JSD, October 2014: Today's central office

Oct 08, 2014



Up close: Deep smarts start hereDownloadNow_small

  • Analyze your district’s learning plan
  • Are we stuck in the past or moving ahead?
  • What superintendents say
  • What’s inside

Champions of learning: District leaders build skills to boost educator practiceDownloadNow_small
By Kay Psencik, Frederick Brown, Laura Cain, Ramona Coleman, and C. Todd Cummings

Fort Wayne (Indiana) Community Schools takes a proactive approach to support educators and increase student outcomes through a focus on district and principal leadership, learning teams, effective learning designs, and deep commitment to a culture of learning.
(Available to the public.)

Wisdom from the factory floor: For best results, limit initiatives, build capacity, and monitor progressDownloadNow_small
By Chad Dumas and Craig Kautz

Instead of trying to control change, central office staff at Hastings (Nebraska) Public Schools create the conditions for change to occur: They focus their efforts, build the capacity of people in the district, and monitor implementation.

Partners in achievement: Synergy fuels growth in literacy and student engagementDownloadNow_small
By Wendy James, Dave Dersken, and Kerry Alcorn

The central office of Saskatoon Public Schools in Saskatchewan, Canada, has built a structure that supports the work of its schools. The central office facilitates planning to clarify goals, helps narrow the focus, marshals evidence of progress, and lays a research foundation for district leadership and teaching practices.

Learning to be a change agent: System leaders master skills to encourage buy-in for reforms DownloadNow_small
By Nonie K. Lesaux, Sky H. Marietta, and Emily Phillips Galloway

Professional learning institutes for system-level leaders simultaneously build participants’ knowledge about the content of the literacy-based reform and leading and supporting implementation.

Beyond buses, boilers, and books: Instructional support takes center stage for principal supervisorsDownloadNow_small
By Sarosh Syed

School districts are experimenting with several strategies to build up the role of principals’ managers in the central office as a means to improve principal effectiveness and provide instructional support.
This article is sponsored by The Wallace Foundation.
(Available to the public.)

To move your career forward — retreat: Set aside uninterrupted time to view your work from a distanceDownloadNow_small
By Billie F. Birnie

It is all too easy in the fast-paced life of the central office to lose sight of things that really matter. A personal retreat offers the opportunity to look at your work from a distance to be sure it’s becoming the picture you want it to be.

A fresh approach for fresh faces: Central office leaders adopt strategies to support new teachersDownloadNow_small
Suzanne Molitor, Dina Burkett, Allison Cunningham, Cheryl Dell, and Anna Presta

Central office leaders in the Peel District School Board in Ontario, Canada, take on new roles to support beginning teachers and mentors as part of a mandate for all 72 districts within the province.

From theory to action: Learning shifts into high gear with structured supports DownloadNow_small
Andrea Anderson, Beth Steffen, Chad Wiese, and M. Bruce King

A Wisconsin high school’s turnaround is attributable to the coalescence of distributed instructional leadership around three essentials of strong professional learning communities: a focus on learning, collaborative culture, and results orientation.


From the editorDownloadNow_small
By Tracy Crow

What a cutting-edge central office staff needs to know.
(Available to the public.)

Essentials: Keeping up with hot topics in the fieldDownloadNow_small

  • Teachers on Common Core
  • School leadership
  • Americans on schools
  • Coaching and planning tools
  • Reducing turnover
  • Student-centered practices
  • Educator engagement


Protocol for establishing a theory of change.

Lessons from researchDownloadNow_small
By Joellen Killion

Study links professional learning to impact on students’ civic literacy.
(Available to the public.)


  • Learning Forward by the numbers
  • On Board
  • Book Club
  • Learning Forward calendar
  • Leadership Society
(Available to the public.)

From the directorDownloadNow_small
By Stephanie Hirsh

Standards serve as guideposts for today’s central office.
(Available to the public.)


Eyes on the prizewinners: Foundation partners with recipients to set goals, measure growth, and encourage reflectionDownloadNow_small
By Janice Bradley and Shirley Hord

The Learning Forward Foundation has grown from a fundraising organization that supports learning for superintendents, principals, learning teams, and individuals to become a more robust system of responsibility and accountability to donors and recipients.