Welcome to the Rebuilding for Learning Online Leadership Institute

How do we ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and have a strong start toward being productive contributors to our society? That is the core question for school policymakers and planners.

Nationally, there is great concern and debate about how to raise student achievement, reduce dropout rates, address disparities among children from different socio-economic backgrounds, close racial and ethnic achievement gaps, and increase expectation levels of-and support for-all children. There are deep concerns about how best to serve transient students, the growing numbers of children with limited English proficiency, immigrant populations, and students with disabilities. Furthermore, we need to address the short and long-term effects on student learning of natural and man-made disasters, from hurricanes to school shootings and other forms of violence.

As interventionists, we deal with such concerns in the context of school improvement policies and practices, looking specifically at how schools deal with barriers to learning and teaching. We deal with how to promote protective buffers for students and families. Between us, we have devoted more than 80 years of study, research and action to helping states and districts generate systemic changes that move toward ensuring all students have an equal opportunity to succeed at school and in life.

Our work has led us to understand that there are four fundamental and interrelated concerns decision makers and planners must confront if true school transformation is to take place:
  1. Policy for school improvement must be expanded to end the marginalization of interventions for addressing barriers to learning and teaching;
  2. Current student learning supports must be reframed into a comprehensive system of intervention;
  3. The organizational and operational infrastructure for schools, feeder patterns, districts, and for school-community collaboration must be reworked to facilitate the development of the system;
  4. New approaches must be adopted for planning essential system changes and for sustaining and replicating them on a greater scale.
Ultimately, our aim is to engage and re-engage students in classroom learning. This encompasses enhancing greater family and community involvement in education. Furthermore, it requires a fundamental shift in thinking about what motivates students and staff.

We are pleased to collaborate with Scholastic on the Rebuilding for Learning™ initiative and for the opportunity to expand the reach of our work.

This online leadership institute has been designed as an introductory resource for learning about the need for student learning supports, the full continuum of essential school-community interventions, and the core principles and tenets of comprehensive learning support systems. As you participate in the course it can provide you with a beginning blueprint for district or state reforms.

We look forward to working with you on this important initiative.


Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor