How Strong District Opportunity Culture Leadership Helped Pave the Way for Low-Performing Schools to Succeed

When Dr. Tina Lupton and Dr. Timisha Barnes-Jones joined the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, Opportunity Culture implementation was happening in the midst of Covid. Lupton, the executive director of professional learning, and Barnes-Jones, the area superintendent for a network of 15 transformation schools, used their experience in other Opportunity Culture districts to help the schools make some adjustments. By the following year, three of those Opportunity Culture schools came off North Carolina’s “low-performing” list; nine of the 11 schools implementing Opportunity Culture models either met or exceeded the bar set by the state for expected student learning growth—results they attribute in part to these models.

Lupton, who had worked closely with the Opportunity Culture director in neighboring Guilford County, and Barnes-Jones, who had been principal at West Charlotte High School when it became one of the first Opportunity Culture schools in the country, collaborate to ensure that Opportunity Culture understanding and support exist at all levels—bringing together multiple district offices such as human resources and finance, communicating with all area superintendents about Opportunity Culture implementation, and laying the foundation to spread Opportunity Culture models throughout the district.

These pieces highlight their district-level work and the stories of two of the Opportunity Culture schools:

District Leader Collaboration: A Key to Opportunity Culture Schools’ Success highlights several keys to success: extensive, consistent communication at all levels; a strong hiring process; and a focus on data-driven instruction, especially using small groups, as well as the work-in-progress strong accountability system.

In At Ibraham Elementary, Data Drives Small-Group Instruction, Student Gains, Opportunity Culture educators discuss their data-driven student results, led by high-performing teachers in Multi-Classroom Leader roles.

In At Petree Elementary, Schoolwide Opportunity Culture Roles Underpin Growth, Opportunity Culture educators discuss their strategic use of Opportunity Culture roles and the power of Opportunity Culture teams to lead to student success.

Hear straight from some of the district’s educators in these video and audio pieces:

Listen: How Collaborative District Leadership Supports Opportunity Culture Success

Watch: Laketha Ebrahim-Blackwell on Being a Multi-Classroom Leader

Watch: Janie Martin on Being a Reach Associate

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