Pathways to Leadership

October 2015

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The Learning Professional

Published Date

In This Issue


Never Send A Human To Do A Machine’s Job With all of the connected schools and classrooms, why has technology failed to transform education? A Learning Forward webinar addresses this question. Based on the Corwin publication, Never Send a Human to Do a Machine’s Job: Correcting the Top 5 EdTech Mistakes, Yong Zhao presents a […]

 Think 'E' For Engagement

As faculty chair of early childhood education at Vanguard University of Southern California, I was challenged each day by questions: How can I provide high-impact online professional learning to adult continuing education students? What barriers exist for adult learners seeking meaningful professional learning? How does my practice as a facilitator shift in an online learning […]

 Activities Vs. Outcomes

As they approached the principal’s office in their school, teacher leaders Jose and Judith discussed their actions regarding their students’ lack of understanding fractions. They shared with Cesar, the district mathematics coordinator, how the 3rd-grade professional learning community had been working to articulate a data-based outcome for their team’s learning that will lead to students’ […]

 Effective Leaders Are Always Learning

A real turning point in my leadership pathway happened more than 30 years ago when I attended my first Learning Forward conference. I knew I had found my professional home. I was among people who were interested in understanding andragogy, change research, CBAM, and leadership practices in fields outside education. I remember thinking that our […]


Explore the many paths to leadership. By Tracy Crow The road to leadership isn’t necessarily one that educators plan carefully with a series of logical steps. But no matter their role or their path, education leaders demand more from themselves and others and figure out how to make results happen. Experience makes a great teacher: […]

 Twists And Turns On The Road To Where I Am Today

People who know me realize how passionate I am about education, and that’s been true for a long time. However, my pathway to where I am now hasn’t been entirely predictable. At times, I have found myself at a crossroads where I had to make a choice. Every turn has led me to where I […]

 New Staff Members Extend Learning Forward's Reach

Learning Forward welcomes new staff members Michelle King and Laurie Calvert. King is Learning Forward’s associate director of communities. She coordinates Learning Forward’s online communities of practice, supporting a network of districts committed to professional development redesign. King joins Learning Forward through an agreement with Lewisville (Texas) Independent School District, where she was executive director […]

 Grant Funds Principal Professional Learning

Learning Forward, in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education, is one of five recipients of nearly $2.5 million in the Principals Path to Leadership grant program, designed to expand effective principal preparation programs and share their best practices broadly to impact education reform. Learning Forward Executive Director Stephanie Hirsh says that the $465,000 three-year […]

 Book Club

HAVING HARD CONVERSATIONS 2.0: Extending the Learning By Jennifer Abrams This update of the author’s original Hard Conversations book is designed to promote a deeper understanding of what needs to happen before, during, and after hard conversations. The author emphasizes the critical need for greater clarity around the goals and desired outcomes of hard conversations. […]

 High-Quality Collaboration Benefits Teachers And Students

What The Study Says Using sophisticated statistical analyses, researchers examined individual teacher-level and school-level collaboration to understand the nature and effects of teacher-to-teacher collaboration in instructional teams. When teachers engage in high-quality collaboration that they perceive as extensive and helpful, there is both an individual and collective benefit. High-quality collaboration in general and about assessment […]

 Attributes Of An Effective Feedback Process

Not all feedback is created equal. Actually, it is quite uneven in its design and effectiveness. Feedback forms typically used by educators and the feedback process used to support learning have markedly different attributes. Understanding the key attributes of effective feedback is important for those involved in the feedback process. The most typical forms of […]


Safeguarding data, Math and the Common Core, Educator blog, Focus on principals, High-quality lessons, Strategies for deeper learning, Teacher voices, Leading change

 What Leaders Say That Makes A Difference

What leaders say that makes a difference. (Available to the public.)

 What Success Really Looks Like

The image of success not being a straight, upward arrow but a big, messy scribbled blob defines my career trajectory perfectly. My work has moved forward, pushed upward, and stretched further, but it hasn’t been a smooth and easy path. For nine years, I was a high school English teacher. Then Macbeth died in the […]

 Make The Most Of Every Day

High-quality schools are very busy organizations, and whenever there is a new development in the field of education that requires teacher attention (peer coaching, personalized learning, metacognition, brain research, cooperative learning, etc.), many teachers ask: “But where will the time come from?” In our years of facilitating professional learning to schools around the world, we […]

 It's Not Just What You Say

This is a story about two school leaders in a large Southern California urban district who used skills developed in a university school leadership program to create rapport, empathy, and trust while leading through challenging situations and achieving actionable outcomes. In addition to developing relationships in support of collaboration (Duke, 2008), these leaders also changed […]

 To Drive To Strive

At different stages of my career, I have experienced, supported, and facilitated professional learning efforts. As an assistant principal, I find that I have learned something of value at each stage. Professional learning that effectively challenges educators at every level resembles the mystique of a firefly (Bibbo & d’Erizans, 2014). And like the blinking of […]

 Why Teachers Make Good Learning Leaders

Somebody asked me recently what pushes me as a professional,” says Becky Jensen, an elementary school teacher in San Jose, California. “It started when a new principal came in several years ago and let me try new strategies. But he also set up a structure to help me think through what worked and what didn’t, […]

 Navigation Aids

No longer is the central office a place for educators’ careers to meet a dead end. Nor can it be where ineffective leaders are transferred to lessen impact. It cannot be “the blob,” as coined by William Bennett (Walker, 1987). The Wallace Foundation notes that the central office has never been more important for system […]

 Turn Effective Practice Into Common Practice

Across the United States, there are schools whose students are significantly outperforming and out-improving those from nearby schools. In almost any geographic location in America, within a 30-minute drive there exist schools where classrooms are alive with stimulating learning, day in and day out. These are places where students — and adults — are thriving, […]

 Experience Makes A Great Teacher

Principal Josette Claudio of P.S. 109 in the Bronx faced a problem. More than a third of her teachers had quit over one summer, possibly, according to surveys, because they were dissatisfied with the discipline in the school. Claudio had programs in place to encourage good behavior so teachers could concentrate on classroom instruction, but […]

 Explore The Many Paths To Leadership

Do you consider yourself a leader? People answer this question in different ways at different times, and their job title may have little bearing on how they answer it. Rather, they may consider several factors. How do they influence or assist others, formally or informally? Who comes to them with questions and requests for support? […]

 Up Close

Leadership Basics How Leadership Influences Student Learning, a review of research supported by The Wallace Foundation, established that the quality of school leadership is second only to that of teacher effectiveness in impacting student achievement. The report outlines three basics of successful leadership. Consider what these mean for different educational and organization contexts. Learning Forward’s […]

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Excellent educators are made, not born, and it takes a system-wide approach to build the workforce. This issue examines how to build a strong, diverse pipeline from pre-service and induction to expert practice and leadership. It highlights the roles of K-12 systems, higher education, government, and non-profit organizations.

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Technology constantly creates new opportunities for professional learning. Never have those developments been as important as they are now, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This issue examines how strategies like online mentoring, bug-in-ear coaching, virtual collaboration, and video observation have built educator capacity before and during the pandemic.