opportunity culture fellows

Personalize learning for educators, not just students

By Casey Jackson, first published by EdNC, May 18, 2021

“Can you please be my coach?”

With tears rolling down her cheeks, this was what a young, second-year teacher asked me in the middle of a professional development session in 2018.

I was sitting at a table with new faces, in a new state, in a new role as a multi-classroom leader (MCL) in Vance County, North Carolina. The session presenter had asked us to role-play a guided-reading lesson, and this young woman had bravely volunteered to play the role of teacher. As the others played the students, I played the teacher’s coach. Although I had some administrative experience helping teachers, I had not yet gone through MCL training to learn how to appropriately coach the teaching team I would lead. Read more…

For Many Students, Teacher Feedback Is the New Grading System

From Education Dive, April 30, 2020, by Linda Jacobson

In Vance County Schools in North Carolina, teachers are also expected to provide feedback on all student work, “even if it’s just a thumbs up,” explained Casey Jackson, who teaches 3rd grade math at Aycock Elementary School, but also serves as a multi-classroom teacher as part of the Opportunity Culture model.

When students take online quizzes, they immediately see what they missed and what they answered correctly, she said. She also provides written feedback in Google Classroom. Read more…

High-Touch At-Home Learning? That’s the Plan in Indianapolis School

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 10, 2020

When Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) closed its school doors due to COVID-19, Jeremy Baugh, principal of Lew Wallace Elementary and a 2018–19 Opportunity Culture Fellow, moved quickly with his staff to keep their students learning and connected to their teachers.

“Our Lew Wallace staff, in general, and the IPS community has just gone above-and-beyond for our kids. It’s been incredible to see the connections that they’ve made with them and how hard they’re working to produce high-quality instruction for our kids even in a difficult time,” Baugh said in a recent interview. Read More…

Spreading Support in Vance County During At-Home Learning

By Sharon Kebschull Barrett, April 9, 2020

In a crisis, everyone could use the support that Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leaders (MCLs) offer their small teaching teams, and fast. Vance County Schools, located in North Carolina at the Virginia border, moved quickly post-COVID-19 shutdown to provide that support through a temporary “remote learner leads” team that takes advantage of MCLs’ skills. Read more…

2019: Opportunity Culture® Continues to Grow, Inspire

By Margaret High, December 20, 2019

Opportunity Culture kept growing in 2019 to bring excellent teaching to students and career opportunities to educators. Our 10 most-read posts in 2019 included educator columns, new districts, the hot topic of the science of reading, teaching residencies, and more. 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.

Advocating Effectively for Opportunity Culture®: The Key Elements

By Margaret High, November 7, 2019

Imagine opening the first all-staff email from a new principal or superintendent that clearly shows a lack of understanding or support for the Opportunity Culture your district has in place. What do you do?

Opportunity Culture Fellows closed the 2019 convening by brainstorming solutions to this scenario in a session on the keys to effective advocacy—one of their most-requested topics.

How Opportunity Culture® Principals Lead Change and Develop Leaders

By Margaret High, November 4, 2019 

Leading change and developing leaders: Opportunity Culture principals must know how to do this for student and teacher success, and Opportunity Culture Fellows are hungry for tips from their colleagues who do it well. At the Opportunity Culture Fellows Convening, a panel of principals highlighted strong hiring and communications as two keys among many to success.

Building Team Cohesion: Opportunity Culture® Fellows Share Strategies

By Margaret High, October 30, 2019 

How can multi-classroom leaders (MCLs) build the cohesion of their teaching teams? A panel of five Opportunity Culture Fellows tackled this question—a hot topic among MCLs­—with suggestions that focused on the joy of team leadership as well as how to address challenges with team members.

“My two things are genuinely caring about the people as individuals and as teachers. …And then really not being a know-it-all,” one panelist said. “I’m not coming into the classroom to make you into me. I’m coming in here to make you a better version of you.”

To Teach Reading Right, Understand the Science of Reading

By Margaret High, October 17, 2019 

As CEO of the Mississippi-based Barksdale Reading Institute, Kelly Butler doesn’t mind saying schools teach literacy all wrong. Condensing the science of reading into a one-hour overview presentation for the Opportunity Culture Fellows Convening, Butler issued a clarion call for educators to to follow the science of reading, focusing on phonics, brain development, the five components of reading, and the simple view of reading. Butler’s efforts to spread the word have helped move Mississippi’s reading growth to the top of state rankings.