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A Learning Community for School Leaders

ELP Day 2
Learning Forward Virginia recently launched its Executive Leadership Program, with over 20 participants. This 30-hour yearlong leadership program is offered in a blended, collaborative format. Participants acquire skills, practices, strategies, and resources to develop their expertise as agents of change, create cultures of continuous improvement, build collective responsibility, and provide individual and team support for acquiring and implementing new practices. Read more...

Leading For Learning

with Rick and Becky DuFour

Rick and Becky DuFour What is a PLC?

How Do Principals Really Improve Schools?

The Key to Improved Teaching and Learning

Useful Links

Be a Learning Partner: A Dialogue with Marceta Reilly

by Dayna Richardson

June 23, 2015 Marceta ReillyMarceta selected two Standards for Professional Learning, Leadership and Implementation. The many challenges and complex changes in our schools today call for a different kind of leader. Instead of being the expert, it is important for leaders to empower and develop capacity of all educators.

Today's leaders: Education Evaluations are a great opportunity to have a meaningful dialogue. It gives educators an opportunity to REFLECT on their practices. Change happens one conversation at a time. It provides a "space to reflect" in a safe place. We all yearn for time for reflection.

By being learning partners, we are all empowered to change and own our own learning.

We must go beyond the data. Make the data (and feedback) meaningful by focusing on the WHY, by touching their heart and what do they care about.

Learn much more by exploring Marceta's website and her many resources. Her leadership is appreciated by many, including me. marcetareilly.com/

Active Learning: Off the Bench and Into the Game

March 6, 2015 Ron Nash Ron Nash is the author of the Corwin bestseller The Active Classroom (2008), along with The Active Teacher (2009), and The Active Mentor (2010). Nash's professional career in education has included teaching social studies at the middle and high school levels.

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New Officers and Board Members Lead Learning Forward

January 15, 2015 Deborah Jackson Deborah Jackson, special projects administrator in Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools, began her term as president of Learning Forward at the conclusion of the association's annual conference in Nashville, Tenn., on December 10, 2014. Jackson succeeds Julie Blaine, executive director of the Central Regional Professional Development Center at the University of Central Missouri. Blaine now serves as past president. Read more...

Professional Learning Must Reads

by Dr. Denny Berry

December 19, 2014 A Selected Bibliography by Dr. Denny Berry with additional selections from participants in Learning Forward Network Session on Professional Learning Must-Reads. Read more...

What makes a teacher a "teacher" leader?

November 24, 2014 All teachers are leaders. What distinguishes one teacher leader from another is the reach of his or her leadership. Consider these seven responsibilities that teacher leaders with the broadest impact take on. Read more...
Jennifer Abrams

2014 Annual Conference – "Building Your Team Dynamics"

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer Abrams
Richmond, Virginia | Sheraton Park South Hotel | October 9, 2014

The use of protocols for professional learning can be extremely helpful in optimizing professional learning time. So much can be said and heard in a shorter time when parameters and structures are used to support powerful collaborative discussion.

Conference Links:
» Building Your Team Dynamics
» More about Jennifer Abrams
» Read "Voice Lessons" News
» Watch Video: Why is it difficult for educators to have a hard conversation?

The Power of the Familiar Stranger: The impact of video as data

August 13, 2014 Tim Neall and Donna Wilder: impact of video as dataEducators from several school divisions participated in a workshop facilitated by Tim Neall and Donna Wilder, professional development specialists from Prince William County Public Schools. The workshop, The Power of the Familiar Stranger, incorporated video as a tool for reflection. Research has stated that effective teaching leads to student success. To strengthen teaching practices, educator learning is essential. The importance of reflection with skillful coaching empowers and enables educator growth. New insights are the power of video as data.

Tim and Donna have shared this list of References for Video as Data.

The Teaching Channel has also recently added a video clip of a teacher talking about using video to collect data for her own reflection and how she shared this data with her principal. Using Video to Improve Practice

New report: 'Designing Professional Learning'

June 5, 2014 A new report from Learning Forward and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership provides a framework for understanding and designing effective, engaging professional learning. Understand key learning design elements, and learn what questions will help refine and clarify your professional learning outcomes. Read more...

Maximizing Instructional Time to Increase Student Engagement

May 23, 2014 Find out how an elementary school staff restructured their schedule to maximize instructional time. One of the most common factors we found in talking with our teachers about reasons and factors causing our students not to make the kind of academic progress needed is consistently "TIME"!!! More specifically, time to teach all of the components of balanced literacy. Read more...

