Over two decades ago, the Graustein Memorial Fund founded the Connecticut Center for School Change to help spearhead efforts to support K12 education across the state.
The Connecticut Center for School Change is an educational non-profit that exists to ensure (1) each and every student experiences intellectually engaging and cognitively challenging learning and reaches a level of efficacy and competence aligned to the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to support a rewarding and productive life in a dynamic and ever-changing world; and (2) student outcomes are not predicted by gender, race, ethnicity, class, or special needs.
Over the years, the Center has seen new programs, varying partnerships, and different leadership. Throughout, the Center has remained faithful to a small number of propositions.
Large-scale instructional improvement. As educators, our highest leverage is rather clear—the quality of the learning experience that we provide to students. Efforts to improve schools must be focused intensively on fostering deep, cognitively-challenging, and intellectually-stimulating learning.
Equitable improvement. Let’s be honest—our school system has winners and losers. In and of itself, this is tragic. Yet the winners and losers are not distributed equitably across groups of students. This is immoral. At the Center, we know that there is no equity-neutral improvement strategy, and all efforts to improve student outcomes must deliberately dismantle the inequities built into our system of schooling.
Systems redesign. Our outcomes are the predictable byproducts of our current systems of schooling—the multiple, colluding and nested systems that define how we do work. Any efforts to improve learning without redesigning the systems within which student learning is situated will, invariably, fail.
Capacity building. Education is a human enterprise, and bringing about significant improvements for children will require developing vast and new adult capacity. Our efforts will fail if we do not support adults to learn new knowledge, design new practices, and adopt new orientations.
Leadership development. Redesigning systems such that they foster large-scale instructional improvement and equitable outcomes for children demands skilled leadership at all levels. Whether at the classroom or the boardroom, regardless of whether we are talking about parent advocates or superintendents, leadership can and must be developed.
The fact that you are receiving this inaugural Leadership at the Center blog, you know something of the Center’s work. However, we are inviting you to visit our newly redesigned website and learn more about the services, programs and tools we provide.
Leadership at the Center will highlight tools, relevant research, and services central to leading large-scale, equitable, instructional improvement. Feel free to forward it to colleagues.
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Richard W. Lemons, EdD
Executive Director, CT Center for School Change