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Excellent Teaching and Learning Every Day

Write for The Learning Professional

Beginning with the February 2017 issue, the journal of Learning Forward will be known as The Learning Professional. We will continue to produce several stories around a topic, focus, or theme. However, we have added space to run a variety of stories in each issue that are non-thematic. Now, we welcome your submissions on all professional learning topics at any time! Please see 2017 manuscript deadline dates below for upcoming issues.

Theme: Principal Learning
Manuscript deadline: February 15
Issue: June 2017

Research suggests one of the key drivers for increased student achievement is a strong principal. But until recently, professional learning for principals has taken a back seat to teacher-focused designs. In this issue, the Learning Professional would like to explore several facets of the research and on-the-ground work being done to tie principal learning to principal leadership, and thus student achievement. Areas of interest concerning this topic include:

  • Learning designs, innovations, or programs resulting in better school leaders
  • Supporting leadership development at all stages of leaders’ and potential leaders’ careers
  • The value of collaborative learning in supporting school leader growth
  • Critical elements in professional learning for school leaders that improves student achievement
  • Essential resources and structures that support effective principal learning
Theme: Early Learning
Manuscript deadline: March 1
Issue: August 2017

The importance of effective early learning programs and their impact on student achievement — especially in urban settings — has cast a spotlight on the need to better focus professional learning in the pre-K to 2nd grade universe. From brain development to social emotional learning, research has spurred new ways of thinking about effective early learning that necessitate many new approaches to its unique professional learning demands. Areas to discuss include:

  • Professional learning needs of early learning educators
  • Examples of how early learning needs of school and system leaders are successfully met
  • Effective learning designs and elements of implementation
  • How educators navigate politics and limited resources to prioritize professional learning support
Theme: #PLNext (The Future of Professional Learning)
Manuscript deadline: April 15
Issue: October 2017

Innovation has been a controversial buzzword in education and professional learning, evoking images of unused iPads and eye-catching software that fails to move student achievement. But learning leaders across the country are finding newer, smarter ways to combine technology, radical thinking, and new research into PL practices that will determine the face of PL for the coming decades. The many areas that can be explored in such an effort include:

  • The increasing use of video in all areas of professional learning
  • Online networks and their role in changing the field
  • Tool, innovations, and concepts that improve professional learning
  • New tools to measure, evaluate, give feedback, and take action among learning leaders
  • Implementation of innovations given the broad spectrum of change readiness among educators
  • Closing innovation gaps and using innovation to improve equitable outcomes
  • Resources and structures essential to developing and implementing professional learning innovation
Theme: Culture Club: Creating and Environment for Continuous Learning
Manuscript deadline: May 15
Issue: December 2017

A crucial component to creating a culture that recruits, rewards, and retains top talent is establishing professional learning as a priority. School systems too often fail to extend learning to the adults in the building, providing too few or too inefficient professional learning. Because of higher rates of teacher turnover and increased competition for top talent, creating a vibrant professional learning culture is more vital than ever. Our focus on culture in this issue will tackle issues such as:

  • Elements that support collaborative learning
  • How formative evaluations and ongoing feedback contribute
  • The role of embedded time in the workday
  • Importance of skilled mentors, coaches, and peers
  • Teacher agency in forming the culture
  • What school and system leaders do in strong cultures
Theme: Rural & Remote PL: Challenges and Successes
Manuscript deadline: July 15
Issue: February 2018

Often, rural districts face the same challenges as urban areas, but receive far less attention when professional learning designs are discussed. From poverty to resources to culture to time, isolated or remote districts often have to tackle these challenges in ways different from other districts. We would like to explore the ways in which rural and remote districts are meeting PL needs given their unique circumstances, including:

  • Adapting PLCs to small schools or connecting networks across distance
  • The challenges of technology and training in remote areas
  • Finding time with small, overburdened staffs
  • Hiring qualified teacher leaders and coaches
  • The enhanced role of communities in small school culture and thus professional learning
Theme: Professional Learning in Special Education
Manuscript deadline: October 15
Issue: April 2018

Owing largely to quantum leaps in mental health research and treatment, special education curriculum and teaching has become much more specialized in the past few decades. Keeping up with the latest innovation and applying them to professional learning is a daunting but crucial task. We’re looking for the latest stories on practical application of special education research and innovation in all applicable professional learning areas, including:

  • Social emotional learning and its impact on professional learning
  • The spectrum of disorders and disabilities
  • Assistive technology and the challenge of finding learning expertise
  • Redefining goals and success based on individual circumstances
  • Resources and funding for often marginalized or overlooked fields

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