Too many students in schools are deprived of a thinking curriculum, and have limited access to a safe, supportive and inclusive learning environment. This unequal distribution of resources, known as the opportunity gap, disproportionately impacts underrepresented students and families (Noguera, Darling-Hammond, & Friedlaender, 2015), most specifically, communities of color. We believe that this challenge extends to the adults who serve these students, as they often operate independently with limited opportunities to experience high quality learning aimed at continuously growing their practice. While research clearly demonstrates that effective instructional leaders have a measurable effect on student and adult learning (Marzano, 2019), we believe that this impact can be maximized through ongoing, inquiry-based professional development.
At New Tech Network (NTN), we firmly believe that school and district leaders can and must lead the work of closing the opportunity gap by cultivating learning-centered conditions that directly disrupt systemic inequities. This equitable and inclusive vision for continuous learning implores us to co-design our schools and districts as learning organizations. To this end, the *shared purpose of NTN and its partners is to co-design school/district systems as learning organizations where each individual, students and adults, regularly experiences deeper learning that is authentic, active, relational, responsive and complex. Our schools and districts must serve as hubs for this type of learning -- where “people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together” (Senge, 1990).
Undertaking this kind of systemic, transformational change requires leadership that is relentlessly focused on our shared purpose through the intentional alignment of learning-centered processes, policies and practices, the development of a safe, supportive and inclusive learning-centered culture, and the cultivation and distribution of learning-centered leadership. Keeping these components in alignment depends on the leaders' ability to actively support and sustain inquiry-based professional growth and development. The recurring practice of inquiry animates the learning while simultaneously reinforcing these key components, making it an essential element of the system. The NTN Learning Organization Framework represents how NTN builds the capacity of a system to continuously adapt in the ongoing pursuit of College and Career Readiness for each student. The NTN Leadership Framework describes the conditions, principles, competencies, and indicators leadership required to create and sustain a Learning Organization.