic efforts have developed a strong network of teacher leaders in the New Orleans region, the current approach connects distributed leadership to implementation of high-quality curriculum, content-focused professional learning, and development of supportive school conditions. Instructional leaders from partner schools participate in cohort-based professional development, receive instructional leadership coaching in their schools, and engage with Leading Educators tools and resources proven to drive academic gains in schools.
In 2016, Leading Educators was awarded an Investing in Innovation (i3) grant from the US Department of Education to launch the Chicago Common Core Collaborative. Funds from the i3 support a cohort of teacher leader teams representing 20 schools across three Chicago partners – Chicago Public Schools, KIPP Chicago, and the North Chicago Community United School District. The i3 grant will support the Chicago Collaborative through May 2020, including a randomized control trial conducted by the RAND Corporation to assess the impact of our model on professional learning and student achievement.
Grand Rapids, MI
With the support of the Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation, Leading Educators expanded to Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan, where the first cohort of principals and teacher leaders began training in the summer of 2017. Our approach is the backbone of an ambitious strategy to significantly increase academic achievement among economically-disadvantaged young people who attend the nearly 120 district, charter, and religious schools in the Greater Grand Rapids urban area. This work uses the greatest asset within Grand Rapids’ urban schools—experienced educators—by supporting up to 300 teacher leaders along with their principals and district administrators. This approach will provide approximately 2,400 classroom teachers with self-driven professional development opportunities, ultimately impacting 40,000 students.
In July 2019, Leading Educators launched a partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District building on the district’s master teacher initiative. The program is designed to support English language arts teachers at more than 20 high schools as they implement a new high-quality curriculum. 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 weekly professional learning opportunities for ELA teachers. Master teachers will have access to additional supports including professional development workshops, “Learning Labs” for analyzing data and preparing for facilitation, and instructional leadership coaching.