Youngstown schools CEO says teacher focus key to district transformation success
- Youngstown City School District (OH) CEO Krish S. Mohip writes for eSchool News that teachers were the key to meaningful, effective transformation in his district.
- Mohip says that he collaborated with YCSD's seven deputy chiefs of transformation to provide teacher workshops on creating relevant purpose statements for all lessons, create a teacher fellow program to shift district culture and boost teacher buy-in, and seek a professional development provider to strengthen quality of training and coaching opportunities. He also suggested an increase in student agency via more discourse and "turn-and-talk" sessions around lessons and content.
- According to Mohip, response to the effort has been impressive, with over 150 teachers vying to be part of the teacher fellow program and Twitter finding use as a tool to showcase teachers' work and their continuing growth to the community.
District leaders nationwide are increasingly recognizing the importance of focusing on classroom educators when it comes to effectively transforming learning in their schools. These efforts have materialized in a number of ways, including increased teacher agency in experimenting with new models and more individualized professional development options. For example, a group of teachers at Orchard Lake Elementary in Lakeville, MN, were accommodated by Superintendent Lisa Snyder when they wanted to design a school that focused more on personalized learning and teacher collaboration, with less decisions made from the top down. Their "Impact Academy" pilot, approved in 2013, has since spread to encompass an entire school.
Additionally, at the SXSWedu conference in March, a panel featuring two administrators and a teacher highlighted how classroom educators likely have a better idea of what will work than a bureaucrat who wasn't trained for the profession, and they can accomplish much more when free to innovate without fear of consequences under high-stakes mandates made from the top down. As with many other industries, productivity can often be incumbent upon giving professionals the space and independence to do their jobs, trusting that they have the skills to succeed (and providing the resources to further improve those skills where necessary).
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