How do dedicated educators coordinate their improvement work across many levels of the education system? The Dana Center convenes leader and other expert networks to help identify, improve, and bring to scale common solutions to common problems.
Educators today confront rapidly changing federal and state policies and face the tough challenge of doing more with fewer resources to support student and teacher learning. Leaders need help staying current with policy and research developments, learning from each others’ missteps and successes much more rapidly, and developing low-cost capacity-building strategies.
One of the Dana Center’s founding strategies has been to convene diverse expert networks to create common solutions to common problems. Over the past two decades, we have worked with networks of districts and of higher education institutions to develop resources for teacher preparation and teacher quality, as well as tools that urban districts can use to strengthen their mathematics programs.
For example, with Achieve in 2004, we launched the Urban Mathematics Leadership Network, and with the Aspen Institute in 2008, the Urban Literacy Leadership Network. In 2010 we brought the two networks together, along with the Aspen-led Chief Academic Officers Network, under the aegis of the Aspen Superintendents Network to form the Urban District Leadership Network, with 12 large urban districts.