Schools serve as the center of the community and are nested within the larger context of the neighborhood, city, county, state, nation, and global community. Within the school-site, schools are nested with grade levels, departments, programs, classrooms, families, and individual scholars. In today’s modern learning environment, understanding our “nest” helps us best understand what’s next for our learners and leaders.

Let’s focus on the school community nest. Dr. Richard Halverson, Associate Dean for Innovation, Outreach, and Partnerships alongside his role as Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at UW-Madison School of Education has developed powerful tools to help us understand the role of leadership in schools. These tools can help us distribute leadership and focus on the tasks that matter. In our current disruptive environment, these tasks and tools can help frame our nested efforts.

As you add tools to your box, Halverson’s Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL) Rubric (2005) is a research-driven resource that provides guidance for educators: 

(*) The School Leadership Rubrics define a range of observable leadership and instructional practices that characterize more and less effective schools. These rubrics provide a metric for identifying and assessing school-wide instructional leadership tasks, recognizing that the principal is a single actor in a complex web of activity that influences student learning. The rubrics were developed by Professor Rich Halverson, in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Learning, drawing on a significant body of research on school effectiveness. The rubrics are divided into 21 subdomains, grouped in five domains to reflect the tasks school leaders focus on to improve teaching and learning: 

1. Focus on Learning
2. Monitoring Teaching and Learning
3. Building Nested Learning Communities
4. Acquiring and Allocating Resources
5. Maintaining Safe and Effective Learning Environment

As we continue to mine for more information, focusing in on the domain of nested learning communities we find the following sub-domains:

  1. Collaborative school-wide focus on problems of teaching and learning 
  2. Professional learning 
  3. Socially distributed leadership
  4. Coaching and mentoring

These sub-domains add additional lenses for inquiry into how we support our nested learning communities. How are you able to access this information in your system?

Questions for Your Community:

As you think about your nest, and what’s next in your learning community:

  • How are you collecting data and utilizing this information to accelerate learning outcomes?
  • Who has access to this information in a remote/distant/online environment?
  • How might the data assist in distributing the leadership to support your district’s outcomes?
  • How is funding aligned with the decision-making in these areas?
  • Knowing these domains are inextricably linked to achievement gains, what’s next for your system?  

With many decisions facing schools, we’re left with more questions than answers. K12 360° can support data for understanding and making decisions in your nested learning community.  We are all in this together!

Deeper into Nested Learning Communities with our Author

For more insights on this topic, enjoy the SPECIAL ISSUE: The Just in Time Playbook for Future-Proofing Your District Plans: Preparing for Next School Year

This special issue of Tech & Learning is dedicated to helping schools address the many questions related to planning for next school year. Guide to creating a district plan that can effectively support your nested learning environment, whether online, blended, or face-to-face.

The Planning Guide includes:

  • Transitioning from remote to blended learning
  • Preparing for effective leadership during transitions
  • Developing instructional continuity plans
  • Making the most of federal funding
  • Creating new learning ecosystems

And much more.


Resources from this Article:

(*) Download the PDF to learn more about the rubrics created by Professor Richard Halverson with the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Learning.

Halverson, Richard. “School Leadership Rubrics.” CALL Rubrics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, web.education.wisc.edu/halverson/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2012/09/CALL-Rubrics.pdf.

https://elpa.education.wisc.edu/elpa/people/faculty-and-staff-directory/richard-halverson


ABOUT OUR AUTHOR

Frances Marie Gipson, PhD

Frances Marie Gipson is a clinical associate professor of education in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, and also serves in the capacity of Director of the Urban Leadership Program. Prior to this role Dr. Gipson served as the Chief Academic Officer of the second largest school district in the nation.  Gipson’s leadership has been formally recognized from her peers, higher education, and national organizations ranging from Administrator of the Year Award from ACSA, the Tae Han Kim award for humanitarian and cultural accomplishments, CSULA Day of the Educator award for excellence in fieldwork supervision, Excellence in Urban Leadership Award, Top 30 Trailblazers, Technologists, and Transformers by the Center for Digital Education, AALA President’s Award, Sanford Inaugural Scholar, and most recently Distinguished Alumni by CGU.

Gipson believes that “living in the system” and “disturbing the system” are both critical to agency and advocacy for youth, and ensure that our communities are at the center of all decisions. She is inspired to coach, mentor, and support the next generation of urban leaders who will promote flourishing urban school systems.