This paper investigates the value of participating in the League to its K-12 public school district leader members. Using a mixed methods approach to gather quantitative and qualitative information on the perceived benefits of membership, our findings show that participants believe the network has been beneficial for their own professional development and in how they support the districts and schools they serve.
Membership in the League provides perceived benefits such as professional growth and an expanded regional and national network for district leaders. Additionally, League members reported an increased ability to innovate and an increased number of opportunities for students and teachers. For example, when asked whether League membership has increased their capacity to innovate, 81.3 percent of district leaders responded “Yes.” Jared Cotton, Superintendent of Henry County Public Schools in Collinsville, Virginia, shared that being a part of the League “has pushed me to innovate and think outside the box. It has also given me the courage to take risks because my colleagues in the League are taking risks and doing great things for children.”
Additionally, 81.3 percent stated that their students have benefited from their membership in the League. Calvin Watts, Superintendent of Kent School District (KSD) in Kent Washington, says, “KSD is focused on leveraging our robust technology infrastructure to enhance and advance instruction and career connected learning opportunities for students. Strategies and work group discussions in [League] meetings have enabled KSD to move from planning to initial stages of implementation.”
The majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that membership has positively impacted their ability to support their districts through an increase in the number of services, programs and initiatives, and specifically programs for their underserved students. Members are also eager to share the work they do. As Erin English, Director of Online and Blended Learning in a League district, the Vista Unified School District in California, stated, “If we can transform education with our population including 60 percent of students on free and reduced lunch and 10 percent homeless, others can, too. We want to be a model for the rest of the nation” (ASCD).
The findings in this report summarize the perceived benefits of participating in the League to its members, including increased opportunities for professional development, an expanded professional network, and improved ability to support the districts and schools they serve. Results show the longer a leader has been in the network, the more likely they are to report increases in their ability to innovate. These findings suggest the League is a valuable and impactful network, helping all of us continue to drive toward our mission of spurring innovation and improving the opportunity to learn for ALL through technology and research.