The Center for Charter Schools at Central Michigan University (CMU) teamed with The Learning Collective and Venn Education (Venn) to examine the impacts, changes and innovations schools have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
the Learning Collective
The Learning Collective provides strategic planning and evaluation services for charter schools, charter management organizations, charter authorizers, traditional public schools, school districts, state departments of education and state boards of education.
Launched in 2003 and working in over 10 states, The Learning Collective’s clients past and present include Academy of the City, Beginning with Children Foundation, Bright Star Schools, CCCS independent study schools, Central Michigan University, Charter School of Inquiry, Charter Schools Institute of the State University of New York, Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Innovation and Incubation, Class Measures, College Board, Discovery Charter School, Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, Indiana Charter School Board, Inglewood Unified School District, Jefferson Parrish Public School System, Ketchum, Kingsmead College, LA’s Promise, NACSA, National Charter Schools Institute, Nevada Public Charter School Authority, New Jersey Department of Education, New Orleans Public Schools, New York State Education Department, Oakland Unified School District, Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, Palm Lane Elementary Charter School, Parent Revolution, Pomona Unified School District, PUC, Scholarship Prep, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, SchoolWorks, The TASA Group, Tennessee State Board of Education, Texas Legislative Budget Board, Tiger Woods Learning Center, UCLA, Voices Academies, Washington State Charter School Commission, WISH Secondary and others.
Amber Leage, M.Ed,. provides strategic planning, program development, and writing services to schools throughout the United States and abroad. She has been an educator for 14 years, serving in various roles including consultant, school leader, IB coordinator, school evaluator, literacy specialist, and teacher. She has served as an educator and instructional leader in inner-city public, charter, bilingual, private, and international schools. Her work includes leading professional development, school reviews, and facilitating school improvement in South America, Central America, and the Middle East. As a school leader her work led to three schools adopting the International Baccalaureate model, establishing a university partnership, and consulted schools in creating school improvement plans, adopting of a new mission, establishing data-informed instructional programs, project-based learning, Reader and Writer’s workshops and the Common Core. She graduated from Santa Clara University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. She has earned a Masters in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, and holds both a teaching credential and administrative credential. Amber is based in Oakland, CA.
Acting as an Expert WitnessEvaluation
San Bernardino County PartnershipCharter Authorizers, Charter Schools, Evaluation, Remote Learning
PCSGP External ReviewsCharter Schools, Evaluation, Remote Learning, School Management, Strategic Planning
New School Application Reviews and Innovative Solutions in ChicagoBlended Learning, Charter Authorizers, Charter Schools, Evaluation, Remote Learning, School Management, Strategic Planning
TLC Work in WashingtonBlended Learning, Charter Authorizers, Evaluation
Strategic Planning & Transition Planning with AoCCharter Schools, Evaluation, School Management, Strategic Planning
One-Day Remote Academic ReviewCharter Schools, Evaluation, Remote Learning, School Management
SUNY Charter Schools Institute – TLC’s Client Since 2003Charter Authorizers, Evaluation, Remote Learning, School Management
Evaluating Authorizers in MinnesotaCharter Authorizers, Evaluation
New Oversight Processes, Renewal Visits and Application Reviews – NYSED CSOCharter Authorizers, Charter Schools, Evaluation, Remote Learning, Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning for TN State Board of EducationStrategic Planning
Texas School District EvaluationEvaluation, School Management
Conference Presentation: Create a Strategic PlanCharter Schools, School Management, Strategic Planning
Michigan At-Risk Assessment ReviewCharter Authorizers, Charter Schools, Evaluation
Evaluating Authorizers in OhioCharter Authorizers, Evaluation
Oklahoma Authorizer Strategic PlanningCharter Authorizers, Strategic Planning
Oakland OCS School EvaluationsCharter Authorizers, Evaluation
Indiana New School Application ReviewsCharter Authorizers, Evaluation
Idaho Authorizer EvaluationCharter Authorizers, Evaluation
Michigan New School Application ReviewsCharter Authorizers, Evaluation
Board Strategic Planning RetreatCharter Schools, Strategic Planning
Florida Authorizer Strategic PlanningCharter Authorizers, Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning for Coalition of Independent Charter SchoolsCharter Schools, Strategic Planning
School Turnaround South L.A.Charter Schools, School Management, Strategic Planning
Application Evaluation in LouisianaCharter Authorizers, Evaluation
Accord Conference PresentationCharter Schools
Assessment Protocols for Creativity CurriculaBlended Learning, Evaluation, Online Community, Online Learning
Leading Review Teams in New JerseyCharter Authorizers, Evaluation, School Management
Moving the Needle in Alliance SchoolsBlended Learning, Charter Schools, Evaluation, School Management
Improving Schools in MichiganBlended Learning, Charter Authorizers, Evaluation, School Management
Teacher Evaluation Systems in InglewoodEvaluation, School Management, Strategic Planning
UCLA Tarjan CenterBlended Learning, Online Community, Online Learning
College Board Hires TLCBlended Learning
Girl Scouts of USA hire TLCBlended Learning
TLC Advising 1st Parent Trigger in CountryCharter Schools, School Management
ePortfolios For UCLA Teacher Education ProgramBlended Learning, ePortfolios, Online Community
Indiana and Nevada Hire TLCBlended Learning, Charter Authorizers, Charter Schools
iPads & Personalized Learning in South AfricaBlended Learning
Blended Learning Evaluation ToolBlended Learning, Evaluation
Private School Blended Learning ProgramBlended Learning
Data Management & AnalysisBig Data
From the Blog
In Fall 2022, Chicago Public Schools engaged The Learning Collective to lead the in-person renewal visits, and report writing on those visits, of 20 of its authorized charter schools. The evaluations are one or two days in length and focus on one or more of the following three areas:
The COVID-19 pandemic wrought havoc on charter schools, and all schools, across the country. While the pandemic led to many students’ significant learning loss, it has also created a unique opportunity to reflect on how schools can best meet the needs of their students and leverage federal stimulus funds. The Learning Collective can help schools determine the best next steps forward.
