1. Coralie Delhaye
  2. https://profiles.stanford.edu/coralie-delhaye
  3. Postdoctoral researcher
  5. Stanford University
  1. Emily Reigh
  2. PhD student
  4. Stanford University
  1. Emily Weiss
  2. PI Improving Practice Together
  4. University of California Berkeley

A Partnership to Adapt, Implement and Study a Professional Learning Model and...

NSF Awards: 1720930

2019 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

"Improving Practice Together" (IPT) is a four-year partnership between three institutions to build a school district's capacity to teach scientific argumentation by developing sustainable teacher leadership.

Our Research Practice Partnership (RPP) is unusual because it involves three partner institutions:

  • a professional learning team and an evaluation team from the Lawrence Hall of Science of the University of California at Berkeley,
  • a research team from Stanford University,
  • and a team of teachers and administrators from the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD).

The Lawrence Hall of Science facilitates Professional Development (PD) activities for a first cohort of Santa Clara teachers who become teacher leaders later in the project. After participating in PD activities and implementing argumentation for a year, the first cohort participates in a Leadership Development Institute, to be able to co-facilitate PD activities with the Hall for a second cohort of teachers from Santa Clara. The teacher leaders will then facilitate the professional learning activities for a third cohort the following year, with less support from the Hall, then independently for more cohorts in the future

The research team investigates questions about the project’s processes and outcomes related to classroom learning and teaching, to teacher professional learning, and to district capacity building to conduct professional development. They are also studying the partnership work itself.

The SCUSD teacher leaders, the science teacher on special assignment, and district administrators participate in decision making about both research and professional development activities, to ensure that all structures and activities meet the district's needs. They consider structural changes, resources, and activities that are necessary to build the district's capacity and leadership to teach scientific argumentation.

All partners meet  regularly to tackle challenges and to achieve project goals together.

The project has an important impact on the sustainable improvement of teacher practices because the SCUSD is a partner in the process of engineering a program that will work for them after the project is over. It also impacts student learning, as giving students the opportunity to argue for a particular idea is valuable in developing (a) their understanding of the idea and (b) their skills in communicating, listening, and engaging critically with their peers. Finally, the project provides a unique opportunity to analyze the benefits and challenges of working in a three-way partnership to develop teacher leadership in school districts implementing educational reforms.

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