CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE SCHOOL CULTURE COACHING
Our culturally responsive school culture and climate work stems from the belief that children learn best when their needs for safety, belonging, and esteem are addressed holistically resulting in self-actualized students
SEN helps districts and schools achieve a positive learning environment by designing or re-examining referral systems and other behavior management structures with an eye towards equity. Our coaches also help implement systems for restorative practices and enhance strategic use of culture teams and support staff across tiered interventions.
Our coaches help increase adult capacity to build trusting relationships with students through large and small group training sessions including Proactive Relationship-Building Strategies, Conflict Resolution & De-escalation and Teacher-Student Restorative Conferences, among others.
SEN helps schools maximize student contributions and value to the school community by organizing quarterly student surveys and focus groups to increase student voice and establishing a peer mentoring program to foster a caring community among students. SEN coaches also train adults to leverage restorative conversations into leadership opportunities for the most challenging students, and create distributed counseling structures to provide needed supports to all students
• Michigan Governor Rick Snyder created the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), in 2011, with the aim of revitalizing Michigan’s most persistently failing schools.
• One of the EAA’s main strategies was to identify and train the state’s greatest educational leaders in order to dramatically improve outcomes in related schools.
• During SYs 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, SEN launched a Leadership and Design Institute which prepared leaders and turnaround teams to launch Small Learning Communities (SLCs) in chronically failing schools.
• The establishment of a career ladder complemented these efforts by recognizing and training outstanding teachers across the district, using them to staff turnaround teams, and creating long-term stability by preparing developing leaders for the future.
• Identified leaders were trained to generate “reset” moments and replace entrenched cultures of low expectations with effective, sustainable structures and practices.
• SQR data reported by Class Measures for SYs 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 showed steady improvement for all school quality scores across all 11 EAA schools.
• Between 2015 and 2017, the percent of EAA students meeting their growth targets on the NWEA assessment increased substantially, rising from 43% to 55% in math and 44% to 51% in reading. Furthermore, average growth in the percent of students meeting their NWEA targets was even stronger for SLCs–rising from 42% to 62% for math and 42% to 58% in reading.
• In January 2016, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to designate the Southbridge Public Schools (SPS) as chronically underperforming, placing the district in state Receivership.
• To support the implementation of its turnaround plan, in 2019 SPS chose to partner with SEN to support the development of tools, systems, and professional development to help Southbridge Middle School realize its vision for strengthening school culture.
• The SEN culture coach supported the development of school leaders’ and teachers’ capacity in relation to culture building. This included an assessment of teacher needs, design of a professional development plan to address identified needs, as well as facilitation of teacher training sessions to meet those needs.
• In addition, the SEN culture coach worked closely with the administrators of the Southbridge culture team to support, troubleshoot and develop plans to further culture goals.
• Currently, SEN coaches continue to provide monthly school culture coaching including strategic planning with appropriate staff, co-observation of and feedback on classroom management, SEL activities for advisory, as well as support with design, monitoring, and refinement of systems and structures to support improvements to school culture.
• Leaders articulated a vision for high levels of student engagement, participation, and demonstrations of respect for learning time across all physical and virtual classrooms.
• At faculty PD, leaders introduced a schoolwide vision for culture with priorities around increasing student attendance and implementing teacher use of “direct praise” as a strategy to increase student engagement during lessons
• Mid-year results:
– Average daily student attendance increased from roughly 70% to 83% by early spring.
– SSC referrals (classroom removals) fell from 2.44 per day in November 2020 to 1.88 per day in March 2021
– December 2020 staff survey show the vast majority of teachers report positive feelings about gains in:
– overall perception of school climate
– staff connectedness and safety
– culture systems and structures in place
– Select Student Survey Results (Dec ‘20):
– Teachers treat me with respect (93%)
– Adults in this school treat all students with respect (89%)
– All students are treated fairly by the adults in my school (87%)
– Students are frequently recognized for good behavior (85%)
– The behaviors in my classroom allow teachers to teach so I can learn (82%)