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4 Points Of View

Krauskopf   Who?
Allen Krauskopf
Alk_small_pic alkrauskopf@gmail.com
303-250-0436
Precision School Improvement
Managing Partner, Escent Partners, LLC

As Associate Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Consulting, Allen led a large organization that delivered business transformation and strategic IT services across all industries. In 2010, while volunteering as a math tutor, he was drawn to the fact that the performance of our schools remained stagnant during the same years he witnessed, first hand, transformational change throughout industry. Concerned by this, Allen formed Escent Partners LLC to explore the operational challenges of our schools, illuminate root inhibitors, and partner with mission-oriented Firms determined to do something about them.

Our schools are spending over $10B/yr on IT “solutions” that too often bear no relation to quality management and transformation tenets. This is unacceptable. For transformation to take hold, education's thought leaders, not tech vendors, should be driving our schools' improvement priorities.

 

Today, Allen is putting his business transformation experience to work by helping education's well regarded advisory Firms drive their methods into our schools and move them to higher levels of performance.


Ever Increasing Reliability
Stotts   Who?
Brian Stotts
Stottspic bstotts@jeffco.k12.co.us
303-982-3915
Precision School Improvement
Partner, Escent Partners, LLC

Brian has been an English teacher and instructional leader at Conifer High School for 10 years.  Because his school is one of the top high schools in Colorado and functions roughy "at capacity" in terms of quality use of instructional time, Brian has spent the last five years working with Escent Partners (EP) to investigate ways to use classroom time more efficiently so his class and school can continue to grow.

In particular, Brian and EP have confronted the underlying problems teachers face concerning formative assessment.  His goal is to rescue this process and return it to teachers, where it rightfully belongs, by improving teacher-driven assessment quality and reliability

A Mile Wide And An Inch Deep
McKown   Who?
Joe McKown
Dsc_joe2 Jmckown@timeandlearning.org
617-378-3957
National Center on Time and Learning
VP, State & District Engagement, NCTL

Joe McKown is NCTL's Vice President of State & District Engagement. He joined NCTL with deep prior K-12 education experience as a teacher, administrator and education advisor. Most recently, he was a Senior Principal and part of the management team at the business strategy consulting firm The Parthenon Group in Boston. At Parthenon he was on the firm’s education practice leadership team, and he led strategy projects for organizations including urban school districts, state departments of education and governor’s offices, charter school management organizations, and foundations. He also led education-focused private equity due diligence projects. He started his career in education as a teacher and administrator in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area for nine years. Joe was also previously a Senior Consultant at the boutique strategy firm Axia, Ltd. in Boston and a Portfolio Manager at a Boston-based grant-making foundation.

 

Joe holds degrees from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (MBA), Stanford University (MA, Education Policy Analysis), New York University (MA, French Literature and Political History), and the State University of New York at Albany (BA).

 

 

Considering Effects On Time
Frazee   Who?
Dana Frazee
Img_5028 danajfrazee@gmail.com
303-912-7360
Precision School Improvement
Managing Director

Dana has worked with education leaders and teachers throughout the United States and abroad for over twelve years as a consultant with The Center for Collaborative Education in Boston, Expeditionary Learning Schools and McREL International. She has guided district and school leadership teams in implementing structures, processes and attitudes necessary for continuous improvement, including shared leadership, data driven instruction, and research-based instructional strategies.

 

Dana is co-author of four books:

- "Teaching Reading in the Content Area: If Not Me Then Who?" 3rd edition  ASCD (2012)

-  "A Quick-Start Guide: Common Core Standards for Middle School Language Arts" ASCD (2012)

- "A Quick-Start Guide: Common Core Standards for High School Language Arts" ASCD (2012)

- "Math in Afterschool: An Instructor’s Guide to the Afterschool Training Toolkit" SEDL (2008)

 

Dana earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, her master’s degree from Adams State University, Colorado and her administrative Type D certification from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She has been a middle school and high school teacher, teacher-leader, principal of a K-8 charter school, and educational consultant K-12 with both charter schools and regular district schools. She has facilitated numerous regional and national workshops on a variety of subjects: shared leadership, data-based decision-making, reading and writing in the content area, formative assessment, continuous school improvement, school culture, and effective instructional strategies.

