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  Network Connection
Volume 2, Issue 3  

School Leaders Network Newsletter

Fall 2009  
Greetings to all Facilitators,Network Members and Friends of SLN,
School Leaders Network is pleased to welcome Kristin Jensen as our founding Vice President of Development. Kristin will be leading our SLN fundraising efforts and creating new pathways to sustainability and growth. While she was educated as an attorney, she has found her passion in education reform. Kristin brings a wealth of expertise in fundraising through her most recent work with Teach for America. She has a strong track record of exceeding fundraising goals with corporate and foundation funding. As a community, we look forward to working with Kristin in our efforts to improve leadership and learning for all children.
The SLN Facilitator training session, held in August, was very successful and we are all very excited about embarking on Phase 2 of our model with its strong focus on improving student achievement. We were very fortunate to have Ellie Drago-Severson lead some of the sessions and to have Mariah Cone participate with the group.
Fareeda Shabazz has joined forces with Jody Roy, our VP of Program and Strategic Partnerships; Fareeda is a MA student at Harvard who will be a principal in Chicago when she completes her program.  
Our website continues to expand; this month we went live with the "View Video" page on which there are four videos featuring footage of SLN participants and actual school footage from one of our leaders in the Albany area. To have a look, go to, These videos really help make what we do come alive. Also, to widen our visibility, we are in the process of creating our own account on You Tube and will post the videos there with links to our website. 
We are now accepting and processing donations through our website. Please spread the word and encourage your peers, teachers, parents, tamilly, friends, associates,supporters and fans to go to the website, and give generously in support of our work to improve student achievement and the conditions in which learning occurs.

Thank you for your hard work and commitment to creating excellence in education for all children.
Best wishes, 
Elizabeth Neale
Chief Executive Officer
Chartering New Paths
The Obama administration's education policy for improving under-resourced schools includes a targeted focus on school leadership. Central to the supporting education reform agenda, led by Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, is expanding the number of charter schools nationwide.  
Charter schools, public schools that are accountable for student results, are designed to deliver educational excellence, often to students from under-served communities. They were created to introduce choice, competition, greater accountability and innovation into the education system. Currently, over 1.4 million students from across forty states and the District of Columbia attend charter schools.
In alignment with Arne's Duncan's reform agenda is SLN's founding belief in the impact of school leaders on student achievement. To meet the needs of a rising number of charter school leaders, SLN is partnering with New Leaders for New Schools and launching two networks this month in Washington, DC comprised only of charter school principals.
These networks will include over thirty principals who are leading low-income, high-need schools.  Passionate about reform and making college possible for all children, these leaders impact over 15,000 students from across the District of Columbia. The DC charter movement is a strong force making headway to lead new pathways for student achievement
By participating in SLN these networks will bring the benefits of our collaborative coaching, inquiry and instructional rounds to the work of the charter community. We welcome these new leaders into our community and our efforts to provide excellent leadership to all schools and a college-ready education to all children.
Problem of Practice
As we start our work for this school year, each SLN network will be identifying a problem of practice.  Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the challenges that school leaders face cross geographies, student populations and even elementary, middle, and high schools.
From New York City high schools with over one thousand students to a small early education center in San Antonio, school leaders share problems of practice such as: How do we increase student learning of good writing across the curriculum? How are research-based strategies being used to develop student understanding of problem solving? How is RTI identifying instructional needs and delivering evidence-based interventions?
Finding the "right" problem of practice is crucial, but it is just the first step in the inquiry process. A rich problem focused on student learning, observable at the school level, actionable and connected to the larger work are key drivers to the success of the SLN Program Model. 

