Tag Archives: Professional Learning

How Top Performers Build-and-Support: Exemplary Models

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How Top Performers Build-and-Support
Exemplary Models

by Bill Honig

Build-and-Support strategies not only have been based on extensive research but have proved to significantly improve performance in those districts, states and provinces, and nations that have followed their ideas.

School Districts

There are examples of stellar districts that have achieved successful results by following Build-and-Support ideas. These include Long Beach, Garden Grove, Sanger, Whittier High School, Elk Grove, the High-Tech High School Summit, and the Aspire charter school networks, all in California; Montgomery County, Maryland; and Union City, New Jersey. All have pursued this more comprehensive, positive approach for years and place in the top ranks of international assessments. Conversely, Dallas, Texas, and Newark, New Jersey, are examples of the damage caused by a full “reform” strategy and its failure to produce results.

Sanger’s journey—from a low-performing, high-poverty district suffering from substantial labor strife to a high-performing district where teachers and administrators have forged a close working relationship—demonstrates the power of the Build-and-Support strategy. Ironically, as a prime example of the deleterious effect of federal policy, in 2014 Sanger accepted a federal waiver under duress to avoid the severe penalties of NCLB (imposed by the feds even though Sanger grew faster than almost every other district in the state). However, district leaders then became worried that forced implementation of a test-driven evaluation would reverse its successful collaboration efforts. The problem should be solved in 2016 when the new ESSA measure becomes operative and when required high-stakes evaluation of teachers can no longer be mandated.

Similarly, Long Beach Unified School District, identified as one of the three top school jurisdictions in the country and among the top 20 in the world, has been building professional capacity around a strong, core curriculum for several decades with significant results. According to its superintendent, Chris Steinhauser, Long Beach’s success stems from its attention to human and social capital development, including clinical experiences for new teachers; treating educators, parents, and community members with respect and trust; providing extensive coaching support for teachers and principals; orienting the district administrators to support schools; building teams at schools; implementing a strong liberal arts curriculum with a districtwide focus; developing cooperation with colleges and community organizations; and continuing a shared focus by all on instructional and curricular quality. Again, Long Beach has had consistent leadership for the past two decades under Carl Cohn (1992–2002) and Superintendent Steinhauser (2002–present). Long Beach has pursued educational improvement by developing a districtwide strategy that engages all teachers and schools in the effort as opposed to a punitive approach aimed at the lowest-performing schools. For why this is important, see Fiske and Ladd’s comments. Finally, Long Beach has struck the right balance between school and teacher autonomy and district leadership, which is crucial in allowing each school to implement improvement efforts in its own way while adhering to an overall district strategy. For a perceptive article on this issue, see Larry Cuban’s blog.

Another example is Garden Grove, which has one of the largest percentage of English-language learners in large districts in California yet has improved performance substantially in the last 15 years. Under the exemplary leadership of Laura Schwalm, superintendent from 1999 to 2013, and Gabriela Mafi since 2013, the district, among other Build-and-Support measures, has developed a robust human resources development program with two aspects. First, the district finds and keeps the best teachers by developing effective systems of recruiting, proper placement, inducting, granting tenure, and compensation. Second, it builds the capacity of current staff by comprehensive professional development, creates effective school site teams, and offers career advancement pathways that allow our best teachers a hybrid teaching and leadership role and the possibility of higher earnings.

These successful jurisdictions don’t ignore accountability. But effective accountability must not rely solely or primarily on test scores. It should be designed around providing useful, timely feedback that will assist school, district, and local community efforts in improving instruction and student performance. And it should assiduously avoid causing the type of extensive collateral damage we have seen under high-stakes testing: narrowing the curriculum, discouraging cooperation, and emphasizing looking good on tests rather than providing quality instruction.

This more supportive philosophy guides the accountability system being developed in California and many other states. The state will be establishing an integrated hybrid of state and local indicators such as graduation rates, college preparation, career preparation, passing advanced placement courses, curriculum breadth and depth, student and teacher engagement, school climate, student suspensions or teacher absences, reclassification rates for English-language learners, and implementation and team-building efforts. The main locus of accountability is the school and district with local community participation, under the assumption and trust that the professionals in the school, not the federal government or the state, will be the driving force for improvement if they have the support they need. For an up-to-date report on these broader accountability ideas, see a 2016 paper by Linda Darling-Hammond and colleagues, Pathways to New Accountability Through the Every Student Succeeds Act. In addition, see a 2016 report by Cook-Harvey and Stosich of the Stanford Learning Policy Institute, Redesigning School Accountability and Support: Progress in Pioneering States.

Data based on reasonable student testing and just-in-time student assessment are helpful when such data provide information back to the teachers, schools, and local communities to assist their continuous improvement efforts. California is a member of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and administered the first state assessments in 2015. However, results won’t be used for accountability purposes until enough data are available for growth measures and potential targets can be validated. The state also wants to give teachers a chance to implement the curricular changes envisioned by the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). However, as mentioned above, these end-of-year, broad-scale tests should be only one part of a broader accountability system and need to be combined with more sophisticated, accurate, and authentic measures of student performance such as end-of-course and periodic assessments, passing competency-based measures such as certificates, performances, portfolios, and projects.

Furthermore, state and district policy should recognize that negative fallout from testing is minimized if tests are not used primarily for formal, high-stakes teacher or school evaluations or to assess school progress toward impossible goals established by political entities that are far removed from the facts on the ground. Test results are most useful when viewed as one aspect of the main driver of improvement—a broad, collaborative, well-resourced effort to improve school, student, and teacher performance over the long haul.

There will be schools that struggle and need assistance. Site visits and support need to be organized, as envisioned by the new California Collaborative for Educational Excellence. The group will offer help, support, and site visits to struggling schools. For a national proposal along these lines, see Marc Tucker’s blog post “ESEA Reauthorization and Accountability: A Chance to Do It Right.”

Successful jurisdictions do not neglect the problem of incompetent teachers. It turns out that giving low-performing teachers a chance to improve is more effective when the efforts are part of a cooperative endeavor to improve instruction. First, many low-performing teachers will improve with helpful support. Second, low performers cannot easily hide in their classrooms if a concerted team effort is under way. For many, the exposure pushes them to improve or resign. California districts such as Long Beach, San Jose, and Garden Grove, as well as places such as Montgomery County, Maryland, and Massachusetts, are examples of jurisdictions that have embedded teacher evaluations in a broader instructional improvement effort, obtained union and teacher support, and used peer review techniques. They have found that this approach has proved more successful in dismissing or counseling out the worst teachers who cannot or will not improve, with considerably less collateral damage than the traditional method that relies entirely on a negative, high-pressure strategy.

A 2016 Aspen Institute report, Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems: A Roadmap for Improvement, chronicles exemplary practices in the nation exemplifying this more supportive approach.

Nations and States

What have the most successful nations and states done to improve student performance?

