District Leadership in Scaling Up Instructional Improvement

Learn about two projects’ findings on district leadership practices critical for scaling up ambitious mathematics instruction through teacher professional development. Share your own insights, challenges, and recommendations for scale-up. 


School districts play a critical role in supporting the development of school-level capacity for instructional improvement. Yet, our knowledge on what it takes to achieve district-wide improvement in mathematics instruction and student learning is still limited.  The objectives of this panel presentation are: 1) to share, compare, and discuss findings on district leadership for scaling up instructional improvement at various sites, and 2) to identify common aspects of district leadership critical for scaling up ambitious and equitable mathematics instruction. 

First, Motoko Akiba will share findings from a longitudinal statewide survey and interviews of district leaders in Florida who promoted lesson study—a teacher-driven inquiry-based professional development model—as core process of instructional improvement. Next, Paul Cobb will share findings on the implementation of ambitious mathematics instruction at middle schools in two large school districts, focusing on leadership and school-based professional development. Paola Sztajn will serve as a discussant.

Following the presentations and a commentary from the discussant, presenters will lead small group discussions guided by the following questions:

  1. How have you worked with district leaders in your DRK-12 project?
  2. What successes, insights, and challenges have you experienced while working with district leaders to promote instructional improvement?
  3. Given the common aspects of district leadership identified by the panel, how can we support the district leaders in scaling up instructional improvement?

To conclude, each group will share major discussion points from their conversations.

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