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Create Learning Systems, Not Silos

By Kay Psencik, Frederick Brown and Stephanie Hirsh
February 2018
Vol. 39 No. 1
In a learning system, central office personnel assume collective responsibility for schools and go about their work very differently. They are responsible not only for departments and programs, but also for student learning. They demonstrate that responsibility by engaging in data-informed conversations about student achievement. These conversations model a culture of collective responsibility for schools. When district administrators regularly and actively engage with site-based staff, they eliminate any mystery about how district leaders are facilitating, coaching, and supporting schools’ work. Effective central offices have transitioned from a commanding and controlling management style to one focused on support and solutions. As professional learning has moved from a centralized to a school-based function, central office staff members’ work has changed from determining content and delivering the learning

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Excerpted from: Hirsh, S., Psencik, K., & Brown, F. (2014). Becoming a learning system. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward.

References

Wheatley, M. (1992). Leadership and the new science: Learning about organization from an orderly universe. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.


Kay Psencik served students and educators for over 30 years in Texas public schools as a teacher and school administrator. She has supervised, supported, and coached principals for over 40 years. Today, she is a senior consultant with Learning Forward, co-author of Becoming a Learning System and The Learning Principal, and author of Accelerating Student and Staff Learning and The Coach’s Craft. She is a professional certified coach with over 500 hours of coaching experience.

Chief Learning Officer/Deputy at Learning Forward | + posts

Frederick Brown is Learning Forward’s chief learning officer/deputy, where he leads the association’s business services and membership teams as well as overseeing program content for the Learning Forward Academy and conferences and institutes.

Stephanie Hirsh retired in June 2019 after 31 years with Learning Forward, an international association of more than 13,000 educators committed to increasing student achievement through effective professional learning. Hirsh led the organization as its executive director for the last 13 years where she presented, published, and consulted on Learning Forward’s behalf across North America.


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