The California Teachers Association (CTA), the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE), and the National Board Resource Center at Stanford University (NBRC) created the Instructional Leadership Corps (ILC) to build a network of accomplished classroom teachers, site leaders, administrators, and higher education professionals.
The ILC is an innovative professional learning network in which educators in California collaborate and support their colleagues in developing teaching strategies and practices aligned with new content standards. Since the Fall of 2014, over 109,000 educators have participated in conferences and trainings, with overwhelmingly positive responses.
A new study by the Learning Policy Institute (LPI), The Instructional Leadership Corps: Entrusting Professional Learning in the Hands of the Profession, describes how the ILC has changed the professional development landscape in four California districts, offering lessons about how teacher-led learning can motivate shifts in practice, enhance teachers’ professionalism and efficacy, and create supportive systems and strategic relationships that can sustain change. The ILC changes the paradigm for teacher learning from one dependent on outside consultants, who often conduct one-time workshops, to one that engages local professionals who are supported to lead ongoing learning within their own districts—and, in many cases, to carry that learning to other schools and districts in their regions.
LPI authors Rachel A. Lotan, Dion Burns, and Linda Darling-Hammond describe the work of the ILC and dive deep into the work taking place in Madera Unified School District, Conejo Valley Unified School District, The East Side Alliance, and North Orange County/Fullerton. The LPI report and brief discuss program design, impacts on teaching and learning, and lessons learned.
The authors found that, “The ILC gave teachers a renewed sense of collegiality, purpose, and common mission that reaffirmed their professional identity, kept them engaged in their work, and gave them a sense of responsibility that extended well beyond their individual classrooms.”