Carver Middle School Receives First Learning School Designation

Designation recognizes high-quality professional learning practices

Dallas, TX – May 27, 2016  —  Learning Forward announces that Carver Middle School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is the first recipient of the Learning School Designation, in recognition of its commitment to effective and continuous professional learning. Learning Forward collaborates with AdvancED®, a non-profit organization that provides products, services and support for education providers of all types around the world, to offer this designation. The Learning School Designation identifies a school as a model for results-driven, standards-based and job-embedded professional learning. Schools pursue the recognition to demonstrate their commitment to quality professional learning as a key strategy for school improvement.

“Schools that dedicate valuable time and resources to ongoing high-quality professional learning create a culture where educators demand more from themselves and from each other – all in service to better teaching and learning for every student in the school,” said Stephanie Hirsh, executive director of Learning Forward. “The leadership team at Carver Middle School has demonstrated that they hold learning for educators as a top priority, and that commitment will reap results for all learners in the school.”

In applying for the designation, Carver Middle School submitted to a rigorous review of school documents and professional learning communities in session, along with interviews with school administrators, staff, and community members. The review process was created to examine whether a school’s adult learning practices and systems align with Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning. The standards define the conditions, attributes, and essential content for effective professional learning that heightens the quality of educator learning, performance of all educators, and student learning. Schools that submit to the review are rated on 15 AdvancED and Learning School indicators and must score a minimum average of 3 (on a scale of 1-4) across all indicators. Only schools that are eligible for the AdvancED Accreditation can apply for the Learning School Designation.

The review team, which included representatives from Learning Forward and AdvancED, highlighted particular promising practices in the school as part of awarding the Learning School Designation. To ensure educators have the capacity to help all students meet high academic standards, the school dedicates time during the school day for professional learning communities to meet. The goals of the learning communities are aligned with the school and district’s improvement priorities; Carver Middle School is an AVID School of Distinction (the highest level of certification) and demonstration site. The review team also recognized that leadership at Carver Middle School advocates meaningfully for professional learning, allocating resources strategically and serving as model learners themselves.

Prioritizing a learning culture and aligning goals to school and system initiatives are moving results in the right direction at Carver Middle School. The school leadership team reports changes in teaching behaviors, and teachers’ lesson plans are integrating new instructional strategies. Student assessment data indicate increases in student achievement.

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Learning Forward is the only professional association devoted exclusively to those who work in educator professional development. We help our members plan, implement, and measure high-quality professional learning so they can achieve success with their systems, schools, and students.

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