Transforming professional learning: The promise and possibilities of micro-credentials
It’s time for America’s young people—all, not just a privileged few—to engage in deeper learning. But transforming how students learn and lead requires parallel changes in the systems that support teacher learning and leadership. This policy report and companion policy brief, drawing on the important efforts of current Stuart Foundation grantees, frames a set of strategies to narrow the achievement gap in California by fueling the development of a teacher leadership system.
Research evidence continues to mount, demonstrating the tight linkages between the right kind of teacher collaboration and student achievement gains. At the same time, teachers report they are more likely to improve their instructional practices when they have time to work closely with their colleagues. One recent poll revealed that one in four teachers nationwide would like to lead without entirely leaving the classroom.
In this report, we profile the work of organizations advancing teacher leadership in California, documenting their contributions by highlighting the perspectives and accomplishments of teacher leaders they have engaged. We examine examples of career pathways and professional learning models for teachers—including micro-credentialing as a means to accelerate teacher-led learning and California’s progress toward the state’s blueprint for K-12 improvement.
These profiles represent how much existing capacity within school districts remains to be leveraged. How can current professional development resources be redirected to fuel teacher-led learning and the documentation of how classroom practitioners develop and spread teaching expertise? How can the state of California create incentives for school districts to design organizational structures that encourage the “right kind” of teacher collaboration? How can more California teachers lead without leaving the classroom? How can the state develop a system of teacher leadership?
Now is the time to answer these questions. The education of California’s students, and the prospects for deeper learning for all of them, depend on it.
Interested in learning more about transforming professional learning in California? This policy brief outlines five recommendations that explore the promise and possibilites of micro-credentials.