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ESSA Leadership Learning Community

In 11 states, community, district, and state stakeholders regularly discussed how to promote effective, equity-minded school leadership. Innovations and policy ideas emerged.

What we did

What does a leadership institute for principals in five Wisconsin cities have in common with an alliance to prepare aspiring principals in rural Nebraska? They are two of the innovations that emerged from the ESSA Leadership Learning Community. This effort was named for the federal law that inspired it, the Every Student Succeeds Act. It supported work in 11 that brought together district, community, and state stakeholders for discussion and action about how to promote effective, equity-minded leadership, especially for schools serving high-need communities.  

What we learned

Policy Studies Associates studied the learning community. One conclusion the researchers reached was that creative ideas can emerge when those who don’t usually interact—but probably should—engage in regular conversation, even when those discussions get fraught. What mattered to the effort was that it brought together those who are concerned about education and represent widely diverse personal and professional backgrounds and perspectives. 

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