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  Network Connection
Volume 3, Issue 2

School Leaders Network Newsletter

Spring 2010  
Greetings to all Facilitators, Network Members and Friends of SLN,
Happy Spring!
We are excited to be concluding another successful completion of a school year that brought great joy and learning to our students across the country. Our Facilitators and members are getting ready for their final SLN Network meetings, and are reflecting on their work this year as a network: 
identifying instructional problems of practice, using data to inform a deep understanding of the problems, seeing the problem of practice together in one school and developing solutions or new thinking to roll back to each school.
A network-wide analysis of our achievement data has been completed. This was certainly a challenge as no two states are even marginally alike in their reporting practices! We are proud to say that our data indicates SLN school leaders are moving student scores upwards of 6-12 points on peer school results on state and college-ready tests. This is a fantastic beginning trend and will continue to increase as we work systemically to use data to improve our model.
Our SLN Board of Directors and management team will be strengthened with the addition of Frances McLaughlin, the COO of Education Pioneers who joined the Board this Spring, Mariah Cone, our Program intern for 2009-2010, has completed her dissertation (see article below) and will be joing SLN as Program Director and Matthew Cronin will come on board as our VP of Finance and Administration. 
Our funding base has expanded with the addition of two new funders, the Meadows Foundation and Raise Your Hand Texas, whose generosity will help us expand our reach to more high-poverty students in the state of Texas.
SLN is in the news this month with one of our NYC principals featured on ABCTV (story below) and the NYC Networks were featured in the May 11th issue of CSA, you can read the story here.
We would like to honor and say goodbye to two outstanding SLN Facilitators who are retiring this spring. Both Judy Tarlo from NYC and Vicki Baldwin from Austin, Texas have been wonderful colleagues over the last few years and have skillfully facilitated the work of SLN. We will miss them both.
School Leaders Network continues to grow, change and evolve and next year will be no exception. We are continually working to develop and refine the program model to assure continued and increased leadership skill acquisition leading to greater student achievement gains.

Thank you for all that you do to make a difference in the success of students every day.  
Best Wishes,  
Elizabeth Neale
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Developing Principal Instructional Leadership through Collaborative Networking
Mariah Cone, doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, has completed her dissertation, "Developing Principal Instructional Leadership through Collaborative Networking" which examines what occurs when principals of urban schools meet together to learn and improve their instructional leadership in collaborative principal networks designed to support, sustain, and provide ongoing principal capacity building.  
She studied one network of fifteen principals and their facilitator in San Antonio, Texas. Using principal and facilitator interviews, six meeting observations, and shadowing four sampled principals, she describes the principal learning experience, key factors that influence networking, and who benefits from principal participation. Her findings show: 
  1. Network focus on student achievement increases the principal experience of instructional leadership practices. 
  2. Principals need focused learning in collaborative settings that engender trust and the formation of collegial relationships. 
  3. Principals prefer meeting with other principals who represent diverse perspectives. 
  4. Network principals increased their use of teacher teams and applied data-based approaches to improve student achievement problems. 
  5. Network members changed their classroom supervision practices, implemented texts used during network meetings with their teachers, and increased their engagement of faculty in tough conversations about practice. 
Frances McLaughlin PhotographFrances McLaughlin Joins SLN Board 
Frances McLaughlin, a seasoned leader in the education sector, has joined the SLN Baord of Directors. Ms. McLaughlin is the Chief Operating Officer at Education Pioneers. Prior to joining Education Pioneers in 2009, she was a Senior Director at the Broad Foundation, a Los Angeles-based venture philanthropy.  There she was responsible for the foundation's investments in organizations which build leadership capacity in public education. 
Frances previously served as Executive Vice President of the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), a non-profit organization and market leader in the fields of study abroad and international student exchange. In addition to developing new business activities, over the course of her ten years at CIEE, she also served as chief operating officer of the organization's largest division, managing operations in Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States. 
Prior to CIEE, Frances was the director of North American marketing and sales for the EF International Language Schools, and also worked as a regional director for Teach for America. Frances also serves on the board of KIPP Academy Lynn, a high-performing charter school in Massachusetts. Frances lives in Amesbury, Massachusetts, with her husband, Will, and daughter, Georgia.
Frances is an important addition to our Board and will play an integral role in guiding SLN's success. 
Management Team Gains Two New Members
We would like to welcome two newly hired staff members to the School Leaders Network, Mariah Cone as SLN Program Director and Matthew Cronin as Vice President, Finance and Administration who both come on board next month.
Mariah Cone will assume her role on June 1st. Mariah was formerly a leadership coach for the Los Angeles Public Schools. Mariah's dissertation research at UCLA has been a huge learning lever for School Leaders Network and has strongly influenced our organizational learning regarding on how to best increase and accelerate leadership skills for school principals. She has led our SLN monthly facilitator webinars throughout the school year and will be leading the development and training of our facilitator community.
Matthew Cronin will join our SLN administrative team in mid-June. Matt has an Executive MBA from Boston University and holds a CPA certification as well. He was most recently the CFO of Live Independently Forever, a non-profit organization which serves adults with disabilities. Matt also formerly worked at Price Waterhouse and Resources for Human Development. Matt's joins SLN at a very critical juncture for SLN and we look forward to his contributions as we develop our strategic growth planning for the future.
We are pleased to welcome these two new highly skilled professionals to our core SLN team!
SLN Receives Funding for Additional Networks In Texas
School Leaders Network is thrilled to announce the receipt of two generous grants from the state of Texas. The Meadows Foundation and Raise Your Hand Texas have provided funding to support the continuation of the work we are presently doing in Texas as well as expand our presence there for the 2010-11 school year.
The Meadows Foundation of Dallas has funded SLN to support the continuation of the existing SLN Networks and to add three more Networks in San Antonio, bringing the total of Networks to eight for Fall 2010. The Meadows grant also includes funding for a full-time SLN Regional Director as well as increased support for more school leaders to join SLN from the highest poverty San Antonio districts. Continued work with the Trinity Principals Center is also a strong element of the grant. We are very excited about this partnership with the Meadows Foundation!

