January 2024 CLEE News - Reflect, React and Resolve to Make Lasting Change

January 2024

Our collective power expands when we support each other to foster the unlimited potential of each and every student.

Harness the Power of Change Agents from Across the Globe to Create Continuous Improvement in Your Community

Continuous Improvement is crucial to our mission of transforming schools into spaces for joyful learning for each and every student. It is a cycle of actions to get us where we want to go. Recently, Michelle Li, one of CLEE’s program directors who specializes in Continuous Improvement, had a conversation with her mentor, Don Peuarch, a  leader in the global Continuous Improvement movement and CLEE Board Member, about his new course/community, “Transforming Education in an Interconnected World”. Here is an excerpt of their conversation:


Don Peuarch, CLEE Board Member

Michelle Li, Director, Learning Leader Network 


Please tell us why your new course, “Transforming Education in an Interconnected World,” is important.

Don: We created our new learning series to leverage the untapped potential of local change agents all over the world. We want to pull them into community with each other to build shared understanding and values. We are building on our experiences from our earlier online series. We want to take people into deep engagement and fuel their spirit.

Why is continuous improvement hard work?

Don: In the US and other parts of the world, local innovation is not typically the focus. Problem solving happens in larger policy and innovation contexts, not local context. We want to complement broader innovation efforts with the development of local capabilities. It is often counter-cultural to focus on local innovation and improvement. We are looking for “local mavericks.” With a lack of local mentors, one way to support local change agents is to bring them into community with each other in the online space. We can collaborate across distances to see innovation from other contexts that fuels us locally.

Michelle: This connects to using protocols and adult collaboration. Being part of this community can create additional frameworks. There is this tension between innovation and the role of local change agents that you talk about in your article (Collaborative, Continuous Improvement: Reimagining Educational Innovation in Local Contexts). Learning together in the series will be eye-opening and help existing communities feel the power of collaborative tools.

Don: Bringing people together to learn presumes that they have the abilities to collaborate productively in online environments. But you need routines and tools to scaffold people to do work they don’t currently do. We can use protocols and routines to establish conventions to support people in learning in novel ways. Common practice makes time together more effective. We want to scaffold effectiveness and establish collegial learning.

Michelle: I love the ideas of “local mavericks” and “countercultural learning”. At CLEE, we try to counter one-way delivery of a lot of webinars and online learning. Most of our tools are open sourced, so the idea of using them to build a global community is exciting! CLEE, and the SRI community now part of CLEE, has felt US-centered, but now we can connect to different contexts and places. Imagine what we can learn by being in this larger ecosystem.

Don: We are bringing a fantasy world to life. We are bringing people together and creating a space for local change agents to stay engaged with each other. We are also inviting colleagues in research and support organizations to learn alongside local change agents. It is pretty “high concept” and it is going to take awhile. We are taking a patient, slow “crockpot” approach to developing our global community rather than cranking up the burner. We want to see what develops together over time. 

Take action for Continuous Improvement in your local context today!

Become a Certified Principal for Equity in Rhode Island 

Prepare to become an effective school leader that accelerates equity on behalf of students. Learn more at one of our virtual PRN Info Sessions. You will hear from other educators that took and are currently taking this step to become leaders for equity.

Equip yourself with the tools you’ll need to address the complex challenges and to advance your career in education!

Learning from the Equity Leader Accelerator Program

We are excited to share learning and resources from our innovative USDOE-funded program, Equity Leader Accelerator Program (ELAP), currently underway in Massachusetts.

CLEE is supporting early career principals to enact MA DESE's Anti-racist Leadership Competencies while concurrently supporting experienced leaders to serve as mentors in our 12 partner districts. Our learning so far has been highlighted in our posts:

Thank You for Supporting Equity-Driven Educators!


As a non-profit, CLEE relies on generous donors like you to amplify our work. This year, supporters like you gave almost $7,000 to support educators leading the immense task of transforming public schools into places of joyful, purposeful learning for each and every student. It takes courage and fierce commitment to foster educational equity. Your gifts will support:

  • a new dynamic website for all educators to access open-source protocols, resources and a national community of equity leaders, 

  • CLEE projects across the country, and 

  • scholarships for aspiring principals in Rhode Island.

2023 Year in Review!

Texts are so important in our work. We use them to share new ideas, align purpose, and inspire innovation. To that end we started sharing texts that have had an impact with the CLEE community. In case you missed this rich resource, last year we shared:

5 Books:

5 Articles

Take a moment to see what has been shared to inspire your new year and please consider sharing a text that has had an impact on you in our social media.

The Importance of Classroom Visits for School Improvement

This feels like problem-solving with proactive approaches. It is observing classrooms with a clear focus for improvement

Instructional Rounds are intentional classroom observations and in-depth discussions to give and receive essential feedback on leadership practices to inform instructional support. These rounds help leaders and leadership teams develop common understanding of key district and school priorities through unpacking “problems of practice” and developing strategies to address them. Classroom observations center on a focus question related to a “problem of practice."

As a coach, it is so exciting to see administrators progress from non-specific polite feedback, to reflective, probing feedback. This happens in Instructional Rounds as leaders focus feedback on improvement after they engage in collaborative classroom observations.

Taking time and staying focused on observation helped me see the evidence.

Often initial feedback is general and non-descript, such as: “I saw students engaged.” Then, as leaders are coached to ask for evidence (e.g. “How do you know students were engaged?”),  the observational feedback becomes evidence-based and more detailed. For example: “I saw teachers make time for questions, and call on students who raised their hands.” This level of specificity builds a clearer picture and opens room for the group to give actionable feedback.

Leaders tell us that engaging in an Instructional Round not only builds their capacity to give productive feedback to colleagues, it creates the opportunity for them to intentionally and collectively visit classrooms. They can see their students’ individual learning, dilemmas, and successes directly and have a presence in the classroom.

Giving and receiving actionable, but honest, feedback with a colleague can be risky. I strengthened my ability to share my areas of improvement and be receptive to constructive criticism.

Instructional Rounds provide a way to identify, celebrate, and build upon successes. It is also a process to identify where to focus and prioritize next steps to ensure your School Improvement Plan (SIP) goal can be achieved by the end of the year. When leaders focus Instructional Rounds on a goal from their SIP,  the classroom visits become opportunities for data gathering to monitor progress and see growth. Most importantly, the ability to engage in a focused conversation to receive specific feedback from fellow leaders afterward has incredible value for administrators.

Janelle Clarke-Holley, Director, Executive Leadership Programs 


Each month, CLEE offers a question or two to help you reflect on what you are experiencing. Thinking about the importance of questioning and what your answers mean is one more step in your growth as a leader for equity.

Join CLEE on social media to follow the monthly questions and share your answers.

What do you aim to improve in your practice and community this year?

The Resource book is back! 

The Resource Book is a selection of protocols curated into a spiral-bound book and organized into sections, ideal for both new and experienced practitioners who want easy access to our most popular tools.