This retrospective study by SCOPE Associate Director, Ann Jaquith, chronicles the progression of the Canterbury Learning Collaborative (CLC), first within the Collaborative and then later within the district in which the CLC resided, and shows how its development has supported instructional change. The story of the CLC provides lessons about how to develop the needed capacity to lead instructional change. There are lessons for central office administrators, school principals, and coaches—as well as for funders interested in supporting school instructional change efforts.
The CLC consisted of a small group of educators, mostly principals and teachers, from a cluster of schools located in the Canterbury neighborhood of the Woodgrove Unified School District (WUSD). The WUSD is a medium-sized, urban school district with approximately 50,000 students. Within the WUSD, Canterbury is a poor, working-class neighborhood with large numbers of immigrant families. Students attending schools in this neighborhood had typically performed below the district average.
With sustained support from an outside funder, the Goodwork Foundation, educators from schools in the Canterbury neighborhood came together regularly over a period of 10 years (2006–16) to learn with and from one another about how to strengthen their school leadership and literacy instruction.
This study describes the 10-year progression of the CLC in four phases:
Principals forge relationships.
Members lead learning.
District learns from the CLC.
District leads learning.
The SCOPE Research Brief identifies findings, as well as some of the key lessons learned about leading instructional change at scale and the particular organizational levers that can support the development of instructional capacity in a district system.
As part of this project, researchers developed a "concept map" to illustrate the progression of the learning collaborative. The concept map is available in both the report and the brief.
NOTE: With the exception of technical assistance providers, all organizations referred to in this report have been anonymized. Interview subjects are not named and locations are given pseudonyms to preserve the privacy of the participants and their organizations.
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.