Center for School Improvement Leadership Institute: Sustaining Transformative Systems Change Through Collaboration

Leading and Facilitating Change for Sustainable School Transformation

We know what works to strengthen and improve public education: investing in and focusing on children’s well-being, powerful learning, educator capacity and collaboration. The AFT is committed to fulfilling our collective obligation to support student success. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides the opportunity to ensure that all stakeholders are engaged in creating the best conditions for teaching and learning for all students. ESSA:

  • Grants states flexibility to provide comprehensive support and improvement for struggling schools;
  • Expands the measures of school quality to include school climate, safety and student engagement; and
  • Requires districts to develop school plans in collaboration with key stakeholders, based on all indicators.

AFT’s 2019 Center for School Improvement Leadership Institute, created in collaboration with the United Federation of Teachers Teacher Center and AFT national partners, will focus on helping teams discover how to collaboratively create sustainable systems change—around the issues impacting their own schools’ students, educators and families.

Through intensive work sessions, teams will strengthen their collective leadership capacity, as well as learn how to lead and facilitate school transformation that results in improved student performance and improved teaching and learning environments; they will dig deeper into their local data and integrate strategies to improve school culture and climate, always with an eye toward sustainability.

Upon completing the institute, teams will have access to consultation and technical assistance to support their work with district and/or school leadership teams on a cost-sharing basis. Professional learning opportunities can be customized to the teams’ needs.

It is an AFT priority to support district, union and community leadership teams as they partner to transform struggling schools—making them safe, welcoming and productive environments for teaching and learning.

Skill Building Principles, Tools and Practices

Interactive deep-dive sessions will create and strengthen union-management-community partnerships to:

  1. Examine school/district mission and vision for alignment;
  2. Evaluate current procedures, policies and data to identify equitable practices;
  3. Utilize effective communications strategies to engage all stakeholders in productive collaborative teams grounded in a set of shared values; and
  4. Create an action plan that incorporates collaborative team processes—including giving students’ a voice and engaging them in the process—to advance a system of change focused on the teams’ district/school needs.

Sessions will cover:

  • Capacity-building toward strong and effective labor-management-community teams through the integration of key components such as team building, communications and data-informed decision-making;
  • How to develop shared values and shared decision-making that will lead to long-term systems change at school or district level;
  • Capacity-building on restorative and trauma-informed practices; and
  • How to harness the power of youth activism and voice to create change in the community and the classroom.

Who Should Attend?

For this experience to truly take root in your efforts back home, it is critical to have key stakeholders as a part of your team. Your team should include:

  • School-level union representatives, parent leaders, principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, student leaders, members of school improvement teams, and staff responsible for day-to-day implementation of school-level redesign;
  • District personnel responsible for facilitating transformation in schools as identified by the district, union and community partners;
  • Union leadership or staff assigned to support redesign at the school and district levels;
  • Parent leaders or liaisons, board members, elected officials, elected student representatives, and/or community leaders of district-level school improvement teams; and
  • A community partner with a focus on improving school culture and climate (e.g., a leader from groups such as public and private agencies, community-based organizations, local government, institutions of higher education, after-school program providers, museums and other cultural institutions, faith-based organizations, civic organizations, and others).

NOTE: If an elected official is selected as part of your team, an additional community partner is still required.

For more information, e-mail or download the brochure.