School Systems that Learn- Paul Ash
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  • 1. School Systems That Learn Improving Professional Practice, Overcoming Limitations, and Diffusing Innovation January 29, 2014 Paul B. Ash pash@sch.ci.lexington.ma.us 1
  • 2. Think About… Why do achievement gaps exist even in well-funded school districts? 2
  • 3. Think About… Why do achievement gaps exist even in well-funded school districts? It’s not possible to close them. The district needs to find “just the right initiatives.” The district has reached its maximum capacity. 3
  • 4. Our Hypothesis… The district has reached its maximum capacity. 4
  • 5. Limitations to School Change and Capacity Building 1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  Laws and regulations Mindsets and limiting beliefs Standardization (vs. differentiation) Isolation (as opposed to collaboration) A narrow view of professional development 6.  Viewing teaching and student learning as separate acts
  • 6. Strategies That WON’T Close Achievement Gaps OR Build Capacity • Fire all underperformers •  Hire more outstanding teachers •  Increase teacher evaluation
  • 7. The 4 Effective Drivers of + Change •  The Importance of Trust •  Collaboration in All Directions •  Capacity Building for All Educators •  Leaders at All Levels 7
  • 8. Synergy of the Four Drivers
  • 9. Synergy When all four drivers are present at high levels, the system catalyzes an increase in educator capacity, professional practice, and student performance.
  • 10. Overarching Theory When a school system learns, continuous improvement enables educators to close achievement gaps and ensures that all students grow and develop as learners.
  • 11. Appreciation of a System 11
  • 12. Systems Approach “Every system is perfectly designed to achieve exactly the results it gets”. Paul Batalden Dartmouth Medical School Director, Based on a quote from W. Edward Deming (1990) 12
  • 13. The Importance of Trust 13
  • 14. Vulnerability Trust Patrick Lencioni “The Importance of Trust” Video from World of Business Ideas http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=gwj9bMLiV4E 14
  • 15. Five Big Fears (Students) •  •  •  •  •  Fear Of Making Mistakes Fear Of Looking Like A Fool Fear Of Having A Weakness Exposed Fear Of Not Being Liked Fear Of Failure 15
  • 16. Six Big Fears (Educators) •  •  •  •  •  •  Fear Of Making Mistakes Fear That Errors Will Erase Prior Success Fear Of Having A Weakness Exposed Fear That Asking For Assistance Will Diminish Respect Fear Of Looking Like A Novice Fear of Conflict 16
  • 17. Psychological Safety To gain the power of collaboration and continuous learning, psychological safety is needed. 17
  • 18. Signs of Psychological Safety* Educators can disagree with peers and authority figures, ask naïve questions, own up to mistakes, or present a minority view without fear of ridicule or marginalization. *Edmondson 18
  • 19. In Your Experience… What percentage of the teams that you have observed demonstrated signs of psychological safety? 19
  • 20. Capacity Building 20
  • 21. Research Professional development can have a positive impact on student learning •  Meiers & Ingvarson (2005) – Australia study •  Supovitz (2001) •  Garet et al (2001)
  • 22. Traditional Model of Professional Development After school courses – Teachers select courses based on their individual needs, rather than choosing courses based on district/school needs. During school PD – Programs are usually no more than a few hours to a few days/year, and often not aligned with school or district goals.
  • 23. A New Systemic Model of PD Five Streams that Improve Educator Capacity to Improve Student Learning: •  Data Teams Analyze Student Work •  Frequent Quality Feedback from Supervisors •  External Sources of Knowledge •  Internal Sources of Knowledge •  Self-Reflection
  • 24. 3 Qualities of Effective PD •  The district has clear learning goals for every student and growth mindset for all educators and students? •  The district frequently assesses student progress toward their learning goals? •  The school district has an ongoing system of professional learning for all educators that is designed to increase performance
  • 25. Key Findings Successful programs include: • Avoiding narrow outcomes to easily measured topics • Opportunities for teacher reflection, collaboration, and building professional community • Focus on subject matter learning • 14 to 49 hours of learning time with follow-up, active learning, feedback, and collaboration
  • 26. A New Model High quality professional learning is coherent, consistent, systemic, and sustained.
  • 27. Poll: Which intervention has the largest effect size? Lowering pupil-teacher ratios Increasing teacher salaries Increasing teacher experience Increasing teacher education
  • 28. Providing Adequate Funding Greenwald, Hedges, and Laine, 1996
  • 29. Questions 30
  • 30. In Summary • School systems are designed not to change (6 limitations) • Just adding more and more initiatives will have limited impact on student learning • All systems have a maximum capacity 31
  • 31. Four High-leverage Strategies We increase educator and student learning by: • Increasing Trust • Building individual and collective capacity • Building leadership at all levels • Collaborating in all directions 32