School-university networks that
improve student learning: lessons
from the League of Professional
Lew Allen and Frances Hensley
School-university networks, properly carried out, are powerful ways for educators to form collaborations that can result in improved practice and results for students. Carl Glickman wrote in the introduction to Allen and Lunsford's (1995: 1) book How to Form Networks for School Renewal: ‘Every willing school … deserves to have the chance and the support to work with other schools striving to provide a good education for all students. Such a challenge demands the proliferation of networks to provide access to these schools.
However, it can be difficult for university colleges of education and public schools to form partnerships partly because, in most parts of the world, it's not customary for them to work together. Schools normally work within the parameters of a local administrative unit and universities generally serve individual educators. Still, we believe there are compelling reasons why these two sides of the same educational coin should and can work together to create networks that are available to all interested schools and universities. We hope that telling the story of the League, and sharing the collective lessons learned, will be helpful to others interested in educational networks.
Our story begins over 30 years ago when Carl Glickman took his first principalship and soon realized that the students assigned to his care would greatly benefit from their teachers having a strong voice in the school's instructional practices and curricular choices. It was then that he began to advocate that the key to improving student achievement was schools becoming democratic learning communities, where teachers participated in the planning and implementation of ongoing, collegial, professional development experiences and were treated as professionals who have a