At Raise Your Hand Texas, we’re not only advocating for research-based policies that strengthen Texas public schools for all students, we’re investing in programs and partnerships to strengthen campus leadership and improve student achievement.
A great example is our partnership with Lubbock Independent School District, where coaching for campus leaders and real-time utilization of student data are being used to improve student achievement on low-performing campuses.
In a recent blog post, we described how the Data Wise process is being employed through our partnership with Lubbock Independent School District to provide teachers with the tools they need to apply student data in a strategic manner to improve student achievement. Another key component of our partnership with Lubbock ISD involves direct coaching for principals in instructional leadership provided by the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE).
In 2012-2013, Raise Your Hand Texas and ICLE partnered with three high schools and three middle schools in Lubbock ISD, and have seen early promising signs of improvement, including:
- Three high schools moving from “Academically Unacceptable” in the last round of accountability ratings to “Meet Expectations” in 2013;
- All three high school campuses exceeding expectations on the state’s index measuring post-secondary readiness;
- Performance on Algebra I and Geometry end-of-course exams improving on all three high school campuses, and overall the ICLE targeted campuses performing better than their comparison campuses in math;
- One high school campus receiving a distinguished rating in English/Language Arts/Reading; and
- All of Lubbock ISD implementing the use of open-ended written responses in every subject area to increase higher-order thinking skills and literacy.
But there are no silver bullets, and much work remains to be done. Overall, we didn’t see expected growth in student achievement given the resources provided and the goals set for the program in Year One; nor did we see the increases in reading and writing we had hoped for given the focus on strengthening literacy on the partner campuses.
So this year, we’re doubling down.
The 2013-2014 partnership’s focus is on 8 of the 11 elementary and middle schools in LISD receiving a ‘Needs Improvement’ rating, and we are deepening the support that we are providing to these campuses:
- More Coaching Visits: Last year, principals only participated in 4 direct coaching visits by one coach in all six schools. In year two of the partnership, each of the eight schools will receive a total of nine coaching visits from September through April;
- More Coaches: Two coaches, rather than one, will be assigned to each principal based on their area of expertise and the areas of greatest opportunity and need in the school; and
- Data Dashboards and 20-Day Action Plans: The coaching visits and principal development plans are now on a short-cycle, 20-day action plan coupled with a data dashboard, which were not in place last year. These refinements allow coaches to track progress from the beginning of the year on – over 10 data points, including growth in reading and literacy. The short-cycle management system will increase the ability of both the coach and the school leader to have a laser focus on goals, actions, outcomes, and adjustments needed for ongoing improvement.
Pretty wonky stuff, but we want to give you a window into the investment and hard work that the Raise Your Hand Texas program team is making to strengthen campus leadership and student achievement around the state. We look forward to sharing further updates about the progress of our partnership with Lubbock ISD in the months ahead.