Raise Your Hand Texas, a foundation created by Mr. Charles Butts of HEB grocery stores, to increase the educational chances for all Texas children, has given SLN a grant to increase the number of school leaders from the San Antonio district to join SLN in the fall.

We are so pleased to work with the Meadows Foundation and Raise Your Hand Texas and admire the stance and the work they do for educational opportunities for students and leaders in Texas.
NYC SLN Member Chris Ogno Featured on ABC TV 
Principal and SLN Member Chris Ogno, is featured on ABC TV for his unique program which inspires college ready elementary school students and that connects all of his elementary school students at PS247 in Brooklyn to local colleges. Chris is a member of Ada Dolch's NYC cohort. 
Please go to this link see the story.  
SLN Facilitator training will be held the week of August 16th at the Edith Macy Conference Center at Briarcliff Manor, New York. Details will be announced shortly.
Contact Information
Elizabeth Neale, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
School Leaders Network
1100 East Washington Road
Hinsdale, Massachusetts 01235

In This Issue
Developing Principal Instructional Leadership
McLaughlin Joins Board
New SLN Management Team Members
SLN Receives Funding for Texas
Member Featured on ABC TV
Contact Information
Marlene Blocker
SLN Facilitator    
 Rochester, New York 
Blocker and Staff
Marlene Blocker has been the principal of Francis Parker School No. 23 for the past 8 years. Under her leadership, the school has been recognized for their academic excellence in New York State, and their artistic contributions to the Cultural Arts District. School 23 was just awarded the Top 25 Honor for the National Center for Urban School Transformation. 
Marlene was selected to help develop and lead a new school, Rochester Early College International High School, opening this September.  The school will prepare globally competent
college- ready students by partnering with the Asia Society, St. John Fisher College and Monroe Community College. 
Students will be offered a rigorous course program that enables them to earn 20+ college credits prior to their graduation from high school. It will be small learning community focused on relationships, project-based learning and partnerships.
Marlene is shown above (second row, second from left) with some of her staff at School 23. She lives by the motto, "Each and Every Child should be Challenged and Excel." 




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