“When I was asked to be on my school’s design team for a new initiative, I had no idea what I was getting into. I heard it would help build relationships with students and the community, and improve learning, so I thought, ‘Cool. I’m in. That is right up my alley.’ But this wasn’t any new initiative: Our school was about to be part of something huge that would affect not only the community and the students, but also the teachers.
“Many schools experimenting with this ‘Opportunity Culture’ concept of extending the reach of great teachers using new teaching models had exhausted multiple strategies to increase student achievement with their high-need populations. But our school, Francis Bradley Middle School in Huntersville, N.C., is not a high-need, Title I school. We have only about a 35 percent free and reduced-price lunch population. Our state data ranks us as meeting or exceeding growth expectations. So why did we need to change? Simple: We can always be better.”
–Charlotte-Mecklenburg Multi-Classroom Leader for 8th-grade reading Amy Sparks in When Top Students Drop: Why Even Good Schools Need to Grow
In the December column of the Opportunity Culture series on Real Clear Education, Amy Sparks delves into the need for Multi-Classroom Leadership and other Opportunity Culture models in all schools. The teaching team she led realized, after scrutinizing the data, that while their school seemed fine, they were, in fact, losing ground with their top students. Multi-Classroom Leadership changed that, making a measurable difference in student growth; read how in her full column, and hear her thoughts in the accompanying video.
This is the eighth in the Opportunity Culture series–read them all here.