Decades of research have demonstrated that effective leaders are the key drivers of improvements in educational settings, including early childhood programs. With those findings in mind, our research team helped develop Lead Learn Excel, a leader fellowship designed to enhance early education program quality and child outcomes by supporting and improving instructional leadership.
Our research on adult learning among early education practitioners resulted in an approach that combines training, coaching, and peer learning to drive program improvement. Our focus is on strengthening key organizational supports: effective leaders, collaborative teachers, supportive environment, involved families and ambitious instruction.
- In school settings, we have found that instructional leadership and embedded professional learning serve to transform not just preschool classrooms, but all grades served in the school building.
Publications and Resources
- Evaluation of Lead Learn Excel – This external evaluation, conducted by the Center for Literacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, describes participants and examines findings, lessons learned, and research and policy implications based on the first 15 months of implementation of the Lead Learn Excel model.
- Job-Embedded Professional Learning Essential to Improving Teaching and Learning in Early Education – This paper makes the case that the field must abandon traditional professional development and replace it with the organizational and sustained support of job-embedded professional learning (JEPL) and details recommendations for implementation as well as policy recommendations.
- Lead Learn Excel Overview
Ounce Research and Evaluation Team
- Marsha Hawley, Director, Implementation and Practice Improvement; Director, Lead Learn Excel Illinois
- McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership
- ExceleRate Illinois
- Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development
- Illinois State Board of Education
- Illinois Department of Human Services
- Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant
- US Department of Education
- US Department of Health and Human Services