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Envision Teaching & Learning
with teacher leadership as a key lever for improvement

Unite leaders, teachers, students & families in envisioning your school's future. 

In the first staff meeting of every new school year, my then principal would show a video of our superintendent outlining our district’s big-picture focus areas for the coming year. These priorities were intended to be the lynchpin for all of our professional learning and work with students and families. But, in reality, they weren’t.


And it wasn’t because the videos that our visionary leader made were dry and hard to sit through, (although that did not help). I think it was because my colleagues and I didn’t “own” the priorities. We didn’t know how they came about. It was not explained to us why they were deemed more important than other things at the time. No support was offered in how to shift our practice.


I tried my best, as a new teacher, to align what I did in the classroom to what I thought I understood these school priorities to mean, but I would hardly say that they drove my work or that of our teacher teams.


This was 30 years ago. Some districts today, like mine back then, don’t do the best job communicating priorities, let alone collaborating with teachers to create them, but there are many who do. (My first teaching district is now, too, much better at this.) School leaders typically roll out three to six big-picture school priorities a year. In well- functioning schools, these are derived from data, stakeholder input, community needs, and current educational research and trends, and are communicated repeatedly throughout

the year to staff, families, and students.

Teacher leadership is not just a feel-good trendy thing. Schools do better when teachers who are living the

day - to - day actively have a voice in crafting the what, why and how for the schools within which they work.

~Elisa MacDonald

​Are your instructional leadership teams ready to...?

  • Craft meaningful mission, vision and values statements representative of educators, students, families and community members.

  • Formulate Teaching & Learning guiding principles across disciplines.

  • Design a robust team leadership program with Skillful Intentional training and coaching.

  • Identify high-leverage priorities for your department.

  • Design Teaching and Learning with a commitment to equitable access and outcomes for all students, particularly students who have been traditionally marginalized and those with learning differences and disabilities.

  • Articulate desired initiative outcomes with key action steps and indicators of success.

  • Write a school redesign grant.

  • Build capacity in your district, school or department with teacher leadership.

  • Plan for a collaborative culture between and among educators, students and families.


"Elisa is tough and kind at the same time. There's no doubt she's going to push the work when the work needs a good shove, but she manages to do so with grace, twinkly humor and above all, an unwavering belief that we have the potential to get it right."

Lisa L., Director of Accelerated Improvement 

Elisa has been an invaluable resource for me and my department. She is an engaging, responsive presenter with a knack for modeling key facilitation strategies and a keen ability to meet teachers where they are at in their professional learning. I appreciate her ability to think strategically while also addressing the day-to-day minutiae of school life and interpersonal dynamics that shape implementation. I have enjoyed working with her immensely.


Joelle P., ELA Middle School Coordinator

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