Rowland USD, Rowland Heights, California
Challenge: Administrators wanted everyone in the 19-school district following a central vision that would drive instructional initiatives, foster personalized professional development and focus on data-driven decision-making.
Initiative: The district created a new framework for teaching and learning to align instructional initiatives and plan professional development. Each school selected a focus area—such as literacy, mathematical practices or inquiry—and then principals and their leadership teams spent a year identifying professional learning needs and designing a PD program. Personalized learning occurred via coaching, self-initiated collaboration, communities of practice and professional learning communities. Classified staff also participated in professional learning aligned to the district framework.
Impact: “Having a collaboratively constructed framework has had a significant, positive impact on staff and parents,” says Alex Flores, assistant superintendent for administrative services. Student achievement has increased as has participation, with nearly 300 students attend the monthly Saturday Learning Academy.
Advice: “Start with the shared vision, develop a framework for teaching and learning that is so specific that it adds clarity, and plan all instructional initiatives and professional learning around that collaboratively constructed framework,” says Flores.