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Districts that Work: Lessons from the Field and Policy Implications February 1, 2010 Ledyard McFadden President SchoolWorks Dr. Wanda Bamberg Superintendent.

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Presentation on theme: "Districts that Work: Lessons from the Field and Policy Implications February 1, 2010 Ledyard McFadden President SchoolWorks Dr. Wanda Bamberg Superintendent."— Presentation transcript:

1 Districts that Work: Lessons from the Field and Policy Implications February 1, 2010 Ledyard McFadden President SchoolWorks Dr. Wanda Bamberg Superintendent Aldine Independent School District

2 Who we are The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Broad Foundations education work is focused on dramatically improving urban K-12 public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. (www.broadfoundation.org) SchoolWorks is an educational consulting company based in Beverly, Massachusetts. Using a research-based rubric for school district quality, SchoolWorks leads site visit researchers and practitioners to analyze qualitative Broad Prize finalist district practices. (www.schoolworks.org)

3 Who we are The Aldine Independent School District, serving 62,000 students, was a Broad Prize finalist in 2004, 2005 and 2008 and the Winner in 2009, among other honors such as the Texas Awards Performance Excellence, 2006. Why Aldine today? Two very good reasons: 1.From 1981 to 2008 went from approximately 16% Hispanic to 64% Hispanic 2.Demonstrates higher average proficiency rates by racial, ethnic and income subgroups than state counterparts in reading and mathematics 3

4 Session Objectives 1.Share a hypothesis to explain why Broad Finalists Districts, like Aldine, have made progress in closing achievement gaps 2.Share policy recommendations based on the hypothesis

5 Session Agenda 1.Quick overview of the Broad Prize Process 2.Presentation of four aspects of leadership that – I hypothesize – are related to the success of Broad Prize Finalists in closing the achievement gap 3.Make policy recommendations for each aspect of leadership 4.Let Dr. Bamberg tell you the real deal

6 What is The Broad Prize? The Broad Prize for Urban Education is an annual $2 million award that honors large urban school districts demonstrating the greatest overall student performance and improvement and reduction in income and ethnic achievement gaps. sculpture © Tom Otterness, 2002

7 How it works Every year: 1.100 largest urban American school districts are eligible (list on www.broadprize.org) 2.Student achievement data are analyzed 3.Five finalists selected by Broad Prize Review Board (nationally acclaimed statisticians, researchers and education leaders) 4.Qualitative site visits 5.Winner selected by Broad Prize Selection Jury (three former U.S. Secs. of Ed., former Govs., university presidents, union leaders, CEOs)

8 2009 Broad Prize Finalist School Districts

9 Quantitative data reviewed by Review Board and Selection Jury Graduation rates (NCES Common Core of Data): –Average Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR) –Urban Institute Graduation Rate (Cumulative Promotion Index) –Manhattan Institute Graduation Rate (Greenes Graduation Indicator) College Readiness data (AP, SAT and ACT) Adequate Yearly Progress results District demographic data (enrollment, income, language, special education, ethnicity) School-level variance analyses Analyses across proficiency levels (i.e., advanced, proficient, below basic) District performance and improvement rates on state reading and math tests, compared with: –Prior performance –Expected performance for similar districts (based on poverty levels) in the state, using a regression analysis Degree of achievement gap reduction between ethnic groups and between low- income and non-low-income students, compared to the state No formula is used.

10 2009 Broad Prize Winner Aldine Independent School District in Houston, 80% FRSL Outperformed similar Texas districts in reading and math at all grade levels Demonstrated higher average proficiency rates by racial, ethnic and income subgroups than state counterparts in reading and math Narrowed income and ethnic achievement gaps (e.g., 14 percentage point reduction in gap between African-American students and state average for White students in middle school math between 2005 and 2008)

11 Process for conducting qualitative review of district-wide policies and processes Uniform 3-day site visit in each finalist district Evidence collected according to SchoolWorks Quality Criteria as developed for The Broad Prize (i.e., site visit framework) –District documents reviewed –Focus group interviews conducted with district stakeholders –Limited classroom observations conducted Developmental rubric provides a multi-dimensional perspective on the degree to which district systems and practices are effective and sustainable

12 How do these districts close the achievement gap? The achievement gap is closed one student at a time. Focus on the individual child. Broad Finalists Districts thrive on beliefs, policies and practices that individualize education and emphasize success for all students. Belief and leadership Advanced systems of curriculum, instruction and assessment Teamwork and investment in people 12

13 To be clear… Yes. Board Finalists examine how well groups of students do (English Language Learners, ethnic groups, socioeconomic groups, etc.) Yes. Broad Finalists Districts consider culture, language and economic status as important information that informs programming No. Broad Finalists Districts do not apply blanket approaches aimed to cover a whole group based on its identity Yes. Broad Finalists build systems of curriculum, instruction and assessment that can meet the needs of each individual child 13

14 14 Curriculum, instruction and assessment Broad Prize Finalist Districts typically have established a core structure –Alignment to state standards –Available materials –Systems to ensure fidelity of curriculum implementation Whats exceptional –Continual review and refinement of curriculum and instruction through knowledge capture Vertical teams to review analysis and make decisions Living curriculum And instruction Multiple assessments and fine-grained analysis

15 Making it happen takes four kinds of leadership Lee Bolman & Terrence Deal Symbolic: Myths, rituals, culture. What does this decision mean? Structural: Goals, division of labor, coordination. What is the rational decision? Human Resources: Organizational success and personal fulfillment are linked. Will this decision reap something from our people or sow new capacity in them? Political: Organizations as coalitions. Conflict is a natural state. Will this decision be a deal everyone can live with?