Over the course of the next few network meetings, leaders will analyze their data, consider the different school leverage points and come to consensus about what problem, if solved, would make a significant difference for student learning. This work will lead each network through a path of exploration to a place with greater understanding of the systemic implications for instructional problem solving. The collective learning from the problem or practice and the inquiry process will both be shared within and across networks to improve our leadership for all students.  
SLN Principals Lead "Top Ten"  and "Exemplary" Schools in San Antonio
The Houston based advocacy group Children at Risk ranked San Antonio area schools on factors like test scores, class size, etc. and three of the top ten ranked schools in the elementary category are led by SLN Facilitators
Terry Chidgey's school, Stone Oak Elementary, Karen Bessette's school, Randolph Elementary and Cordell Jones' school, Woodridge Elementary.  In addition, Sharon Newman, an SLN member, who is now assisting with the new San Antonio network, has the honor of having her school, Hardy Oaks Elementary, included in the top ten list.
Both Janice William's school, Sinclair Elementary and Lori Gallegos' Villarreal Elementary (where she was when students were tested last year) got the top Texas state rating of "Exemplary" this year due to the results of state tests taken last year.

Got Photos? Contest Deadline Extended
The SLN national office is extending the deadline for the entries in the contest for the best photographs of SLN members with their school community. We hope to use the photographs on our website and in other SLN promotional materials.
When submitting photographs for consideration, send them by email (jpeg files) to to our Communications Director, Pamela Scott-Smith at  
Please remember to idenity all the people in each photograph by their full name, role, ie, student, teacher, etc. and title, if applicable.  
Prizes will be awarded for the top three entries. 
SLN Goes Toll Free
Now it is going to be even easier to reach us, as we have launched our new toll free number, 866-966-6636. The extension listing for your reference and use is:
Elizabeth Neale, Chief Executive Officer - Ext. 1
Jody Roy, Vice President, Program and Strategic Parnterships - Ext. 2
Kristen Jensen, Vice President, Development - Ext. 3
Pamela Scott-Smith, Director, Marketing and Communications - Ext.4
Doug Anzalone, Director, Finance - Ext.5
Mariah Cone, Program Assistant - Ext. 6
Fareeda Shabazz, Program Assistant - Ext. 7
Website Update
We have made some overall changes to the way the website is presented. If your computer tends to store images from websites you frequent or have visited in the past, the SLN website may not look quite "right" the next time you visit it. If that happens, be sure to hit the "refresh button" to display the current layout and content.
Upcoming Events
October 1 - Member survery will be distributed
October 20 - Facilitator Training Session - Virtual, Details TBA
Contact Information
Elizabeth Neale, Executive Director
1100 East Washington Road
Hinsdale, Massachusetts 01235

In This Issue
Chartering New Paths
Problem of Practice
SLN Principals Lead "Top Ten" and "Exemplary" Schools
Got Photos?
Upcoming Events
Member Spotlight
Ann Berg
Ann Berg, SLN Facilitator, is the Director of the Trinity University Principals Center (TPC) in San Antonio. Part of the Department of Education, The Center offers outstanding professional development to help school leaders from 24 school districts and five charter and private schools. 
Leader of the center since 2004, she was at the helm in 2006 when Elizabeth Neale first approached the TPC about partnering with SLN to start a network in San Antonio. Ann reports "members were eager to participate in this kind of adult learning activity that focuses on student success".
Ann has worked tirelessly in support of expanding SLN's presence in San Antonio and we like to think of her as the unofficial Regional Director of the SLN Texas Cluster. This past summer she single handedly pulled together four meetings, attracting an audience of well over a hundred people in her region to create awareness of SLN's mission and results and to support our drive for funding.
With Ann's assistance and the financial support of TPC, SLN started with one network in 2006, and 2009 marks the addition of a fifth network. 
A life-long educator, Ann has been a teacher, a principal, a superintendent, a professor, and has held various leadership positions in regional and state education departments. 
She was awarded her Ed. D. degree in Educational Administration, from Nova University, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 1984, the same year she earned her Superintendent's Certificate.  She is on the Board of Directors for Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children and  Brodart Corporation.
In the photo above, Javier Medina, a second grader at the Randolph Elementary School, is giving Ann a Math lesson.

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