Overview: Professional Learning of Louisiana Educators Benefits 700,000+ Students
Hardworking classroom teachers deserve deep ongoing professional learning and mentoring to ensure they are supported in their classrooms and can continue to grow in knowledge and pedagogy.
Since 2017, the Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin has been working with the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to equip Louisiana mentor teachers and mathematics content leaders with the knowledge and materials they need to effectively support current and new teachers in Louisiana.
The goal of this collaboration is to develop leaders within the system to ensure that Louisiana educators receive professional learning connected to the grade level, content area, and main curriculum they teach.
Toward this goal, the Dana Center developed and provided professional learning materials and sessions for mentor teachers and mathematics content leaders. The mentor teachers and content leaders were then able to turn around and deliver Dana Center–authored professional development sessions throughout their schools and parishes.
From 2017 to 2020, nearly 700 mathematics content leaders and more than 1,500 mentor teachers participated in this collaboration, benefitting over 700,000 Louisiana K–12 students.
Outcomes & Impacts: Success in Growing Louisiana Leaders
100% of mentor teacher survey respondents reported that they feel confident in building strong relationships with their mentees.
96% or more of math content leader survey respondents from various grade levels reported that they can apply the best practices they learned.
"Personally, I have an enthusiasm about this. It is not just another training ....
it is something that I look forward to and something that, when I leave, I have a toolbox of things I can use in my classroom the very next day." —Secondary Math Content Leader
"I love the interactive approach. The small group, whole group, and individual reflection opportunities were beneficial." —Elementary Mentor Teacher
Elements for Success: Relationships Crucial for Trust and Sustainability
To ensure the work was supportive, and, ultimately, successful, the first focus was on building relationships among professionals from the Dana Center and LDOE—particularly among the professional learning facilitators and the educators in their courses, and among the educators themselves.
Dana Center facilitators and LDOE leaders worked intensively to translate LDOE’s goals for the mentor teachers and math content leaders into meaningful professional learning. Mentor teachers and math content leaders reported high levels of learning and confidence after their sessions, and noted several key elements that led to these successful outcomes.
The LDOE leadership team was fully aligned and clear about their goals for the initiative.
Relationships Among Educators
Educators reported that learning alongside their peers built confidence in their abilities.
Defined Cycle of Learning
A clearly outlined framework gave educators clarity on each phase of their learning journey.
The deep experience and content expertise of the facilitators helped foster teachers’ trust in the materials and the process.