The School Reform Initiative (SRI) is an independent, non-profit organization serving educators and students throughout the United States and beyond. Its mission is “building transformational leaning communities fiercely committed to educational equity and excellence.” This mission is grounded in the notion that student success increases when educators work and learn in transformational learning communities that are collaborative, reflective, focused on teaching and learning, and built on shared norms and values (Bryk, 2010; Bryk & Schneider, 2002; McLaughlin & Talbert, 2006; Mindich & Lieberman, 2012; Stoll & Louis, 2007). The main vehicle by which SRI accomplishes its mission is through highly skilled facilitators or coaches who understand SRI principles, tools, and strategies. Since its inception in 2009, SRI has trained facilitators whose primary focus is to provide educators with knowledge, skills, and tools required to build transformational learning communities. The tools – often incorporated in an Intentional Learning Community model – include SRI protocols or structured conversations that (1) support focused and productive conversations that guide improvements in teaching practice, (2) encourage educators to expose and explore fundamental assumptions about teaching and learning, and (3) ultimately drive school improvement.
This study was commissioned in the spring of 2013 with the primary purpose of measuring the degree to which SRI facilitators work to build transformational learning communities in our nation’s schools (i.e. Where have SRI facilitators been building transformational learning communities and with how many teachers, schools and students?). The study is based on data provided by a random sample of SRI facilitators and its power lies in its ability to generalize from this sample to the work done by the organization nationally. Below we detail which facilitators were sampled, how they were randomly selected, how they were contacted and interviewed, and what sort of evidence they provided. In the results section we discuss the scope of work done by these SRI facilitators.