Improving district-wide leadership, teaching, and learning outcomes.
We work with schools in a district-wide process that aligns support and decision making at every level of the school system. Here’s an example from Goldendale School District in Washington State, USA.
Goldendale School District
Goldendale School District (GSD) is a district of three schools—Goldendale Primary School, Goldendale Middle School, and Goldendale High School—and 800 students. The district partnered with The Learner First (TLF) beginning in 2019 to support its vision of meeting the academic and social and emotional learning needs of all students through an implementation framework rooted in three core areas: (1) cultural conditions, (2) learning design, and (3) teaching and learning outcomes.
To lead the implementation of the TLF process, GSD formed a district-wide “Change Team” comprised of the district superintendent, the principals of each of its three schools, teachers of a variety of year levels and subjects, school counselors, one member of the district school board, and a range of other school staff. The work of TLF Change Teams is designed to:
- action equitable and inclusive decision making to support teaching, learning, and well-being across curricula, contexts, and settings,
- develop the cultural conditions and district capabilities that enhance teaching and learning and lead to district-wide improvement,
- identify and support the shared and individual goals and priorities of the district, its schools, and its students and their families, and
- enable positive decision making and holistic, curricular learning design across settings and learning environments to improve academic and SEL outcomes for all.
At the district level, the Change Team explored the District Capabilities that would enable academic and social-emotional learning for all, using a rubric-guided process to facilitate conversation and action planning. One of the top priorities identified through the process was in the area of learning design. Teachers wanted more support to design curricular lessons and learning experiences that would help students develop desired academic and SEL outcomes simultaneously. To get there, teachers from each of the district’s schools engaged in a six-part professional learning series centered on learning design.
The process of designing more meaningful learning starts with deeper connections with learners. To begin, teachers learned more about one of their most-struggling students, sitting down for a one-on-one conversation to learn about their identities, interests, and goals and aspirations. From there, they would be able to design learning experiences that were more connected to their students and their needs.