From the Womb to the Classroom

by: Lillie G. Jessie - CEO/President of High Expectation Learning Institute

May 20, 2014 Dr. Jeff Howard of the Efficacy Institute wrote an article in which he asked the following question of teachers "Whose children are these?" He asks the same question of educators during his workshops. He says if your response is "the parents" then you have not committed yourself to high levels of learning for all students. Read more...

The Principal Story Learning Guide

May 9, 2014 As an educator who supports aspiring and current principals, you want to create learning experiences that are engaging and based on evidence. Discover personal assumptions is an exercise from The Principal Story Learning Guide, a web-based resource available free from Learning Forward and based on the lessons distilled from research underwritten by The Wallace Foundation. Read more...

The Flip Side of Professional Development

April 28, 2014 It seems like the word "flipped" is everywhere in education today. There are flipped classrooms of all sorts, from kindergarten to dentistry. By looking through a "flipped" lens, we can rethink any traditional learning environment, including professional development. Flipped professional development has the potential to disrupt the way teachers learn and will accelerate innovation in education. Read more...

Rigor In Our Schools...Accelerate to Remediate

by: Lillie G. Jessie - CEO/President of High Expectation Learning Institute

April 18, 2014 Lillie G. JessieI put my hat into the race for a seat representing the Occoquan District on the Prince William County School Board without knowing anything about the politics that came with it. For me it was a "Call to serve" and remains that today. I knew what I valued as an educator for thirty-five years in this county but I was not sure that it aligned with the people in this district. My mantra was always "Make the main thing the main thing... high levels of student learning!" During the campaign we conducted a survey and I was pleased to learn that we had a shared vision. The word that resonated was "Rigor." My most recent article was "Data, Data Everywhere but Not a Drop to Drink." I have found the word "Rigor" is also everywhere but there is "too much to drink," because it has too many meanings to too many people. This article addresses the meaning of the word as defined by the educational experts and me. Addressed also is why its presence in the classroom is critical to our economic success as a nation. » Read more...

Announcing the interactive iPad version of Standards for Professional Learning!

interactive iPad version of Standards for Professional Learning Learning Forward has taken the Standards for Professional Learning and added more than 50 interactive tools and videos that will help you build your mastery of the standards and then share them with others. Now available on the iBookstore for only $24.99!

Digital extras take you from theory to practice
-- Watch the standards come to life as practitioners share how they apply the standards in thier own work.

21st century learning for 21st century practitioners
-- Share your notes and highlighted passages through your favorite social channels.
-- Interactive tools make abstract concepts easy to understand and share!
-- Learning Forward had gathered the best of our tools for implementing the standards and included them as PDFs that you can email, print, or share!

It's all right here at your fingertips, so no matter where you go, Learning Forward is there to support you.

2nd Annual School Leadership Summit

April 1, 2014 The 2nd Annual Leadership SummitThe Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership (TICAL) and Steve Hargadon held the second annual School Leadership Summit on Wednesday, March 26th - Friday March 28th. This is a free, global, and online event that includes sessions from all over the world that are beneficial to school, district, regional, state, national, and other educational leaders.

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Testing in Our Schools...Don't Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater

by: Lillie G. Jessie - CEO/President of High Expectation Learning Institute

March 4, 2014
Testing for testing sake is a waste of time but testing that provides insight into how and what students need to learn and how they are responding in the learning environment is critical.

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Attention all Teachers and Parents!

March 4, 2014 Glennon Doyle Melton's raw, witty and relatable storytelling inspires hundreds of thousands of readers and unites an online community in unprecedented engagement and connection.

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Seven Policy Shifts that Improve Professional Learning

by: Stephanie Hirsh - Executive Director, Learning Forward
February 27, 2014 While the first step for many states is adopting more rigorous content and performance standards for students and educators, the key to fully implementing these standards lies in transformed professional learning. Without high-quality professional learning, adopting standards becomes an empty promise.

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LFVA Board Member elected to Learning Forward Board of Trustees

January 30, 2014Dr. Deborah Renee Jackson Dr. Deborah Renee Jackson, Learning Forward Virginia's Professional Learning Services chair, has been elected President-elect of the Board of Trustees for Learning Forward. Dr. Jackson is the Special Project Administrator for Fairfax County Public Schools.

The elected Board of Trustees are charged with providing direction and guidance in accomplishing the purposes of the organization.
Congratulations, Debbie!

Pam Moran's "Makers" Of Their Own Learning - Albemarle's Moon Shot

January 23, 2014 How Albemarle is re-defining professional development and making teachers the "makers" of their own learning.

