Learning Forward Networks
Our networks are equity-centered and driven by the underlying principles of learning teams: collaborative and continuous learning, data-driven, and educators at the center of the work.
Learning Forward is a leader in building, facilitating, and implementing networks to drive improvement in education. Our networks include:
- Design Professional Learning for a Virtual World (DPLV): Address current challenges related to the design, implementation, and measurement of professional learning in virtual and digital models.
- Redesign PD Community of Practice (RPDC): Establishing coherent and aligned systems that provide effective professional learning anchored in high-quality instructional materials
- What Matters Now Network (WMN): Increasing the number of teachers who experience job-embedded, team-based professional learning focused on high-quality instructional materials
- Texas Network for School Improvement (TX NSI): Implementing continuous improvement cycles to improve mathematics and on-track indicator outcomes—a collaboration with Educate Texas and UT Dana Center
- Learning Forward's Affiliates: Supporting state, provincial, and regional groups to engage leaders in professional development
- Learning Forward's Academy: Immersing education leaders in a multi-year problem-based learning experience to improve practice, create better learning conditions, and improve results for students
Our Learning Networks align to the Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning:
- Build capacity and leadership among state/province, systems, schools, and teams to create policies and practices for effective professional learning;
- Employ equity-centered improvement theory and practices;
- Provide facilitated learning opportunities, thought leadership, and resources that help leaders at all levels establish, redesign, and sustain successful learning systems that improve educator and student learning;
- Support schools and systems to strengthen and align college and career standards, curriculum, instructional materials, and professional learning; and
- Utilize network models to structure learning within and across participating organizations.
Learning Forward networks leverage learning teams to design and implement professional learning interventions using disciplined inquiry and problem-solving that leads to improved practice through continuous improvement. Teams use processes that include:
- Understanding the system that produces inequitable outcomes and the opportunities and assets of the community to which the system belongs,
- Stating hypotheses based on an equity-centered working theory of improvement and learning content and strategies to design a plan to test of those hypotheses,
- Executing a test and collecting data on how the test was implemented and whether improvements occurred,
- Analyzing the data to determine whether what occurred deviated from what was predicted, and
- Deciding what to do next based on what was learned.
These cycles help teams address their defined problems by developing, testing, and refining promising solutions, or change ideas, specific to their local context, using data to make progress against outcomes or indicators that are predictive of longer-term success. Learning Forward’s networks are grounded in the Standards for Professional Learning.
See our professional learning networks in action...
Professional learning has never been more important as schools and districts design and implement, in real time, new models for learning during and after this pandemic. As schools face new and changing conditions, educators are responsible for ensuring that student learning continues as they themselves adapt to online, remote or hybrid learning. Members of this network capture lessons learned from the emergency shift to inform the improvement of professional learning utilizing virtual and digital-mediated educational models.
District teams, led by Learning Forward, addressed current challenges related to the design, implementation, and measurement of professional learning in virtual and digital models.
A network of leaders committed to ensuring that professional learning directly impacts student success system-wide.
The Redesign PD Community (RPDC) is a readiness-tested network of school district teams that uses continuous improvement processes and tools to discover practical and scalable solutions to complex professional learning challenges.
Issues being addressed include improving the coherence and relevance of professional learning systemwide, increasing the use of measurement and impact evidence in managing professional learning, increasing the effectiveness of teams responsible for implementing professional learning, personalization of learning, and resource reallocation.
What Matters Now Network (WMN)
What Matters Now Network is a collaboration of state-based coalitions that include teachers, principals, school district, and state-level leaders engaging in cycles of continuous improvement with coaching and support. The Network is grounded in the vision established in the 2016 National Commission for Teaching & America's Future (NCTAF) report What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning.
The shared problem of practice for the three coalitions: How can all teachers in participating states access coherent and relevant job-embedded professional learning that enables them to select and effectively implement high-quality curricula and instructional materials? Each coalition has narrowed this shared problem of practice according to a content-specific need and its own state policy and resource context.
Texas Network for School Improvement Collaborative (TxNSI)
The Texas Network for School Improvement (TxNSI) works to dismantle systemic barriers in education to ensure that all students in North Texas can succeed in college, career, and life. TxNSI is one of more than 30 networks in more than 20 states using continuous improvement methods to change middle school and high school outcomes – a total of $240 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Consisting of a central hub of three local Texas organizations – Educate Texas, Learning Forward, and the Charles A. Dana Center – the TxNSI works with teachers and leaders in local school districts to develop a culture and community of improvement within schools. Drawing on their organizations’ individual expertise, TxNSI brings together educators in a network where they receive customized professional coaching that helps them implement effective practices in their classrooms, measure the outcomes, and continue to improve the education of our North Texas students – particularly black, Latino/x, and low-income students.
The first barrier the TxNSI is addressing is mastery of middle school math. Being proficient, or on grade level, in math by 8th grade is essential for students’ further educational success and can often determine what paths are available to them. The TxNSI supports educators in the network to explore the best ways to ensure their students master these skills.
The network currently includes Crowley, Duncanville, and Richardson ISDs, comprising 13 middle school campuses and approximately 4600 students by Fall 2020.
The TXNSI hub team wrote a set of Innovation Configuration (IC) maps to describe what continuous improvement looks like when enacted in systems and schools operating as a network and to provide clear pictures of the network in action. You can access the IC maps here.
Learning Forward Academy
The Learning Forward Academy is Learning Forward’s flagship deep learning experience. With a rich history that spans 20 years, the Academy engages education leaders in problem-based learning to improve practice, create better learning conditions, and improve results for students. Academy participants include teachers, teacher-leaders, instructional coaches, principals, regional leaders, superintendents, and others whose jobs involve supporting the learning of other adults and students.
Learning Forward Affiliates
Learning Forward Affiliates support state, provincial, and regional groups to advance Learning Forward’s goals of high-quality professional development for all educators to improve student achievement. Learn more about the benefits of leading or joining a Learning Forward affiliate.