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Understanding Edmentum’s Partnership-Based Approach to Professional Learning

Understanding Edmentum’s Partnership-Based Approach to Professional Learning

With a job description that calls for 75% travel, you might conjure up pictures of a suave jetsetter, casually navigating airports and fine hotels around the country, meeting an interesting cast of characters while exploring eclectic local restaurant scenes in the evenings. Sorry to spoil your vision—the reality is much more likely to include wolfing down a gas station sandwich while filling up the rental car in a familiar looking suburb. All the while meeting deadlines and the needs of our #EducatorFirst initiative.

I am Eddie Crosby, Edmentum’s Education Consultant for the East & Mid-Atlantic regions, primarily working in South Carolina, and that less-than-glamorous description is what my job often entails. I wouldn’t trade it.

I absolutely love being able to interact, partner and collaborate with Educators all over South Carolina, the broader Mid-Atlantic, and across the nation. For me, that collaboration truly is fuel for the fire. Picking up and sharing “best practices”, seeing students and educators grow, and witnessing all the fun that happens throughout the learning process is fantastic.

I have been an education consultant for a few years now, but education was actually a second career for me. I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a business degree and worked in corporate America for a little over two years before I went back to school to earn my teaching credential. From there, I spent seven years in the classroom teaching computer technology and physical education (PE).  During this time, I left classroom for a couple of years to serve as a Sports Ministry Outreach Director but continued to use my educational skills with kids. It was at this time when I met my wife, got married, started a family, and moved back home to Charleston, SC to be closer to family. I chose to re-enter the education profession and spent 10 years as an Assistant Principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

One of the main reasons I left public education to join Edmentum was for the impact and interaction I would be able to have in two areas: developing curriculum and instruction and working directly with other educators. While I loved my experience as a public school administrator, I found that I spent so much time dealing with disciplinary issues, textbook orders, bussing logistics, meetings, and other truly ‘administrative’ tasks, that I rarely had time to be the instructional leader I was hired to be. By moving into the role of Education Consultant with Edmentum, I’ve been able to have a greater impact on individual educators and students on a daily basis. My primary responsibility is delivering customized Professional Learning sessions for educators at Edmentum partner organizations, through which I help build capacity to target instruction for personalized learning and provide data-informed feedback to drive instructional decisions at the district, school, and classroom level. Yes, the frequent time away from my wife and kids gets tiring, and yes, the travel is often more hectic than glamorous—but that doesn’t mean it is not enjoyable. Partnering with educators in so many different roles, on such a one-on-one basis, and in such a truly customized manner is impactful, and very well worth it.

Throughout my three years with Edmentum, it’s also been great to see our own organization evolve and improve our approach to professional services. The coolest piece has been experiencing the shift in my role away from “trainer” and towards true “consulting”. When I first joined Edmentum, the focus for my team was on consistency of delivery with professional development. This is a great idea, until you start to think about the vast differences in technology implementations and applications from district to district, school to school, and classroom to classroom.

Moving towards the consultative method, my colleagues and I have been able to prioritize building relationships with our partner schools to understand their challenges and goals, and design personalized professional development sessions that address their unique needs without compromising the program being implemented. Building relationships and working collaboratively is a personal strength of mine, and I love it that I’m now able to go deeper with the educators I work with.

Putting educators first is not just a tagline for Edmentum. From my colleagues on the Education Consultant team, to our sales teams, to our curriculum designers, to our software developers, and all the way up to our executive leaders, we are committed to taking an approach that is partnership-based and outcomes-focused—not one-size-fits-all. This company-wide transition has come about based on the feedback and needs of the administrators and teachers that we work with, and it is one of the things that I think is fascinating about this job. We are always striving to do what is needed by the districts we work with, even when that means owning up to our own mistakes and failures. What a great way to look at process—keep what is good and toss what doesn’t work. 

Going forward, it’s our goal on the Professional Services team and throughout Edmentum to continue prioritizing, developing, and deepening this consultative approach. In addition to making our programs more streamlined and user-friendly (for both educators and students) and growing our offerings of managed services through EdOptions Academy, we want to improve our consulting model to better meet the needs of educators and the students they serve.

It works for me to focus on the positive. I like to remind myself of my circle of control versus my circle of influence. So, bring on the slightly bruised hotel apples, bring on the late-night trips to Walmart for a computer charger, and bring on the lengthy TSA lines. I love my job as an Education Consultant, and I look forward to the challenge of identifying, designing and implementing the right programs and professional learning to support your goals.

Want more behind-the-scenes peeks at the people and processes at Edmentum? Check out this blog on Product Management 101 for Educators!