LEE's 2014 Policy Leadership Academy
More than 60 LEE members from across the nation converged on Washington, DC for LEE’s 2014 Policy Leadership Academy, or PLA, with the shared aspiration of learning new, hard policy skills -- including analysis and implementation -- they would be able to apply as soon as they returned home.
And they were anything but disappointed -- even a bit surprised.
“Going in, I felt my area of weakness was policy,” said LEE member Brandon Loggins, a local school council member in Chicago. “But by attending PLA I’m addressing that, because we’re delving deep into areas that I don’t keep abreast of as much as I would like to.”
LEE member Aixle Aman was intent on extracting every piece of information she possibly could -- including, as it turns out, information shared during presentations she couldn’t attend in person.
“My roommate and I are going to exchange notes tonight because she and I are in different sessions and I want to learn all the tips that she got from hers,” she admittedly as day 1 of the PLA came to a close.
Clearly invigorated by what she had learned in just one day, Aman was already thinking about ways she could apply her knowledge in pursuit of educational equity.
“Let’s look at accountability systems, let’s look at digital instruction and technology -- that’s all related to my work right now,” she said.
Members also built new relationships and strengthened existing ones. From end to end, corner to corner, the sun-lit room was filled with voices of members deep in conversation, nodding, leaning in and forging new connections.
By the conclusion of the weekend it seems that they had known one another for years, despite having met only a few days prior.
Aneesh Sohoni, a seasoned LEE member, attested to the PLA’s value in building new networks and relationships. It provided the opportunity to “listen to people who have done this work and just learn and refine your own thinking.”
Perhaps just as important, it also provided a space to reflect. “Often in your day to day work you’re just charging ahead,” Aneesh says.
“LEE gives you the space to take a step back and forces you to think about where you’re going, why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how you can refine your skills going forward.”
If you would like to learn more about our Policy Leadership Academy, please visit our workshop page.