Sharing Deeper Learning Practices with a Network of Innovative Districts

05/09/2022

The power of educators with a shared vision learning together shows up best during the EdLeader21 Network Virtual Site Visits. When a district joins this professional learning network, they are connected to a vibrant community of school systems across the nation committed to 21st century, deeper learning for every student. And one way educators are sharing best practices: visiting one another’s schools throughout the year without even needing to leave their own districts. 

In these live, interactive visits, education leaders get a front-row seat to see how other innovative districts bring their vision of deeper learning—their Portrait of a Graduate—to life. In the most recent visit with Val Verde Unified School District in California, Val Verde educators showed specific examples of how they are equipped to create conditions for their students to be 21st century learners.

 Here are three ways deeper learning was modeled during this virtual site visit:

Learning within the school

During the virtual site visit, Val Verde students from every level of the system collaborated to share their deeper learning experiences. Two elementary students exclaimed, “We love our garden!” They shared how they work with their classmates to decide what crops to plant and how they research solutions to any problems they face. The students shared that they sometimes don’t pick the right solution, but they always try again and learn from their mistakes. Two high school students also explained how hands-on, real-world learning opportunities have helped them identify their interests and develop skills they need for their future.

 

Learning within the community

Thanks to a partnership with Garner Holt Productions, Val Verde has an Animaker Space, complete with animatronic robots and computers, for students to get hands-on experience with technology. As one student explained, “We come up with ideas, then we work with our teammates to make the big decisions about how it will happen.” Projects in the Animaker Space have integrated subjects like art, history, and culture, which has provided an opportunity for academic standards to be met in new and innovative ways.

 

Learning within a network

Hearing students describe their deeper learning experiences never gets old, and neither does collaborative professional learning for adult learners. Visiting different schools in Val Verde gave educators from other districts a chance to talk with the students and ask questions to the district leaders and educators who are designing and facilitating deeper learning experiences.  
 
In just one year, network members have visited four districts in different states to see deeper learning practices in action. See what’s happening in Southwest Allen Schools, IN, and Granville Exempted Village Schools, OH. Network members are looking forward to visiting Ephrata Area Schools (PA) this May.
 
“I am always inspired by the passionate, caring educators in the EdLeader21 Network,” said Mike McCormick, superintendent of Val Verde Unified School District. “I would not have wanted to weather the pandemic with any other group. We keep learning together as a network and deepen the work happening in our districts.” 

The EdLeader21 Network is a national network of innovative school systems committed to the transformation of education, anchored in a renewed vision for student success in the 21st century—Portrait of a Graduate. In addition to opportunities like virtual site visits, the network convenes annually to showcase innovative practices, learn together, and collectively advance deeper learning for all students.

Belonging to a network with a renewed vision for the future of education is an energizing experience. When you are part of the network, the connections and the learning among future-thinking educators fuel the acceleration of equitable, deeper learning outcomes for every student.