On the world stage, high-performing Finland had a mediocre system two decades ago. It initiated a long-term positive engagement strategy and revitalization of the teaching force and now substantially outscores Norway, which has a similar population and demographics but is stuck in a test-driven accountability mode. Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? is one of the best books on the topic. The author is Pasi Sahlberg, one of the primary leaders of the reforms.

William Doyle spent a year on a Fulbright scholarship studying the Finnish success story. He writes of a fantastic school in rural Finland and conversations with one of its top teacher educators. He contrasts the Finnish attention to revitalizing the teaching profession to the prevailing conventional “reform” strategy in this country:

[I]n the U.S., instead of control, competition, stress, standardized testing, screen-based schools and loosened teacher qualifications, try warmth, collaboration, and highly professionalized, teacher-led encouragement and assessment.

I should note, however, that Finland has stalled or declined in recent Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) tests. For a contrary view of Finland’s rise and recent stall or decline, see The Real Finnish Lessons: The True Story of an Education Superpower. The author attributes Finland’s past successes not to its education initiatives, but to the prominence teachers always enjoyed in that country as nation builders, the determination of families stemming from Finland’s recent industrialization, and traditional teaching methods. The author further argues that the abatement of these factors is causing Finland’s test results to decline. This report was prepared by a conservative think tank in England created by Margaret Thatcher, comparable to our Hoover Institution. The author doesn’t think much of student or teacher collaboration. But there has been a raft of studies showing that collaboration among teachers and improving social capital and the prestige of the profession do make a significant difference. It will be interesting to see the analysis of this contrarian position.

In Canada, the province of Ontario has followed the same successful trajectory—revitalizing the teaching profession, creating effective professional learning communities at each school around teaching a vigorous curriculum, and using the capacity-building approach. The result was a substantial improvement in student performance. Poland has undergone a similar transformation using team building and continuous improvement strategies to boost performance. Also, Poland has chalked up enviable progress, as described in Amanda Ripley’s book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way. (Ripley visited three foreign countries for examples of world-class educational efforts—it’s a shame she didn’t visit comparable examplesin the US, for example, Massachusetts.) Many Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and Singapore and the city of Shanghai are among the highest performers in the world. All have been implementing continuous improvement strategies for decades. See, for example, Developing Shanghai’s Teachers. On the flip side, Chile and Sweden adopted wholesale charter and voucher approaches and suffered severe negative consequences.

There are many success stories closer to home, but, unfortunately, they are the exception not the rule. Massachusetts is a poster child for why Build-and Support works. Over the past 20 years, the state has consistently pursued the comprehensive positive approach engaging, not vilifying, educators. It placed instruction at the core of its reforms, built capacity around improving classrooms and schools, upgraded the quality of the teaching force, and substantially increased funding. The Commonwealth carefully avoided most of the extreme reform approaches such as widespread charterization, attacking unions and weakening due process protections, and adopting punitive measures. Most importantly, Massachusetts has stayed the course for nearly two decades.

Specifically, in 1993 under the leadership of Commissioner of Education David Driscoll, the Bay State approved standards and curricular frameworks, developed an assessment system geared toward instructional improvement based on those standards and frameworks, organized professional development around the documents, raised requirements for graduation, installed rigorous charter school evaluations for approval, and initiated more stringent requirements and support for incoming teachers. Policymakers in Massachusetts also insisted that teachers earn a master’s degree over the course of their careers. (For a comparison with Finnish initiatives, see Lisa Hansel’s post “Seeking Confirmation” on the Core Knowledge blog.)

As a result, Massachusetts scores number one in our national NAEP scores by a wide margin. In international assessments it ranks right near the top in math and science, and at the top in mathematics in growth and performance level. Yes, it is home to numerous universities with high-level candidates who pursue teaching careers, a well-educated population, and a history of educational excellence, but such benefits aren’t enough to explain its phenomenal world-class performance. Why the Massachusetts model has not become the guide for national and other states’ improvement efforts, as Marshall Smith suggested several years ago, is bewildering.

Reference Notes

School Districts
Ravitch, D. (2015, Jun 23). Mike Miles Resigns as Dallas Superintendent. http://dianeravitch.net/2015/06/23/breaking-news-mike-miles-resigns-as-dallas-superintendent/

David, J. L., & Talbert, J. E. (2012). Turning Around a High-Poverty School District: Learning from Sanger Unified’s Success. http://web.stanford.edu/group/suse-crc/cgi-bin/drupal/publications/report

Amadolare, S. (2014, Feb 27). Which Is Worse? A California District Makes a Tough Choice Between No Child Left Behind and Obama Education Policies. http://hechingerreport.org/which-is-worse-a-california-district-makes-a-tough-choice-between-no-child-left-behind-and-obama-education-policies/

Long Beach Unified School District. About Long Beach Unified School District. http://www.lbschools.net/District/

Mongeau, L. (2016, Feb 2). How One California City Saved Its Schools. http://hechingerreport.org/how-one-california-city-saved-its-schools/

Steinhauser, C. (2015). Personal conversation with author. See also Freedberg, L. (2016, Feb 22). State Must Adopt Guidelines for Parent Engagement in Schools. http://edsource.org/2016/report-state-must-adopt-guidelines-for-parent-engagement-in-schools/95124?utm_source=Feb.+23+daily+digest+–+Michael&utm_campaign=Daily+email&utm_medium=email

Fiske, E. B., & Ladd, H. F. (2016, Feb 13). Learning from London About School Improvement. The News & Observer. http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article60118256.html

Cuban, L. (2016, Feb 17). Reflecting on School Reforms: Scaling Up versus Short, Happy Life or Hanging In. https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/reflecting-on-school-reforms-scaling-up-versus-short-happy-life-or-hanging-in/

Knudsen, J. (2013, Sep). You’ll Never Be Better Than Your Teachers: The Garden Grove Approach to Human Capital Development. http://www.cacollaborative.org/publications

Darling-Hammond, L., Bae, S., Cook-Harvey, C.M., Lam, L., Mercer, C., Podolsky, A., & Stosich, E. (2016, Apr). Pathways to New Accountability Through the Every Student Succeeds Act. Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/our-work/publications-resources/pathways-new-accountability-every-student-succeeds-act/

Cook-Harvey, C. M., & Stosich E. L. (2016, Apr 5). Redesigning School Accountability and Support: Progress in Pioneering States. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education. https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/publications/pubs/1406

Tucker, M. (2015, Dec 3). ESEA Reauthorization and Accountability: A Chance to Do It Right. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2015/12/esea_reauthorization_and_accountability_a_chance_to_do_it_right.html

Brown, C., Partelow, L., & Konoske-Graf, A. (2016, Mar 16). Educator Evaluation: A Case Study of Massachusetts’ Approach. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education/report/2016/03/16/133038/educator-evaluation/

Thompson, J. (2015, Mar 30). John Thompson: A Teacher Proposes a Different Framework for Accountability. https://educationpost.org/john-thompson-a-teacher-proposes-a-different-framework-for-accountability/

The Aspen Institute. (2016, Mar). Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems: A Roadmap for Improvement. http://www.aspendrl.org/

Nations and States
Hancock, L. (2011, Sep). Why Are Finland’s Schools Successful? Smithsonian Magazine. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-are-finlands-schools-successful-49859555/?no-ist=

Sahlberg, P. (2015). Finnish Lessons 2.0: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland? New York: Teacher’s College Press.

