The Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program supported consultant Getting Smart and grantee Digital Promise in examining the role of leaders and leadership development in fostering school-wide deeper learning efforts, including those in Hewlett’s deeper learning strategy. Following up on their report, “Preparing Teachers for Deeper Learning,” the authors draw on lessons learned from the experience of schools participating in the Deeper Learning Network, and make recommendations related to teacher support, professional development, and recruitment strategies, among other areas.

From the paper:

If we want more students to experience powerful learning, we need to create development pathways that allow school and district leaders to benefit from the same blended, competency-based and deeper learning experiences that they seek to create for students…

At a time when society is becoming increasingly global and complex, and technology and the Internet increasingly power learning, the need to engage students in deeper learning experiences has never been greater. In and out of school, opportunities abound to support students as they learn new skills to tackle challenging interpersonal issues of friendship, crosscultural understanding and conflict resolution, as well as timely, pressing global issues like the availability of clean water and nutritious and affordable food, poverty and climate change.

At the same time, the ability of teachers to orchestrate deeper learning opportunities goes hand in hand with the capacity of school and district leaders to fully grasp the importance of deeper learning, support a culture of inquiry and to model critical thinking, collaboration and creative approaches to challenges. Ideally, these leaders will draw from their own deeper learning experiences. Where will these leaders come from, and how will they develop their skills to continuously improve throughout their careers?