Learning Forward Nebraska News

Your Professional Learning Newsletter

Feedback Opportunity

In 2016 Learning Forward Nebraska was awarded a $10,000 two year grant to create a website, expand the Executive Leadership Program and to continue to develop the Learning Forward Board. We need your feedback. Please complete this google survey to let us know how we are doing.

Measuring Your Impact: Transforming Professional Learning with Learning Forward's Executive Leadership Program

The Executive Leadership Program (ELP) is a 30-hour program (3 full days and 3 half days) designed to give participants a deep dive into change models, theories, and processes as well as the Standards for Professional Learning. This learning is then applied to an "Issue of Investigation," a participant-selected issue to investigate, apply, and reflect upon as it applies to your professional work. Participants are able to select a relevant change within their scope of influence to investigate.

While change can be overwhelming and fear-inducing, this program allows you to transform your professional issue by approaching change in a thoughtful and systematic way. In addition, solving an issue that is relevant and important to your own work keeps it from feeling as if it is "one more thing" that must be done. Christine Qualman, a professional learning consultant at ESU #3, summarizes it by saying, "The Issue of Investigation project was an opportunity to collaborate with peers around issues affecting our work, which at the ESU, is focused on providing evidence-based, aligned services to our districts."

As part of the Executive Leadership Program at ESU #3, two professional learning consultants took on the challenge of measuring their impact as they work with educators and students. Greg Schwanke, Instructional Technology Specialist at ESU #3, stated, "Often ESU #3 consultants work with our member districts and never see the impact of our work. My goal with this project was to measure the impact my work ha son the teachers and students that I work with in our districts. I measured my impact through student engagement, motivation, and learning preference via survey questions." Qualman, as the department data specialist, also tackled the issue of measuring impact, from the lens of services that ESU #3 provides to their districts and their impact on student learning.

Qualman and Schwanke both give the program high praise, especially in leadership development and focus on students. Schwanke remarked, "My project made me more intentional with my planning, forcing me to focus on intended outcomes. Also, the project emphasized the collaboration between myself and the teacher. It is a team effort to achieve the intended outcome." Qualman agreed, saying, "The ELP has provided me with an increased understanding of the complex nature of change and the very clear need for professional learning that is aligned to standards that ensure quality and consistency. The experience has been extremely valuable, not only for increasing my awareness as a leader in my role, but also for driving my work in a clear direction around my issue of investigation, creating a clear process for districts and our department to begin to evaluate our services with a clear eye towards increased student outcomes."

Four cohorts have completed the ELP in Nebraska over the past 2 years, three of teacher leaders/administrator combos and one of ESU learning professionals. Learning Forward Nebraska is now gauging interest from others for this leadership opportunity to transform professional learning. Please provide your name and contact information here to indicate your interest in the next Executive Leadership Program!

Board Briefs

The Learning Forward Nebraska (LFN) Board meets consistently to ensure all activities support the organization’s Strategic Plan. We also believe building strong relationships and communicating effectively are critical to the success of the organization.

The LFN Board met on Friday, April 24. Here’s a few highlights from the meeting:

1) A big thank you to all LFN members that volunteered to “man the promotional booth” during AQuETT and NETA. Also, thanks to the "Communication and Connection Committee" for organizing these activities.

2) To further support the work of the “Collaborative Partnerships Committee”, we hope to provide LFN membership facilitated presentations during 2017-18 Conferences such as AQuESTT and NETA.

3) The Nominations Committee is working to create a slate of officers to be voted upon prior to the Annual Board Meeting in July. Watch for ballot information soon!

4) Save the Date! Annual LFN Meeting: Wednesday, July 26, 2017. More details to come!

5) Remember to check out the LFN website for additional information: http://learningforwardnebraska.org/

As always, if you have any questions regarding Learning Forward Nebraska, please do not hesitate to contact any of the board members. We are proud to serve you!!!

Rhonda Jindra, President

Member Tribute

Dr. Chad Dumas is finishing his 18th year in education- a journey that started at Lincoln Public Schools as a Vocal Music Director at Robin Mickle Middle School, continued to ESU 10 as a Professional Development Coordinator, and then high school principal at Gibbon. Chad’s last seven years have been as the Director of Learning for Hastings Public Schools. Dr. Dumas was an integral part of re-starting the State Affiliate of Learning Forward. As Dr. Dumas concludes his tenure on the board, we asked him about his experience with Learning Forward Nebraska and his vision for our future.

My first experience with Learning Forward was in Vancouver in 2004 at the Annual Conference. Bob Lungrin suggested I attend this conference (together with the pre-conference), and from the first day of the pre-conference, I was hooked! The session I attended was led by Joanne Quinn, a close associate of Michael Fullan--and partway through the day he walked in and sat down at my table and talked with the four of us for about 30 minutes. I was also with a Title Director for the state of California and an author and consultant for a regional educational laboratory during the two-day pre-conference, and it made me a member for life! I have gone almost every year since, even paying out of my own pocket if the district I am working for won't pay--the value is THAT important to my personal and professional life.

My best memory with Learning Forward Nebraska has been seeing it grow into a truly professional, statewide organization. It has been an organic process, and larger numbers of educators in Nebraska are taking charge of their own professional learning, and some of these are taking on leadership roles in Learning Forward Nebraska. A tangible example of this was at the recent A QuESTT Conference. For the first time, I handed off the booth materials to another person who then took them on to NETA.

My vision for the organization is for Learning Forward Nebraska to be an Influencer around professional learning in the state--that educators and policy-makers recognize it as being the expert around what high quality professional learning looks like, sounds like, and feels like. And not just that we're recognized as such, but that they call upon us and rely upon us to guide the development and implementation of systems that lead to increased educator effectiveness and results for all students.

Dr. Dumas will continue to be a part of Learning Forward Nebraska as an involved member. We are truly blessed that we can rely on his expertise, passion and commitment to our state affiliate. Thank you, Chad for everything you have done for Learning Forward Nebraska over the years.

Tips For Wrapping Up Your Coaching Year

Just like any great lesson, your year of coaching should end with a solid closing. Reflection, appreciation, and recognition of growth are all ways to wrap up your coaching season.

  • Think or refer back to your coaching notes and observations. What are some "ah-ha" moments? Where have improvements occurred? Take the time to gather your thoughts before your last coaching session.
  • How are your teachers feeling? Sometimes a sending a reflection form for teachers can be a valuable tool for looking back on a year of growth.
  • Review any final data.
  • As you and your teachers reflect back on the year, celebrate the successes achieved through the coaching process.
  • Be sure to thank your teachers for their openness and professionalism.

Taking the time to wrap up your year can reinforce practices and clarify processes, setting you up for a fabulous fall.

Learning Forward Nebraska

Please contact us at any of the methods here. We partner with NCSA. Contact Amy Pogenklass for answers to any questions. If she can't answer then she will get you to who can.