Over the past few years, the Rapides Foundation and its local education fund, the Orchard Foundation, have worked with the Center for Educational Leadership (CEL) to help emerging and current instructional leaders in central Louisiana learn how to recognize highly effective practices within the classroom, and how to coach other educators to implement those practices.
The foundation's recently published 2013 annual report highlights this professional development work and gives some educators the chance to talk about their experience. One example: in school districts like Allen and Grant parishes, teachers conduct peer observations to learn from one another and students are engaged in the learning process. "It has helped teachers feel like they have more support. If they are struggling they can say ‘I need help’ and they will get help. They don’t feel isolated," said Rebecca Reeder, elementary supervisor for the Grant Parish School District.