Opportunity Culture Audio

#11. Public Impact Module Helps Schools Create a Tutoring Culture

April 11, 2023 Public Impact Season 1 Episode 11
#11. Public Impact Module Helps Schools Create a Tutoring Culture
Opportunity Culture Audio
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Opportunity Culture Audio
#11. Public Impact Module Helps Schools Create a Tutoring Culture
Apr 11, 2023 Season 1 Episode 11
Public Impact

Former Multi-Classroom Leader Okema Owens Simpson led the development of Public Impact’s on-demand module, Building a Scalable, Sustainable Tutoring Culture for All. In this podcast, Simpson provides an overview of the Multi-Classroom Leader role and the power of small-group, in-school tutoring through MCL teams, as a preview for watching the module and understanding our SIMPLE framework for building a tutoring culture.

Show Notes Transcript

Former Multi-Classroom Leader Okema Owens Simpson led the development of Public Impact’s on-demand module, Building a Scalable, Sustainable Tutoring Culture for All. In this podcast, Simpson provides an overview of the Multi-Classroom Leader role and the power of small-group, in-school tutoring through MCL teams, as a preview for watching the module and understanding our SIMPLE framework for building a tutoring culture.

 Sharon: Hello and welcome to Opportunity Culture Audio. I'm Sharon Kebschull Barrett, senior vice president for communications and editorial services at Public Impact. And I'm here with my colleague Okema Simpson. Hi, Okema.

Okema: Hi, Sharon.

Sharon:: Okema you formerly served in the Multi-Classroom Leader role in one of the first Opportunity Culture schools in the country in Charlotte, NC where you had great success leading a small team of middle school. So go ahead and brag for a minute about that success.

Okema: Yeah. So before I do, I have to acknowledge that the success that I had during my tenure as a Multi-Classroom Leader was truly at team effort. I led a team of ladies who are amazing educators who believe in students who believed in each other and who trusted me to lead the team in the way that supported their own development.  And under my leadership, we were able to do great things for kids. I served in this role for three years. Our PLC achieved phenomenal academic growth, have been met and or exceeded growth each year, 100% of the teachers are supported, met and/or exceeded the bar determined by the state we increased the proficiency of the 6th grade ELA cohort of scholars by 13 percent. 100% of the teachers that I coach returned as a teacher on my team and 100% of the same cohort are continuing the work of an educator.

Sharon: So we'll talk more about the Multi-Classroom Leader role in a few minutes, but OK, I know that you loved the role and and the Opportunity Culture model that it's a part of so much that you want to just spread it to more districts across the country. So you joined Public Impact in 2021 and now you help schools design their Opportunity Culture implementation and provide professional learning to educators in their new Opportunity Culture roles. And as part of that professional learning, you've recently LED a project to create an on-demand module that explains Public Impact’s new SIMPLE S-I-M-P-L-E framework for providing small group tutoring and teaching to all students that free module that's available on opportunityculture.org is the first of what will be a series showing how to implement the framework in classrooms. So Okema, we want to talk today about the research, proven power of small group tutoring in school, the Multi-Classroom Leader role and a bit about the SIMPLE framework. Let's start with that Multi-Classroom Leader role. I actually first met you in 2017 when we spent several days following you around with the camera and interviewing some of your team teachers. We took all that footage to produce days in the life of a Multi-Classroom Leader, a package of video and written pieces that listeners can find on our website. So can you describe the Multi-Classroom Leader?

Okema: Yeah, Sharon, to say that I loved being a Multi-Classroom Leader is an understatement it was by far the best role that I've had as an educator. For context, I was a classroom teacher for 18 years before becoming an MCL. No other role in education was appealing enough to make me consider doing anything differently. I love the classroom that much, this was before I learned about Multi-Classroom Leadership. This role allowed me to reach more students, lead my peers and earn more without having to leave the classroom to become an administrator. So the Multi-Classroom Leader role and we shorten that to MCL, is specific to Opportunity Culture models because it has multiple elements that you won't find in any other teacher leader roles. First and importantly, MCLs are selected based on having a record of producing high growth student learning. They don't have to have formal experience leading other adults, but they do go through an intensive screening process that looks for whether they demonstrate the competencies needed to lead adults. And then unlike other facilitator or coach roles, the MCL leads a small teaching team while continuing to teach for part of the day. And they get paid a substantial supplement which is funded within school budgets, not through temporary grants. So it's financially sustainable and the MCL takes formal accountability for the results of all the students, her team. All of those are unique elements and you have to have them all to be a true MCL role. And while it's a big job, schools also have to adjust their schedules to give the MCL adequate time during the day to plan and lead the team. And that time is protected time so that the. MCL's can engage in all aspects of the role to achieve the desired achievement results for kids, so that team leadership includes lead in lesson. Planning leading student learning, data analysis and guiding the team on instructional delivery, classroom management and quite honestly sharing anything else that is needed to become a highly effective teacher.

