Transforming Adult School Culture Convening

Blog post

Educator effectiveness initiatives and adult culture within schools are intertwined. Our recent “Transforming Adult School Culture” convening gathered together more than 50 education professionals from eight states.

The convening took a multi-stakeholder approach. Each state team was composed of teachers, principals, superintendents, state teachers’ organization representatives and state department of education staff.

setting the stage

The convening featured three presenters:

  • Susan Moore Johnson of the Harvard Graduate School of Education painted a picture of the school culture landscape. She spoke about what school culture entails, why it matters and the implications it has for policy and practice.
  • John Jeffries of Montgomery Public Schools in Maryland spoke about examples of these implications, such as studying skillful teaching to maximize student learning.
  • Gretchen Weber of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards then placed adult school culture within larger systemic contexts. She discussed largescale transformations, such as elevating the teaching profession, changing discourse, setting high standards for teaching practice and ensuring authentic professional learning and growth.
Rolling up our sleeves

State teams worked together during breakout sessions. During these breakout sessions, each team:

  • Talked about their experiences (either positive or negative) with adult school culture
  • Rated how key elements of positive school culture are prioritized in their role
  • Engaged in transparent conversations about how different stakeholders determined their ratings to better understand team members’ lenses, assertions, assumptions and perspectives
  • Brainstormed existing barriers to positive school culture within their state
  • Prioritized which barriers to tackle first by plotting the expected input and effort that would be needed to address the barrier and the expected output and impact
  • Collaboratively created a plan to address one of their chosen barriers by considering data, stakeholders, action steps, timelines and division of responsibilities

The educator effectiveness team will follow up with each state by mid 2017 about how implementation of their plan is going. We are looking forward to each state’s progress and positive outcomes for adult culture and student learning.