School Structures that Support Collaborative Cultures, Part 2

Shared collaborative planning time is another school structure that supports educators in building and sustaining a culture of collaboration. In schools and districts where administrators recognize this as an essential component of effective instruction, grade-level, classroom-library, and interdisciplinary collaboration is more likely to be practiced and lead to positive results in terms of improvements in student learning and educator proficiency.

The National Center for Literacy Education (NCLE) is a coalition of education associations, policy organizations, and foundations united to support schools in elevating literacy learning. The American Association of School Librarians is a partner organization. NCLE conducted a national survey of educators in all roles, at all grade levels, and in all subject areas to find out more about what is actually happening in schools. (Note: This report was funded by the Ball Foundation.)

Today, the Literacy in Learning Exchange released the findings: “NCLE Report: Remodeling Literacy Learning.”

The report states that although “working together is working smarter, schools are not structured to facilitate educators working together.” It also noted that “effective collaboration needs systemic support.”

Here’s a recommendation that all educational decision-makers should note: “Embed the collaboration of educators in the school day. This is critical for deep student learning and is a necessary prerequisite to the success of other school reforms.

Schools can start by instituting shared planning time during the school day and focus on collaborative job-embedded professional development. The recommendations would go a long way to building the necessary school structures to help make professional learning communities successful. I encourage every educator to make time to read this report.

Works Cited

Innovations Lightbulb. Digital image. HHS.gov. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/open/initiatives/innovationfellows/index.html

National Center for Literacy Education. “NCLE Report: Remodeling Literacy Learning.” Retrieved from http://www.literacyinlearningexchange.org/remodeling

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About Judi Moreillon

Judi Moreillon, M.L.S, Ph.D., has served as a school librarian at every instructional level. In addition, she has been a classroom teacher, literacy coach, and district-level librarian mentor. Judi has taught preservice school librarians since 1995. She is currently an adjunct associate professor for the iSchool at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has taught courses in instructional partnerships and school librarian leadership, multimedia resources and services, children’s and young adult literature, and storytelling. Her research agenda focuses on the professional development of school librarians for the leadership and instructional partner roles.

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