The SERP Internal Coherence Team works with Clovis Unified School District and Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute (CVELI)
The SERP Internal Coherence Team has concluded a two-year partnership with the Clovis Unified School District and Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute (CVELI) to improve the organizational contexts for instructional improvement. In 2013 CVELI Executive Director Virginia Boris reached out to SERP’s IC Team with a familiar educational dilemma: Although the schools had had great success with teacher-centered instructional approaches in the past, teachers and leaders would need to learn to work in dramatically different ways to prepare their students to be 21st century learners. The pilot IC project engaged six elementary schools located in the Clovis East High School feeder pattern that serve a large proportion of the district’s high-need students
The IC research team, including Richard Elmore, Michelle Forman, Elizabeth Leisy Stosich, and Candice Bocala worked with CVELI faculty from California State University, Fresno, and local education leaders to design The Building Coherence for Instructional Improvement (BCII) program. In a series of 10 professional learning sessions, BCII brought principals and teachers together into school leadership teams to tackle organizational impediments to instructional improvements. As part of the design, school leadership teams formed a network to participate in off-site, experiential learning in research-based approaches to fostering organizational capacity, and were then given time and support from local coaches to develop a strategic application of these approaches to their work in school.
The two-year partnership allowed for the time and communication required to build the trust among diverse stakeholders that was necessary for effective co-development. The design-based implementation approach to the research partnership afforded multiple opportunities to solicit feedback based on the experiences of the leadership teams. Over the course of the BCII sessions school leadership teams moved from trying out practices developed by the researchers to co-constructing clinical practices, bringing research to bear on the needs of the local context. These co-constructed practices, such as a collaborative lesson design process, were more deeply rooted in teaching and learning than initial practices designed by the research team.
The partnership also achieved the ultimate goal of the IC project: a transfer of ownership and capacity to local stakeholders. In March 2015 Virginia Boris and Elizabeth Leisy Stosich presented lessons learned from the research-practice partnership at the Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education (LINK to presentation). In March of 2015 BCII school teams also presented their accomplishments, to leaders from across the Central Valley (LINK to footage from presentation) generating demand for a second round of training in the area. In the fall of 2015 Virginia Boris and CVELI colleagues will assume leadership of BCII Cohort II, and facilitate the professional learning sessions with 24 Central Valley schools from Clovis USD and 4 rural districts. Rosalie Baker, Area Superintendent for Clovis East, and her principal leadership team will continue their own IC work with induction for new colleagues and group study of more sophisticated IC practice.
The IC team will continue to provide consultation and engage in joint research and publication with partners in the Central Valley, and will continue ongoing collaborations with schools, districts, and support agencies in New York and Massachusetts.