Days in the Life: Video, Vignette Show the Work of a Successful Multi-Classroom Leader

by | November 30, 2017

When Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leaders describe their jobs—providing intensive, on-the-job coaching, support for planning, and data analysis leadership to a team of teachers while continuing to teach students, too—they hear the same question: How do you fit all that in?

See the answer in a new video and vignette from Public Impact: Days in the Life: The Work of a Successful Multi-Classroom Leader. These publications are useful for principals in Opportunity Culture schools, current multi-classroom leaders (MCLs), other instructional teacher-leaders, and anyone applying to become an MCL.

Okema Owens Simpson, the sixth-grade multi-classroom leader for English language arts at Ranson IB Middle School in Charlotte, N.C, guides viewers through several typical days in which she provides what her teaching team needs most: daily coaching; lesson planning; practice in delivering lessons; data analysis; co-teaching or modeling lessons; and pulling out small student groups for intensive help. Although schedules and tasks vary somewhat among schools and grade levels, Simpson’s days illustrate the essentials of the MCL role that get the best student results.

In the 2017–18 school year—her 19th as an educator—Simpson is leading a team of three first- and second-year teachers; as their MCL, she takes accountability for the learning of all 275 students on the team.

Ranson, part of the Project L.I.F.T. zone within Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, was one of the first Opportunity Culture schools in the country. The high-poverty L.I.F.T schools had been persistently struggling, but after taking Opportunity Culture and the MLC model schoolwide in 2014–15, Ranson had the highest student growth among Title I district schools in the state and was in the state’s top 1 percent overall for growth.

See how Simpson is a part of that success, building strong relationships with her teachers and students to move them toward high growth and a strong, supportive school culture.

In a typical week, MCLs divide their time among:

  • Coaching: Including observing team teachers while they teach; meeting with teachers before and after the observation to refine instruction and classroom management; leading a teacher through a practice session delivering instruction; providing feedback after co-teaching
  • Co-teaching: Sharing delivery of a lesson
  • Modeling: Teaching a lesson in front of a teacher
  • Planning: Including time to make plans about how to coach or follow up with teachers, and to create or tweak lesson plans; and time to meet with each teacher individually and with the team at least weekly—preferably more often—to analyze data, discuss challenges, plan changes, practice lesson delivery, and address other concerns
  • Analyzing data: Helping teachers use all the data about student learning to adjust and personalize their instruction, and analyzing data about the team’s teaching to provide targeted coaching
  • Teaching: Individual students and small groups, as needed, and sometimes a whole class
  • Being coached: Receiving coaching from a principal or assistant principal, and in district-wide MCL training sessions or cohort meetings
  • Collaborating with other MCLs: In regular meetings and informal collaboration time

To learn more about Simpson’s days and typical MCL duties, read the vignette accompanying the video, which also includes a typical weekly MCL schedule.The Days in the Life video was filmed and produced by Beverley Tyndall and narrated by Kendall Hedding King; the video and vignette were written by Sharon Kebschull Barrett.

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