One by one.
Most independent schools that form cohorts or teams for Powerful Learning Practice do so on their own. But the folks who run ADVIS (Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools that also serves all of Delaware, eastern Pennsylvania, and parts of New Jersey) have taken it upon themselves to be Powerful Learning Practice’s cheerleaders for their entire  association.
With 40 of 140 schools involved so far and more to come, ADVIS recognizes how important it is to build a critical mass of leaders going through the program.
“It gets easier and easier to recruit people for teams,” said Executive Director Barbara Kraus-Blackney. “They’ve actually heard about the necessity of connected learning and the impact of PLP.”
ADVIS schools have participated in the Powerful Learning Practice journey for several years now and have extended their vision with us for at least two more.
“We are so pleased with the way it has gone,” Barbara said. “The feedback is great.”
Stacey Kley, Director of Professional Development agrees.
“The best part is watching teachers transform in terms of how they see themselves as learners and their role in the classroom,” she said. “Watching that is thrilling.”
One of the most exciting cohorts, according to Stacey, is the administrative one. Heads of schools and other administrators are spending a year in online discussions about the future of learning. Early on, she said, the top administrators knew they needed to “to do the program.” They just did not necessarily understand their role and how critical the modeling their learning was to the rest of the teachers.
“Getting them engaged in the administrative NINGS….the conversations and the Elluminate sessions have been fabulous,” she said.
Another example Barbara shares is The Independence School in Newark, DE. “They jumped in gung ho with two full year-one teams this year, and their Head of School Vicky Yatzus and others have been consistent participants in the Leadership Cohort,” said Barbara.
Teachers have also changed. One example is Wendy Eiteljorg from The Shipley School who said the program has enabled her to become a learner again:
I have learned a lot since becoming part of the group. First of all, I have a group of teachers at my school that I know much better for having worked with them in different PLP groups. Second, there were things I wanted to be able to do, but didn’t even know the questions to ask. I had been out of the professional development loop for a while (having kids, moving to new state, etc) and this put me back into it.
Wendy has also had several “ah-ha” moments and offers sound advice:
It’s not worth using something everyone thinks is cool if you can’t justify it educationally. And there are only so many changes I can make at once.
ADVIS has learned the secret of Powerful Learning Practice’s success: “It is the process. It is not a weekend, not a seminar you can go to,” said Stacey. “Teachers are learning to be connected learners, to really approach the way they teach in a completely different way.”
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Susan Carter Morgan

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