Multi-sites communities

Communities for Learning multi-site communities are comprised of cross-role teams or individuals from different schools or educational organizations (regions, districts, networks, etc). Similar to school-based sites, their time together as a Community for Learning is spent engaged in inquiry and focused on activities designed to define and deepen individual expertise as it relates to organizational goals. Learning to use the ARCS framework in the context of exploring issues that affect their place and influence their organization, members begin to develop an understanding of how they may best influence change.

Different from a school-based site where the professional learning community is housed inside the school itself, multi-site participants leave their organization to become a community with people from other organizations.  While some of the processes, tools and structures are the same as those used with schools, specific attention is paid to the fact that members of a multi-site community bring a variety of diverse experiences and perspectives to the community. Structuring time and creating opportunities to share this diversity through formal and informal discourse as well as sharing of learning and work are especially powerful in multi-site communities.

The work of a multi-site community may take various forms and be accomplished in a variety of different ways, but the ARCS framework provides a common focus. Some members may pursue ARCS facilitator certification, developing their own understanding of and expertise in the implementation of the framework so that they can bring the framework back to their own organizations.  Others may focus their learning and work in individual interests or professional passions related to the specific needs of their organization. Still others might decide to delve deeply into issues concerning student and/or adult learning, depending on the organization and its goals.

In any case, there is constant attention to the relationship between the learning and work of the individuals in the Communities for Learning multi-site program and the needs and interests of their supporting organizations.

Communities for Learning in Empowerment
In 2007, eleven schools in two New York City Empowerment Networks came together to form a Communities for Learning ARCS multi-site community. These schools were represented by cross-role teams, including students, parents, teachers and administrators. They spent the year steeped in visioning, identification of internal expertise and strategic planning activities as well as self and organizational assessments around the Dispositions of Practice and other readiness factors. As this new community grew, it addressed questions around broadening and deepening itself, its learning and its work.

Years later, the Empowerment Networks are no longer structured in the same way, but the affect of the Communities for Learning work lingers.  Three schools adopted the ARCS framework, and in 2010, one became an endorsed site.  Three team members were supported as Communities for learning Fellows, and one of those three will be among the first certified ARCS Framework facilitators.  Members of other teams have become leaders in the NYC school system, and they carry their understanding of the ARCS framework with them into their positions.

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Communities for Learning
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