1.4.5 Connecting as learning and learning through connection
As the above summary has revealed, the Network is a powerful tool for shared learning among teachers who have a desire to effect change in their schools and to advance the cause of quality, equitable learning for all learners. That it has many formal and informal leaders who influence others through invitation to get involved, speaks to another element of why and how it works. Yet these structures and processes, regardless of their power, may not, on their own, lead to the level of success the Network experiences. What is also apparent is how the network model has been taken up by formal leaders involved in other professional development and student achievement initiatives at the provincial and district level. For example, in districts like Prince Rupert, Nanaimo, Gold Trail, and Arrow Lakes, Aboriginal Education leaders (directors, district principals etc.) have formally recognized the value and effectiveness of the AESN , and have drawn upon its members to become engaged in similarly motivated initiatives in their school districts. They have also used their own resources to support the work of Network teams in their districts, by providing release time, professional learning supports, or other resources. In other words, they have exponentially grown the influence of the Network through their endorsation and integration of the AESN into their own district structures and initiatives. In these districts it often becomes more difficult to tease out the specific impacts of the Network given the way one approach seeds the other. Yet having noted this, it speaks to the success this model has had in reaching a diverse population of educators dedicated to improving the success of Aboriginal students.