January 1, 2012
How to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and beyond is a core question for school improvement policy makers and leaders. Nationally, there is great concern and debate about how to raise student achievement, reduce dropout rates, address disparities among children from different socio-economic backgrounds, close racial and ethnic achievement gaps, serve transient students and immigrant populations, and increase the level of expectations of-and support for-all children. Improved instruction alone can not address the wide range of barriers to teaching and learning that interfere with schools reaching their improvement goals. It is critical for school districts to provide comprehensive systems of learning supports that address barriers to learning and teaching and ensure that students are engaged and reengaged in learning.
Created by Scholastic and Drs. Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor from the UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools, the Rebuilding for Learning™ initiative is designed to help further assist school leaders in their work around systems of learning supports. As part of the initiative, Scholastic, American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and UCLA have formed a unique Lead District Collaborative aimed at expanding leaders' knowledge, capacity, and implementation of comprehensive systems of learning supports. This effort further supports AASA's flagship initiative, Educating the Total Child, which is aimed at advocating for an education approach designed to effect real change by addressing key factors that determine children's academic achievement.
The Lead District Collaborative brings districts together to undertake the creation of comprehensive systems of learning supports as part of a supportive professional community. Guided by the work of Drs. Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor, educators, researchers and national leaders from UCLA who have worked with numerous state departments, districts, and schools to design and implement comprehensive learning supports systems, the districts receive valuable supports and technical assistance to help them move forward in this process. The Lead District Collaborative seeks to help inform and engage education leaders and districts by building understanding about comprehensive systems of learning supports and how such systems transform public education; creating policy and practice framework documents that can be shared among critical stakeholder groups; and working to design and implement learning support systems.