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Aurora Institute

Developing a Pipeline of Change Leaders for Personalized, Competency-Based K-12 Education

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Susan Patrick, Dale Frost, Maria Worthen, Natalie Truong

Issue(s): State Policy, Develop Educator Capacity

Human capital is a critical element of transforming K-12 education systems for the long term. States need to develop a strategy to attract, support and empower a pipeline of leaders across the state education system to lead the change to personalized, competency-based education.

Change leadership is “the ability to influence and enthuse others through personal advocacy, vision and drive, and to access resources to build a solid platform for change.” Change leadership is important for disrupting outdated assumptions about what teaching and learning “should” look like, and to embrace the idea that we can help every student succeed if we do things differently to focus on supports toward mastery of knowledge, skills and abilities.

At its heart, building capacity to lead change is about doing what’s best for students, setting a culture of growth and continuous improvement and examining structures to ensure success is the only option.

Policymakers could consider how they can foster the development of change agents and education leaders. State policy can play an important role in growing the pipeline of change leaders and explore how these leaders can lead innovations to student-centered learning. For example, state policymakers can bring stakeholders together around a statewide vision for student success, and advance enabling and supportive policy and resources to allow districts to begin and continue scaling competency-based education.

States can work with local districts and schools leading the development of personalized, competency-based education to foster the creation of new leadership pipelines. States can empower district leaders to champion the work of implementing student-centered learning as well as provide the appropriate amount of support, accountability, and transparency to relevant education stakeholders. Additionally, states can help to provide cover and resources to district and school leaders during the transition to competency-based education.

One resource for states and districts is from Jobs for the Future and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They created educator and leader competencies for teaching and leading in student-centered learning environments. These competencies could be used as a starting point to identify next steps in improving preparation programs, adjusting credentialing and licensure programs to allow competency-based pathways, and alternative programs that will meet the needs of the field of next generation learning.

This is the sixteenth article in the Current to Future State Blog Series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report titled, “Current to Future State Action Steps for State Policy to Support Personalized, Competency-Based Learning.”

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