We are thrilled to announce the new Essex County school districts joining Cohort 2 of the ECLC! Recently, we issued a press release that you can read below, announcing ECLC's Second Cohort. Stay tuned for more updates later this month!
FOR RELEASE JANUARY 10, 2020
Five public school districts in Essex County have been selected to participate in the second cohort of the Essex County Learning Community (ECLC). These districts include Andover, Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School, Hamilton-Wenham, Manchester-Essex, and Saugus Public Schools.
As members of the ECLC, districts will engage in an intensive two-year professional development experience aimed at helping educators better meet the diverse learning assets and needs of students with learning disabilities, learning and attention issues, exposure to trauma—as well as those who experience systemic bias related to race, ethnicity, language, income, and gender. The ECLC is funded by the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. Based in Buffalo, New York, its footprint includes Essex County and Cape Cod & The Islands. Additional funding is provided by the Essex County Community Foundation.
The five recently selected school districts join six other districts that participated in the ECLC’s first cohort: Beverly, Danvers, Gloucester, Haverhill, Rockport, and Swampscott. As one teacher described it: “The work with ECLC last year, and this summer, has been the best professional development of my career. ECLC’s mission is aligned with my own professional philosophy. It is empowering, energizing, and inspiring to join with like-minded individuals and so many experts in ‘doing the work’.”
The ECLC addresses several interrelated challenges that fall under one umbrella: too many
students in our public schools today do not receive the learning and skills they need in order to thrive as adults – while too many teachers in today’s public schools lack the support they need to help students succeed. “Most K-12 schools still use a 20th century teaching and learning framework, which under-prepares students for the 21st century economy, resulting in an enormous loss to our cities and towns in Essex County and beyond, as potential talent goes untapped—perhaps forever. This is especially true for youth with diverse learning needs, and for teachers who strive to meet these needs with little access to robust professional resources,” said Jane Feinberg, Founder and Principal of Full Frame Communications, who, along with the Tower Foundation, conceived the ECLC. The national non-profit, the Center for Collaborative Education, is the ECLC’s implementation partner.
Each participating district constitutes a team of approximately a dozen members, including
assistant superintendents, department directors, principals, data specialists, guidance counselors, and general and special education teachers. This cross-fertilization of interprofessional collaboration ensures that the cutting-edge inclusive practices are diffused across each district and across Essex County.
A recent national study revealed only 17% of educators feel “very prepared” to teach diverse learners. Some hold beliefs about learning differences that have been debunked. For example, 25% of teachers express that learning and attention issues can be outgrown; 33% view students’ learning and attention issues as laziness; and 25% believe conditions such as attentiondeficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) results from bad parenting.
Many educators report deep interest in receiving support to better meet the needs of their
students. Sadly, the frenzy of everyday life in schools and tight school budgets prevent educators from having opportunities to grow as professionals. Small school districts such as those in Essex County are especially hard-pressed to innovate on their own, despite the fact that enduring change requires long-term investment. The ECLC acknowledges these harsh realities by opening up ample time and space for facilitated conversation and reflection, for state-of-the-art learning with national and regional experts, and for deep collaboration. Early evaluation results from Cohort 1 suggest that the ECLC increases both cross- and within-district collaboration; promotes positive mindset and changes in practice; and empowers participants to receive more support and resources to better balance the demands of their jobs.
An “ECLC Showcase of Learning” on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 in Salem will bring together both cohorts to celebrate Cohort 1 accomplishments and induct Cohort 2 into the community.
For more information about the ECLC, please visit the website or contact Emily Wilson at