EdNC, January 2, 2019, by Emily Ayscue Hassel and Bryan C. Hassel
As the founders of the Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of great teaching to many more students, we keep a tight focus on how students and teachers benefit from Opportunity Culture implementation in their schools. In North Carolina — the largest implementation state so far, with 80 schools this year — the latest student growth numbers give one great example.
In 2017–18, while only 27 percent of non-Opportunity Culture schools in North Carolina exceeded student learning growth targets, nearly double that — 53 percent — of Opportunity Culture schools exceeded growth.
Opportunity Culture schools in the state were also far less likely to fall short of growth targets — 15 percent of schools versus 27 percent of non-Opportunity Culture schools. These results excluded any school where it was known that Opportunity Culture was not implemented in a tested grade or subject.
In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Garinger High School posted the highest growth index of all high schools in the state, and fourth-highest overall. Garinger’s principal, Kelly Gwaltney, is in this year’s cohort of Opportunity Culture Fellows.
Opportunity Culture districts and schools extend the reach of excellent teachers and the teams they lead to more students, for more pay, within regular school budgets. Most use Multi-Classroom Leadership, in which an accountable teacher-leader with prior high-growth student learning fully leads a small teaching team — guiding and preparing the team for excellent instruction, coaching teachers, and collaboratively improving with the team, all based on student data.
These results are a testament to the importance of having the right instructional leadership roles and the hard work of multi-classroom leaders, team teachers, principals, reach associates, and other colleagues who provide support.
Opportunity Culture schools are disrupting the notion that teachers and students are on a fixed bell curve, creating an upward escalator for teacher and student success.