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?
- How can teacher collaboration reduce/eliminate the predictive value of race and class on student success in school and in life?
- 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.