Moving From 'Students Can't' To 'How Students Can'

By Janice Bradley, Andrea K. Rorrer, Ashley McKinney and Cori Groth
February 2017
Vol. 38 No. 1
What happens when a university-based education policy center uses the Standards for Professional Learning (Learning Forward, 2011) to design purposeful professional learning experiences for teachers, community members, principals, central office administrators, superintendents, and university faculty to re-engage in the meaning and creation of equitable and excellent educational opportunities throughout the system? Practitioners and decision makers unite in thoughtful learning conversations that include multiple perspectives about how pursuing excellence requires deliberate attention to equitable practices. School staffs see a viable path toward change in how they think about and advance equity and excellence through shared language, dispositions, and mindsets about instructional practices that open pathways to learning for all students. These pathways are enhanced through the use of a professional learning system that embodies a continuous

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Janice Bradley ( is assistant director, Andrea Rorrer ( is director, Ashley McKinney ( is research associate, and Cori Groth ( is associate director at the Utah Education Policy Center, University of Utah.


Flower, N.R., Muoio, A., & Garris, R. (2013). Gather: The art and science of effective convening. New York, NY: The Rockefeller Foundation.

Johnson, J.F., Perez, L.F., & Uline, C.L. ( 2013). Teaching practices from America’s best urban schools. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Killion, J. (2013, May 22). Professional development vs. professional learning [Audio podcast]. Available at

Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for Professional Learning. Oxford, OH: Author.

Rorrer, A.K., Skrla, L., & Scheurich, J. (2008). Districts as institutional actors in educational reform. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(3), 307-357.

Janice Bradley ( is chair of the Learning Forward Foundation and assistant director, professional learning at the Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah.

The Learning Professional

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