Alpena native heads up international learning network
ALPENA — This Alpena High School alumnus has turned his passion for education into a career of helping others learn.
Paul Bloomberg is the CEO and founder of The Core Collaborative Learning Network, a dedicated group of educators focused on advancing learner development for every student with an all-inclusive approach. The Core Collaborative is based in Palm Springs, California, but reaches learners and educators across the globe.
Bloomberg is also the CEO of Mimi and Todd Press, an independent publishing company.
He was a principal in San Diego, and worked with a low performing school and within three years they were able to move that school from about 15% proficient to about 60% proficient.
Bloomberg founded The Core Collaborative with his husband, Tony Francoeur, the company’s CFO. Other founders are Barb Pitchford and Dr. Alan Daly.
“Our two boys really struggled in high school, and there was really no reason for it,” Bloomberg said. “They didn’t really feel valued, and so I think that was the biggest impetus for breaking away from working for all these other people and doing our own thing.”
He said his sons performed well on standardized tests, but “test scores don’t let you know about the quality of the school … they don’t necessarily show the uniqueness of every student and their strengths.”
The Core Collaborative has about 75 coaches that live all over the country, and many of them are best-selling authors in the education field. There are also about 70 consultants involved in the process.
“We’ll go and diagnose and assess the system, and then we’ll create a three- to four-year plan,” Bloomberg explained. “We’ll work with our instructional leadership teams and the bigger mission is to advance learner agency, which would be the ability for kids to have the knowledge, skills, and power to change the trajectory of their own life.”
The main goal is to figure out the best way to help students learn so they can be successful now and in the future.
“It’s really around self-assessment, peer assessment, goal setting, teaching kids how to set goals in all areas of their life, teaching them how to monitor their goals, teaching them how to reflect on their goals,” Bloomberg said.
He said teaching learners to be able to accept different viewpoints is part of the goal as well, so they can “try to come together and build a relationship regardless of varied perspective.”
The Core Collaborative works with over 250 school systems in the U.S., as well as a network of schools in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a small network of schools outside of London in the U.K.
Bloomberg and Pitchford wrote the book “Leading Impact Teams,” which became a bestseller within three months.
“The whole company is really centered around this book,” he said, “and multiple other books that have come out of this work nationally,” including “Amplify Learner Voice through Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Assessment.”
As for Mimi and Todd Press, Bloomberg said they released the book, “Belonging to a Culture of Dignity,” which was also a bestseller.
“It’s a really small independent press company,” he said. “But we’re mighty. They’re really good people.”
Bloomberg originally went to school for music. He played saxophone in band at Alpena High School and had a full ride music scholarship to Central Michigan University. He earned his master’s degree in music performance.
“I was a band director for a split second,” he said.
His true love was teaching, so he got his elementary certification at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and became an elementary teacher.
“I just fell in love with teaching again,” he said. “And then I went to San Diego and did my doctorate at the University of California, San Diego, in educational leadership, with an emphasis on social justice.”
The Core Collaborative started with 10 like-minded friends who wanted to improve the level of education offered to young people of all walks of life.
“It starts with these educators that do it because of the moral imperative,” he said, “and the consultants in the company all really believe in public education, and believe that it is the thing that can change everything for the better, and I think that they really understand the role of public education in advancing our democracy. They see that education can be the great equalizer, and they’re all really driven to do that.”
Bloomberg looks forward to continued momentum.
“Doing it has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, but also really complex,” Bloomberg said. “I think the magic ingredient is the people.”