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A Teacher's Guide for Getting Serious About the System

A Teacher's Guide for Getting Serious About the System

June 2012 | 96 pages | Corwin

Real change comes from teachers and administrators working together

It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a community of educators to improve a school—a community that includes administrators and teachers in different, but equally important, roles. A district's changes can only show results once their improvements reach the classroom. At the same time, teachers need support from their districts to make their own changes have lasting impact.

In this brief companion book to Getting Serious About the System: A Fieldbook for District and School Leaders, you will get the background and see exactly where you as a teacher or other stakeholder fit in the process of implementing solutions system-wide. You'll also learn about

  • The research behind the Working Systematically approach, which focuses on healthy organizational cultures, professional development, innovation, and accountability
  • The goals of the approach, which include addressing components and competencies at all levels
  • A five-phase process for implementing a systemic improvement plan at the district, school, and classroom levels

Teachers don't need another "quick fix" that gives a temporary boost to school performance—they need comprehensive guidance for making meaningful change that will last. Getting Serious About the System enables educators at all levels to work together, share leadership, and create a culture that values collaboration, continuous learning, and professional respect and trust.

SEDL’s Working Systemically Approach: A Process Grounded in Research
The Working Systemically Approach: Levels, Components, and Competencies
Levels of the System
Components of the System
Competencies for Working Systemically
The Working Systemically Approach in Action
Working Systemically Phases
Phase I: Understanding Systemic Improvement
Study the Approach

Collect and Analyze Preliminary Data

Present the Approach at the School Level

Commit to Systemic Improvement

Phase II: Analyzing the System
Form the District and School Leadership Teams

Begin the Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Conduct a Gap Analysis (reference to System Examination Tool: Appendix 1)

Begin the Process at the School Level

Formulate Problem Statements

Describe the Ideal State

Review District Initiatives

Continue the Process at the School Level

Phase III: Planning Action
Investigate Research-Based Practices

Explore the Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle (PTLC)

Review Progress Made to Date and Existing Plan

Develop a District Improvement Plan (reference to Leadership Self-Assessment Tool: Appendix 2)

Formalize and Communicate the District Plan

Develop School Improvement Plans

Phase IV: Taking Action and Monitoring Progress
Implement and Monitor the Improvement Plans

Provide Leadership for the Improvement Work

Address Unique Challenges as They Arise

Phase V: Assessing and Reflecting on Outcomes
Analyze and Reflect on Evidence of Implementation and Impact

Decide on a Focus for Continuing the Improvement Work

Recognize Work, Progress, and Accomplishments

Getting Serious About the System: What It Takes
Key features
  • Vignettes - The volume will provide brief vignettes that offer a visual image of how the work may be carried out, as well as challenges that may arise. These vignettes will be based on experiences that the development team had as they worked with actual districts and schools.
  • Stop and Check Each - step ends with a Stop and Check box containing a checklist of key actions that need to be completed before moving on to the next step. Reflection questions and activities will also be offered in this section.
  • References and Additional Resources - Guiding implementation of the Working Systemically approach requires specific skills on the part of leaders within the district and school, as well as knowledge of a range of subjects related to use of data, group facilitation, collaborative planning, and leadership. Useful information and helpful tips will be found in the references and additional resources identified after the last step of each phase.
  • Tools and Handouts - Online modules and appendixes will contain items that are referenced in the text for each phase. These resources are designed to aid district and school leaders as they implement the work.

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