Leading with Learning: Cultivating Language and Literacy, Collaboration, and Equity

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Transform teaching and learning for culturally and linguistically diverse students — with a focus on English learners — in a network of schools. Receive professional development over two-three years to better understand and implement effective language, literacy, and content instruction.

The Leading with Learning approach has really supported the English learners here in Sacramento because it’s helping teachers guide students to focus on language and structure when they’re reading. When students really understand the language and the structure of the texts they’re reading, this understanding not only supports their reading comprehension, it also supports students’ writing and helps them engage in collaborative conversations with their peers.”

— Jeannette Schroeder, Instructional Coach, Sacramento City Unified School District

Who Will Benefit

Educators in a network of K-12 schools within a district will benefit from this long-term service, specifically:

  • Teachers
  • Instructional Coaches
  • Principals
  • District Leaders

What You Will Learn

School and district communities will deepen and broaden understanding of local English language arts and English language development standards in order to plan for and support quality instruction for English learners.

This professional development, over a two- to three-year period, focuses on strengthening teaching and learning in four major areas:

  • Fostering collaborative academic conversations among students, abundant writing, and interactive reading around complex texts and intellectually rich content
  • Engaging students in text-oriented talk about the language in complex texts
  • Observing students closely and continuously, gathering evidence of student learning to provide both planned and just-in-time scaffolding
  • Creating positive and culturally responsive learning environments

Service Details

The Leading with Learning Model is implemented over a minimum of two years. Districts are encouraged to identify, invite, and support three to four schools in a learning network for optimal implementation. The first two years of the model typically comprise:

  • 12 all-day, side-by-side learning sessions for teachers, principals, and coaches
  • 8 differentiated all-day sessions for coaches, plus 10 90-minute online sessions
  • 6 differentiated all-day sessions for principals and professional learning teams
  • Differentiated sessions for district leadership teams
  • Additional coaching for coaches and principals

Professional development is differentiated in grade spans (e.g., K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 6-8) and includes implementation support and planning for site and district administrators.

Leading with Learning participants engage in collaborative, interactive tasks such as:

  • Discussing key readings related to designing English language development instruction and culturally responsive teaching
  • Deepening understanding of English language arts and English language development standards, and collaboratively planning lessons that integrate both sets of standards
  • Participating in and analyzing standards-based “keystone pedagogies” as well as model lessons and sample units
  • Sharing and developing new ideas about scaffolding student learning
  • Using formative assessment practices and strategies
  • Fostering equity
  • Establishing inclusive and supportive learning environments in which all students thrive
  • Learning, implementing, and reflecting on new practices through structured application tasks
  • Promoting and supporting schoolwide shifts in practice through the implementation of strategic instructional coaching, instructional rounds, lesson study, and ongoing examination of student work

What Makes This Service Unique

Leading with Learning is a systemic, multi-strand model that includes intensive blended professional development for teachers, instructional coaches, and principals, along with consultative work with district leadership teams.

Leading with Learning builds the capacity of school district staff to achieve impact early, and sustain and scale the work once the project has ended. Our ultimate goal is to raise student achievement and ensure that all English learner and other culturally diverse students graduate from high school ready for college, careers, and meaningful interaction with civic life.

Our team of developers and facilitators has a wide range of expertise in professional development, school and district leadership, online learning, curriculum development for culturally and linguistically diverse students, and applied research.

Visit the Leading with Learning website for more information about our staff, services, and impact.


Costs are based on the scope of work within your district. Please contact Maria Santos (see contact information below) for an estimate.

LEARN MORE > For more information about Leading with Learning, contact Maria Santos at msantos@wested.org or 415.615.3169; or send us a message through our website contact form.

“Leading with Learning has helped us figure out which pedagogies to use for which purposes. The keystone pedagogies that teachers learned through this project get to the critical elements that our English learners need, such as the deconstruction of language and knowing how English works and how to use language for different purposes.”

– Karina Stenfort, Principal, Jackson Elementary School, Fresno Unified School District