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Elizabeth Foster

Vice President, Standards & Research

Elizabeth Foster is the vice president of research and standards at Learning Forward. She leads the organization’s research efforts for partnerships, programs, and fundraising. Elizabeth co-wrote the Standards for Professional Learning (2022) with Tracy Crow and now facilitates learning sessions about the standards and develops resources that support their use and implementation. She contributes to the design, facilitation, and evaluation of networks. Prior to Learning Forward, Elizabeth was the vice president of strategic initiatives at the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) where she led a major research investigation about educator support systems that resulted in a report entitled What Matters Now (2016) and a successful three-year improvement network with Learning Forward. Her published work includes studies on teacher recruitment, preparation, and professional learning, urban teacher shortages, community college teacher preparation, professional learning communities, and the demographics of the education workforce. Elizabeth started out with an operating foundation in New York City that supported public education innovation projects, then worked in middle school special education in Boston and staffed a research project about inclusion with the Harvard RALLY project. Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her two incredible daughters, as well as other family and friends – especially on the beach.

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    Conversations about race are increasingly at the forefront of debates about education, teaching, learning, and how to achieve excellent outcomes for each adult and student in a successful learning system. Research is emerging about the benefits of building the capacity of educators to engage in conversations about race and identity, […]
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    Attending to the mental health of everyone in schools is critically important, especially now. According to a recent Gallup poll, “More than four in 10 K-12 workers in the U.S. (44%) say they ‘always’ or ‘very often’ feel burned out at work.” Notably, “within the K-12 employee population, teachers are […]
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    Throughout the summer, Learning Forward members have shared with us their stories of teacher vacancies in schools and districts, reminding us that the question of how to keep teachers in the classroom and support them through difficult times is pressing. Recruiting new teachers is a critical priority across the U.S., […]
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    Research has been at the heart of Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning since they were first conceptualized and shared with the field in the 1990s. The standards are built on a decades-long foundation of research literature that describes the ways in which professional learning can improve educator knowledge, skills, […]
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    Two years after the onset of the pandemic, COVID-19 continues to take a toll on educators’ morale and well-being. Educators’ needs for sick and bereavement leaves have increased, staffing and substitute shortages are worsening, and the occasional requests to cover another teacher’s class or bus duty have become regular — […]
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    Professional learning leaders are sometimes faced with skepticism about the expected impact of an investment in professional learning. Long-held myths and outdated notions about sit-and-get professional learning can act as barriers to thorough planning, appropriate funding, and sustained implementation of professional learning efforts. Dispelling the Myths: What the Research Says […]
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    In the spirit of self-reflection for the purposes of improvement, Learning Forward often engages with evaluation partners to look closely at its own efforts to strengthen professional learning through networks and communities of practice. A recent independent evaluation by WestEd of Learning Forward’s What Matters Now Network looked at the […]
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    As awareness has grown about the harmful effects of exclusionary discipline, especially on the Black and Brown students who are disproportionately suspended and expelled, so, too, has interest in alternative approaches to discipline. Restorative practices are becoming more common in schools across the U.S. and in other countries. Restorative practices […]
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    The study As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, educators, students, families, and community members are seeking ways to ensure students’ needs are met across a range of academic, social, and emotional considerations. They are also looking ahead to the future, recognizing there may be opportunity for innovation after the last 18 […]
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    The high school study Saavedra, A.R., Liu Y., Haderlein, S.K., Rapaport, A., Garland, M., Hoepfner, D., Morgan, K.L., & Hu, A. (2021, February 22). Knowledge in Action efficacy study over two years. USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research. The elementary school study Krajcik, J., Schneider, B., Miller, E., […]
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