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Change in big districts Challeng

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									                                Academy of Pacesetting States




CHANGE IN BIG DISTRICTS:
CHALLENGES AND
OPPORTUNITIES
Heidi A. Ramírez, PhD (hramirez@temple.edu)
Urban Education Collaborative
Change

•   “…the change process goes through a series of
    phases that, in total, usually require a considerable
    length of time.
•   “Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed
    and never produces satisfactory results, and
•   "making critical mistakes in any of the phases can
    have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and
    negating hard-won gains” (Kotter, 1995)
Change Process (Kotter)

1.   Establish a Sense of Urgency
2.   Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
3.   Create a Vision
4.   Communicate that Vision
5.   Empower Others to Act on the Vision
6.   Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins
7.   Consolidate Improvements and Keep the
     Momentum for Change Moving
8.   Institutionalize the New Approaches
Establish a Sense of Urgency
  (Urgency vs. Panic)
 How do you help districts to appreciate the need to slow
  down some decisions and activities?
  •   Engage partners in intervention design, not just implementation
  •   Design data collection, measureable goals, progress monitoring,
      and evaluation systems at the start
        –   William Penn School District (PA), SS/HS grant; School District of
            Philadelphia (PA), Broad Foundation grant for school leadership;
            Christina School District (DE), USDoE SLC grant
        –   Suggested areas for attention—SES/interventions, coaching,
            professional development
  •   Align timelines for decisions re: investments and interventions to
      availability of data
        –   Charter schools, EMOs, etc. in SDP
        –   Develop 2-5 year calendars re: evaluation reports and state
            assessment data and contract approvals (e.g., contract periods,
            program goals)
Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition

    Who should be part of a coalition and how should they be
     enlisted?
     •   Identify different needs/rationale for stakeholder engagement, e.g.,
         limit community confusion and/or opposition, add expertise, support
         a matching requirement
     •   Involve actors in appropriate design and implementation work and
         manage expectations, e.g., where do you want assessment of needs
         and goals vs. development of specific strategies, determination of
         vendors, etc.
     •   Alert key stakeholders early to new decision-making processes (and
         potential unpopular decisions)
           –   School closings
           –   Discontinued contracts/vendors, e.g., SDP alternative education
               providers
           –   Staff changes, e.g., SDP school safety partnerships, aides, principals
Create and Communicate a Vision
(Walk the talk, again and again)
   Who should be involved in communicating the
    vision?
   What are the mechanisms available for
    communicating the vision?
Empower Others to Act on the Vision

  Who    should be empowered to do what?
          district needs (short and long-term) and value of
    Assess
    buying vs. building capacity
         CA II/USP program (external vs. internal supports)
         DE literacy coaching
    Develop criteria for decision making, e.g., set the norm of
    using outcome data, ensuring transparency, engaging and
    communicating with stakeholders
         Procurement policies, especially re: professional services
    Empower  and ensure accountability (Make sure the right and
    left hands are in synch)
Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins
(short-term wins vs. long-term progress)
     How do you develop long-term plans that allow for immediate responses
      and successes?
      •   Ask the complicated questions, e.g., on TQ—teacher attendance, qualifications
          and experience by school
      •   Set long-term goals and develop multi-year/phase plans
      •   Highlight successes in process (e.g., systems, culture, implementation), as well as
          outcomes
      •   Be careful of short-term victories taking priority over long-term success (e.g.,
          more than data on teacher quality (e.g., HQT, vacancies, etc.), but also 3-5 yr.
          pipeline/partnerships (e.g., SDP TFA, grow your own, and IHEs)and retention
          progress)
      •   Celebrate hidden successes (that may not look like successes)
            –   WPSD school safety data (conditions look worse in early years of improved
                accuracy in reporting)
            –   High school reform (in early implementation, scores often decrease when drop-out
                rate decreases)
            –   Teacher attrition
      •   Beware of easy “successes” without outcomes, e.g., expanded ECE and
          afterschool programs,
Example: Teaching Quality in
Philadelphia                SDP rate of fully
                                                   certified teachers
                                                    improved from
   Qualifications                                88.02% (2002-03) to
                                                   97.86% (2007-08)
      Certified(and in-field)
      “Highly-qualified”--teachers have full certification, a
       bachelor’s degree, and demonstrated competence in subject
       knowledge and teaching teachers
                            SDP
                              average 12.18                  SDP teacher
                             years experience             retention improved
                                                              from 77%
   Experience                                            (2003-04) to 80%
                                                              (2006-07)
   Knowledge and Skills
                                            ¼ of SDP
   Effectiveness                         teachers have
                                            ≤3 years
    13/11,000 SDP teachers
                                           experience.
    deemed unsatisfactory
          (2007-08)
Example: Teaching Quality in
Philadelphia
   Hard-to-staff schools—largely high-poverty, high-
    minority, low-performing schools
     Students    more likely to be taught by
       Uncertified (including emergency-certified, intern-certified) and
        non-HQ teachers
       Out-of-field teachers                 Some SDP schools
                                               are turning over
       Newer teachers                         >1/2 to 2/3 of
       Long-term substitutes                teaching staff each
                                                     year
       “Truant” teachers (lower rates of attendance)
      12 SDP schools had teacher
     attendance rates <85% and 21
      schools had ≥1,000 teacher
          absences (2007-08)
    Example: Teaching Quality in
    Philadelphia
   Over-representation of uncertified and non-HQ, out-of-
    field, substitute, absent and inexperienced teachers
       5+   yrs. of experience—
           29-100% of teachers in SDP-operated schools
           <1/3 of CAII schools had more than 75% teachers w/
             more than 5 years
       First year teachers—0-40% of teachers in CAII schools
       HQT teachers—56-100% in SDP-operated schools
       Emergency certified teachers—0-28% of teachers in SDP-
        operated CAII schools
       Teacher Attendance—<85% in 12 schools; >1,000 teachers
        absences in 21 schools (SY2007-08)
Consolidate Improvements and
Keep the Momentum for Change Moving
   How  do you promote organizational learning?
   How do you continue to make changes while ensuring
    sustainability of others?
   How do you reinforce progress while maintaining
    urgency, especially when you need “good news” to
    ensure support?
     SDP   PSSA progress
Example: Student Performance Progress
in Philadelphia
SDP has experienced 7 straight years of improved
  academic achievement, with overall progress for all
  groups, but…
Institutionalize the New Approaches

   How do you convince others that the changes work?
   How do you make the changes stick?
What’s the SEA role?

   How can state systems of support--
     Ensure meaningful program evaluations (especially for
      state-supported grants)
     Promote partnerships with IHEs
       PDE   and Temple re: E=mc2 (alternative certification)
     Help  manage community expectations
     Build school board expertise and capacity

     Mediate the role of politics

     Model the process and specific values (e.g.,
      communicating the vision, monitoring progress)
       PDE   re: Principal Inspired Leadership Initiative

								
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