Cohort I kicked off March 22, 2017 with Dr. Eddie Fergus, author of Solving Disproportionality and Achieving Equity: A Leader’s Guide to Using Data to Change Hearts and Minds, and faculty at New York University, joining our team to support our Opportunity Gap Cohorts with school-based strategic planning and team-designated activities. Eighteen instructional leadership teams made the commitment to engage in data-driven collaboration; to examine school-based structures and practices; and to take action steps that will have the greatest impact on student success. School teams have explored 3 types of biases and how they show up the existing educational structures: color-blindness, deficit thinking, and poverty-disciplining. A Professional Learning Community in Schoology was also created online to support this cohort in their ability to share best practices amongst schools, support data-based practices in-between school visits, and to explore common wonderings about equity across teams. This cohort has launched problem of practice teams in the following areas:
* Excellence for Inclusive Practices — Focus on underserved population of student with special needs
* Excellence for African-American Students — Focus on an underserved population of African-Americans
* Excellence for Latino Students — Focus on an underserved population of Latinos
* Excellence for All — Focus on an under-identified population of Gifted and Talented students of color
* Excellence for Linguistic Students — Focus on an underserved population of English Learners
These teams are facilitated by the Professional Learning Team to provide time and space for participants to deepen research-based knowledge; explore best practices in action; and focus on student engagement and achievement for targeted group of underserved students.
Next Up This Spring
School teams will engage in an Environmental Scan, Classroom Walkthroughs, and Student Focus Groups, and visit districts who are also closing the opportunity gap to determine, for their school community, the focus area(s) that will provide the highest leverage for transformational growth and what approaches should be prototyped first. After schools have participated in an aligned professional learning opportunity and selected school visits, cohort members will be creating a year-long opportunity (AIM) statement using Improvement Science methods which is grounded in continuous cycles of improvement and supported by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.