There’s no question that there are myriad factors influencing education: equity and access, teacher and leadership preparation, district size and resources, student demographics, curriculum and community engagement. The educational system is a nuanced and complex one, with a history of tradition and state and federal mandates shaping what it looks like in every community across the country.
But the single most important factor in student learning is a teacher.
When a teacher feels trusted and is empowered to take risks to better support all learners, when a culture of transparency and inclusivity is fostered at every level in a learning community, everyone wins. Much of our work with learning communities involves personalizing learning for educators so that they can in turn personalize learning for their students; we’re modeling the approach we want every teacher to feel confident bringing into their own classrooms.
To meet every learner where they are, we have to meet educators where they are, too. This means:
- Establishing a vision for teaching and learning that includes the voices of all stakeholders, including teachers, students and community members
- Decision-making practices that invite everyone to the table and include regular feedback loops
- Empowering our educators to voice new ideas, solutions and strategies that support their growth and that of their learners
- Recognizing that innovation doesn’t mean getting everything right the first time and provides the space to make mistakes, adjust and try again
While we believe that personalized, competency-based education is the best way to ensure all students thrive, we also know that it starts with a culture that supports, engages and empowers teachers in the critical work of partnering with students, networks of education peers and community partners to craft their own learning journeys.