In forming a partnership to create a birth-to-college approach to public education, the Ounce of Prevention Fund (Ounce) and University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI) are leveraging their schools’ professional learning cultures. The professional learning culture of each school is well articulated, collaborative, and focused on continual improvement informed by analyses of student, practitioner and school data. Professional development is built into their weekly calendars and teachers lead much of the professional learning.
The challenge is asking teachers and staff to deepen professional learning within their individual schools while simultaneously participating in, and indeed leading, the design of professional development that spans three schools. To build strong relationships and facilitate this shared professional development, the Ounce and UEI implemented Professional Learning Communities and Communities of Practice.