 

Increasing Demands
On Common Core
Allen Krauskopf, Brian Stotts, Joe McKown, Dana Frazee

Common Core has triggered reactions across the education, political, and business communities. Most agree that the new standards will impact our schools and the educators who work in them.


Ideology aside and from a pure operational standpoint, what really are the opportunities, challenges, and tripwires the advent of Common Core introduces? And what can be done to ensure our children are the beneficiaries of the new standards?

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Allen Krauskopf Who?
Allen Krauskopf
Alk_small_pic alkrauskopf@gmail.com
303-250-0436
Precision School Improvement
Managing Partner, Escent Partners, LLC

As Associate Partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Consulting, Allen led a large organization that delivered business transformation and strategic IT services across all industries. In 2010, while volunteering as a math tutor, he was drawn to the fact that the performance of our schools remained stagnant during the same years he witnessed, first hand, transformational change throughout industry. Concerned by this, Allen formed Escent Partners LLC to explore the operational challenges of our schools, illuminate root inhibitors, and partner with mission-oriented Firms determined to do something about them.

Our schools are spending over $10B/yr on IT “solutions” that too often bear no relation to quality management and transformation tenets. This is unacceptable. For transformation to take hold, education's thought leaders, not tech vendors, should be driving our schools' improvement priorities.

 

Today, Allen is putting his business transformation experience to work by helping education's well regarded advisory Firms drive their methods into our schools and move them to higher levels of performance.


Alk_small_pic
 

Ever Increasing Reliability

Quality Management Point-Of-View

From the business transformation point of view, the Common Core State Standards are neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically bad. The meaty questions revolve around how education's thought leaders see them as a catalyst for transformational change and then champion the opportunity.


Simply put, a transformed institution is one that has achieved significantly higher performance and significant cost reduction. Transformation begins with a catalyst for fundamental change (CCSS?) and is followed by incremental process improvements which, in turn, set the stage for more increments whose value far exceeds their cost. Dana Frazee discusses such an incremental improvement; a move toward shared leadership. So it's helpful to remind ourselves that transformation is less about disparate attempts at bold initiatives and more of a deliberately managed journey guided by well established quality management principles. Schools will not transform as a natural outcome of CCSS. But CCSS can be the catalyst that begins the journey.


Consider, for example, the topic of teacher effectiveness. In quality management vernacular, quality is defined as “conformance to requirements.” For a teacher, “requirements” refers to the needs of a particular child and “conformance" refers to the accuracy of her response to that child’s needs. In other words, effective teaching occurs when a teacher conforms to a child's needs. It's not coincidental that this sounds a lot like differentiated teaching. But there's an additional stipulation: Teachers must conform to student needs with ever increasing reliability. The notion of "reliability" pulls teacher effectivity out of the fog of student performance data and puts it into the operational realm where, given the proper practices, teachers can measure their reliability and increasingly improved upon it in real time. Common Core creates an opportunity for leaders to introduce and demonstrate how teacher reliability can be deliberately managed.


But a word of caution: The way to bring about ever increasing reliability among our educators is not to encourage sameness among them. Tools that claim to have common core standards pre-wired into their content sound good and may indeed be useful. But if they become the devices that educators rely on to conform to their students' needs, the tools will become institutionalized crutches that further obscure the root reasons for our schools' reliability problems. Educators are service professionals: Their reliability cannot be automated; it must be managed.


There's no way around it: In quality management speak, teachers and principals own the job of conforming to their students' needs with ever increasing nimbleness, timeliness, and reliability. Hopefully, educators will approach with caution vendor "solutions" that remove their accountability for these things, and first explore methods that reveal (objectively) their nimbleness, timeliness, and reliability so they can embrace the responsibility to continuously improve upon them. This is what a transformational response to Common Core will do.


Fortunately, industries no less regulated, service-oriented, and unionized have successfully met the same transformation challenge that is facing education today. And we know how they did it.


Education's thought leaders can bring tremendous value to our schools by delivering the roadmaps, methods, and enablers that, with Common Core as their footing, give teachers and principals the levers to do their jobs with ever increasing reliability.

  roll-up

From the business transformation point of view, the Common Core State Standards are neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically bad. The meaty questions revolve around how education's thought leaders see them as a catalyst for transformational change and then champion the opportunity.

