JSD, February 2014: Success stories

Feb 10, 2014



Up close: Deep smarts start hereDownloadNow_small

  • Lessons from all over
  • How do the Standards for Professional Learning contribute to high performance?
  • What’s inside

What it takes to succeedDownloadNow_small

This issue of JSD examines schools and school systems that have made great strides in taking student learning to higher levels. While each success story is unique, some common themes emerge.
(Available to the public.)

Aim higher: Lofty goals and an aligned system keep a high performer on topDownloadNow_small
By David P. McCommons

A Pennsylvania district with high student achievement maintains its success through differentiated instruction, administrative support, and a mutual commitment to maximizing student learning.

Ontario district embraces an evolving approach to learningDownloadNow_small
By Denese Belchetz and Kathy Witherow

The York Region District School Board in Ontario, Canada, cultivates a culture of collaboration and continuous learning that focuses on improved student achievement and well-being.

High-achieving schools put equity front and centerDownloadNow_small
By Sonia Caus Gleason and Nancy Gerzon

How does professional learning look and feel in high-poverty schools where every student makes at least one year’s worth of progress every year? A look at four schools reveals how equity is linked to professional learning.
(Available to the public.)

Growing leaders from within: School forms a tight-knit learning community to tackle literacyDownloadNow_small
By ReLeah Cossett Lent and Marsha McCracken Voigt

Barrington High School in Illinois fosters teacher autonomy, focuses on deep learning, and builds a community of practice to empower literacy leaders schoolwide.

Experts in the classroom: Fellows program connects teacher learning to student outcomesDownloadNow_small
By Kate Pett, David Strahan, and Carlye Gates

Teacher-directed action research projects impact student achievement through the Asheville (N.C.) City Schools Foundation Innovation Fellows program.

‘Failure is not an option’: Struggling high school uses standards to guide reformDownloadNow_small
By Sherry Lambertson

A small, rural high school in Michigan moves from the bottom 5% of schools in student achievement to the 92nd percentile by designing a transformation plan that uses Learning Forward’s Standards for Professional Learning as a guide.
(Available to the public.)

United we learn: Team effort builds a path to equity and alignmentDownloadNow_small
By Jill Kind

A Minnesota high school ensures that all students have equitable access to high-quality, rigorous instruction through a collaborative approach that clearly identifies the elements of instruction needed in every classroom.

Nurture hidden talents: Transform school culture into one that values teacher expertiseDownloadNow_small
By Diane P. Zimmerman

Many school cultures are not conducive to dialogue that supports displays of teacher talent. School leaders need to pay attention to — and invest in — their most valuable asset: the cognitive capital of teachers.


From the editorDownloadNow_small
By Tracy Crow
(Available to the public.)

Essentials: Keeping up with hot topics in the fieldDownloadNow_small

  • Stronger teaching
  • Performance assessment
  • Transition to Common Core
  • Evaluation
  • Teacher support
  • A coherent approach
  • Education technology


Problem-solving protocol.
(Available to the public.)

Lessons from researchDownloadNow_small
By Joellen Killion

Professional learning’s spillover effect is real — and a real opportunity for school and system leaders.
(Available to the public.)

Collaborative cultureDownloadNow_small
By Susan Scott and Tressie Armstrong

A strong, trusting community is an important element of a school safety plan.
(Available to the public.)


  • Looking for member feedback
  • Book Club
  • On Board: Turning belief into action
  • E-learning in 2014
  • Digital resource library
  • Learning Forward calendar
(Available to the public.)

From the director DownloadNow_small
By Stephanie Hirsh

(Available to the public.)


A vivid illustration of leadership: Principal's actions propel struggling school's turnaroundDownloadNow_small
By Stephanie Dodman

At a high-needs, high-poverty school that made remarkable improvements in student achievement, the relationship between leadership, classroom teaching, and learning is illustrated in vivid color when a first-year principal turns the school into an organization that values learning and embraces change.

District dives into data to improve feedback.DownloadNow_small
By Sheila B. Robinson and Marguerite G. Dimgba

A group of educators and community members gain an understanding of how best to gather feedback to make informed decisions about future professional learning and how feedback data serve different audiences.