Doyle, W. (2016, Feb 18). How Finland Broke Every Rule—and Created a Top School System. http://hechingerreport.org/how-finland-broke-every-rule-and-created-a-top-school-system/

Sahlgren, G. H. (2015, Apr). Real Finnish Lessons: The True Story of an Education Superpower. Centre for Policy Studies. http://www.cps.org.uk/publications/reports/real-finnish-lessons-the-true-story-of-an-education-superpower/

Ripley, A. (2014). The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Tucker, M. (2016, Feb 29). Asian Countries Take the U.S. to School. The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/02/us-asia-education-differences/471564/

Zhang, M., Ding, X., & Xu, J. (2016, Jan). Developing Shanghai’s Teachers. http://www.ncee.org/developing-shanghais-teachers/

Alliance for Excellent Education. David Driscoll. http://all4ed.org/people/david-driscoll/

Chang, K. (2013, Sep 2). Expecting the Best Yields Results in Massachusetts. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/science/expecting-the-best-yields-results-in-massachusetts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 See also Khadaroo, S. T. (2012, Sep 5). Is Top-Ranked Massachusetts Messing with Education Success? The Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Education/2012/0905/Is-top-ranked-Massachusetts-messing-with-education-success

Hansel, L. (2015, Jul 9). Seeking Confirmation. http://blog.coreknowledge.org/2015/07/09/seeking-confirmation/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCoreKnowledgeBlog+%28The+Core+Knowledge+Blog%29

Carnoy, M., García, E., & Khavenson, T. (2015, Oct 30). Bringing It Back Home: Why State Comparisons Are More Useful Than International Comparisons for Improving U.S. Education Policy. Economic Policy Institute. http://www.epi.org/publication/bringing-it-back-home-why-state-comparisons-are-more-useful-than-international-comparisons-for-improving-u-s-education-policy/

How Top Performers Build-and-Support: Lessons Learned from Successful Districts

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How Top Performers Build-and-Support
Lessons Learned from Successful Districts

by Bill Honig

When we examine assessments of educational outcomes, it is important to be aware of a potential trap articulated by social science statistical research. The fact that there are common measures in successful districts does not necessarily mean that a low-performing district will experience similar improvements if it adopts those measures. Each district, city, state, and nation has some special circumstances, and there may be prerequisites or unique tweaks required before the approaches will work in a new context. Moreover, the process of implementing new policy initiatives and maintaining a comprehensive, strategic view that interweaves various improvement proposals may be more important than the individual measures themselves. Yet there are some essential initiatives that every successful district has employed.

Components of Successful Strategies

Virtually every world-class district has adopted policies that actively engage teachers and administrators, build social capital, and develop collaboration and teamwork. These districts also put systems in place to ensure continuous improvement centered on building craft knowledge and becoming more proficient at delivering a demanding, broad-based liberal arts curriculum. They have a robust human resources development program with two aspects. First, the districts find and keep the best teachers by developing effective systems of recruiting, proper placement, inducting, granting tenure, and compensation. Second, they build the capacity of current staff through comprehensive professional development, create effective school site teams, and offer career advancement pathways that allow our best teachers a hybrid teaching and leadership role and the possibility of higher earnings. Successful districts also have implemented a pre-K or early education program and extensive extracurricular involvement of students. Researchers in both education and business recommend these methods as essential to success. In addition, while successful jurisdictions have carefully avoided the punitive approaches advocated by conventional reformers, most low-performing districts have succumbed to that agenda and thereby neglected the more effective, positive Build-and-Support approach.

A second major point is that just as teachers must become proficient in the many dimensions of teaching (as delineated in the companion article Provide High-Quality Instruction), districts must become adept in many aspects of leadership and support. Crucially, districts have to integrate improving teaching and learning a demanding curriculum into all their initiatives so that each effort pulls in a common direction. As important, they must shift from a superficial checklist-compliance approach to an approach that provides real support for schools and teachers.

Transforming the Central Office

University of Washington professor Meredith Honig (no relation) and her team at the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy published a significant report on how districts can reorient their administration to a school support approach. Their recommendations are based on the most valid and reliable research and the experience of our top-performing districts. The document delineated five components of successful district improvement efforts:

The Five Dimensions of Central Office Transformation

Dimension 1: Learning-focused partnerships with school principals to deepen principals’ instructional leadership practice.

Dimension 2: Assistance to the central office–principal partnerships.

Dimension 3: Reorganizing and re-culturing of each central office unit, to support the central office–principal partnerships and teaching and learning improvement.

Dimension 4: Stewardship of the overall central office transformation process.

Dimension 5: Use of evidence throughout the central office to support continual improvement of work practices and relationships with schools.

Michael Fullan, professor emeritus of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, advises districts to address the entire school system using a small but powerful set of integrated initiatives. He cautions against an overly complex, by-the-book compliance orientation. Another helpful document on district effectiveness is the Common Core Leadership Planning Guide. It was developed in conjunction with some key policymakers, researchers, and educational and community leaders in California. The guide lists 10 areas that school districts should examine:

  • curriculum and instruction
  • instructional materials and resources (both print and electronic)
  • professional development
  • capacity building and leadership
  • student learning feedback and assessment
  • alignment of fiscal and human resources—the recruiting, induction, assisting, and providing career advancement for teachers and other staff
  • support programs that bolster implementation
  • communication with stakeholders (including parents and community)
  • transition to higher education and careers
  • technology support for instruction, data, and assessment

A very comprehensive inventory, indeed.

Improving System Performance

The documents I’ve cited reflect the strategies pursued by the most successful districts in this country and around the globe—districts that avoided the more negative Test-and-Punish methods in favor of a Build-and-Support strategy. These districts respect and encourage their teachers and pay them decently. They placed instruction and teaching at the center of their improvement efforts and turned schools into learning institutions. These districts have a long-term strategic plan for building the knowledge and capacity of the staff and continuous improvement. They create positive working conditions that allow on-site collaborative teams to thrive. These districts use the most effective instructional materials. They have reoriented management (especially principals and teacher leaders) and provided time, knowledge, and resources to assist these efforts.

Improvement initiatives in the US come none too soon. According to the article “Want to Close the Achievement Gap? Close the Teaching Gap,” on the whole, our teachers spend more time in the classroom than their counterparts in top-performing countries, significantly less time collaborating with other teachers on how best to improve instruction, and work in a much less supportive school atmosphere. See also Dana Goldstein’s recent book, The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Embattled Profession, and the National Center for Education and the Economy’s 2016 publication Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems. Conversely, staffs in the most successful countries and districts in Asia, Europe, and North America spend less time teaching and invest the difference in working with one another to improve instruction. Consequently, they get better results.

