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The heart of school change lies in the quality of the community.
ACSR supports the creation of groups of six to ten teachers and administrators who commit themselves to learning together. They hold each other accountable for continuously adapting their practice to meet the needs of all learners, share resources and ideas, and support each other in implementing new practices. Whether they call themselves teacher learning teams, professional learning communities, critical friends, facilitative leaders, or simply members of a collaborative team, the commitments they hold are the same:
- To be reflective
- To make their practice public to one another
- To frame meaningful questions and ask for substantive feedback from their colleagues
- To hold each other accountable for meeting the needs of students who struggle most
- To ask the kinds of questions that provoke and challenge their assumptions and habits
- To believe that together they are more capable of knowing what they need to know, and learning what they need to learn, than they are alone
ACSR is a Center of Activity of the School Reform Initiative
The School Reform Initiative, Inc. supports the development of professional learning communities in schools – that is, groups of educators with a common interest in improving educator practice in order to ensure high student achievement and equitable outcomes for all students. They do this through the development of critical friendship focused on transformational learning and courageous conversations.
SRI members are committed to making their practice public to one another, to being reflective, and to holding each other accountable for meeting the needs and interests of all students. Through critical friendship, educators share resources and ideas, support each other in implementing new practices, and build relationships among colleagues characterized by mutual trust and freedom from judgment, while keeping a keen focus on issues of equity. They most often work in on-going, collaborative groups where they freely discuss each other’s practice with the intention of improving student learning.
Essential questions SRI members ask themselves include:
- How do I engage in and facilitate adult dialogue and collaboration that results in higher levels of learning for all students, and especially, for those students who are struggling and/or who are under served?
- What is the role of risk-taking in adult learning?
- How do adult collaboration, reflective discourse, and de-privatized practice support student achievement?
- What are the collegial conversations that make a difference?
Under the guidance of a coach or facilitative leader, these collaborative groups of educators use various protocols and processes to develop shared norms and values; focus on student learning; make their practice public to one another; engage in reflective dialogue and collaborative work; and inquire into, analyze, and reflect upon student learning data. In so doing, they develop the knowledge, will, skill, perspective, commitment, and courage to address the most important dilemmas and questions they have about their practice.
For more information about the School Reform Initiative, please visit their website.