Testimonies

Learning Forward Academy Testimonies

See what Academy members say about the impact of the Academy on their problems of practice.

Professional learning and coaching can result in discomfort. For years, teachers and principals have expected supervisors to simply tell them the ‘correct’ method or strategy; consequently, the amount of learning that has taken place has been inconsequential, as educators have expected a “one size fits all” professional development to address. I have often believed that the first sign of lasting change is when the vocabulary of the district changes. Administrators and teachers no longer talk of professional development. For me personally, I knew I was actively embracing the change when I changed the name of my “professional development” folder to “professional learning”.

— Matt Schiebel

The concepts of professional learning and problems of practice align closely to my own beliefs as a former science teacher and current principal. Unlike professional development, professional learning is not an “event”. Professional learning is an ongoing process of learning by practice, observation, and refinement….much like addressing a scientific hypothesis over time. No longer do I advocate sending my staff to professional development conferences to find a “one size fits all” approach to an instructional dilemma: been there, done that, it doesn’t work. I now tell my staff that the answers to improving student achievement exist right within the walls of our own school. While we may research techniques available online or in educational journals, the solutions only begin to take place when we learn and experiment together as colleagues.

— Matt Schiebel

These are all things that I can very easily share with my district as well as with members of our state department of education as I work to become a more influential advocate for professional learning as the best path for improving education.

— Leann Myers

Learning Forward Academy has been a transformational, system-changing professional learning opportunity for my colleagues and me and is truly changing the culture and focus in our district. The depth of job-embedded learning, networking with professionals across the world and spending quality time immersed in problem solving around real issues within our systems is something unique and rarely found in any other form.

— Joe McFarland

As a leader, I have developed confidence in my ability to lead professional learning and advocate for professional learning, not only with my faculty, but also within our district and state. I have become much more intentional with my communication and my actions around professional learning. I also believe that I have developed skills as a strategic planner for professional learning and understand how to examine the change we hope to accomplish and plan for steps to move toward the desired change.

— Leann Myers

Over the past two and a half years, I believe that I have grown as an individual and as a leader. The work with the Academy has helped to develop a level of knowledge about professional learning that I can only hope to continue to develop long after the Academy experience is finished.

— Leann Myers

We have been able to idea share, be critical listeners, and work off of each other’s successes and failures. It has been this networking that has been the most valuable and has increased my proverbial “toolbox” of resources in my day to day job and overall growth and development.

— Andrew Maoury

Finally, when I began this process, I had a very limited understanding of how to formatively assess professional learning. Not only have I developed skills that can allow me to assess the structures and content of professional learning, but also the teacher concern and level of use around their professional learning and what to do with the results to move teachers into a place where their professional learning is positively impacting the students in their classrooms.

— Leann Myers