Communities of Practice

Communities of Practice
February 16, 2012
Community of Practice:
What is it?
• A group of people who engage in a
process of collective learning.
• “CoPs are a group of people who
share a concern or a passion for
something they do and learn how
to do it better as they interact
regularly.” Wenger
• Website:
IDEA Partnership: Another View
of COP
• A Community of Practice (CoP) is quite simply a
group of people that agree to interact regularly to
solve a persistent problem or improve practice in
an area that is important to them.
• A New Approach to Solving Complex Educational
– Cashman, J., Linehan, P., & Rosser, M. (2007). Communities of
Practice: A new approach to solving complex educational problems.
Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Special
Community of Practice: Comparisons
Distinctions Between Communities of Practice and Other Structures
What’s the Purpose
Who Belongs?
How Clear are the
What Holds them
How Long Do They Last?
Communities of Practice
To create, expand and
Self-selection based on
exchange knowledge, and expertise or passion for a
to develop individual
Passion, commitment and Evolve and end
identification with the
organically (last as long as
group and its expertise.
there is relevance to the
topic and value and
interest in learning
Formal Departments
To deliver a product or
Everyone who reports to
the group’s manager
Job requirements and
common goals
Intended to be
permanent (but last until
the next reorganization).
Operational Teams
To take care of an
ongoing operational
Membership assigned by
Share responsibility for
the operation
Intended to be ongoing
(but last as long as the
operation is needed.
Project Teams
To accomplish a specified
People who have a direct
role in accomplishing the
The project’s goals and
Predetermined ending
(when the project has
been completed
Communities of Interest
To be informed
Whoever is interested
Access to information
and sense of like
Evolve and end
Informal Networks
(Blogs, twitter)
To receive and pass on
information, to know
who is who.
Friends and business
acquaintances, friends of
Mutual need and
Never really start or end
(exist as long as people
keep In touch or
Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge. By Etienne Wenger,
Richard McDermott, and William Snyder, Harvard Business School Press, 2002
Community of Practice:
CoP Agenda Possibilities
• Discussion on identified priorities
• Creation of information repository
• Identify new practices and provide
feedback for improvement
• Emphasis on sharing knowledge and
expertise on issues related to a
specific domain
Communities of Practice in
CoPs in CO
• Funded by the State Personnel
Development Grant (SPDG), a grant
from the Office of Special Education
Programs (OSEP)
• Supported through a partnership
with National Association of School
Psychologists (NASP) and IDEA
Partnership with additional support
from the RtI Action Network
Other CoPs in Colorado
supported by CDE
• Family School Partnering CoP
• Early Childhood Education CoP of
Coaching (CoPCo)
• North Central Colorado RtI CoP
Family School Partnering
Goal: To increase the intentional
implementation of effective familyschool partnering practices within the
RtI/PBIS framework in order to
improve academic, social, emotional,
and behavioral outcomes for all
FSP CoP Actionable Solutions:
(Established by the CoP)
• Families and schools share
knowledge and language.
• Schools create positive and
welcoming environments for all
• Families and schools build positive
foundational relationships.
CoP Partners:
• Colorado Parent Information Resource Center
• Denver Metro Community Parent Resource Center
• PEAK Colorado Parent Training and Information
Is comprised of family members, CDE
representatives, school personnel, and
community members
• Currently have 15 consistent members
and are considering expanding the group
• Began meeting in September
• Meet face-to-face every 2-3 months and
have virtual meetings the other months
• Currently use Blackboard as an online
repository and are exploring the option of
Early Childhood Education
Coaching (CoPCo)
Goal: To support best practices for
coaching in early childhood
classrooms that serve children with
special needs. Coaching is a proven
strategy that supports teachers to
implement and sustain evidencebased practices which leads to
improved outcomes for children.
• Is comprised of early childhood coaches
working in preschool settings in which
children with disabilities participate
• Is led by two CDE consultants who provide
coaching training around the state through
CDE’s preschool special education office.
• Will hold two face-to-face meetings
between January and June 2012;
participate twice a month in an
online blog (; join in on
two conference calls during the year
• Held their first meeting the end of
• Currently, about 20 people are a part
of the community
North Central Colorado RtI CoP
• Goal: To improve outcomes for students
through implementation of RtI.
• Stemmed from an expressed need to learn
from others who are implementing RtI
• Will have their first meeting next week
• Will include district and building
leadership, practitioners, former RtI Cadre
• CDE will support but not lead the group
Successes and Challenges
of Colorado CoPs
• Strong sense of
• Shared passion about a
common purpose
• Unique topics allow for
connections among those
who often work without a
support network
Finding ways to impact
the field
Going beyond discussion
to action
Just getting started
Shifting ownership from a
core group to everyone
Keeping the momentum
between face-to-face
CoP Survey
Please complete the survey to provide
feedback. Your input counts!

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