16 Organizational frames as characters you might know. To boldly go where no one has gone before. 16 Structural: Spock Symbolic: Bones Political : Kirk Human Resources: Scotty

17 Symbolic Framework 17 The Way Culture as Identity Weave in the mission

18 Theory of action articulated from the top Core Beliefs of the Gwinnett County Board of Education Our core business is teaching and learning. All children can learn at or above grade level. All children should reach their learning potential. The school effect is important and has a profound impact on every childs life. A quality instructional program requires a rigorous curriculum, effective teaching, and ongoing assessment. All children should be taught in a safe and secure learning environment. (From Gwinnett County PS website) www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us 18

19 What can you not see from the organizational structure?

20 Signatures of LBUSD Organizational Culture Collaboration between and among departments Shared challenges and shared success Stakeholder engagement (internal & external) Informality of lines of communication Customer service orientation Emphasis on support

21 Aldine: Producing the Nations Best 21

22 Policy Recommendations 1.Support, foster, provide school board development that creates a clear articulation of each districts theory of action. This not a fluffy mission and vision exercise. Its about articulating necessary inputs, expected outputs and clear strategies to get there. 2.Apply the One Child Test to potential law and policy aimed at closing the achievement gap. Create three individual student profiles. Hypothesize about how the proposed policy will affect each child. Is this a policy aimed at a stereotype? at an ambiguous group? Or is it crafted to serve the needs of real, individual students? 22

23 Structural Framework 23 Confidential – Not for distribution The Plan will save us. Baldrige, scorecards, SMART goals, etc. Lets make our performance on the plan a public matter. Data systems, open access, Formative approach Lets work the plan. Rolling it up from bottom to top; Quarterly review Lets organize people around the plan. Teams, division of labor

24 Organizing around the plan Broad Prize Finalist Districts typically have a clear vertical structure in place Of particular interest.. –Distributed leadership –Thin at the regional level –Invest at the school District Region School Classroom Student

25 Coordination and division of labor District Region School Teacher Student Set goals, coordinate plan, implement data collection, assess progress, allocate resources Coordinate resource but dont have many themselves Use resources in loose/tight world of non-negotiable targets and autonomy to implement Heavily networked within each school and across the district Client and Outcome Example: Northside froze staffing level at central office, avoided any regional structure and instead grew school staff.

26 Making performance public Broad Prize Finalist districts typically share outcomes on a regular basis –Regular cycle of measurement and reporting –Evaluation linked to organizational goals Of particular interest… –Very deep alignment of goals vertically through the system, heavily influenced by Baldrige –Use of technology to track and communicate progress Student Goal Class goal School Goal Regional Goal District Goal Example: Results-based Evaluation System in Gwinnett Example: Aldines Baldrige Peer Review

27 Policy Recommendations 1.Promote, foster and provide school board and superintendent professional development and models of practice that create aligned accountability in district plans (Baldrige). 2.Promote, foster and provide models for superintendent and principal evaluation that create aligned accountability for both student achievement and other outcomes (balanced scorecard, multiple measures). 27

28 Human Resources Framework 28 Being part of a team Here are the map and the keys. You can drive within the rules of the road. The professional life Grow your own

29 To reap or to sow? 29 Broad districts make strategic decisions that typically invest in people and yield greater productivity over the long term Fulfillment through challenging goals and opportunities to self-actualize –Clear personal goals linked to organizational goals –Ability to innovate toward the goals Satisfaction from being part of a network –Grade-level teams –Regions and/or K-12 feed patterns –Cross-functional teams solve difficult issues From the cradle to the grave –Recruitment channels through universities –Extensive professional and leadership development –Career path: We grow our own leadership.

30 For example… Examples from Brownsville –All elementary-level teachers in the district are dual certified in bilingual education to support immersion program –Feedback on Blooms taxonomy, questioning skills and learner-centered instruction using rubrics called innovation configurations –Strong partnerships with the University of Texas, Brownsville (UTB), which provides many new teachers to the district. Example from Long Beach –Comprehensive, internally designed leadership development program. With rigorous selection progress, extensive coursework and strategic internship placements, and a multi-year induction process

31 Policy Recommendations 1.Promote, foster and provide relationships between higher education institutions and districts that allow for meaningful teacher education, recruitment and training. 2.Promote, foster and provide models of district and school leadership develop programs that allow districts to grow their own leadership. 31

32 Political Framework 32 Steady at the helm Stakeholder focus The planning and decision making process is in part a political tool

33 Managing conflict for available resources Gwinnett Educational Management System (GEMS) Oversight Committee –Community-driven development of academic standards –Addressed community concern about state standards Northside –When two or more are gathered in the name of the district, I will be there, Superintendent Folks Aldine s Vertical Educational Advisory Committee –A group of about 200 representing every school meets six times a year to hear reports on the districts progress and to allow its representatives to voice concerns and ideas. Long Beach –Intensive surveying of personnel and community

34 Steady Political Leadership Is it a must have? Can any of these things be done without steady political leadership at the Board level? 34

35 Policy Recommendations 1.Promote, foster and provide models of how districts can gather effective community input and monitor community satisfaction. 2.Promote, foster and provide policies that recognize the complexity of School Board participation and require necessary professional development. 35

36 Strategic leadership in four frames Structural: Goals, division of labor, coordination. What is the rational decision? Human Resources: Organizational success and personal fulfillment are linked. Will this decision reap something from our people or sow new capacity in them? Political: Organizations as coalitions. Conflict is a natural state. Will this decision be a deal everyone can live with? Symbolic: Myths, rituals, culture. What does this decision mean?


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