Learning Support Organization Starting September 2007

Organizational Design
Communal learning is a core value of the Community LSO, and school leaders and staff will be invited to participate in workshops, study groups, intervisitations, and other activities to promote continuous learning and growth. Offerings will be menu-driven and determined by the needs and interests of school communities. The Community LSO will be guided by the Sandra Day O’Connor observation, “We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone … and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.”

“Community” will be the organizing schema for the Community LSO.

· Each Community team of 18–22 self-affiliated school communities will be supported by a Community team leader and three to four support specialists. Community teams will be clustered in pairs to maximize expertise and enable schools to make connections with expanded communities of learners.

· The director of strategic partnerships and external initiatives (DSPEI) will fulfill the commitment to facilitating the growth of schools as communities and building bridges among schools, families, and communities. The DSPEI will work with a team of community facilitators.

· The director of achievement and accountability will ensure that schools are supported in the implementation of the new accountability initiatives and lead the schoolwide achievement team for elite schools.

· The director of programs for diverse learners will lead secondary reform efforts.

· The director of 6–12 initiatives will lead the team in supporting schools to apply effective research programs in practices.

CLSO will have its first town hall meeting in August.

Key Service Offerings
Three distinct packages of service are offered that incorporate key components of a solid support system. All packages include the following key service offerings.

Accountability and instructional supports: Service includes differentiated support that empowers school leaders to build capacity within their learning communities. Community LSO will incorporate effective programs and best practices for student achievement, utilize an array of accountability tools, and foster continuous learning and improvement. Potential partners include ATLAS Learning Communities, AUSSIE, Renzulli, Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and CUNY Graduate Center.

Special-needs support: Community LSO will provide expertise to enable schools to craft and implement differentiated support for students with special needs, English language learners, and students achieving far above or below grade-level expectations. Schools will have opportunities to enhance teacher efficacy that range from using research methodologies to connecting with organizations and universities that provide training and certification in areas such as Wilson, Schools Attuned, QTEL, and gifted and talented.

Youth development support: Community LSO will help develop learning communities that cultivate the development of the whole child and respond to students’ basic needs for safety, belonging, and autonomy. Their learning communities also will provide the social and emotional supports that are needed for all students to excel. Community LSO will provide professional development to school staff, facilitate access to external agencies and programs that provide expert services and models in family and community engagement, and also offer service learning packages, toolkits, and resource materials. It will actively sponsor student expositions, debates, college fairs, and other activities that will enrich academics and help navigate a path to higher learning, allowing graduates to be leaders in the 21st century. Potential partners in this work include Children for Children, Connect with Kids, Partnership with Children, Comer, and TASC.

Organizational and professional development: Community LSO will support principals in the development of rubrics and other tools that quantify the qualities of teacher excellence and set a positive school tone and climate. By helping principals hire and retain knowledgeable, dedicated, and high-performing teachers, Community LSO will develop communities that cultivate excellence and in which only the very best professionals will want to work. Potential partners include UFT Teachers’ Center, Teachers Network, Brooklyn College, and Long Island University.

Additional supports: Community LSO will support the cultivation of the school as a community and the school in the community. Community facilitators will assist school leaders in developing professional learning communities, enhancing community strands, and strengthening strategic partnerships and community resources. All schools will receive support, via the team leader and community facilitator, in the development of the community strand.

Dr. Marcia V. Lyles, CEO, is presently the superintendent for Region 8 Brooklyn. She has extensive K–12 experience serving as a high school English teacher, assistant principal, principal, deputy superintendent, and superintendent of a K–8 community school district. Her many accomplishments include transforming one of the lowest-performing districts in NYC by building a coalition of families, community organizations, and committed educators. In addition, she has opened new middle schools and high schools and restructured Paul Robeson High School into houses — the precursors for small learning communities — earning her recognition as a Redbook Best Schools Project Winner. She has been an adjunct professor at New York University, Bank Street College, and Baruch and served as chairing dean for the Teach For America Summer Institute. In 2006, she was selected as a fellow in the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy.

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