... continue
Related Point Of View
View The System View: What Is A Blueprint?
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Joe McKown Who?
Joe McKown
Dsc_joe2 Jmckown@timeandlearning.org
617-378-3957
National Center on Time and Learning
VP, State & District Engagement, NCTL

Joe McKown is NCTL's Vice President of State & District Engagement. He joined NCTL with deep prior K-12 education experience as a teacher, administrator and education advisor. Most recently, he was a Senior Principal and part of the management team at the business strategy consulting firm The Parthenon Group in Boston. At Parthenon he was on the firm’s education practice leadership team, and he led strategy projects for organizations including urban school districts, state departments of education and governor’s offices, charter school management organizations, and foundations. He also led education-focused private equity due diligence projects. He started his career in education as a teacher and administrator in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area for nine years. Joe was also previously a Senior Consultant at the boutique strategy firm Axia, Ltd. in Boston and a Portfolio Manager at a Boston-based grant-making foundation.

 

Joe holds degrees from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (MBA), Stanford University (MA, Education Policy Analysis), New York University (MA, French Literature and Political History), and the State University of New York at Albany (BA).

 

 

Dsc_joe2
 

Considering Effects On Time

Education Advisor's Point-Of-View

The Common Core State Standards raise the bar in a compelling and challenging way, with implications both for student learning time and teacher collaboration and professional development. As reported by NCTL and the Center for American Progress in early 2014, the ways in which the standards raise expectations—for example, more focus on non-fiction texts in literacy and a “balanced” approach of fluency, deep conceptual understanding, and applied problem-solving in math—mean that class periods of traditional length will likely be inadequate. For students who already lag behind their peers, the need for more learning time will be even greater.


So too, for districts and schools to implement CCSS with high quality, they must redesign both the time for and the nature of teacher professional development and collaboration. For educators to ensure their students reach higher, they – the educators – must develop new strategies to truly differentiate learning. This means deepening their knowledge in designing data-informed differentiated lessons and interventions that lead students to catch up where they need to and to accelerate where they are ready to. Quality implementation will not come in a program or curriculum; it will come through teachers who have the time and conditions needed to develop expertise and design high-quality instruction aligned to the Common Core.

  roll-up

The Common Core State Standards raise the bar in a compelling and challenging way, with implications both for student learning time and teacher collaboration and professional development. As reported by NCTL and the Center for American Progress in early 2014, the ways in which the standards raise expectations—for example, more focus on non-fiction texts in literacy and a “balanced” approach of fluency, deep conceptual understanding, and applied problem-solving in math—mean that class periods of traditional length will likely be inadequate. For students who already lag behind their peers, the need for more learning time will be even greater.

... continue
 
Top
Brian Stotts Who?
Brian Stotts
Stottspic bstotts@jeffco.k12.co.us
303-982-3915
Precision School Improvement
Partner, Escent Partners, LLC

Brian has been an English teacher and instructional leader at Conifer High School for 10 years.  Because his school is one of the top high schools in Colorado and functions roughy "at capacity" in terms of quality use of instructional time, Brian has spent the last five years working with Escent Partners (EP) to investigate ways to use classroom time more efficiently so his class and school can continue to grow.

In particular, Brian and EP have confronted the underlying problems teachers face concerning formative assessment.  His goal is to rescue this process and return it to teachers, where it rightfully belongs, by improving teacher-driven assessment quality and reliability

Stottspic
 

A Mile Wide And An Inch Deep

Teacher's Point-Of-View
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The new Common Core standards come with a promise: the relative simplicity of them from a numerical standpoint will allow teachers to feel as if they no longer need to "cover" the vast array of benchmarks and standards they once did. Thus, this will enable teachers to go into greater depth with each skill. The idea of allowing students to go deeper into the skills in which they are already proficient or advanced is a noble idea, and it's what we should be doing as teachers. However, depth is a tricky concept from an operational standpoint, and it's one that won't be solved by simply reducing the number or changing the language of the standards for which teachers are responsible.


