School improvement is more than just high test scores. It embodies creating conditions for learning to abound, especially the learning that prepares students to be successful citizens in a highly competitive global economy. What we know is that success in the global economy will go to those who are learners and innovators. In the words of Vivien Stewart, “innovation is the lifeblood of the 21st century economy.” The challenge for educators today is really twofold: 1) meeting the expectations of high-stakes testing and accountability systems, 2) while simultaneously creating the conditions within today’s classrooms for developing 21st Century skills such as creativity, teaming, learning how to learn, taking responsibility for one’s own learning, and possessing the ability to innovate.
The literature and research on teaching and teacher effectiveness tells us that the role of the teacher is changing. We are learning that the focus needs to be more on leading, facilitating, decision-making, analyzing, planning, and creating stimulating work that students find engaging and purposeful. With this new role, teachers must become learners themselves. More than ever, districts need to invest in building the capacity of teachers to lead classroom transformation where high quality instruction is the norm, and clarity around what matters most is discovered through professional inquiry and dialogue.
The “Leaders of Learners” is a structured professional learning community composed of identified teacher leaders and administrators from every campus in the district. Meetings will be scheduled for the purpose of building campus capacity to support the core work of teaching and learning as well as provide a venue for collaborative dialogue and problem-solving. Each meeting will be designed to enhance professional learning regarding leadership, curriculum content, assessment, data-analysis, and instructional delivery by using collaborative processes. The result will be a cadre of well-trained and informed teacher leaders who are able and willing to lead professional learning communities at the campus level in alignment with district goals and initiatives.