Opportunity Culture® Educator Columns

Quick Take: Leading Opportunity Culture® at the State Level

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, February 17, 2021

How does it work to lead Opportunity Culture from the state level? I spoke recently with Kelly McLaughlin, who leads the Opportunity Culture state initiative in the Division of Elementary & Secondary Education within the Arkansas Department of Education, to get the scoop on the benefits to districts when the state takes the lead to spread Opportunity Culture (OC) implementation. McLaughlin took this role in August 2020, after more than 20 years as an English teacher and literacy facilitator and five years in other areas of the state department.

“It is our hope, at least from my perspective, to increase teacher retention and recruitment in the state by meeting equitable goals, and we believe we can reach these goals by increasing and growing OC throughout the state so that all students will have equitable access to effective teachers,” McLaughlin said. Read more…

No More “Zoo Wallace”: Becoming a Welcoming, Successful School

By Jeremy Baugh, February 15, 2021

In 2015, when I came to Lew Wallace Elementary in Indianapolis Public Schools as its fourth principal in four years, the community referred to the school as “Zoo Wallace,” and families openly expressed disappointment in being placed there.

Still, after sending out flyers and emails and making calls home about our meet-the-teacher night, I was shocked to have only one parent show up. In my 10 years as a principal, I had never seen anything like it.

Like the parents, teachers were demoralized and disengaged. One day, the school’s only other leader, an instructional coach, and I wanted to ask a quick question of some teachers. But at 3:30, just five minutes after the kids left for the day, the teachers had all disappeared, too. Read more…

Consistency and Care: Confronting COVID-19 in a Rural School Community

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 8, 2020

During the coronavirus crisis—and any future periods of at-home teaching and learning—rural school districts face special challenges. In North Carolina’s Edgecombe County Public Schools, Multi-Classroom Leader Amy Pearce said in a recent interview, two keys to taking care of students will be schoolwide consistency and a focus on taking care of stressed teachers. Read more…

Suspending student suspensions: How teaching teams created calm classrooms

By Philip Steffes; first published by EducationNC, December 5, 2019

How can kids learn when they’re not in the classroom? That’s the issue I confronted when I arrived at Albemarle Road Elementary in Charlotte four years ago. Despite teachers who truly cared about their students, we had far too many suspensions. And students were struggling. When I first came here, 95% of our teachers had been in the red — not meeting student growth targets — in literacy for multiple years.

Be the Bridge: How Multi-Classroom Leaders Smooth Teacher-Administrator Communication

By Brandon Warren, September 3, 2019

Teachers, how many times has this happened to you?

The classroom door opens, and in comes the principal, maybe with an assistant principal in tow. Your stomach plunges as you think, “Oh my goodness, they’re here, what are they looking for, what do they like, what don’t they like?” Your purpose in teaching that day flies out of your head, and it’s all downhill from there.

To Support Teachers and Students, Pass House Bill 1008

By Jessica Smith, May 30, 2019

“We need House Bill 1008 to pass in this legislative session, to give more districts and schools support to put Multi-Classroom Leadership in place and to expand it to more schools.” This column is adapted from the remarks made by Multi-Classroom Leader Jessica Smith before the Indiana Senate Committee on Education and Career Development. Ultimately, the legislation passed, providing $3.5 million for up to 30 districts to plan career ladders that may include Opportunity Culture. Read more…

The Best Tool—Sometimes: Using Tech in Elementary School

By Amber Hines; first published by EducationNC, March 5, 2019

“Our students are digital natives, so they’re confident with technology; it can give them the freedom to share their thoughts and think critically about both their own and their peers’ work.” For Multi-Classroom Leader Amber Hines, who uses two-way video recording and QR codes with her students, technology enhances instruction by drawing out and engaging her teaching team’s students. Read More…

Learning to Lead as a Multi-Classroom Leader

By Hadley Moore, March 4, 2019; published by EducationNC, April 3, 2019

“The MCL role allowed me to grow and feel confident as an instructional leader. Without this experience, I would not have pursued administration.” Hadley Moore gained skills as a multi-classroom leader that helped her succeed as an assistant principal. Read More…

The Risks and Rewards of Using Blended Learning to Reach More Students

By Elizabeth Annette Bartlett; first published by EducationNC, August 8, 2018

“In the end, it wasn’t quite that simple—but the lessons we learned will continue to benefit students.” Middle school Blended-Learning Teacher Elizabeth Annette Bartlett saw blended learning in an Opportunity Culture as a means to reach more students and give them more time for hands-on labs—but, she discovered, age mattered for student success. Read More…