Write for The Learning Professional

The Learning Professional (formerly JSD) is the magazine of Learning Forward, published six times per year. Each issue includes several stories around a theme, and we invite submissions on these topics. We also welcome your submissions on all professional learning topics for the non-thematic portion of each issue. Please see manuscript deadline dates below for upcoming issues. If you need to, please familiarize yourself with our Writers Guidelines.

Learning Forward prefers to receive articles electronically. Send inquiries or manuscripts to Christy Colclasure at christy.colclasure@learningforward.org.

August 2018: Social and emotional learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) skills, like managing frustration and cooperating with peers, are integral to learning – and not just for students. Adults’ SEL skills help educators reach students effectively and model the capacities we want students to develop. Building on the research-based consensus that SEL matters, this issue will examine innovative and effective ways that schools and districts are building educators’ capacity to integrate SEL with academic learning. It will show how schools are using communities of practice, coaching, and external support to make SEL a meaningful, connected part of schools’ work.

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October 2018: Supporting equity with professional learning

Equitable access to learning for all students, regardless of backgrounds and needs, is an essential goal for schools. Recognizing the need for school cultures that champion equity, school leaders are grappling with how to support faculty to take an equity approach in their day-to-day work. This issue will provide examples of professional learning that supports an equity approach. It will examine adult learning through the lenses of individual, institutional, and structural change to achieve better teaching and learning outcomes for all.

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December 2018: The intersection of curriculum and professional learning

High-quality instructional materials play an important role in student learning, research shows. Effective professional learning can help schools and districts choose and implement high-quality materials to elevate educator practice and improve student learning outcomes. This issue will highlight examples of how schools use collaborative, job-embedded teacher learning to deeply understand and support student use of instructional materials. It will also address how implementing these materials can support equity of educational opportunity.

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February 2019: Transitions and turning points

Change is a constant in schools. Students come and go, teachers and leaders turn over, policies shift. Whether planned or unplanned, transitions create both major challenges and unique opportunities for growth. What role can professional learning play in addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities? And what systems and supports are needed to maintain professional learning priorities during transition times? In this issue, we will explore how professional learning can bolster teaching and learning during student, teacher, leader, and policy transitions.

Deadline: October 15, 2018

April 2019: Supporting English Learners

For schools to achieve equity goals, all students must have high-quality learning opportunities. Students who are learning English bring a special set of needs and assets to school and the learning process. But many English Learners (ELs) are taught for some or all of the school day by teachers without specialized knowledge in meeting their linguistic and cultural needs. In this issue, we will explore professional learning strategies that help general educators support ELs. Topics may include preparing for newcomers, creating support structures for schools with many languages represented, helping educators explore cultural assumptions, and professional learning in bilingual and immersion schools.

Deadline: January 2, 2019

June 2019: Learning better by learning together

Students succeed in communities, and so do educators. Learning communities provide important opportunities for collaboration, inspiration, and reflection. This issue will examine the role educator and administrator networks play in school improvement and student learning. We invite articles about PLCs, professional networks, and other forms of collaborative learning for educators and leaders at all career stages. What are the keys to making these communities effective? Why is trust essential and how is it built? What does group learning offer that one-on-one experiences do not? How can we assess the impact of the collaboration on specific teaching and learning outcomes?

Deadline: February 1, 2019

August 2019: Personalized learning

To address diverse student needs and prepare students for the 21st century economy, schools are increasingly looking to personalized learning approaches, including competency-based education, adaptive learning, and project-based schools. But most of today’s educators have not experienced personalized learning themselves, either as K-12 students or as professionals. Personalized learning is clearly an area ripe for educator growth, but what should that look like? This issue will examine the ways that professional learning can support teachers’ skills in this area, for example how to use data in PLCs to identify differentiated student needs and to ensure equity in high-quality teaching experiences when different students are engaged in different ways. Starting from the assumption that it is easier to teach what you know, the issue will also examine how personalized approaches to professional learning, like micro-credentialing and engaging teachers in learning design, can help teachers understand and model effective personalized learning.

Deadline: March 1, 2019

October 2019: Resilient leaders for thriving schools

School leaders wear many different hats over the course of the day and year, assume high levels of responsibility for teachers’ and students’ lives, and have few opportunities to focus on their own learning and growth. In short, they lead exhilarating but exhausting professional lives. In this issue, we focus on supporting school leaders as they address challenges like competing priorities, burnout, and stress. Topics may include mindfulness and self-care, making time for professional learning, leadership coaching, PLCs for administrators, and using distributed leadership effectively.

Deadline: April 1, 2019

December 2019: Demystifying coaching

Coaching is an increasingly popular approach to professional learning that is job-embedded, sustained, and data-driven (when done well). But questions remain about how to make coaching as accessible and effective as it can be. This issue will tackle questions of fundamental importance for everyone from the newest to the most seasoned coaches and from school administrators to district and state leaders who oversee, support, and learn from coaches’ work. Specific topics of interest include: What is the difference between coaching and mentoring, and can you do both at the same time? Who coaches the coaches? What unique opportunities and challenges does video coaching present? How can we evaluate the effectiveness of coaching?

Deadline: June 1, 2019