The University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE) is celebrating its 20th anniversary and reflects on its success in transforming education systems across the United States. PLE, a collaboration between the University Of Virginia Darden School Of Business and the UVA School of Education and Human Development, has played a crucial role in helping education leaders navigate challenges and drive positive change. With a rigorous, evidence-based approach tailored to each community’s context, PLE has worked with over 130 school districts, serving more than 800 schools across 135 districts and 32 states.
PLE initially focused on “turnaround” projects for underperforming schools but evolved to address the needs of most schools, emphasizing collective leadership and systemic change. The organization’s impact is evident, with 50% of PLE’s school partners experiencing double-digit gains in math or language arts within two years. Even amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, many PLE partner schools have outperformed national trends, demonstrating resilience and effectiveness.
The 20th Anniversary Forum brought together educators and leaders to reflect on PLE’s history and develop plans for the future. The organization’s commitment to developing collective ownership, promoting equity, and focusing on leadership skills, data-driven practices, and change management has contributed to its sustained success. PLE remains dedicated to empowering underserved students and creating transformational conditions for their success.
With ongoing challenges in education, including learning loss and staffing shortages, PLE continues to be a valuable resource for education leaders seeking impactful strategies and solutions. The organization’s commitment to evidence-based practices and a collaborative approach positions it as a leader in driving positive change in education systems.
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