Revitalizing the Teaching Force

These top performers have also substantially upgraded the quality of and respect for the teaching force by attracting new teachers from the top tier of college students, training and paying them well, supporting them in their school careers, and offering career advancement for the best practitioners who remain in the classroom and help other teachers as mentors. As an example see Joel Knudson’s You’ll Never Be Better Than Your Teachers: The Garden Grove Approach to Human Capital Development. Mentoring improves the performance of both the mentor and the teacher being helped.

Building a cooperative and supportive atmosphere was found to be essential for attracting and retaining these high-quality professionals. Two major national efforts along these lines have been initiated: Deans for Impact and the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR). See also a report on the importance of a long-term strategy for revitalizing the teaching profession.

Another key objective for districts is determining the best way to select, train, and support principals to lead continuous improvement efforts at their schools. On-site leadership is critical in building the systems that connect teaching, curriculum, and instruction, continuously improving all three, and increasing the degree of engagement of teachers, students, parents, and the wider community—all of whom shape the school climate. For a perceptive two-part series on how best to train principals to lead such a capacity-building effort currently under way in four states, see Marc Tucker’s “Organizations in Which Teachers Can Do Their Best Work.” For a comprehensive report on principal training, see The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning and 2015 standards for educational leaders.

BBS Companion Articles

How Top Performers Build-and-Support
Provide High-Quality Instruction

Reference Notes

Mehta, J. (2016, Jan 8). Why “Queen Bees” and “Wannabees” Is Not the Right Way to Think About Global Education. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_deeply/2016/01/why_queen_bees_and_wannabes_is_not_the_right_way_to_think_about_global_education.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=learningdeeply

Components of Successful Strategies
Knudson, J. (2013, Sep). You’ll Never Be Better Than Your Teachers; The Garden Grove Approach to Human Capital Development. http://www.cacollaborative.org/publications

Kirp D. L. (2016, Feb 13). How New York Made Pre-K a Success. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/14/opinion/sunday/how-new-york-made-pre-k-a-success.html See also Farran, D. C. (2016, Feb 25). We Need More Evidence in Order to Create Effective Pre-K Programs. http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2016/02/25-need-more-evidence-create-effective-prek-programs-farran Some experts have raised questions about the research base supporting early education and whether there should be massive expansion of the program. For example, see Kirp D. L. (2015, Oct 3). Does Pre-K Make Any Difference? The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/04/opinion/sunday/does-pre-k-make-any-difference.html and Frey, S. (2016, Feb 28). Groups Want Early Ed Block Grant Pulled From This Year’s State Budget. http://edsource.org/2016/groups-want-early-ed-block-grant-pulled-from-this-years-state-budget/95285?utm_source=Feb.+29+daily+digest+-+Erin&utm_campaign=Daily+email&utm_medium=email

Early Learning. http://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/earlylearning/index.html

Kronholz, J. (2012, Winter). Academic Value of Non-Academics. http://educationnext.org/academic-value-of-non-academics/

Transforming the Central Office
Honig, M. I., Copland, M. A., Rainey, L., Lorton, J. A., & Newton, M. (2010, Apr). Central Office Transformation for District-wide Teaching and Learning Improvement: Executive Summary. Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy. University of Washington. http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/school-leadership/district-policy-and-practice/pages/central-office-transformation-district-wide-teaching-and-learning.aspx

Fullan, M. (2015, Jul). California’s Golden Opportunity. LCAP’s Theory of Action: Problems and Corrections. The Stuart Foundation. http://www.michaelfullan.ca/california-release-a-golden-opportunity/

Consortium for the Implementation of the Common Core State Standards. (2013, Oct). Leadership Planning Guide California: Common Core State Standards and Assessments Implementation. California County Superintendents Educational Service Association. http://www.scoe.net/castandards/Pages/default.aspx

Improving System Performance
Darling-Hammond, L. (2014-2015, Winter). Want to Close the Achievement Gap? Close the Teaching Gap. American Educator. http://www.aft.org/ae/winter2014-2015/darling-hammond.

Goldstein, D. (2015). The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Embattled Profession. New York: Anchor. See also Goldstein, D. (2015, Spring). Quieting the Teacher Wars. What History Reveals About an Embattled Profession. American Educator. http://www.aft.org/ae/spring2015/goldstein

Jensen, B., Sonnemann, J., Roberts-Hull, K., & Hunter, A. (2016). Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems. http://www.ncee.org/beyondpd/

Revitalizing the Teaching Force
Knudson, J. (2013, Sep). You’ll Never Be Better Than Your Teachers; The Garden Grove Approach to Human Capital Development. California Collaborative on District Reform. http://www.cacollaborative.org/publications

Kirby, A. (2016, Mar 7). Teacher Mentorship Improves Performance on Both Sides. https://www.cabinetreport.com/human-resources/teacher-mentorship-improves-performance-on-both-sides

Deans for Impact. http://deansforimpact.org/ See also Deans for Impact. From Chaos to Coherence: A Policy Agenda for Accessing and Using Outcomes Data in Educator Preparation. http://www.deansforimpact.org/policy_brief.html

Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR). http://www.ceedar.org/

Richardson, J. (2015, Nov 9). Looking Abroad for Answers at Home. http://www.learningfirst.org/looking-abroad-answers-home

Hull, S. J. (2015, Oct 14). Principals Matter—and They Need the Right Start. http://www.learningfirst.org/principals-matter-and-they-need-right-start?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LFA+%28Public+School+Insights%3A+What+is+WORKING+in+our+Public+Schools%29

Tucker, M. (2015, Aug 13). Organizations in Which Teachers Can Do Their Best Work: Part I. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2015/08/organizations_in_which_teachers_can_do_their_best_work_part_i.html See also Tucker, M. (2015, Aug 20) Organizations in Which Teachers Can Do Their Best Work: Part II. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2015/08/organizations_in_which_teachers_can_do_their_best_work_part_ii.html

The Wallace Foundation (2013). The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning. http://www.wallacefoundation.org/knowledge-center/Pages/The-School-Principal-as-Leader-Guiding-Schools-to-Better-Teaching-and-Learning.aspx

Superville, D. R. (2015, Oct 23). New Professional Standards for School Leaders Are Approved. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/2015/10/new_professional_standards_for.html?r=608789257

How Top Performers Build-and-Support: Build Teams and Focus on Continuous Improvement

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How Top Performers Build-and-Support
Build Teams and Focus on Continuous Improvement

by Bill Honig

Reformers fundamentally misunderstand how schools and districts work. As a result, they have focused their school improvement efforts on indirect structural changes and top-down governance reforms. Research has shown that the top-performing schools, districts, states, and nations take a very different approach. There is one strategy that is invariably used by these top performers—districts have in place a strategic plan to build on-site capacity and establish systems for continuous improvement of curriculum and instruction. Top performers respect teachers’ professionalism and engage them in improving their craft knowledge and pedagogical practice. They provide positive working conditions and create a learning community that generates social and decisional capital. And instead of using test results and teacher appraisals to reward or punish, they use performance results to support the school’s improvement efforts.

