NEW YORK— Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced the launch of the Learning Partners Program, a bold new initiative that will bring schools together to share exemplary practices that directly impact children in their classrooms. The Learning Partners Program will span across all five boroughs and develop and promote interschool collaborative learning between sets of host schools and partner schools.
These partnerships will strengthen all schools involved and produce strong practices to share system-wide. Host schools are identified as having a particular expertise that will benefit the designated partner schools. These partner schools are often in transition with new principals, serve students with diverse needs, or have a targeted area for improvement. Select partner schools may be considered as potential future host sites.
Earlier this month, the Department selected 21 schools to participate in a pilot program: seven hosts and 14 partner schools, including schools from each borough. Next year the program will expand to include a total of about 72 schools: 24 hosts and 48 partner schools. The program will encompass elementary, middle, and high schools with a particular emphasis on middle schools.
Joined by principals from the pilot program, Chancellor Fariña and Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Phil Weinberg highlighted the power of sharing strong practices across the schools.
“Our principals and teachers are the heart and soul of our department. By empowering our leaders to share great ideas, we will be boosting our students ability to thrive,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Just like the adage, ‘it takes a village,’ our achievement depends on these creative interactions and the ongoing support of our community. Through the Learning Partners Program we can ensure that the hard work and passion of our outstanding educators is recognized and can be replicated across the City.”
“There are many questions we must answer to serve our students well, and while we know the answers exist in the walls of our schools, it is up to us to pause, reflect, and seize our opportunities to share them,” said Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning Phil Weinberg.
A facilitator from the central office team will coordinate an arc of learning and a schedule for the upcoming school year. Each partner school will visit their host school five times, and each host school will visit their partner schools three times. The host and partner principals will be encouraged to bring members of their instructional cabinet and leadership team on site visits, and all principals will participate in leadership coaching to strengthen their own knowledge and abilities. Ultimately, partner schools will be supported by experienced school leaders who will model and share successful strategies and innovative practices. Over time, by identifying and sharing what works best for our children we expect system-wide improvements and increased education opportunities.
Schools wishing to apply to be host schools in September 2014 must meet five criteria:
• Principals must have at least five years of leadership experience within one school or as a principal in a DOE school.
• The school must have earned a rating of “proficient” or higher on its most recent Quality Review.
• The schools cannot be “fully screened.”
• The schools must have promising practices to share in one or more specific learning area(s).
• Principal and staff must be eager to share and reflect on their practices with colleagues, and can make this a priority during the academic year.
Ideal candidates for partner schools have new principals with between 2-4 years experience, serve students with diverse needs, or are schools that have done well in the past but are looking to improve in specific areas.
Administrators can apply either as hosts or partners until Friday, May 2, 2014. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and schools are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. For questions about the program or the application process, email LearningPartners@schools.nyc.gov