How do you transform a central office to better serve the schools in a district and foster excellence and equity in teaching and learning district-wide?
Professor Meredith Honig at the University of Washington has done a lot of research on this topic, including study of the Oakland Unified School District reform in which we have been a partner. She is an expert on central office leadership and has a lot of insights on how they can accomplish critical changes.
Dr. Honig recently presented some of her findings at a SIG grantee conference. Her rubrics of district transformation are especially useful as a shorthand on how central offices can support rather than merely monitor or burden school-site improvement in learning.
The Core of Transformation: Learning-focused Partnerships
– Assistant/Area Superintendents
– “Sit and get” PD for Principals
– Occasional principal coaching
– Outside vendors supporting low-achieving schools
– Elevating support for principals’ instructional leadership
– Providing intensive, job-embedded PD
– Engaging in practices of master teachers
– Intentionally supported [e.g., not reactive to crises]
The Five Dimensions of Central Office Transformation
- Learning-focused partnerships with schools
- Assistance to the central office-school partnership
- Reorganizing and reculturing every central office unit to support the partnerships and improvement in teaching and learning
- Stewardship of the overall transformation process
- Evidence use throughout to support continual improvement
There are many complex implications to these changes. Here are two links, one to the presentation and one to an article that explores these shifts in some depth.