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Using Learning Huddles to Improve Teaching and Learning

Date: September 25, 2018
Location: Webinar

The REL West K-6 Literacy Improvement Partnership is working closely with staff in the Washoe County School District (WCSD) in Reno Nevada, to strengthen implementation of writing curriculum using improvement science strategies—such as the “Plan-Do-Study-Act” (PDSA) cycle—to select and iteratively test improvements in instruction and collect short-term data on its effectiveness. Participating teachers engage in grade-level inquiry or “learning huddles,” which provide opportunities for peer support as teachers examine data and evidence together and engage in testing change ideas as they strive to improve students’ writing.

Before engaging in the inquiry process, participating teachers attended a two-day training, which introduced the PDSA framework and learning huddle protocols. See a video excerpt from the training.

This one-hour webinar will include an overview of the inquiry cycle structure, an explanation of the design features of the discussion protocols, and examples of change ideas and related data tracking to demonstrate how teachers are learning about improving instruction. WCSD practitioners will discuss their early experiences and lessons learned while facilitating and participating in the learning huddles. Participants will:

  • Learn about the theory and practice of teacher learning huddles and how they reflect an improvement science PDSA inquiry cycle.
  • Through huddle examples from WCSD, understand the design features and leverage points to facilitate learning about instruction.
  • Explore ways to support teacher learning through inquiry in their context.

Participant interaction will be encouraged throughout the webinar. Attendees will be asked to consider how the PDSA and learning huddle frameworks might be applicable in their own contexts and what strategies they might try to engage in teacher-led improvement. Presenters will be available following the webinar to answer questions and engage in further discussion.


Kim Austin Kim Austin is a Senior Program Associate for REL West at WestEd and the partnership lead for the K-6 Literacy Partnership, a collaboration with WCSD focused on K–6 writing instruction. A qualitative researcher by training, Austin brings expertise in literacy, online learning, professional development, evaluation, and learning theory.

Darl Kiernan Darl Kiernan is the Early Literacy Learning Facilitator for Nevada's Northwest Regional Professional Development Program, which is committed to elevating student performance by providing sustained professional learning and building regional partnerships.

Sola Takahashi Sola Takahashi is a Senior Research Associate for REL West at WestEd, where she leads the work of integrating continuous improvement methods in the coaching, technical assistance, and research conducted by the REL West partnerships. Her areas of content interest include the teaching profession and educational equity.

Related Resources


This webinar is designed for district leaders, instructional coaches, and school leaders who are interested in engaging teachers in structured inquiry protocols for curriculum implementation and improvement in any subject.


September 25, 2018


Contact Information
Laura Buckner

Training on Improvement Science Processes


Using Learning Huddles to Improve Teaching and Learning