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Noguera: Educators Must be 'Guardians of Equity'

December 17, 2013 At the outset of his keynote address before several hundred educators at Learning Forward's annual conference, New York University professor and influential education activist Pedro Noguera noted that he was disappointed by the recently released PISA results, which showed U.S. students falling behind their counterparts in other nations in reading, math, and science.

But Noguera went on to explain that, when asked by members of the media to comment on the results, he had emphasized that U.S. students' poor showing wasn't "simply an education problem." Rather, he said, it was tied to "profound inequities" in American society—and, in turn, in American schools.

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Transforming Professional Learning

November 6, 2013 Learning Forward's Transforming Professional Learning to Prepare College - and Career-Ready Students is a multidimensional initiative focused on developing a comprehensive system of professional learning that spans the distance from the statehouse to the classroom. The initiative provides resources and tools to assist states, districts, and schools in providing effective professional learning that results in student success.

» Workbooks and Tools

Transform Professional Learning, Learning Forward's new action brief, makes its grand debut

Transform Professional LearningNovember 13, 2013 Learning Forward is pleased to introduce the inaugural issue of Transform Professional Learning, our new action brief. We have combined the best parts of our past newsletters to bring you one comprehensive, bimonthly publication that examines what you need to know about important topics in professional learning, including tools, advice, additional resources and readings, and practitioner perspectives from multiple roles within a high-quality learning system.

» Read debut issue here.

Jim Knight

2013 Annual Conference – IMPACT LEARNING

Keynote Speaker: Jim Knight
Glen Allen, VA | Richmond Marriott West | October 17, 2013

Educators from across Virginia gathered for the 9th annual Learning Forward Virginia conference Thursday, October 17, 2013, at the Richmond Marriott West in Glen Allen. Highlights of the conference included the annual business meeting, induction of new board members and an awards presentation. Attendees enjoyed this year's keynote speaker, Jim Knight, who provided an insightful, interactive presentation on impacting learning. Jim modeled processes and protocols, including videoclips to illustrate coaching strategies and teaching practices.

» Jim Knight's books, articles, research, partnership learning, and resources: ...More
» Jim Knight's page at Corwin Press.
» Click on books below to see sample chapters and materials. (Within www.corwin.com: Go to the Supplements Tab and click on Companion Website for more resources and downloads.)

Jim Knight - High Impact Instruction Jim Knight - Unmistakable Impact
LFVA's Region 2: Discuss Implementing and Managing Change

LFVA's Region 2: Discuss Implementing and Managing Change

September 3, 2013 Recently, educators from Region 2 discussed implementing and managing change. Colleagues shared strategies, challenges, and protocols for successful implementation of new initiatives, programs, and practices. Increasing student success requires transforming professional learning to transform instructional practices. Using the Standards for Professional Learning guides the planning, facilitation, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.

The Latest Tools for Learning Schools is Free For All Readers

The current issue of Tools for Learning Schools, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, looks at how practitioners can use Learning Forward's free workbook, Professional Learning Policy Review: A Workbook for States and Districts, to assess if their policies support the professional learning required for changes such as implementing Common Core State Standards. Learn how to move people through a series of stages to evaluate the policies a system has in place and consider recommendations for changes.

The tool, Current practices in professional learning, uses open-ended questions to gather stakeholders' perspectives and help understand how to strengthen the quality and effects of professional learning. More...

Professional Learning – A Conversation with Stephanie Hirsh (Sticky Standard Episode #12)

August 2, 2013 Learning Forward Executive Director Stephanie Hirsh recently had a conversation with Dayna Richardson exploring educator beliefs about change and the principles of implementing change. That conversation is up as the latest podcast on Dayna's Sticky Standards website.
» Listen to the Podcast

State Strategies for Transforming Professional Learning

June 6, 2013 The promise of standards, educator effectiveness systems, and assessments of student learning (college and career-ready) depends on the capacity of educators to implement them. Representing LFVA at this session, I heard how states are working to create coherent systems of professional learning that prepare educators to meet that promise.

Hosted by Learning Forward and the Council of Chief State School Officers, this session included discussions of findings from the Transforming Professional Learning to Prepare College- and Career-Ready Students initiative. The forum specifically addressed lessons learned from Kentucky as the demonstration state who brought together educators from every level to design a comprehensive system of professional learning. The forum also included the release of a new policy brief detailing policy elements, lessons learned from the initiative and recommendations for developing and implementing new systems of professional learning.

» SEIZING THE MOMENT: State Lessons for Transforming Professional Learning

» Transforming Professional Learning: Key to Resources to Improve Teacher Practice and Results for all Students

Principals Talk About What It Takes to Succeed: A Wallace Video Series

April 17, 2013 The Wallace Foundation identified five key practices of effective principals. We offer a series of short videos that shows how 13 successful principals are using these practices to improve teaching and learning in their schools. Listen and learn as the principals talk about how they carry out these practices with skill and heart.

