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Published from 2005 to 2013, this newsletter explores the challenges and rewards that teacher leaders, coaches, mentors, instructional specialists, lead teachers, and master teachers face.

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Learning to lead a meeting is more than just managing agendas. It means reading the group’s mood and stepping in at the right moment to turn attention back to productive work. Learn how Jennifer Abrams encourages facilitators to challenge themselves as part of their learning process.

According to the MetLife survey of the American teacher: Challenges for school leadership, many teachers are interested in teaching in the classroom part-time while devoting other time to active leadership roles or responsibilities in their school or district. For teachers who want to take on leadership roles but don’t want to move into a principalship, the career options available to them are typically limited to informal duties, such as committees, teams, or building representatives. Read how teachers are making contributions to the field on state, national, and global scales, all while remaining in the classroom.

Some states and districts are finding new ways to ask, what do students know about their teachers? Research shows that students’ perceptions of teachers are highly correlated to student performance on standardized tests. Read several tips that help teachers capture and use student input to improve practice.

When Learning Forward challenged Sheri Thomas, Kansas Learning Forward affiliate president and 4th-grade teacher, to take the Standards for Professional Learning back to her district, Thomas made a commitment that resulted in profound changes to the district. “I felt that the standards would help focus the district’s professional learning,” said Thomas. “I wanted to make the introduction of the new standards a collaborative process from the beginning.”

Teacher satisfaction has experienced the largest recorded drop since the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher first started tracking teacher satisfaction in 1984. See how teacher leaders have the ability to affect collegial relationships and create the conditions most important for teacher satisfaction through safe, collaborative learning communities.

High schools in Finland and Canada have formed a collaborative partnership based on the hypothesis that the real work of reform occurs at the school level, not the system. Read how this project exemplifies Andy Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley's "fourth way" to raise student achievement by emphasizing long-term gains over short-term fixes, inspiration and innovation over top-down accountability, and collective responsibility over competition.

As the research supporting the benefits of online learning communities continues to grow, and technology makes it easier to connect with colleagues, educators find themselves challenged with creating and sustaining relationships across digital divides. Working in groups face-to-face can be challenging enough for educators, but virtual communities offer new challenges that require specific considerations.

Research has shown that video helps teachers develop their thinking about what happens in their classrooms. Read how June Jordan School for Equity, a small high school in San Francisco, is using video to significantly improve its teacher professional learning.

When Rhode Island needed to revamp its teacher evaluation system, it brought teachers and administrators to the table to create a system based on solid research and teaching and professional learning standards.

Ensuring differentiated instruction means much more than offering the usual variety of delivery methods or individually selected courses. Effective differentiation for learning is a complex and integral part of high-quality professional learning that cannot be teased out as a separate component. Read how a simple three-step framework helps school-based learning leaders plan strategically for differentiating content, delivery, finished products, timelines, ongoing support, and participant needs.

Two consortia of 46 states and the District of Columbia are creating cutting-edge assessment systems designed to more accurately and equitably measure student skills and knowledge. Read how this has created an unprecedented opportunity for schools to pool their resources and harness the power of technology and advancements in testing knowledge, and what it means for teacher professional learning.

Personal and professional strengths are tested when state and provincial governments cut public education funds. How leaders respond and facilitate interactions during these difficult times can alleviate some of the pain people experience. Read Joellen Killion's advice for how leaders can support their teachers, even when the leaders' own positions may be in jeopardy.

In Pennsylvania, a partnership between the state department of education and the Annenberg Foundation has developed and implemented a particularly effective model of instructional coaching throughout the state known as the Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching. Read how this coaching model uses four core elements to provide uniform and consistent delivery of quality professional development.

Some states and districts are finding new ways to ask, what do students know about their teachers? Research shows that students’ perceptions of teachers are highly correlated to student performance on standardized tests. Read several tips that help teachers capture and use student input to improve practice.

Knowing how to use data at the classroom level is a challenge in many schools. Read how three coaches help teachers identify and use valuable data and overcome barriers to taking action.

Discover a unique learning community of ELL specialists and general education teachers that brings language-learning strategies into all classrooms, boosting learning and comprehension for all students. See how they incorporate ESL strategies into daily lessons, and read first-hand accounts from three teachers involved in the program. Resources to help in building your own learning community are also included.

Read about the need for teacher voices in national policy discussions and learn how Marie Parker-McElroy, an instructional coach in Fairfax County (Va.), raised her voice to testify in Washington D.C. Explore how to develop and apply your voice as an educator.

Explore how a deeper understanding and commitment to collective responsibility for student success can prepare a school to answer parents' concerns about teacher quality while enlisting parental advocates for collaborative professional learning.

What does it take to be really good at something? The nonprofit organization What Kids Can Do asks students to investigate this question. Students demonstrate their expertise in a wide range of out-of-school activities and interview adult experts as part of the process of learning about learning.

Teachers across the country name a challenge they share as they seek to boost student achievement: behavior. Leaders in Long Beach (Calif.) Unified School District now turn to a team of coaches focused on student behavior in order to pave the way for improved teaching and learning.