Sharon: So that's going to sound like a lot to people. Let's take them one by one. What might it mean for an MCL to lead lesson planning?

Okema: Yeah, well, it can meet a range of leadership. It might be actually writing lesson plans, which can be important if a team has a lot of brand new teachers so they can focus just on lesson delivery. It might mean adapting current plans to incorporate supplemental lessons that are needed based on the needs of the students, or even incorporating more relevant resources and or materials. It could also mean using plans and methods that the MCL had success within the past each week. During lesson planning meetings, the MCL leads the team with the internalization of the lessons for the upcoming week, where they pack focus standards to ensure that the lessons would set students up to master the standard of focus. And they also might practice facilitation of key parts of the lessons. The MCL role is a high touch one. It's on the job leadership and feedback for team teachers throughout the week.

Sharon: So along with all that lesson planning, what about leading the analysis of student learning data? When I interview MCLS across Opportunity Culture districts, the importance of this comes up every time.

Okema: One of the foundational skills of an effective MCL is his or her ability to analyze data. It's so in data analysis provides an MCL, and the team with a snapshot of what students know, what they should know and what their gaps and or misconceptions are. With this information, the MCL and the team can make informed decisions that positively affect student outcomes. So MCLs typically identify key data sources that they regularly use to analyze student data to make those informed decisions. And those data sources could be formative assessments such as pre interim assessments that the state or the district creates. They could be through now or exit tickets. That could be the check for understanding questions that are intentionally asked throughout the lesson, as well as summative assessments such as post assessments provided in the curriculum. 

Sharon: Great. And then you are taking that data and guiding the team on instructional delivery, classroom management, how you do small groups in the classroom. Tell me some of the ways that an MCL does those activities.

Okema: Yes, I took on the role Sharon of an MCL being really excited about extending my impact to more students. I’ve always put students first into the role, really committed to working hard so that the students of the teachers that I was charged to lead will be able to experience the type of academic success and joy of learning that I was able to provide for the students within my own classroom. But I didn't Sharon fully understand or fully realized the impact that being in this world would have on teacher capacity until my last year as an MCL and that's because their capacity to do parts of this work had developed in such a way that they didn't have to rely on me as much and I was able to make a lasting impact on their teaching capacity as a result of things like coaching and feedback, and this is when each week an MCL  conducts a coaching cycle with their team teacher. This cycle consists of a brief visit during the classroom where the MCL observes teachers in action, while in the teacher's classroom, the MCL takes notes and they'll use those notes to then prep for their debrief or coaching conversation. It's the MCL's job to then decide on the highest leverage action step that teachers, with their support, could implement into their practice within a week. During that coaching conversation, the MCL facilitates it in a way that allows teachers to see the gap in their practice name, the action step, and the support the MCL provides during that conversation is to help think through with the teacher how they can incorporate the action step in their practice. And the MCL ends this coaching cycle with a follow up visit about one week later to see them implement that action step into their practice. Co-te aching and modeling is another way MCLs can impact and influence the instructional delivery of the teachers they support. I mentioned earlier that part of an MCL's job is to identify a highest leverage action step the teachers, with their support, could implement into their practice within a week. Often times the support that the team teachers need from their MCLs in order to implement the action step is to see the MCL, do the instruction and move or facilitate the strategy that the team teacher is hoping to incorporate in their practice, so the MCR will schedule time to Co teach with the team teacher, or even model the instructional move with their group of students.