True depth requires differentiation. Going "deeper" from a whole class perspective simply means that a different set of students will be given a developmentally appropriate educational experience: instead of "teaching to the middle, we'll be "teaching to the top." I don't think this is the big, sweeping change we're hoping for with Common Core. But differentiation is difficult when it's simply a matter of "my student is bad at that skill and good at this skill, so let's cover that skill." It is nearly impossible when it becomes "my student is good at this skill and bad at that skill, so I need to know the extent to which he is good and bad at both. That way I can continue to push him at the skill at which he is good and remediate him at the skill at which he is bad, so he can feel an appropriate level of challenge at both because continued growth at both is important...Oh, and by the way, I have thirty students." I don't mean to act as if I feel that this endeavor is silly or even beyond reasonable: in fact, I think the opposite is true. But it's not a new set of standards that will allow educators to achieve this.


In fact, the notion of fewer or new standards is deceptive. For a brief bit of background, I'm an English teacher, and, thus, I basically teach reading and writing. These are two skills that exist, regardless of the way that people describe them; there is no magic wand one can wave that will change the actual set of skills one needs to be an advanced reader or writer. So if we choose to eliminate some of the descriptors for that skill set for simplicity's sake, it doesn't change the reality that those more specific skills still exist. And if my students are struggling with one of the more general descriptors, it's probably because they are missing one or many of those more specific skills. My operational reality is unchanged, regardless of the new descriptors.


So if that's the case, then what's the opportunity with Common Core? Educators can use this change to fix the actual operational issues that prevent teachers from providing each student with an appropriate educational experience in their classrooms. This involves teachers having a deep knowledge of relevant conceptual hierarchies, being able to listen accurately to student needs, and having the resources to effectively differentiate. It also involves improving student awareness of where they are on the skill spectrum, so the teacher-student interaction can be optimized.


Escent Partners has developed methodological and technological enablers that will ever increasingly move schools toward those abilities. These methodologies allow teachers to accurately teach and assess for depth. They take feedback out of a one-dimensional structure (think about the typical high school grade book, a set of percentages travelling along a single plane), and place it in a two dimensional world: breadth and depth. (For an example of what this looks like, you may reference the image of a student dashboard above.) And these methodologies are driven by and designed to improve the competencies of those same teachers, regardless of where they are on the competency spectrum. We are not content providers looking to usurp teachers' creative responses to their student-driven imperatives. We provide a framework in the form a suite of tools that allow teachers to demonstrate consistency and validity for their assessments and curricula. It is our belief that these tools will return control of the classroom experience from the assessment and content providers to teachers, where it belongs. And for this reason, we believe teachers will embrace the change we're proposing.


I've been a teacher for 13 years now, and between Minnesota and Colorado, the two states in which I've taught, I think I'm on my fourth or fifth set of standards. Each one claimed to be the magic standards that will succeed where the others have failed. The Common Core looks to be an improvement on the old standards. The fact that they're being adopted throughout much of the nation provides educators with a unique collaborative opportunity. The simplicity of them should allow teachers to teach to greater depth in their classrooms. But they are not magic. True magic is found in a teacher-student interaction that truly meets the individual student needs. Better standards can contribute to this happening, but this will only happen in a system that operationally structured for depth. It is our intention to provide that structure so the opportunity Common Core presents will be realized.

  roll-up

The new Common Core standards come with a promise: the relative simplicity of them from a numerical standpoint will allow teachers to feel as if they no longer need to "cover" the vast array of benchmarks and standards they once did. Thus, this will enable teachers to go into greater depth with each skill. The idea of allowing students to go deeper into the skills in which they are already proficient or advanced is a noble idea, and it's what we should be doing as teachers. However, depth is a tricky concept from an operational standpoint, and it's one that won't be solved by simply reducing the number or changing the language of the standards for which teachers are responsible.

... continue
Related Point Of View
View On Assessment: The Pitfalls of the Error-Free Classroom
Top
Dana Frazee Who?
Dana Frazee
Img_5028 danajfrazee@gmail.com
303-912-7360
Precision School Improvement
Managing Director

Dana has worked with education leaders and teachers throughout the United States and abroad for over twelve years as a consultant with The Center for Collaborative Education in Boston, Expeditionary Learning Schools and McREL International. She has guided district and school leadership teams in implementing structures, processes and attitudes necessary for continuous improvement, including shared leadership, data driven instruction, and research-based instructional strategies.

