Mike McMahon AUSD
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Leading To Learn

I am sumarizing the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy Leading for Learning framework and its related Sourcebook to assess what Alameda can do to accomplish "Student Success -Whatever It Takes" in the AUSD Strategic Plan for 2003-2008.

Each action area is broken down into sections:

  • Framework Summary – Overview of materials presented in the article
  • Reflective Questions – Questions presented by authors of the framework
  • Strategic Plan Review – Identifying what parts of the Strategic Plan are related to the framework
  • Creating Coherence

    Framework Summary

    Underlying ideas

    The action of leaders, in combination with other conditions of schooling, present learners and teachers with a set of messages about their work that vary in coherence. The concept of coherence has several layers of meaning. At one level, coherence refers to alignment – among activities on different pathways and between these activities and the resources needed to carry them out. At another level, coherence concerns goal for alignment – its link to a compelling vision of learning and teaching that teachers understand and accept. At a third level, coherence implies sufficient working consensus so that teachers’ efforts to improve student learning are consistent with the efforts of other grade-level teachers, as well as teachers in other grades. Ultimately, coherence is about sense making: does the work of improving learning and the strategies for achieving that goal make sense to all participants?

    Process and challenges

    Because such a broad span of activities and people are involved, coherence is often difficult for leaders to achieve. The resistances from establishing a focus, building professional communities and engaging external environments are among the forces that complicate efforts to create a coherent learning community. Difficult decisions and trade-offs concerning the pace of change, the response to environmental turbulence and the degree of professional autonomy and discretions present potential threats to coherence.

    Ultimately, coherence emanates from the way leaders’ action across the five action areas. Leaders can seek to achieve coherence, initially, by focusing persistently and publicly on learning. Linkages emerge by creating teams and other mechanisms for encouraging dialogue, expectations and support for collaborative work. Over time, the result can be a consistent set of activities and resources focused on the task of improving teaching and learning.

    Reflective Questions

    1. How is professional development linked to student learning in our district? How does inquiry into performance focus on what students and professionals are learning?
    2. What makes it hard to connect improvement activities, resources and learning agendas? What barriers inhibit learning improvement?
    3. How can leaders increase coherence?

    Strategic Plan Review

    .The actions and decisions of how to use the strategic plan will determine the degree of coherence that is achieved within Alameda schools.

    In 2007, Harvard Univeristy Education Leadership Project published thier Coherence Framework. The Coherence Framework is designed to help leaders identify the key elements that support a district-wide improvement strategy and to bring these elements into a coherent and integrated relationship. School district leaders leverage this framework to develop strategies that work towards improving student performance throughout the district.

    Back to Leading to Learn Summary

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    Last modified: July 2, 2003

    Disclaimer: This website is the sole responsibility of Mike McMahon. It does not represent any official opinions, statement of facts or positions of the Alameda Unified School District. Its sole purpose is to disseminate information to interested individuals in the Alameda community.