Improving student outcomes is an urgent matter because student improvement is time based. Students get nine months per school year to show marked improvement. In this short time frame, we know students’ improvement is a direct result of their educators’ improvement.
Every week, our School Improvement Coaches spend full days inside our partner schools to drive continuous improvement. Our success in Utah’s school turnaround services stems from weekly, ‘on-the-ground-and-running’ coaching interactions. We believe in weekly coaching for two reasons. First, schools that are learning new ways of doing work are experiencing learning that is fragile, emerging, and easily affected by various reactions—both good and bad. Weekly coaching helps improve student outcomes by expediting the functional performance of both teachers and school leadership.
Our second reason for weekly coaching is to help our partner schools improve collaborative practices. Collaborative practice is our way of doing our best work. It is our culture. We help schools break the tendency of school staff to isolate themselves in their work efforts. We help schools form collaborative teams that are lead by a teacher leader who also participates on a schoolwide leadership team. With representation from each collaborative team, the schoolwide leadership team ensures their school’s turnaround efforts are being implemented throughout their school and with fidelity.
We work with schools. We work to help schools deconstruct their systems and effectively merge efforts to narrow their focus. At Education Direction, we believe student improvement occurs insofar as teachers and leaders can holistically see a school turnaround plan, receive coaching to implement their plan, and make continuous improvement a permanent habit and practice.
Our school turnaround work is backed by sound research and years of accumulating knowledge on how to affect positive change in organizations. However, despite all good intentions outlined in any evidence-based action plan, the real challenge in school turnaround lies in implementation. We work closely with our partner schools to show them how to maximize their human capital. We draw upon the entire firm’s vast experience to customize plans of action that fit the needs, experience, and circumstances of each turnaround school we work with.
Without an improvement coach, schools all too often abandon their school turnaround plans. Deep implementation requires frequent feedback, measurement, and lots of encouragement to make the plan permanent. We appraise, observe, measure, and follow up using data to help schools transform. By engaging in weekly coaching, our schools maintain continuous progress amidst the many messy details within turnaround work
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