Educator Networks That Promote Professional Development and Learning: Our May Focus


June 1, 2018


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Given the Northwest’s geography and population, schools and stakeholders require unique strategies to collaboratively address challenges. Creating educator networks is one such approach.

In May 2018, we explored educator networks in the Northwest that enhance professional development and student engagement. Here are some of the thought pieces, actionable tools and research-based resources we shared in pieces on our blog, website and social media.

Five Characteristics of Successful Education Networks and Five Tips to Achieve Them

What does a high-performing education network look like, and what steps can emerging networks take to get there?

Our new white paper looks closely at school improvement networks—in which educators come together to learn about or create ways to better serve their students. This approach is gaining traction as a powerful strategy with potential to make more impact than top-down and individual school reforms.

Making Connections: A Networking Strategy for Increasing Student Achievement

How can districts balance the need to meet state standards at a given school with the mandates from the local school board? In a new blog post, Nanci Schneider has an answer: Stay focused on student achievement and build a network.

Drawing on the example of Oregon's Continuous Improvement Network, Schneider describes how a network of leadership coaches/district liaisons provides much needed best practices and implementation techniques to schools needing improvement and also opens communication channels to serve the best interests of students.

Broadening Horizons: How NW RISE Helps Students Connect, Collaborate and Learn From One Another

For students studying argumentative writing in an isolated, rural high school, sharing work with peers in other states pushed their comfort zones.

Chris Spriggs, a teacher in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, writes that she didn't realize how little confidence her students had in their writing until she connected her classroom with others in the NW RISE network. Find out what Spriggs and her students learned about collaborating at a distance and the power of a network in a new blog post.

What’s Good to Know About Creating Rural Educator Networks

Networks are an innovative strategy for connecting teachers from distant rural schools where professional development opportunities may not be readily available. When starting a rural educator network from the ground up, what can you do to make sure that teachers are getting the most out of their new collaborations?

On our blog, Danette Parsley provides three considerations for emerging collaboratives based on her experiences helping to establish a network that connects rural teachers from small towns across the Northwest.

What the Research Says on Professional Learning Networks and Communities

Forming educator networks as a source of professional development for educators is a strategy that continues to gain steam in the Pacific Northwest. What practices and network formats are effective in building teachers’ knowledge and skills and have an impact in the classroom?

Our librarians recently compiled this list of readily available, recent studies and articles that states, districts and schools can draw from when forming new collaboratives or enhancing the effectiveness of existing ones.

Andy Hargreaves on Collaborative Professionalism

When schools want to become more collaborative, where do you start? Andy Hargreaves of Boston College walks you through a series of ideas for moving toward collaborative professionalism in a 90-second video on our Facebook page.

Guiding Questions for Starting a Professional Learning Network

When forming a professional learning network, how do you ensure your efforts are meaningful and sustainable? Based on our experiences working in the field, we developed this list of guiding questions and design elements to consider to start your network with a clear purpose and solid direction.

Connecting Students and Teachers Across Alaska’s Tundra

Read how the NW RISE network that connects educators in rural schools across the Northwest inspired a new network in a remote Alaska school district the size of West Virginia.

Webinar Video: Improving Outcomes for Students in Rural Areas: The Promise and Challenge of Educator Networks

What are the benefits of forming networks for teachers in rural schools? What are the challenges in establishing a network? This webinar video from REL Northwest draws from the wisdom of three established collaboratives.

Creating Networks to Improve Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Educator networks can be a powerful strategy for solving challenges that districts cannot overcome alone. This blog post from Mike Siebersma shows how an Idaho superintendent network is collaborating to work on statewide and local teacher recruitment challenges.

The Impact of Professional Learning Communities

What truly characterizes a professional learning community (PLC)? And, more important, how can PLCs improve teacher practice and student learning? In addition to a review of the research, this brief looks at the trend of PLCs connecting online and describes one district's success with PLCs improving student achievement.