The Turnaround Leadership Professional Learning by jay16344


   An Update on Exciting Events, Programs, and Activities in New Jersey's Urban
   Public Schools


 .The Turnaround Leadership Professional Learning
 Community Network
 NJDOE, Local Universities, and School Leaders Work Together to
 Sharpen Leadership Skills and Promote Good Teaching and Learning

        “We have so many great leaders working in          solving, resource identification, and the enhance-
our schools today,” says Elaine P. Davis, Director of      ment of leadership attributes. The TLPLCN also
the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of         serves as a driving force in the development of col-
Leadership Development. “These men and women               laborative partnerships between college stake-
are truly change agents within their school commu-         holders and school leaders to promote trusted pro-
nities. As a direct result of their guidance, skill, ex-   fessional development relationships.
pertise, and enthusiasm, countless innovative and
                                                                 According to Ms. Davis, it was the lack of
successful educational programs and strategies are
                                                           such opportunities and partnerships that led to
launched each year and teaching and learning con-
                                                           the creation of the TLPLCN in the spring of
tinue to improve statewide. Supporting our school
                                                           2008. “Here in New Jersey,” says Ms. Davis, “as
leaders and helping them to enhance their manage-
                                                           well as in states across the nation, school leaders
ment skills are critically important goals and
                                                           too often work in isolation. They struggle with
through the Turnaround Leadership Profes-
                                                           their concerns and challenges, not aware that
sional Learning Community Network
                                                           others close by may be dealing with similar is-
(TLPLCN), we in New Jersey are doing just that!”
                                                           sues and have good ideas or solutions to share.
       In developing a structure and plan for the          The TLPLCN is providing our school leaders
 TLPLCN, the NJDOE was guided by the works of              with a strong ,well-organized professional devel-
 Michael Fullan and Rick DuFour, as well as a dec-         opment support system, which is something that
 ade of research that clearly indicates that collabo-      they never really had before.”
 rative groupings are one of the most effective
                                                                Membership in the Network is open to any
 forms of professional development for school lead-
                                                           New Jersey school administrator who wishes to
 ers. It is the goal of the TLPLCN to provide its
                                                           engage in effective and practical professional de-
 participants with opportunities to learn about and
                                                                              velopment designed to facili-
 discuss theoretical and
                                                                              tate change in his/her school
 practical approaches to
                                                                              community. Last year, more
 school improvement
                                                                              than 1,500 school leaders at-
 while, at the same time,
                                                                              tended one or more of the
 promoting and encourag-
                                                                              TLPLCN sessions offered
 ing authentic, sustainable
                                                                              throughout the state with
 relationships among
                                                                              many of these attendees rep-
 school leaders in order to
                                                                              resenting urban school dis-
 provide a forum for col-
                                                                              tricts. There is no cost in-
 laboration, problem-
                                                                              volved in belonging to

   TLPLCN or for participating in its workshops               mandated program and developed many positive
   or other activities.                                       and trusted relationship with principals, superin-
                                                              tendents, and district coordinators. These trusted
           To provide for easy access and to en-
                                                              relationships formed the basis for one of the most
   courage on-going collaboration beyond the op-
                                                              active Regions in the state. The participants now
   portunities presented at scheduled workshops,
                                                              have evidence of the power of collaborative learn-
   the TLPLCN is divided into three regional
                                                              ing communities on a very personal level. “Our
   groupings with each group partnered with a
                                                              lives have been transformed. We truly believe that
   local university. The Northern TLPLCN Re-
                                                              we can make a difference,” said one administrator
   gion works with Montclair University and is
                                                              from a high needs district.
   coordinated by Elaine Davis. The Central Re-
   gion is partnered with the College of New Jer-                    Each TLPLCN Region sponsors regular
   sey and Thomas Gambino, Ed.D. is its coordi-               sessions throughout the year that target key edu-
   nator. The Southern Region is coordinated by               cational issues, concerns, and research findings
   Frank Basso and Keesha Wright and partners                 and, most importantly, provide ample time for the
   with Rowan University.                                     attendees to talk, share thoughts and ideas, reflect
                                                              on current practices, and make connections with
          The role of the State Department of Educa-
                                                              others who are facing similar challenges.
    tion has changed with this initiative as evidenced
                                                              Throughout each session, the role of the school’s
    by Dr. Gambino’s successful recruitment of school
                                                              education leader is stressed. Faculty from all three
    leaders to participate in the Network. Dr. Gam-
                                                              universities, including Dr. Suzanne McCotter and
    bino previously worked with another state-
                                                              Eunice Grippaldi from Montclair University, Dr.

      Tim Waters, Ed.D. talks to TLPLCN workshop attendees about Balanced Leadership.


    Donald Leake from The College of New Jersey,                      menting turnaround strategies in their schools.
    and Dr. Gini Doolittle from Rowan University,                     On-site visits are made whenever principals re-
    work closely with the NJDOE to provide top-                       quest this level of assistance. Each Region also en-
    notch training and support to TLPLCN mem-                         courages its participants to regularly connect with
    bers.                                                             colleagues and to use technology as much as pos-
                                                                      sible to facilitate this process.
            Recent TLPLCN regional sessions have
    dealt with topics such as the development of                            “I’m thrilled to have school leaders from my
    school-level professional learning communities,                   district participating in the Turnaround Leader-
    the use of formative assessment to inform in-                     ship Network,” states Joseph Ferraina, Superin-
    struction, coaching strategies, and effective ob-                 tendent of the Long Branch Public Schools. “It
    servation and evaluation techniques. A Summer                     gives them such a great opportunity to not only
    Institute was held in mid-July and featured pres-                 learn from experts in various education fields, but
    entations and interactive workshops facilitated                   also to collaborate with their colleagues and de-
    by New Jersey school administrators. Among                        velop their own personal support networks. Serv-
    upcoming Network events is a statewide confer-                    ing as a school leader is an awesome responsibility
    ence scheduled for Wednesday, December 9th, at                    and the more advice and assistance one can get
    the Mercer County Conference Center. The title                    from one’s colleagues, the better!”
    of this conference is “Re-envisioning Leadership
                                                                            For more information about the Turnaround
    through the Prism of the Instructional Core.”
                                                                      Leadership Professional Learning Community
    Dr. Pedro Noguera will be the keynote speaker.
                                                                      Network, visit
           Participating University faculty members                   leadership/ or contact Elaine Davis at
     also work with the NJDOE coordinators to per-          
     sonally assist TLPLCN school leaders in imple-

   “If we can provide opportunities for school leaders to reflect thoughtfully on the work they do, to clar-
   ify their thinking through spoken and written word, and to engage in conversation with others about
       their work, they will better understand their complex schools and the tasks confronting them.”
                                                            Roland Barth

        A Publication of the Urban Schools Superintendents of New Jersey (USSNJ) , 920 West State Street, Trenton, NJ 08618
                         Dr. H. Victor Gilson, Superintendent, Bridgeton Public Schools, President
                    Dr. Clarence C. Hoover, Superintendent, East Orange Public Schools, Vice President
                       Mrs. Geraldine Carroll, Superintendent, Lindenwold Public Schools, Treasurer
                Mr. Richard Kaplan, Superintendent, New Brunswick Public Schools, NJASA Officer Liaison

                                                      Executive Committee
                                   Dr. Frank Alvarez, Superintendent, Montclair Public Schools
                                   Ms. Ethel Davion, Superintendent, Irvington Public Schools
                                   Mr. Rodney Lofton. Superintendent, Trenton Public Schools

                 Thomas G. Dunn, Jr., Director of Urban & Legislative Affairs, NJASA (


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