Professional Learning

Successful strategies for increasing teacher effectiveness are aimed at individual teachers—to build knowledge and technique—and at collaborative teams—to support teachers’ efforts and continuously improve the school’s overall performance. Linda Darling-Hammond and her colleagues produced one of the best guides to professional learning for teachers and instructional leaders. Maximizing the Use of New State Professional Learning Investments to Support Student, Educator, and School System Growth was developed under the auspices of Darling-Hammond’s new think tank, the Learning Policy Institute and the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). These researchers and practitioners created it to help districts in California determine how best to spend the $500 million allocated for improving teaching and learning. The report provides a thorough review of the research, specific policy recommendations, and links to many important professional learning documents, including the standards for professional learning from Learning Forward, the Superintendent’s Quality Professional Learning Standards (QPLS) from the state of California, Greatness by Design, and Professional Learning in the Learning Profession. The report also includes numerous exemplars of good practice.

In the Learning Policy Institute/SCOPE report, Darling-Hammond and colleagues offer this underlying rationale:

A starting point for building a system that develops teaching capacity is to consider what professional learning is and how it occurs. The National Staff Development Council, now referred to as Learning Forward, defines professional learning as “a product of both externally provided and job-embedded activities that increase teachers’ knowledge and change their instructional practice in ways that support student learning. Thus, formal professional development represents a subset of the range of experiences that may result in professional learning.”

Meaningful professional learning is not a product, but is a process comprised of multiple opportunities for educators to learn and practice skills that advance their expertise. Both teachers and principals can benefit from ongoing professional learning that is closely tied to student learning and the realities of practice, and that builds off of the expertise of colleagues.
Research in the field has demonstrated that effective learning for educators has, at minimum, the following four qualities:

  1. Professional learning should be intensive, ongoing, and connected to practice.
  2. Professional learning should focus on student learning and address the teaching of specific curriculum content.
  3. Professional learning should align with school improvement priorities and goals.
  4. Professional learning should build strong working relationships among teachers and provide time to collaborate.

Support Structures for Professional Learning

The development of effective professional learning depends on effective support structures. To quote a further section of the Learning Policy Institute/SCOPE report:

Even when these elements of professional learning are put in place, more needs to be done to ensure instructional quality. Instructional quality is dependent on both the knowledge and skills of individual educators and on the workplace conditions that allow effective practices to take root and flourish across classrooms.

This instructional capacity relies on at least four kinds of interdependent resources:

  1. Instructional knowledge (including knowledge of content, pedagogy, and students), which can be built through professional learning;
  2. Instructional materials (e.g., curriculum, instructional tools, textbooks, teaching materials, assessments—and know-how to use these materials);
  3. Instructional relationships among staff that are characterized by trust, mutual respect, recognition of instructional expertise, and openness to interpersonal learning;
  4. Organizational structures that support the identification, development, and use of instructional resources (e.g., common learning time for subject and/or grade-level teachers; formal instructional leadership roles and organizational mechanisms that foster teacher collaboration, learning from peers, and communication pattern that develop a shared understanding of teaching practices that are linked to student learning).

Finally, the Learning Policy Institute published a report by Kini and Podolsky, Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research. The report debunks the idea that teachers don’t continue to become more effective after the first three-year learning spurt. Obviously, well-constructed professional learning will enhance the normal growth process.

Team Building, Capacity Building, and Collaboration

Almost every school and district that has substantially improved student performance is developing and supporting school teams. With fellow teachers and administrators, a teacher can wrestle with the best way to implement a new demanding curriculum, such as the one envisioned by the Common Core State Standards. Teachers compare notes, visit one another’s classrooms, and continually revise instruction. They collect relevant data on student work and rely on their colleagues’ assessment of student performance and engagement to devise next steps. Teachers receive effective professional development around implementing the core curriculum, adapting craft knowledge to their classrooms, acquiring quality materials, and working with one another. Top-performing districts hire and train principals and coaches who understand how to develop collaborative teams, encourage distributed leadership and decision-making capabilities, and connect staff with best practices and where to find the best resources aimed at improving instruction.

For a comprehensive look at how the most successful nations in the world build effective professional development, collaborative teams, and continuous improvement, see the National Center for Education and the Economy’s (NCEE) 2016 publications Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems and Developing Shanghai’s Teachers. Such policies engender the crucial ingredient of performance improvement—teacher engagement and intrinsic motivation. For example, a large district in Melbourne, Australia, that contains significant numbers of hard-to-educate children found teacher engagement the secret to improved performance.

Commenting on these two reports, Marc Tucker, president of NCEE, explained (I have quoted him in depth because he captures the essence of the argument for restructuring schools into learning organizations):

Professional development looks very different in all these places than it typically does in the United States. It is the main driver of school improvement. Far from something that takes the teacher out of her school and away from her students, it is woven into the very fabric of the teacher’s work in every way. Professional development is not synonymous with workshops. In the United States, teachers appear to develop increasing expertise during their first three years on the job and then stop. But in the systems Jensen [president of Learning First, Melbourne, who authored the study of how successful nations improve] researched, they never stop learning–from other teachers, from their reading, from the research they do, from the data they get on the results of their work.

That is because their workplace has been restructured so that almost everything they do in the course of a normal workday is intended to contribute to their learning. First, in all of these systems, teachers spend less time facing students than American teachers do and more time working collaboratively to improve student performance. Teachers work in teams organized by the subjects they teach, by the grade or grade span they teach in and the research and development projects they choose to work on together.

Second, when teachers are working together, they are not just hanging out in discussion groups. They have specific goals, whether it is to develop a much more effective way to teach a particular topic in mathematics or to figure out why a whole group of students in the fourth grade are falling behind and fix the problem.

Whatever the project they take on is, they have a general method for dealing with these problems. It starts with collecting data on the problem, then systematically identifying the best research in the world that bears on that problem and seeing what it says, then using that research to formulate a response to the problem, then putting together a research plan that will enable them to collect data on the difference that their intervention makes, then implementing their intervention, then collecting the data and analyzing it, then revising their intervention in the light of the data and doing that repeatedly until they get the results they are after. When they are done, they not only implement their intervention, but they write it up and, in some of these countries, publish it in journals that other teachers in other schools, sometimes throughout their whole country, can read and profit from.

What I have just described is a continuous improvement cycle. It is a very powerful engine for school improvement. Indeed it is a model of school improvement that puts classroom teachers, not university researchers or central office bureaucrats, in charge of improving schools. It is a professional model of school improvement.

This model for continuous improvement of student performance is also, as Jensen points out, a model for continuous learning, an engine for professional development. It both produces incentives for school professionals to learn and, at the same time, supports that learning in myriad ways. In this model, teachers are constantly consulting the best research in order to diagnose the problems they are facing and to find solutions to those problems. They are in each other’s classrooms all the time, observing teachers who are piloting their group’s interventions, learning from the best teachers and critiquing each other’s teaching. More experienced teachers are mentoring less experienced teachers. Teachers learn when they are leading and they learn when they are collaborating with others.

