Five years ago, a Mass Insight Education publication entitled The Turnaround Challenge inspired a group of educators in DC to come together to better support their schools and students in an initiative dubbed DC Collaborative for Change (DC3). Today, nine DC public schools are engaged in the group, which is essentially a professional learning community, focusing on learning from local stakeholders, sharing best practices, and leveraging strengths across the schools.
Last week, DC3 member Dana Nerenberg wrote about this grassroots collaboration, highlighting the inspiration that The Turnaround Challenge provided, namely in the concept that true change is found through altering the systems surrounding the current traditional urban district. Further, providing schools with a certain level of autonomy supplies leaders with the conditions needed for true change, and building capacity through clusters of schools and increased support from local community partnerships can benefit students and teachers alike. The collaboration that DC3 has created across the 9 schools allows educators to share and pool resources and learn from one another in a way that they cannot replicate as individual, siloed schools.
Nerenberg credits the heightened sense of morale among educators involved and increased retention rates of high-achieving teachers to the DC3 collaboration. Just another reminder of how critical both collaboration and capacity-building are to the turnaround world.