...collecting data. Through analysis of their datathey discovered that when teachers spoke about the
need for more respect they were generally talking about increasing compliance - “I want my students to sit quietly, pay attention, do their work and obey the rules”. Students on the other hand talked about wanting respect in relation to having more independence and choices about some of the things that they worked on in their classes as well as a voice in decisions about school rules and policies. Thus “increasing respect” in this school required approaches that addressed the meaning of respect for both teachers and students.
The process of collecting data was the perfect fit here, because it provided a structure that allowed adults and students in this school to have their voices heard and to be able to listen to one another’s point of view, as they sought common solutions to their respect problems. Once adults and students began to collaboratively create their action plans, they were able to design projects that were exciting, innovative and that improved the school experience for all members of the school community.
We were told by students, teachers, and the superintendent that they felt this process was one of the most respectful approaches to school change they had ever encountered. It also worked! According to our data and to the superintendent who was credited widely for turning this school system around, school climate improved, teachers began using new techniques in their classrooms, many took graduate courses to learn these new approaches, and courses were paid for by the school. The superintendent moved his family into the community and enrolled his own child in the high school.
Other parents began bringing their children back into the system rather than tuition them to private schools thirty miles away. Test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance all went up, and teachers got new contracts from the school board. This went a long way toward making teachers more likely to stay and less likely to move on to the next higher paying system, leaving the students they had connected with behind. Students felt less and less like the kids from the 'loser community'.
For more information on our process, please reach out to us at the coordinates below! We can be found on the web at www.theCSCL.com