The Learning Accelerator Blog/Introducing TLA's Leadership Podcast Series: What Will We Take With Us?

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Introducing TLA's Leadership Podcast Series: What Will We Take With Us?

by Samantha Artukovich on August 11 2021

From the onset and through the ongoing duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the United States had to quickly pivot and adjust to rapidly changing conditions. Dealing with circumstances never before experienced, educators, school leaders, families, and students were tasked with making the most of a school year in the midst of a global crisis.

In early 2021, The Learning Accelerator launched Hop, Skip, Leapfrog, a research project aimed at understanding how school systems navigated the pandemic the insights leaders intend to take with them into the future. Our team’s project aimed to identify, codify, and make sense of new school system strategies and capabilities that emerged during the challenges of 2020 and 2021. Through interviews with over 30 district teams and subject-matter experts across the K-12 education field, TLA explored the different concrete “hops, skips, and leaps” that educators and leaders made towards more personalized, mastery-focused, and whole-child practices during the 12 months of school closure, remote learning, and reopening.

The stories of leadership that we heard were powerful. To share what we’ve uncovered with the broader field of education, and to let you hear these stories directly from the educators we spoke with, we’re excited to announce the launch of TLA’s new leadership podcast series: What Will We Take With Us?

These short-form podcast episodes feature some of our favorite highlights from our conversations with real-world education leaders, innovating in their schools and districts and working to make sense of the changes they made – and what they intend to take forward into the coming school year and beyond.

In our initial launch of this series, we’re excited to share three episodes, featuring the stories and the insights of three leaders from across the country.

  • Kristen Watkins of Dallas Independent School District shared with us the creative strategies they developed to engage students through project-based learning, community partnerships, and family connections, as well as how they refined their personalized approach to professional development.
  • Ann Ertl of Hopkins Public Schools detailed the innovations made by this Minnesota school district, including the use of outdoor learning spaces, inquiry-based learning models, partnerships with community organizations, and an ongoing feedback model that allowed the school to adjust new practices.
  • Dr. Tina Owen-Moore of the School District of Cudahy highlighted how the district focused on proactive and open communication, feedback, and trust-building with teachers, students, and the community to accomplish what at times felt impossible – all of which allowed for continued in-person teaching and learning throughout the school year.

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to release episodes on Buzzsprout, Spotify, and all of the platforms where you download your podcasts. Be sure you’re following us for updates – but if you’re feeling hungry for more right away, explore our online Hop, Skip, Leapfrog guide for practical strategies and insights, and dig into our newly released white paper: Launching Forward: Leveraging pandemic innovations to advance school systems.

We hope these stories of innovation, compassion, and thoughtful problem-solving inspire you, motivate you, and help you think about changes that you may be considering in your own school system. If you would like to share your feedback on this series with the TLA team, we welcome you to contact us at [email protected].

About the Author

Samantha Artukovich is an Associate, External Relations at The Learning Accelerator, where she brings her background in psychology and communications to help maximize TLA’s reach and impact through effective communications and thoughtful engagement. Based in the Los Angeles area, Samantha has worked at various levels of the education field since 2006.