The NAEP results released this week may feel deeply discouraging—if not surprising—to weary educators. But Opportunity Culture research points to sustainable, scalable ways to improve student learning—and at Public Impact, we see ways to improve learning well beyond those initial research findings. This is the moment for Opportunity Culture schools and districts—and those considering using Opportunity Culture models—to rapidly reach as many students as possible and maximize the innovative staffing of Opportunity Culture teams to dramatically boost student results.
The third-party research so far indicates that multi-classroom leader roles increase student learning growth by an extra half-year annually, on average, in reading and math. And the schools in the national Opportunity Culture initiative are reaching well over 120,000 students this year.
But Public Impact is committed to helping schools significantly increase both “results” and “reach”:
- Results: to add an extra full year of learning annually; and
- Reach: to reach at least 75 percent of students in each school in the Opportunity Culture initiative with teaching teams led by multi-classroom leaders, and to see a consistent 50–70 percent annual increase in the number of schools in the initiative by 2024.
How can schools get there?
For results, based on our experience, data, and research, we believe that adding more team reach teachers to Multi-Classroom Leadership teams and creating a true tutoring culture on those teams will make substantial learning boosts likely. Multi-classroom leaders’ teams can become even more powerful when all adults who serve students—including teachers, paraprofessionals, and volunteers—focus on data-driven small-group instruction and tutoring for all students as “the new Tier 1” in classrooms.
To increase reach, Public Impact plans to offer two lower-price service options to help systems transition to Opportunity Culture school models. One, planned for 2023–24, will cost at least 30 percent less than current transitions and still include substantial change-management support; the second will cost a small fraction of that price by using an automated design platform. Both will recommend design elements based on over a decade of Opportunity Culture data about details that increase student learning and teacher satisfaction.
Opportunity Culture school models and higher pay for educators will continue to be financially sustainable within regular school budgets, as always.
Districts already using Opportunity Culture models that need support to reach more schools may find these alternative options appealing to address Covid’s impact and boost student learning further. Districts planning to begin using the models soon may need these alternatives to reach more students with available transition funds.
If schools make the commitment to increase both the reach and results of their Opportunity Culture implementation, all students will benefit—and especially historically underserved students, who most need high-growth learning delivered at school, where it is accessible to all.