One Clear Focus: Determining Dilemmas & Moving Toward Solutions

Editor’s Note: We recently asked Gregory Hessee, director of Initiatives at the Colorado Legacy Foundation (CLF), to share a little bit about his organization’s experience with utilizing the services of our Professional Development Center. If you’re unfamiliar with CLF, it’s an independent nonprofit working in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education and public education stakeholders to accelerate bold improvements in student achievement. More information about CLF and the Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative, which is the area Gregory heads, can be found at the end of today’s post.

As Director of Initiatives at the Colorado Legacy Foundation, I have the unique honor of facilitating a team of three brilliant content specialists (one each in math, science, and English) as they work with Advanced Placement (AP) teachers throughout the state who are differentiating AP coursework to diverse groups of students. My background as an urban school AP teacher/researcher and instructional coach provides me with the tools necessary to advise these specialists in ways to effectively engage all teachers in embedded professional development that truly supports their work.

However, much like most coaches, my experiences involved supporting the faculty of a single school, where specialists are striving to serve as a resource, guide, and coach for teachers at 23 schools located throughout the entire state of Colorado (a state that has more than a few geographic barriers). In order to successfully complete the monumental task of embedding individualized professional development into the daily lives of more than 200 teachers across 23 campuses, I knew we would need to find an organization capable of providing unique guidance for an uncommon problem.

Initially I contacted my colleagues in the contractual coaching world —many of them highly respected published authors of professional development texts. Unfortunately, these opportunities were cost-prohibitive to a grant-funded nonprofit such as the Colorado Legacy Foundation. Additionally, the specific issues faced by our team were not ones that Continue reading…