Jensen reports that, in these systems, principals are evaluated by their supervisors on their skill at organizing these high performance professional environments and at providing opportunities for teachers to grow and learn. They are expected to identify exceptionally skilled teachers who can be given leadership roles on the teams whose operation I just described. These teachers are tasked with helping to develop the skills of their colleagues and helping them to implement the effective practices that the whole process identifies and promotes. They are expected to become champions of those effective practices in and beyond their own school.

A network of teachers has banded together to improve instruction and provide advice on capacity building.

Management Science

A collaborative approach based on continuous improvement and informed by data is used throughout the business world and taught in business schools. It was originally pioneered 50 years ago by W. Edwards Deming, whose ideas were instrumental in revamping Japanese industry (initially, no one would listen here) and eventually in US manufacturing. Management gurus such as Peter Drucker then applied these ideas to knowledge enterprises and knowledge workers. The argument against these ideas then was similar to what is being said now about teachers—the American workforce is weak and that is why we can’t compete. When Japanese auto companies opened plants here and saw huge productivity increases using American workers and applying Deming techniques, it became clear that lackluster performance was the fault of management and organizational strategy, not the capabilities of the workforce.

The power of teamwork has been significantly corroborated by Alex Pentland, a professor at MIT, who heads the Human Dynamics Lab and is the author of the groundbreaking book Social Physics: How Social Networks Can Make Us Smarter. Professor Pentland has been one of the major proponents of the efficacy of group decision-making in improving performance. He and his team point to the number and quality of team interactions and the ability to seek out innovative ideas through exploration, work them through the group, and engage the whole team in the effort. He proposes developing collective intelligence by shaping and changing organizations to foster the growth of this social capital. Social Physics provides several remarkable examples of how performance is enhanced by interaction and engagement.

Carrie Leana, George H. Love Professor of Organizations and Management at the University of Pittsburgh, maintains that collaboration at the school site is the most powerful strategy for improving instruction. She found that instructional conversation and help from fellow teachers outweigh all other improvement initiatives. Professor Leana calls into question reforms that pursue test-driven rewards and punishments. Since, according to Professor Leana, only about an estimated five percent of US schools are actually managed this way, the unrealized potential in expanding this approach far outweighs other strategies. Team building around powerful instruction and curriculum should be one of our major priorities. She also emphasizes that this approach requires the following:

  • training principals how to promote collaboration and holding them accountable for it
  • building the infrastructure to support instructional improvement and team building
  • striving to get more talented people into our schools
  • avoiding rhetoric and policies that make collaboration more difficult

Positive Working Conditions

Management expert Esther Quintero, writing for the Albert Shanker Institute blog, has also published a series of articles on the crucial importance of building social capital. Quintero explains that conventional Test-and-Punish reform measures lower morale and undermine positive working conditions—a key component of successful school improvement.

Thus, good schools, led by capable principals collaborating with the most talented and activist teachers at the site, build on and enhance individual strengths and ameliorate weaknesses. They accomplish this by engaging teachers, creating effective teams, and establishing a positive, professional working environment. In a recent article, Brown University professors John Papay and Matthew Kraft summarized the research on the importance of a positive professional environment:

An emerging body of research now shows that the contexts in which teachers work profoundly shape teachers’ job decisions and their effectiveness. Put simply, teachers who work in supportive contexts stay in the classroom longer, and improve at faster rates, than their peers in less-supportive environments. And, what appear to matter most about the school context are not the traditional working conditions we often think of, such as modern facilities and well-equipped classrooms. Instead, aspects that are difficult to observe and measure seem to be most influential, including the quality of relationships and collaboration among staff, the responsiveness of school administrators, and the academic and behavioral expectations for students.

In their 2014 report, Papay and Kraft found large benefits for a supportive workplace environment states:

Our analyses show that teachers working in more supportive professional environments improve their effectiveness more over time than teachers working in less supportive contexts. On average, a teacher working in schools at the 75th percentile of professional environment ratings improved 38 percent more than teachers in schools at the 25th percentile after ten years.

See also a recent University of Michigan and Vanderbilt University survey of 9,000 teachers in 336 Florida schools and “Educating Amidst Uncertainty” an article demonstrating why paying attention to the professional environment is especially important in urban schools.

Reformers would be well advised to shift gears and concentrate on building social capital (the ability to work together) as one of the best ways to improve schools since neither Test-and-Punish nor close-public-schools-and-replace-with-charters strategies come close to matching the potential for impressive gains in teacher and student performance.

Craft Knowledge and Pedagogical Practice

Finally, one crucial aspect of continuous improvement is connecting the professional learning communities with the best content and pedagogical knowledge and the most effective practices used in other districts, states, and the nation. In her recent book, Building a Better Teacher, Elizabeth Green explains the value of craft or pedagogical knowledge in improving schools based on the work of such renowned educators as Lee Shulman from Stanford University and Deborah Ball from University of Michigan, whose work is discussed in Provide High-Quality Instruction.

Much like other professional fields during the past decades, powerful understandings of how best to address a range of educational issues have emerged. A current shibboleth assumes that all a teacher needs is knowledge of a subject such as math. But knowing how to use fractions or percentage is not the same as knowing how best to teach these procedures and concepts, understanding where students usually have trouble, and offering the best ways to assist them if they are having difficulty.

Unfortunately, many efforts of team building never reach their potential by turning into unstructured and unproductive discussions disconnected from craft knowledge. Team building and continuous improvement activities must be focused on improved instruction, and it takes time and proficient leadership for faculties to learn how to successfully work together. David Sherer and Johanna Barmore have written a perceptive piece on how to increase the chances that teacher collaboration becomes effective. Larry Cuban has also written an excellent piece on this topic. Jal Mehta cautions that team building alone often is insufficient for effective professional learning and that it must be part of a greater capacity building effort.

Susan O’Hara and Bob Pritchard have developed the Strategic Observation and Reflection (SOAR) rubric which helps teachers and administrators focus on deeper learning in each discipline. The rubrics are organized around high-impact instruction, including:

  • Acquisition of Disciplinary Language
  • Disciplinary Thinking Processes
  • Disciplinary Perseverance
  • Disciplinary Communication
  • Disciplinary Discussion
  • Disciplinary Use of Evidence

The authors also have identified three cross-cutting practices teachers need: fostering meta-cognition for disciplinary learning, fostering a culture for disciplinary learning, and monitoring and guiding disciplinary learning.

Richard DeFour’s In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better provides detailed recommendations for creating effective learning teams that continuously improve school performance as well as strategies for preventing professional learning communities from becoming unproductive.

Finally, Learning Forward has cooperated with the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future to produce a comprehensive report on increasing teacher agency and developing successful professional development: Moving From Compliance to Agency: What Teachers Need to Make Professional Development Work.