» VIDEO: Great School Leadership in Action: A Wallace Video Series

Learning Forward Announces: Release of Establishing Time for Professional Learning

April 9, 2013 Learning Forward announces the release of Establishing Time for Professional Learning, a workbook designed to guide districts and schools as they develop, assess, and implement recommendations for increasing collaborative learning time for educators.


Learning Forward Announces Release of School-Based Professional Learning Modules

March 12, 2013 Learning Forward announces the release of School-Based Professional Learning, a set of four web-based professional learning units for school and district leaders. The units are designed to help school-based leadership teams develop a shared body of knowledge about the procedures, processes, and structures involved in effective learning for educators and to develop the skills needed to facilitate job-embedded, school-based professional learning. The online tools are supported by MetLife Foundation, and are the latest products released as part of Learning Forward's ongoing initiative to develop a comprehensive system of professional learning that spans the distance from the statehouse to the classroom. The initiative, Transforming Professional Learning to Prepare College- and Career-Ready Students: Implementing the Common Core is also supported by Sandler Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The units address the following essential topics for improving professional learning: managing change, facilitating learning teams, learning designs, and Standards for Professional Learning. Each unit includes background readings, protocols to use with learning teams, recommended processes and strategies to accomplish the school's improvement plan through effective professional learning, and other resources for school-based leadership teams to use to support their efforts to implement effective teaching and learning for full implementation of Common Core State Standards. The units come at a time when a majority of principals and teachers alike identify the implementation of standards as "challenging" or "very challenging," according to the recently released MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership (www.metlife.com/teachersurvey). The survey also found that 84% of principals say that, to be an effective school leader, it is very important to lead development of strong teaching capacity.

"The units will help guide me and my leadership team as we develop a plan of action to implement professional learning within our school," said Bryant Gillis , principal at Tichenor Middle School of Erlanger, Ky. "We will begin by using the unit survey to self-assess our needs concerning professional learning." "This set of professional learning units is a valuable capacity-building tool for school and district leaders," said Learning Forward executive director Stephanie Hirsh . "Teachers will need to engage in effective professional learning practices to bring the Common Core standards to life in their classrooms." Access School-Based Professional Learning for Implementing the Common Core.

» Download the PDF version of this article

Survey indicates need for high-quality professional learning

February 21, 2013 Learning Forward via Education Week Teacher The recent release of the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Challenges for School Leadership provides valuable information about teacher and principal needs, highlighting the increasing importance of high-quality professional learning.

» PD Watch News

Governor McDonnell Proclaims 2013 "The Year of the Teacher"

RICHMOND, January 3, 2013 Governor Bob McDonnell today proclaimed 2013 The Year of the Teacher in Virginia. The Year of the Teacher is part of Governor McDonnell's ALL STUDENTS initiative. The Year will feature programs and special recognition of teachers in Virginia. Information will be updated regularly at www.ALLSTUDENTS.Virginia.Gov. More on this article

Ann Delehant

2012 Annual Conference – Teacher Evaluation is a BIG Issue
Let's Focus on Teacher Learning and Development

Keynote Speaker: Ann Delehant
Charlottesville, VA | Omni Hotel | November 15 & 16 2012
Full Summary

The Learning Forward Virginia Annual Conference offers educators at all levels a chance to connect teacher growth with student success. Ann Delehant will review the five major elements of the work on teacher evaluation: goal setting/reflection, scoring, feedback, diagnosis and support; and demonstrate how schools can apply an effective teacher evaluation process. Participants will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and a day of learning with Ann.

Professional development leaders of Virginia: Ann invites you to empower teachers, principals and their evaluators to focus on growth and learning for all educators and achievement for all students. Come early for a half-day preconference session to connect, engage, and learn in a statewide role-alike group. Spend time delving into the Learning Forward Standards for Professional Learning and relate them to the Virginia Uniform Performance Standards for Teachers.

All attendees to Learning Forward Virginia's Annual Conference 2012 received access to high-quality online professional development videos-at no cost-thanks to our relationship with School Improvement Network, maker of the award-winning PD 360.

LFVA Handout Writing Plans
LFVA Annual Meeting Day 2 (Updated!)
LFVA Handout-11/15
2012 Annual Conference Photo Gallery

Learning Forward announces release of Standards Into Practice: School-based Roles

The first volume of a series that highlights Innovation Configuration maps for educators in 12 distinct roles in education who share responsibility for professional learning. The first volume is available for sale. The IC maps for the teacher role are available as a free download.