Sharon: Yeah, I've seen you when we were there filming you several years ago doing that sort of Co teaching and modeling and giving your team since you had some pretty new teachers, giving them time to really practice that that lesson delivery and that just seems so powerful. And and I know as someone who doesn't like to stand in front of a group, it would make me feel so much more. So as you know, then we've been talking about this a lot of Public Impact. There's been a lot of chatter nationally about what students need after COVID so deeply affected their learning growth. And at Public Impact, we've been increasingly focused on how small group tutoring and teaching can make a major difference. And we think MCL's can lead the way, guiding their teams to create a tutoring culture. You've been thinking so much about this as you created our new SIMPLE module. So first, can you define a tutoring culture?

Okema: I'm really excited about our definition. We define a tutoring culture as one in which all students have access to far more small group learning during school, with all adults providing small group tutoring and teaching.

Sharon: So break that down a bit for me first. When you say all students, we really mean that, right This isn't just for kids who are behind in their studies.

Okema: Right. This is tutoring during the school day and it helps to expand our thinking beyond the picture of 1 adult tutoring one student. And our definition of tutoring culture means adults focus on any small group instruction that each student in the group needs for learning growth that could be pre teaching concept introduction or discussion focused skill, teaching, assignment, completion, help reteaching, extension and other similar help. 

Sharon: Yeah. And we see Opportunity Culture schools being uniquely set up to facilitate this with MCL's leading their teachers and paraprofessionals and any other available adults to provide this. So what makes the MCL structure so useful here?

Okema: Well, remember what we said about how MCLs, who have a record of high growth learning lead, lesson planning and data analysis meetings. That means they can guide the team on how to incorporate small group instruction that meets each students needs and they MCL teams have the support of paraprofessionals, including advanced paraprofessionals, called Reach Associates, who can spend the bulk of their day providing small group instruction under the MCL guidance as well as the team teacher. And MCLs can help set schedules and structure lessons that maximize small group time and minimize whole class instruction.

Sharon: So we know that research suggests that tutoring even just one or two times extra per week for 1/2 an hour, has a large positive impact on students. They gain an average of about a year and a half worth of growth. I know that that possibility to make a dramatic impact on student growth and Opportunity Culture schools excites you. Are there other things about a tutoring culture that you would highlight besides that dramatic learning growth?

Okema: Yeah, I want to highlight the impact of this tutoring culture. That's not quantifiable. I mentioned that the success that I experienced as a Multi-Classroom Leader was a result of my team's collective effort. We shared the belief that through our collective action, we can positively influence student outcomes. Our SIMPLE framework and approach nurtures this culture of belief in human potential. *They are able to get focused, support, and focus attention from adults. And I can't help but to think of the joy and the comfort that students will experience from being able to receive tailored, small group support from adults who want to see them. That's why Sharon, I believe in this work so much. That's why I love the SIMPLE framework and that is why I am committed to supporting schools and districts to then support MCLs. What making this happen on the teams that they lead.

Sharon: And I really love that. In so many of the places that we've done interviews with, Multi-Classroom Leaders and they're teaching teams that emphasis on student joy really comes through as well from these great MCL's we talked to. So it's yes, it's about getting your students to achieve, but it is also that those forming those strong relationships and seeing that joy that comes through powerfully from MCL's. So can you describe briefly then what will listeners learn when they watch the module about this SIMPLE framework?

Okema: Yeah. So the module explains the SIMPLE framework and the MCL's role in a tutoring culture, the S in SIMPLE signifies how everything starts with the MCL. The module includes the needs assessment for viewers to identify their teams, tutoring culture, strengths, needs or gaps. Then it guides viewers to develop a plan for MCL's to lead and maximize their team’s small group tutoring and teaching. It's obviously great for MCLS, but folks who aren't yet in Opportunity Culture schools will find a lot here that they can use as well.

Sharon: And to get access to the module, which we should say is called building a scalable, sustainable tutoring culture for all, where should people go?

Okema: Yep, it is available on opportunityculture.org. There is a link from the home page or people can search the word tutoring on the website for access to our growing set of publications and resources.

Sharon: Okema, thanks so much for taking the time today to discuss this and listeners. We thank you for joining us. We hope you have a great day sparked with thoughts about how all students can benefit from a school wide tutoring culture.