Community Schools and Wraparound Services

Successful districts provide the resources for school and community social support and the time necessary for the school improvement efforts. In examining what worked in the top-performing Chicago schools, Tony Bryk found five key elements. One was strong parent/community ties. The Coalition for Community Schools defines community schools in this way:

A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities. Community schools offer a personalized curriculum that emphasizes real-world learning and community problem-solving. Schools become centers of the community and are open to everyone—all day, every day, evenings and weekends.

Using public schools as hubs, community schools bring together many partners to offer a range of supports and opportunities to children, youth, families and communities. Partners work to achieve these results: Children are ready to enter school; students attend school consistently; students are actively involved in learning and their community; families are increasingly involved with their children’s education; schools are engaged with families and communities; students succeed academically; students are healthy—physically, socially, and emotionally; students live and learn in a safe, supportive, and stable environment, and communities are desirable places to live.

For information about building community schools with wraparound services, see the National Education Association (NEA) policy brief Wraparound Services and these resources: Coalition for Community Schools, the Schott Foundation for Public Education, a report from a coalition of educational groups, and Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone.

In 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed expansion of community schools in New York, and scholars at Harvard University have created a six district network to coordinate services for children.

Systems for Continuous Improvement

Deming’s ideas on continuous improvement by line workers using crucial data has become the basis for what is now known as “improvement science.” In Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better, Tony Bryk and his team utilize ideas from improvement science, taking examples from medicine, and apply them to upgrading school performance. They recommend six basic ideas:

  1. Make the improvement work problem specific and user centered.
  2. Focus on variation in performance.
  3. See the system that produces the current outcomes.
  4. Measure the effects of interventions to go to scale.
  5. Create a cycle of continuous disciplined inquiry to drive improvement efforts.
  6. Accelerate learning and problem solving through supportive networks.

These researchers offer this example from medicine: Some hospitals saw tremendous differences in results from asthma interventions among socioeconomic groups; others found few discrepancies. Through improvement science processes, the improvement team discovered that some institutions were much more thorough than others about focusing on a major cause of asthma—the incidence of mold and cockroaches in patients’ homes. When the processes changed so did the results.

Bryk and his team then picked two specific educational problems grounded in the workplace and applied the principles stated above. The first problem was that few entering community college students eventually graduated or transferred to a four-year college; the second dealt with the efficacy of coaches. The team started small with a few classrooms and participants, including a perceptive teacher and administrator playing various roles. After brainstorming, the group narrowed the problem to a major barrier—that most students failed remedial math in their first year. The team then examined whether it was the students, the teachers, the instruction, the curriculum, or another factor. It turned out to be a combination. For example, in the case of African-American males, if those students didn’t connect in the first few weeks, most were lost. In response, initial improvement efforts were aimed at giving these students early success through a more active and supportive instructional program. The team shifted instruction to a more student-centered approach. The results were impressive, and more and more classrooms and community colleges joined the effort. Team members kept revisiting and fine-tuning their interventions, and the program got better with better outcomes. This type of effort is gaining traction nationwide.

Another example of improvement science in action occurred in the Fresno Unified School District/University of California, Merced partnership. The district wanted to increase the embarrassingly low number of students attending college. The transmission to both two-year and four-year colleges was like a leaky pipe. The district examined all the places where students got off track academically and procedurally and discussed with its schools and colleges ways to fix the leaks. The results were spectacular. As one example, students qualifying for a four-year college (California’s A–G subject requirements) increased by 50%, from 32% to 48%; and students meeting A–G subject requirements in technical education fields rose from 4% to 48%. College attendance soared.

Unfortunately, despite these persuasive findings, a plethora of statements continue to belittle or ignore collaboration by business thought leaders (and like-minded political and media fellow-travelers) who should know better. Many of the same business thought leaders who advocate a Test-and-Punish regime for schools follow very different, more supportive team-building strategies in their own enterprises. The exceptions are the financiers and hedge fund operators who thrive on pressure, super-salesmanship, and bonuses—an inappropriate management style for manufacturing and knowledge-based entities such as schools, law firms, hospitals, and research organizations. Increasing accountability pressure on schools has not produced the promised results but has sabotaged the collaboration and engagement necessary for improvement.

The Build-and-Support approach fosters the capacity of teachers, schools, and districts to work together to improve school performance and student outcomes. It is informed by the best educational and management scholarship, irrefutable evidence, and the practices adopted by the most successful schools, districts, and states in this country and abroad.

For a comprehensive look at how the most successful nations in the world deliver effective professional development, build collaborative teams, and achieve continuous improvement, see the National Center for Education and the Economy’s 2016 publication Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High Performing Systems. In addition, Marc Tucker’s article about the importance of importance of a mutual reinforcing system of individual improvement components argues that treating and evaluating each policy as separate will frustrate results—each is necessary but not sufficient.

Recent Developments

7/30/2016 Another piece on the efficacy of team building by the important website Learning Forward, reviewing the Learning Policy Institutes latest report on how teachers continually improve over time:

The report, Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research, finds that, by and large, teachers become more effective at their jobs the longer they teach. The report draws on 30 recent research studies to highlight key findings and make policy recommendations.

Among the findings, the report says that “teachers make greater gains in their effectiveness when they work in a supportive and collegial working environment” — which includes the leadership of a strong principal, opportunities for collaboration, and a shared vision for student achievement.

Several policy recommendations conclude the report, including: “Create conditions for strong collegial relationships among school staff and a positive and professional working environment.” The report stresses the promise of principal career pathways and particular attention to scheduling. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_forwards_pd_watch/2016/06/research_underscores_collaborations_impact.html?r=226965518

BBS Companion Articles

How Top Performers Build-and-Support
Provide High-Quality Instruction

Reference Notes

Professional Learning
Bishop, J., Darling-Hammond, L., & Jaquith, A. (2015, Nov). Maximizing the Use of New State Professional Learning Investments to Support Student, Educator, and School System Growth. Learning Policy Institute / Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/publications/pubs/1394

Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org

Learning Forward. https://learningforward.org/

California Department of Education. (2015, Mar). The Superintendent’s Quality Professional Learning Standards (QPLS). http://www.cde.ca.gov/pd/ps/qpls.asp

Tom Torlakson’s Task Force on Educator Excellence. (2012). Greatness by Design: Supporting Outstanding Teaching to Sustain a Golden State. California Department of Education. http://www.cde.ca.gov/eo/in/ee.asp

Wei, R. C., Darling-Hammond, L., Andree, A., Richardson, N., & Orphanos, S. (2009, Feb 4). Professional Learning in the Learning Profession: A Status Report on Teacher Development in the U.S. and Abroad. Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE). https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/publications/pubs/187

Support Structures for Professional Learning
Darling-Hammond, L. (2011). Effective Teaching as a Civil Right: How Building Instructional Capacity Can Help Close the Achievement Gap. Voices in Urban Education. http://annenberginstitute.org/publications/effective-teaching-civil-right-voices-urban-education-31

Jaquith, A. (2009). The Creation and Use of Instructional Resources: The Puzzle of Professional Development. Education. ProQuest Dissertations. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED513238

