Diverse Learners Cooperative

DLC Impact Story: Purposeful Connection for Growth

Read a DLC impact story showing how we build spaces where educators feel connected to ideas, resources, and peers they need to succeed with diverse learners.

Having participated in as many DLC offerings as possible, Christine feels a sense of purposeful connection to the organization and its work.  Now a decade into her work with diverse learners, she has seen a widespread lack of knowledge regarding these students and knows that they are often considered last rather than first. 

“I used the DLC to address the gaps in my experience.  I’ve pretty much gone through any initiative available: I was part of the fellowship, round tables, teacher/leader communities – any time they had an event or experience I’ve always participated because I really thought it was a great experience to be a part of.  It was probably the only way for me to grow professionally because no one at work was able to fill in that expertise.”

Being a part of the DLC community allows her to envision and champion what schooling can be when educators work collaboratively to meet the needs of all students. 

“The DLC helped me grow my network within special education.  Knowing that I can go to someone at another school for questions and so forth.  That was really helpful in that I had a window into what other schools are doing and their best practices that I should steal and also have an opportunity to share what my school does.”

Networks can seem like luxuries in education, but may in fact be vital to teacher and leader success.  Christine’s work with the DLC guided her development as a collaborative and example-setting leader.          

“They helped me figure out how not to be siloed.  Often, you get caught up in the work that you do, and you can choose to be siloed and blame it on other people.  Yes, I may feel siloed at school, but I have a network of people I can reach out to.  I realized I was choosing to be siloed when I can reach out.  Now I think: how do I help other people understand the work that I do?”

A collectively-committed group of educators proved especially important as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted schooling and our lives.  Trying to be proactive and student-centered in order to avoid significant losses for her students, Christine turned to the DLC again. 

“It was reassuring to know from the DLC that everything was so unprecedented and uncharted territory – everyone was trying to learn and do at the same time, but we had a group of people to go to.  We discussed and planned together what we were going to do for the best interest of kids.  Even though the DLC was also trying to learn as they went, they were great thought partners during the process.  They helped me think from different angles, asking questions and guiding me through those questions.”

She knows this type of thoughtful, comprehensive partnership helps generate solutions and leads to buy-in from school leadership.  When Christine faces any resistance, she lets best practice speak for itself. 

“I’ve used the DLC as a way to convince people at my school or in my network: here’s a group of experts and we should listen to them.  I’ve leveraged them in a way to better communicate how we should serve diverse learners.”

Christine now sees the DLC as integral to her practice.  It is a space where connection facilitates growth, allows for solution development, enhances leadership abilities, and promotes advocacy for diverse learners.  She appreciates that this purposeful connection is organic and individualized.

“I think each person is at different professional life stages, and the DLC listens to where you are and what you want to work on, and the experience is driven by me as opposed to driven by them.  It’s based on what the problems are I see right now in my position and what’s the most burning thing we need to address.”

The way Christine puts it, the DLC just gets her.  Teachers and leaders of diverse learners find their place here, and that makes a difference in their ability to serve their students. 

“It felt like a space where I didn’t have to explain – they just get it.  That’s where I felt most connected.”

The DLC aims to have a similar and significant impact within all school partnerships, equipping and empowering teams to improve outcomes for diverse learners. Interested in seeing this kind of success in your space? Contact us!