In a time where change is the only thing education can count on, schools are challenged to focus on high quality learning and teaching, some schools have lost their focus. The Learning Collective (TLC) and Venn Education (Venn) have partnered to work with charter schools to assess their condition and help them refocus for turnaround. Our school turnaround process includes three steps:
The founder of The Learning Collective is also the founder of ICouldBe, which has been providing blended and remote learning services to schools nationally for over 20 years. Since 2000, ICouldBe’s virtual mentoring program has provided 25,000 high school students with an online community of professional mentors, empowering teens to stay in school, plan for future careers, and achieve in life. We apply lessons learned from ICouldBe to our work at The Learning Collective.
Through the California Department of Education’s Public Charter Schools Grant Program, The Learning Collective has conducted external reviews of 80 charter schools, 16 of which were remote reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Going beyond the requirements by the California Department of Education, we have added a half-day strategic planning session which has proven to be invaluable to the schools. Watch these video testimonials from principals.
During the 2019-20 academic year, The Learning Collective worked with the Tennessee State Board of Education to lead its board and staff members in a strategic planning and goal-setting process and to develop a new Master Plan. It was an honor to lead the process to develop the five-year direction for all Tennessee public schools representing approximately 1,000,000 students statewide!
For the second consecutive year, The Learning Collective is conducting the third-party evaluations of all applications for new schools submitted to New Orleans Public Schools (NOLA PS). New Orleans is the only public school district in the country comprised entirely of charter schools. Here are some lessons we have learned from this important work:
As the first engagement of our ongoing work with Charter School of Inquiry (CSI) of Rochester NY, The Learning Collective partnered with CSI to create its two-year strategic plan. We at The Learning Collective are particularly proud of this work because it was all conducted remotely during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
I have had the pleasure of working with, and learning from, Adam Aberman during three charter school application evaluation cycles. Two of the most helpful qualities that Adam brings to our process are his keen organizational skills and his substantial experience in K-12 education. Adam has not only proven himself to be adept at leading our charter school application review teams; he exudes a manner of positive professionalism that encourages every individual involved in the process.
Allie Cobb, Office of Charter and Renaissance Schools, New Jersey Department of Education
We highly recommend The Learning Collective as a consultant/facilitator for any charter school that is undertaking a long term strategic plan ... The process that Adam developed in close consultation with the administration and board resulted in an excellent plan ... Adam was a careful, intelligent, responsive and thoughtful guide throughout the process ... His vast knowledge of charter schools and pedagogy was invaluable, as were his organizational skills which kept everyone on track and the plan on time.
Nancy Sills, Board Chair, Academy of the City
Wonderful presenter ... Excellent job! ... Joquetta was very well prepared … Informative and engaging ... Joquetta provided wonderful resources for my upcoming projects ... Joquetta provided a thorough and well-defined immersion into the iPad ... The presentation was worthwhile and fun. I learned so many practical ideas ... She leaves you energized, empowered, enabled, and ready to take steps the ‘Digital Diva’ way. What a thriller!!! ... I enjoyed Joquetta’s presentation and am looking forward to using the resources presented ... She’s like an instructional technology coach! ... Joquetta is a knowledge broker! ... Her passion is contagious.
Excerpts from feedback forms, various school and district trainings delivered by Joquetta Johnson, former TLC Member
Adam knows how to ask the right questions, focus a conversation, and listen carefully. He helped us analyze our school’s needs in terms of online and blended learning in just one week. The process was efficient, and we could not have accomplished all that we did without his help.
Winnie Needham, Assistant Head of School, Berkeley Hall School
The Learning Collective is creative, forward thinking, and can help you craft innovative digital strategies to meet your needs. The Learning Collective provided an Information Technology Assessment for our virtual learning center. The Learning Collective has put us in a position to be an industry leader, by helping us pioneer innovative strategies to achieve public good. Adam and the rest of The Learning Collective consultants are a pleasure to work with: intelligent, responsive, and warm. I wholeheartedly recommend The Learning Collective.
Karen Levanthal, Project Director, Tarjan Center at UCLA
Joshua is an open-minded and forward thinking leader, a sophisticated thinker, and a tireless worker. He is approachable and always willing to listen to opinions that differ from his own and to new ideas. He is extremely well organized which, combined with his energy and dedication, makes him very effective.
Sarah VanWagenen, Math Teacher, Green Dot Public Schools