Jaquith, A. (2015). Site-Based Leadership for Improving Instruction. The Educational Forum, 79. http://eric.ed.gov/?q=Site-Based+Leadership+for+Improving+Instruction&id=EJ1049380

Kini, T., & Podolsky, A. (2016). Does Teaching Experience Increase Teacher Effectiveness? A Review of the Research. Learning Policy Institute. https://learningpolicyinstitute.org/our-work/publications-resources/does-teaching-experience-increase-teacher-effectiveness-review-research/

Team Building, Capacity Building, and Collaboration
Tucker, M. (2015, Aug 13). Organizations in Which Teachers Can Do Their Best Work: Part I. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2015/08/organizations_in_which_teachers_can_do_their_best_work_part_i.html

National Center on Education and the Economy. (2016). Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems. http://www.ncee.org/beyondpd/

National Center on Education and the Economy. (2016). Developing Shanghai’s Teachers. http://www.ncee.org/developing-shanghais-teachers/

Schwartz, K. (2016, Feb 29). Tapping Teachers’ Intrinsic Motivation to Develop School Improvements. http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2016/02/29/tapping-teachers-intrinsic-motivation-to-develop-school-improvements/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FnHAK+%28MindShift%29

Tucker, M. (2016, Jan 14). Professional Development Transformed. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2016/01/professional_development_transformed.html

Tucker, M. (2016, Jan 21). Top Performers Offer U.S. Much More Effective Models of Teacher PD. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/top_performers/2016/01/new_reports_on_teacher_professional_development_kick_off_us_policy_debate_on_system_reform.html See also OECD. (2015). Education at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators. OECD Publishing.

Doctor, J., & Parkerson, E. (2016, Feb 17). Building a Culture of Improvement in the Context of External Accountability. http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/blog/building-a-culture-of-improvement-in-the-context-of-external-accountability/

Management Science
Gabor, A. (2014, Nov 15). Lessons for Education Reformers from W. Edwards Deming, America’s Leading Management Thinker. http://andreagabor.com/2014/11/15/lessons-for-education-reformers-from-w-edwards-deming-americas-leading-management-thinker/

Pentland, A. (2014). Social Physics: How Social Networks Can Make Us Smarter. New York: Penguin Books.

Leana, C. R. (2011, Fall). The Missing Link in School Reform. Stanford Social Innovation Review. http://www.ssireview.org/articles/entry/the_missing_link_in_school_reform/

Positive Working Conditions
Quintero, E. (2015, May 21). Trust: The Foundation of Student Achievement. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/trust-foundation-student-achievement

Papay, J. P., & Kraft, M. A. (2015, May 28). Developing Workplaces Where Teachers Stay, Improve, and Succeed. http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/developing-workplaces-where-teachers-stay-improve-and-succeed

Kraft, M. A., & Papay, J. P. (2014). Can Professional Environments in Schools Promote Teacher Development? Explaining Heterogeneity in Returns to Teaching Experience. Educational Effectiveness and Policy Analysis. http://scholar.harvard.edu/mkraft/publications/can-professional-environments-schools-promote-teacher-development-explaining

Gnagey, L. T. (2015, Jul 1). Collaboration with Colleagues Can Spell Success for Teachers, Students. http://record.umich.edu/articles/collaboration-colleagues-can-spell-success-teachers-students

Kraft, M., Papay, J. P., Charner-Laird, M., Johnson, S. M., Ng, M., & Reinhorn, S. (2015). Education Amidst Uncertainty: The Organizational Supports Teachers Need to Serve Students in High-Poverty, Urban Schools. Educational Administration Quarterly. http://scholar.harvard.edu/mkraft/publications/committed-their-students-need-support-how-school-context-influences-teacher-turn See also Green, E. (2014). Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone). New York: W. W. Norton.

Craft Knowledge and Pedagogical Practice
Green, E. (2014). Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone). New York: W. W. Norton.

Sherer, D., & Barmore, J. (2015, Dec 8). What Makes Teacher Collaboration Work? http://www.shankerinstitute.org/blog/what-makes-teacher-collaboration-work

Cuban, L. (2016, Mar 4). School and Classroom Cultures: Easy to Describe but Tough to Create and Sustain. https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2016/03/04/school-and-classroom-cultures-easy-to-describe-but-tough-to-create-and-sustain/

Mehta, J. (2016, Mar 8). From PD to Professional Learning: Organizing for a New Paradigm. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning_deeply/2016/03/from_pd_to_professional_learning_organizing_for_a_new_paradigm.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=learningdeeply

Frontline Technologies. SOAR Literacy Frames. http://www.frontlinek12.com/Products/mlp_elevate_soar.html

DuFour, R. (2015). In Praise of American Educators: And How They Can Become Even Better. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Calvert, L. (2016). Moving from Compliance to Agency: What Teachers Need to Make Professional Learning Work. Learning Forward. http://learningforward.org/publications/teacher-agency#.VuIHfI-cFPb

Community Schools and Wraparound Services
Bryk, A. S. (2010, Apr). Organizing Schools for Improvement. Phi Delta Kappan. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ882366

Coalition for Community Schools. What Is a Community School? http://www.communityschools.org/aboutschools/what_is_a_community_school.aspx

National Education Association (NEA). Wraparound Services. http://www.nea.org/home/37004.htm?q=wraparound%20services

Coalition for Community Schools. http://www.communityschools.org/

Schott Foundation for Public Education. http://schottfoundation.org/

Superville, D. R. (2016, Feb 23). Ed. Groups Urge “Whole Child” Approach to Counteract Poverty. Education Week. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/02/24/ed-groups-urge-whole-child-approach-to-counteract.html

Harlem Children’s Zone. http://hcz.org/about-us/leadership/geoffrey-canada/

Shapiro, E. (2016, Jan 14). Cuomo, Echoing deBlasio, Bets on “Community Schools.” http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2016/01/8587990/cuomo-echoing-de-blasio-bets-community-schools

Klein, R. (2016, Mar 8). Harvard University Has a Bold Plan to Transform K–12 Education. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/harvard-education-redesign-lab_us_56dddbace4b0ffe6f8ea3201

Systems for Continuous Improvement
Bryk, A. S., Gomez, L., Grunow, A. & LeMahieu, P. (2015). Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get Better at Getting Better. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. See also Bryk, A. S. (2015, Dec). Accelerating How We Learn to Improve. Educational Researcher 44. http://edr.sagepub.com/search/results?fulltext=Accelerating+How+We+Learn+to+Improve&x=0&y=0&submit=yes&journal_set=spedr&src=selected&andorexactfulltext=and

Mathews, J. (2013, Jul 30). Schools Are Working to Replace the Placement Test Barrier to Community College Success. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/07/30/schools-are-working-to-remove-the-placement-test-barrier-to-community-college-success/

Haxton, C., & O’Day, J. (2015, Oct 8). Improving Equity and Access in Fresno: Lessons from a K12-Higher Education Partnership. American Institutes for Research. http://www.air.org/resource/improving-equity-and-access-fresno-lessons-k12-higher-education-partnership

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