 

Dana is co-author of four books:

- "Teaching Reading in the Content Area: If Not Me Then Who?" 3rd edition  ASCD (2012)

-  "A Quick-Start Guide: Common Core Standards for Middle School Language Arts" ASCD (2012)

- "A Quick-Start Guide: Common Core Standards for High School Language Arts" ASCD (2012)

- "Math in Afterschool: An Instructor’s Guide to the Afterschool Training Toolkit" SEDL (2008)

 

Dana earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder, her master’s degree from Adams State University, Colorado and her administrative Type D certification from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. She has been a middle school and high school teacher, teacher-leader, principal of a K-8 charter school, and educational consultant K-12 with both charter schools and regular district schools. She has facilitated numerous regional and national workshops on a variety of subjects: shared leadership, data-based decision-making, reading and writing in the content area, formative assessment, continuous school improvement, school culture, and effective instructional strategies.

 

Img_5028
 

Increasing Demands

Leadership Point-Of-View

Over the past decade school leaders have been facing growing demands for continuously increasing student achievement. The 2010 Common Core Standards, which the majority of states initially adopted, and the race-to-the-top (RTT) monies, tying teacher evaluation to continuous student achievement, pushed the desire for increased student achievement farther than President Bush’s No Child Left Behind agenda had done in previous years. Changes in educational expectations for districts and schools require leadership in all parts of the system. Allen Krauskopf looks at the system as a whole in his discussion— be sure to read it! I’m going to concentrate on one part of the system, school leadership.


Can One Leader Do it All?
Districts are asking school leaders to become instructional leaders at the same time they ask them to ensure their schools are safe, their schools are sensitive to shifting cultural and financial nuances in school populations, and their schools are in alignment with all district mandates and state laws. Whew! In my work as a consultant for schools and principals, I have seen that a leader or principal of a school cannot possibly meet the increasing expectations of continuous school improvement without sharing leadership with teachers. Changes that must occur for schools to improve continuously have to be systematic and systemic—everyone has to understand, agree to and lead the change. To implement the Common Core Standards shared leadership at all levels of a school is needed.


Rachel Curtis, author of the 2013 report, Finding a New Way: Leveraging Teacher Leadership to Meet Unprecedented Demands, says the move toward "distributing leadership" is necessary because "the role of the principal has become untenable." She goes on to say, "with the array of knowledge and skills that we're expecting principals to have, it's unlikely that we will find them at the scale and numbers we need who will be willing to stay in those jobs for too long," Curtis says. "I definitely think this increased emphasis on teacher leadership is part of a strategy to make the schools run well and be effective. The districts that are doing well are leveraging the staff's collective expertise in a way that's sustainable."


The work is hard, and without sharing leadership principal burn-out happens. By establishing structures and processes for shared leadership throughout the building, principals and teachers will be able to work together to create an academic culture of high expectations and meet student achievement and teacher performance goals while implementing new educational initiatives—Common Core Standards, standards-based curriculum, teacher evaluation, high stakes testing, and so on.


Some of the structures and processes which I’ll write about in future discussions involve data-driven decision-making, communication avenues and job embedded professional development. I’ll be referencing Brian Stotts’ comments on classroom-based formative assessment, so be sure to see what he has to say.


Reference
Curtis, R. Finding a new way: Leveraging teacher leadership to meet unprecedented demands. (2013). Washington, D.C.: The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program.

  roll-up

Over the past decade school leaders have been facing growing demands for continuously increasing student achievement. The 2010 Common Core Standards, which the majority of states initially adopted, and the race-to-the-top (RTT) monies, tying teacher evaluation to continuous student achievement, pushed the desire for increased student achievement farther than President Bush’s No Child Left Behind agenda had done in previous years. Changes in educational expectations for districts and schools require leadership in all parts of the system. Allen Krauskopf looks at the system as a whole in his discussion— be sure to read it! I’m going to concentrate on one part of the system, school leadership.

... continue
 

 
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