New research report explores what makes learning communities effective

Explore Building a Learning Community, the final report from our multiphase research initiative. more...
Rick and Becky DuFour

2011 Annual Conference – A Day with the DuFours: Professional Learning Communities

Keynote Speakers: Rick and Becky DuFour
Charlottesville, VA | Omni Hotel | November 4, 2011
Full Summary

The changing colors of fall leaves in Charlottesville created a vibrant backdrop for more than 250 educators to convene at Learning Forward Virginia's 8th annual conference. The conference this year featured Rick and Becky DuFour who facilitated an effective day of learning to advance the understanding of Professional Learning Communities.

The conference began by recognizing those who exemplify quality professional development around the state. Following the awards, Rick and Becky DuFour took the stage and presented an engaging overview of the features that create successful professional learning communities. One of the main points of their presentation was that professional learning communities are teams of teachers working together for the good of students.

The afternoon sessions allowed participants to focus on their respective communities. These breakout sessions gave attendees the chance to focus on the areas that will be addressed when they return to their professional learning communities and implement ideas sprouted at the conference.

Learning Forward Virginia thanks all the participants of the 2011 annual conference. The professional learning community that comprises the Learning Forward Virginia organization continues to grow each year.


Learning Forward Affiliate Announces Name Change

RICHMOND — June 23, 2011 Learning Forward is pleased to announce that its Virginia affiliate has officially changed its name to Learning Forward Virginia from Virginia Staff Development Council or VSDC.

This change in name solidifies the relationship between Learning Forward and Learning Forward Virginia. The affiliate provides Learning Forward members the opportunity to expand their professional networks by connecting with other individuals in Virginia. More than 35 state and provincial affiliates provide services and programs that connect those who lead or facilitate professional development within individual states, provinces, or regions.

On September 1, 2010, Learning Forward changed its name from the National Staff Development Council (NSDC). The name change reflects not only the organization's growth over its 41-year history, but also better represents the vision of the organization as a powerful advocate for teacher and student learning, according to Executive Director Stephanie Hirsh.

The new name of Learning Forward Virginia signifies that it is committed to advancing effective professional learning for all educators within Virginia so that every student achieves. Maintaining strong ties with the parent organization allows Learning Forward Virginia to join together with other affiliates to speak with one voice about the importance of effective professional development to improve teaching, leadership, and student learning.

Join Learning Forward Virginia to move from a Professional Learning Community to a Learning School. Connect with other professional learning leaders at the Annual Conference featuring Rick and Becky DuFour in Charlottesville on November 4th. Conference participants will receive a copy of their book: Learning By Doing. Learning Forward Virginia will announce the annual recognition award winners at this event.

For more information about Learning Forward Virginia and the annual conference, visit http://www.learningforwardvirginia.org/.

Stephanie Hirsh

2010 Annual Conference – Becoming a Learning School

Keynote Speaker: Stephanie Hirsh
Charlottesville, VA | Zehmer Hall, University of Virginia | October 29, 2010
Full Summary

Stephanie Hirsh, Executive Director of Learning Forward, opened our annual conference by explaining National Staff Development's new name. Learning Forward, formerly the National Staff Development Council, is an international association of learning educators committed to one purpose in K-12 education: Every educator engages in effective professional learning every day so that every student achieves.

The Virginia Staff Development Council, Learning Forward Virginia, designed their conference to identify the core elements of a learning school that engages in collaborative professional learning and to have participants gain strategies for transforming schools into learning schools.

2009 Annual Conference – A New Day for Professional Learning: "Take the Message Back"

Keynote Speaker: Joellen Killion
Richmond, VA | Omni Hotel

2008 Annual Conference

No conference held due to VSDC's involvement in planning for NSDC 2008 in Washington, DC.

2007 Annual Conference – Leading the Learning

Keynote Speaker: Paula Rutherford
Richmond, VA | Omni Hotel

2006 Annual Conference – High Quality Professional Learning – Continuing the Journey to Excellence

Keynote Speaker: Pam Robbins
Staunton, VA | Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center

2005 Annual Conference – VSDC Festival: Spotlight on High Quality Professional Development

Keynote Speaker: Spencer Kagan
Roanoke, VA | Hotel Roanoke

2004 Annual Conference – Building Collective Capacity: Unmasking our Potential

Keynote Speakers: Rick and Becky DuFour
Williamsburg, VA | Williamsburg Hospitality House

2003 Annual Conference – Revisioning Professional Development

Keynote Speaker: Dennis Sparks
Charlottesville, VA | Zehmer Hall, University of Virginia