Writers Guidelines for The Learning Professional

The Learning Professional is the flagship publication for Learning Forward. The magazine is published six times a year and is included in most categories of membership in Learning Forward. The Learning Professional is available only through Learning Forward and is not sold on newsstands.

Learning Forward is the only association focused solely on the most critical lever in improving schools -- building the knowledge and skills of educators. Through the Standards for Professional Learning, Learning Forward leads the field in understanding what links professional learning to improved student achievement. We assist classroom, school, and system leaders in solving their toughest problems of practice.

Learning Forward members and the field look to The Learning Professional for practical articles by leading educators that show the challenges and successes related to implementing professional learning grounded in Learning Forward's standards. They expect articles that are interesting, thought provoking, timely, practical, informative, concise, and complete. Issues are organized around themes but each issue also includes non-thematic articles. In general, articles that are appropriate for an announced theme are more likely to be published. Upcoming themes are published in each issue of The Learning Professional and available on the organization's website.

The Learning Professional offers no payment for articles by professional educators. Decisions regarding publication are made by the The Learning Professional editor and other staff. The Learning Professional is not peer- or blind-reviewed. Learning Forward reserves the right to reject poor quality or untimely material, whether solicited or otherwise, at any time during the editing process.

What we look for

The Learning Professional looks for brief (2,000-2,500 words) manuscripts that are helpful to practicing pre-K-12 educators. Published articles will have as their primary focus professional learning and may include the purpose and goals of the learning, what the learning looks like, the support and context related to successful implementation, who is involved, and the results and impact of the learning.

Our primary audience is directors of professional learning and other district administrators who are responsible for professional learning, principals, lead teachers, and classroom teachers, along with those who lead, conceive, or evaluate professional learning from organizations outside of schools or school systems.

Highest consideration will be given to work that is aligned with the Standards for Professional Learning and can provide data demonstrating improvements in educator practices and/or student learning. While writers may draw upon research to support information in their articles, Learning Forward does not typically publish term papers or original research.

We prefer articles written in an informal, conversational style. Writers should avoid educational jargon and complicated phrasing. They should write in simple, direct sentences. When appropriate, writers may share their stories in the first person.

Writers should look for opportunities to break out interesting information into separate "sidebars'' to run with the main article.

If methodology is essential for understanding, please include that in a sidebar and not in the main text of the manuscript. Writers also can include a list of additional resources (books, articles, videos, web sites) that are not referenced directly in the article. Where appropriate, graphs and charts also can be used to illustrate key points. Writers should provide the raw data for such charts and not attempt to produce a publishable graphic on their own.

How To Submit Your Manuscript

Learning Forward acknowledges every manuscript that is received. Writers should expect a confirmation message within several weeks of the manuscript deadline.

The Learning Professional editor and other staff review each submission to determine its appropriateness for The Learning Professional. Manuscripts are either accepted as submitted, returned for revisions, or rejected.

Learning Forward prefers submissions by e-mail, preferably as attachments in Microsoft Word format. If you must submit your manuscript by mail, please send three copies.

No manuscript should exceed 12 pages, including references and charts. Please number the pages and include the author's name next to the page number on each page.

Cover page should include

  • Suggested title of article.
  • Writer's name.
  • The theme and date of issue for which the manuscript is being submitted.
  • Complete contact information for the writer(s), including phone, address, fax, and e-mail address. This information is essential for follow up contact.
  • Writer's current professional position. You may also identify any major articles or books you have recently published.
  • A word count.

An early option for writers: Well in advance of the final deadline, writers can submit by e-mail a brief synopsis of a few hundred words regarding an article they would like to write. Either the managing editor or the director of communications of The Learning Professional will respond regarding the appropriateness of the idea and offer early guidance about producing such an article.

What style should be used

Writers are responsible for providing complete and accurate references, as appropriate. For references, The Learning Professional adapts guidelines established in the most recent Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Writers are expecting to ensure that their references compile with those guidelines.

Cite references in text like this (Sparks, 1997) and list them in bibliographic form at the end of the article. See a recent issue of The Learning Professional for examples of citations.

Authors bear full responsibility for the accuracy of citations, quotations, and information supplied for figures and charts. For questions of spelling, we use Webster's Eleventh Edition Collegiate Dictionary.

Where appropriate, writers also can include a list of additional resources, even if they are not directly cited in the article.

The editing process

If your article is accepted, it will be edited for publication by the managing editor and the director of communications, and be copy edited.

During this process, the managing editor is likely to contact you to clarify certain points. An editor also may want to e-mail you to review or clarify your manuscript.

Because we strive for high-quality writing, your article is likely to undergo substantial editing, including some rewriting and reorganizing. Remember that this is a normal part of the editing process for any publication with high standards. Don't be startled or upset that an editor is changing your article. The editor's goal is to produce the most readable and interesting article possible for the magazine's targeted audience. Your help and understanding in this process is greatly appreciated.

You will receive an edited version to review, correct, and approve. Typically, you will be asked to return the article within several days.

When you receive this final edited version, you also will receive a copyright form. Signing that form gives Learning Forward permission to print your article in The Learning Professional, to post it on our web site, and to use it for other electronic purposes.

What about photographs?

The Learning Professional encourages writers to submit appropriate photographs to illustrate their articles. We prefer black and white glossy prints or high-resolution JPGs. Do not send actual photos until you have been notified that your article has been accepted for publication. You may, however, submit with your manuscript photocopies of available photographs for review.

When a photograph has been accepted, please include a note with each photograph that:

  • Identifies the individuals pictured;
  • Describes what they are doing and where; and
  • Names the photographer.

If the photographs need to be returned, please mark each with your name and address by taping a small piece of paper onto the back of each photo. Please do not write on the photograph itself.

Writers are responsible for obtaining written permission for publication from the subjects of the photographs.
If photographs have been published by a local newspaper or magazine, we will make the necessary contacts to obtain those photos if you will provide us with the appropriate information. The Learning Professional also will bear the cost of purchasing such photographs.

When Your Article is Published

Writers receives two complimentary copies of the issue containing their published articles. Those copies will be mailed as soon as they are received in The Learning Professional office.

Manuscripts, editorial correspondence, and questions about submissions should be sent to:

Christy Colclasure
E-mail: christy.colclasure@learningforward.org