(Dr. Bobby Moore is CEO/President of EPIC Impact Education Group and is our featured guest blogger for this post.)
After conducting a meta analyses on more than 800 studies on education practices, John Hattie reports that Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE) has the greatest impact on student learning (1.57 effect size). This effect is double the effect of student feedback (.75 effect size). What many educators do not know is that Collective Efficacy research is more than two decades old, and it is only now through Hattie’s meta-analyses of school research, that many practitioners are hearing about it for the first time. Many educators are asking, “What is Teacher Collective Efficacy, and how do we develop it?” EPIC Impact is not only helping school leaders understand the power of collective efficacy, but help school leaders build it with their schools.
CTE is the perception of teachers in a school that the faculty, as a whole, can have a positive impact and influence on student learning. CTE is more powerful than Teacher Self Efficacy and is greater than the sum of an entire staff having high levels of self-efficacy. There are several strategies for developing greater CTE. However, every school leader needs to know that high levels of CTE usually only exists when 1) the principal is a learner who is viewed as an instructional leader, the 2) there is trust in the school leader, and 3) a culture of purposeful teacher collaboration has been established.
Recently Dr. Bobby Moore, CEO/President of EPIC Impact Education Group worked with the Finneytown Local Schools in Cincinnati Administrative Team for three days before the 2016-17 School Year. The focus was on improving pedagogical practices, identifying strategies to increase teacher collaboration and trust, as well as team building for the entire administrative team. The school administrators examined current pedagogical practices and strategies, prioritizing their time as learning leaders, and developed a plan to help them find more time to monitor student learning. If you are interested in developing the collective efficacy of your staff or leadership skills of your school principals, contact EPC Impact.
Bringing Coherency and Focus to School Improvement
The EPIC Impact Group partnered with The Wooster City Schools to facilitate a day of discovery around the districts recent state report card data, but more importantly reflect, refine and recommit to the actual leadership and classroom practices that accelerate student learning. According to Superintendent Dr. Michael Tefs, “the day was engaging, motivating and more importantly stretched our thinking about teaching and learning.”
Choosing A Strategic Planning Partner
Virtually every educator has heard of the importance of having a strategic plan. Many will share that the plan provides the district with a vison, mission, goals and objectives for moving a district forward. Likewise, nearly every educational leader has been involved in strategic planning at one time or another, serving in different roles. Some may have been a survey respondent, part of a focus group, or even part of the leadership team that worked on the plan itself.
Regardless of your role and personal experiences with the process, there are as many opinions about strategic planning as there are organizations and groups that are willing to partner with a district and support them in the process. Before deciding to embark on strategic planning or engage a partner to help facilitate the process, there are several steps that district leaders and school board members should engage in before making a final decision to proceed.
Step1: What is your District’s Current Reality?
The first step is to explore your current reality and the real purpose for doing a strategic plan. Are you a high performing district closing achievement and opportunity gaps for all your students regardless of their race or their social economic status? Are you currently attracting and retaining talented staff members to your district? Is this something that the Board of Education is encouraging, or something you are leading as superintendent? Is it the goal of this process to ultimately set a course of actions that will be implemented with fierce devotion to your highest priorities or is it merely an opportunity to solicit feedback and/or activity to increase community engagement and continue business as usual?
As a former principal, superintendent, senior leader of a national not for profit organization that does strategic planning, and now, the CEO of a national education organization, I have heard a variety of answers to all the above questions. There are no correct answers to these questions, as districts, superintendents and school board members may all have their own perspectives as to why develop a strategic plan. One answer that many districts, superintendents and school boards do agree on is choosing to have a partner help with the work. A partner is able to engage the community with a fresh perspective, ask tough questions with any biases, and keep the plan moving along without and district operational distractions that usually occur during the year.
Step 2: What is the Time Frame and Budget for This Work?
Some districts choose to spend six or more months on this process to ensure nearly every stakeholder has an opportunity to participate in surveys, focus groups, provide feedback on a number of drafts before finalizing the plan. Other districts still do a thorough job engaging stakeholders with a community survey, fewer focus groups and opportunities for feedback in a 3-6 month campaign. This decision really depends on the size of the district, community expectations for engagement and the district’s budget for the strategic planning process. During the last six years I have heard from districts paying as little as $17,000 to as much as $350,000 for the strategic planning process. The price is most closely related to the number of focus groups, community engagement sessions, and on-site meetings that the district would like to have.
Step 3: Who Do I choose to partner with?
As mentioned earlier, there are a number of partners that do strategic planning. Some excel in communications and marketing, others with facilitation and engagements, and others with knowledge of school improvement strategies and implementation. There are also many partners that excel in every one of these areas that have experienced much of success working with districts across the country. The key to choosing the right partner is interviewing each potential partner, talking to references, ensuring that the group has a strong education background, and finding a person you trust.
The strategic planning process should be transparent and well-executed to bring value to a school district. Choosing a partner may be an important step in the strategic planning process. A knowledgeable and trusted partner can ensure the strategic plan process stays focused, engages the community and gets done within the desired time frame with little distractions.
STRATEGIC PLANNING: Coherency, Simplicity & Focus
Reading is the most important skill that students must master. Mastering reading beyond each state’s low proficiency standards may be the only direct pathway for many of our children living in poverty, to advance to a life of success, fulfillment and prosperity. Failing to master reading in the early grades can have dire and irreversible consequences. According to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (2014), 80 percent of children in low-income families are below proficiency in reading. Students who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave school without a diploma than proficient readers (Hernandez, 2012), which can have long-term consequences in terms of career prospects, earning potential, and overall quality of life. However, there is also evidence to suggest that becoming a good reader by the age of nine, will have long lasting effects, even through high school. In other words, we must do as much as we can to ensure all our nation’s children are strong readers in elementary school, for our children’s lives and our society depend on it.
While ensuring every student has access to a great literacy teacher, district leaders need to ensure they are developing the capacity of their school administrators to be Literacy Leaders. A Literacy Leader 1) Understands quality literacy frameworks and instruction, 2) Can coach and support literacy instruction and assessment for teachers and literacy coaches, 3) knows how to leverage time, talent and resources required for a thriving literacy culture, and 4) strategies for engaging families and communities around literature.
Recently, Dr. KaiLonnie Dunsmore and Dr. Bobby Moore presented at the High AIMS Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio and shared their new model for developing Literacy Leaders. The team is still recruiting principals across the country to pilot their new professional learning pathway that includes face to face and virtual learning. The program will launch January, 2018. If interested….
For more information about Dr. Bobby Moore:
Dr. Bobby Moore
President & CEO
EPIC Impact Education Group
614 352 8539