Academy of Pacesetting States Change in Big Districts: Challenges and Opportunities Heidi A. Ramírez, PhD (email@example.com) 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) • Establish a Sense of Urgency • Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition • Create a Vision • Communicate that Vision • Empower Others to Act on the Vision • Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins • Consolidate Improvements and Keep the Momentum for Change Moving • 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? • Assess district needs (short and long-term) and value of 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 88.02% (2002-03) to 97.86% (2007-08) • Qualifications • Certified (and in-field) • “Highly-qualified”--teachers have full certification, a bachelor’s degree, and demonstrated competence in subject knowledge and teaching • Experience • Knowledge and Skills • Effectiveness SDP teachers average 12.18 years experience SDP teacher retention improved from 77% (2003-04) to 80% (2006-07) ¼ of SDP teachers have ≤3 years experience. 13/11,000 SDP teachers 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 • Newer teachers • Long-term substitutes • “Truant” teachers (lower rates of attendance) Some SDP schools are turning over >1/2 to 2/3 of teaching staff each year 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