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Promoting High-Flying Leaders and Teachers

We help districts and schools achieve new heights. Whether a school requires a rapid turnaround or simply seeks to rise to the next level, SEDL provides intensive, tailored support grounded in research and practical experience to improve leadership, teaching, and student achievement.

Third-grade leaders and teachers at Clinton Elementary School in Lancaster, South Carolina, have experienced the winning power of high-performance professional learning. The third-grade team is the recipient of the 2011 Shirley Hord Learning Team Award, presented each year by Learning Forward and Corwin Press to a school team that demonstrates excellence in professional development.

259 educators and administrators served  by SEDL's fee-for-service work
Educators and administrators served by SEDL's fee-for-service work

SEDL is proud of its role in Clinton's success. From 2009 to 2011, we worked closely with Clinton and other schools in Lancaster County School District to implement professional learning teams as part of school improvement. Set in an economically disadvantaged community, Clinton serves students in preK through fifth grade. In 2007, the school failed to make adequate yearly progress, and in 2008 was put on notice.

We aligned our assistance with Clinton's ongoing efforts to elevate instruction and literacy. A SEDL team of experts, including a reading specialist, leadership specialist, and evaluator, provided intensive support for administrators and school teams to strengthen leadership, teaching, and collaboration.

A primary component of the work involved the Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle (PTLC). Using this process, professional learning teams collaborate to plan lessons aligned with state standards, analyze data and student work to assess students' progress and needs, and refine instruction to address those needs. SEDL assistance included site visits, observations and modeling of team actions, classroom walkthroughs, and professional development for teachers and leaders. To track progress, we provided tools and strategies for monitoring and evaluating effectiveness. As a result of improvements, district staff encouraged all schools to develop professional learning teams using PTLC.

The efforts have paid off at Clinton. From 2009 to 2011, third-grade English-language arts scores rose 26 points, and math scores rose 28. The percentage of all Clinton students performing below basic on the state English-language arts test dropped 52%. Staff also reported an increased atmosphere of collaboration, trust, and shared responsibility. At Clinton Elementary, high-flying professional learning teams have helped transform the school into a center of excellence.

See a video of the Clinton Elementary third-grade team in action.

Quote from Shirnetha Stinson, Clinton Elementary assistant principal and instructional facilitator for the third-grade professional learning team, Lancaster County School District, South Carolina. The third-grade team engages in ongoing data analysis of teacher instruction and student performance to determine student learning goals. These learning goals are revisited and revised based on student performance, and interventions for student learning are put in place accordingly.