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School Leaders' Opportunities to Learn: a descriptive analysis from a distributed perspective


"Most work on professional learning opportunities in education focuses on classroom teachers and school principals. In this paper the authors take a broader look at school leaders' opportunities to learn from a distributed perspective. Using one midsized urban school district as their case, they examine the opportunities to learn (OTL) of school principals, administrators and teacher leaders, attending to both formal and on-the-job OTL. The analysis shows that an exclusive focus on the school principal substantially underestimates the school system's investment in school leader learning. The authors argue that efforts to understand school leader learning must move beyond an exclusive focus on the school principal to include the OTL of other formally designated school leaders - both administrators and teacher leaders. Further, they contend that analyzing school leaders' opportunities to learn must also focus on both formal professional development as well as on-the-job learning, and the relations between the two."