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A Teacher's Guide for Getting Serious About the System

A Teacher's Guide for Getting Serious About the System

December 2012 | 96 pages | Corwin
The Working Systemically approach is a multidimensional process for school improvement focused on key components of the system that must be in place to support student achievement. In order to ensure that the improvement is sustained for the long term, the Working Systemically approach targets multiple levels of the system. By simultaneously addressing the components and competencies at multiple levels, the approach results in systemwide improvement that increases achievement for all students. Four key findings drive this work: Improvingástudent achievement requires a district to concentrate its efforts on aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessment to state standards Instead of trying to address every problem with a unique solution, work on the underlying issues that are impacting the system Focusáimprovement plans on activities that are small enough to be manageable but large enough to make a difference in student achievementLeaders at all levels of the system (including teacher leaders) need to support the selected focus of the improvement effort so that the resources of time, personnel, and energy are targeted on that focal pointIn short, sites that focused their attention on alignment and approached their improvement work systemically were more likely to show gains in student achievement. This guide is printed in two separate volumes. One volume provides a brief overview of what it means to work systemically, offers a brief rationale for a systemic approach based on research, and outlines the five phases in the process. The primary audience for this book is district and school staff, including teachers, who will be engaged in the improvement efforts. A second volume provides district and school leadership teams with the tools and resources they need to lead the systemic work.á
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

D'Ette F. Cowan

Before retiring from SEDL in October, 2010, D'Ette F. Cowan led Texas Comprehensive Center efforts to assist state and intermediate agencies in providing high-needs districts and schools with technical assistance that is systemic in nature. In her 12-year career at SEDL, she also assisted low-performing districts and schools throughout a five-state region to improve student learning, and investigated strategies for transforming schools into professional learning communities. Currently, Cowan serves as a consultant to SEDL on a variety of projects. As one of the researchers and authors of Working Systemically in Action: A Guide for... More About Author

Stacey L. Joyner

Stacey Joyner is a Program Associate at SEDL—a nonprofit education research, development, and dissemination corporation based in Austin, TX. She participates in efforts to build state education staff capacity to serve districts and schools. She is the former editor of the USDE's Reading First newsletter The Notebook, and former editor of the Texas Comprehensive Center's newsletter Texas Focus. She is co-author of SEDL’s Working Systemically in Action, a comprehensive process for school improvement. Prior to joining SEDL, Ms. Joyner served as the Reading Coordinator for the Idaho State Department of Education. She has 11 years of teaching... More About Author

Shirley B. Beckwith

Shirley Beckwith is a Communications Associate with SEDL's Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC). She provides editorial review of training materials and resources used in meetings hosted by the TXCC and prepares materials for submission to national evaluators. She also provides and reviews content for the TXCC Web site. She has been involved in several revisions of the Working Systemically approach, including the 2008 Working Systemically in Action: A Guide for Facilitators and a conversion of the process into a scripted training manual for school support teams.Prior to joining SEDL Ms. Beckwith worked for several years at the University of... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781452205120