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Title: Boston%20College%20|%20Roche%20Center%20for%20Catholic%20Education


1
Boston College Roche Center for Catholic
Education
  • Emmaus Retreat Thursday, July 11, 2013

2
UNDERSTANDING EDUCATIONAL TRANSFORMATION
  • or at least trying to.

3
  • Why should anyone be led by you?
  • Robert Goffee Gareth Jones, Harvard Business
    Review

4
  • Change is the norm.

5
  • Technical Change
  • vs.
  • Adaptive Change

6
Technical change
  • Addresses the symptoms of a problem.
  • Change is incremental, gradual, non-disruptive.
  • The solution is largely known work involves
    realizing that solution.
  • Change occurs in routine behaviors and
    preferences.
  • Status quo remains unchallenged, maybe even
    strengthened.
  • Can be solved by an authority or expert.

7
Examples of technical changes
  • Take medication to lower your blood pressure.
  • Increase the penalty for drunk driving.
  • Enforce your discipline policy more effectively.
  • Ask English teachers to improve writing
    instruction at your school.

8
Adaptive change
  • Challenges the status quo.
  • Involves changing beliefs and values (i.e.,
    culture).
  • Addressing the matter requires new learning.
  • Finding a solution demands collaboration people
    with the problem solve the problem.
  • Solutions not readily apparent need to be
    identified over time.
  • The problem is systemic, so the solution must be
    systemic.

9
Examples of adaptive change
  • Change lifestyle to eat healthy, get more
    exercise, and lower stress
  • Raise public awareness of the dangers and effects
    of drunk driving, targeting teenagers in
    particular. Make everyone part of the solution.
  • Create a school environment that respects
    students and engages them in their learning.
  • Teaching writing across the curriculum
    collectively set objectives, design lessons, and
    create rubrics.

10
  • Talk with people at your table about technical
    and adaptive changes that you have experienced as
    part of being a Catholic school leader.
  • What were their key features?
  • How did people react to them?
  • Which proved more difficult?
  • What role did you play?
  • How did things turn out?

11
  • Using the complex adaptive system (CAS) model
    to address issues of adaptive change

12
All models are wrong. . . but some are useful.
George E. P. Box, "Science and statistics",
Journal of the American Statistical Association
71791-799
Put simply. . .
13
Home of the Complex Adaptive System
14
What is a complex adaptive system?
  • A population of diverse agents, all of which are.
    . .
  • Connected with behaviors and actions that are. .
    .
  • Interdependent and that exhibit. . .
  • Learning (or adaptation) as they interact, and. .
    .
  • You cant predict what a complex system will do,
    but the patterns are revealing.
  • Its not complicated its complex.
  • Its all a system.

15
  Very much so (4) Considerably (3) Somewhat (2) Little/None at all (1) Cant assess (no rating)
Attention to initial conditions? Did people plan for reform before enacting change? Did people anticipate challenges? Were people able to draw on existing strengths?          
Dissonance/Disequilibrium Was a context created which disrupted normal routines? Were new opportunities created? Was the system prevented from reverting back to the status quo? Were people no longer doing what they had always done?          
Was control effectively distributed? Did people have power to act in response to the disequilibrium they experienced? Were opportunities created that allowed people working in similar areas to engage with their collective work in-depth? Did people maintain and generate relevant connections beyond their immediate network? Were there both strong and weak ties?          
Culture Did key people in this endeavor share similar values about important aspects of their collective work? Were there mechanisms or opportunities aimed at promoting shared values?          
Were interventions into the system evident at multiple levels of the system?          
Fractals Did multiple aspects of the system draw on comparable strategies because they had proven effective?          
Systematic feedback Was there an ongoing and relevant data stream regularly generated and received by involved persons? Did participants have a sense for what impact their efforts were having?          
Were key factors related to change balanced (e.g., authority autonomy, challenge support, top-down bottom up)?          
Synergy Were key factors mutually reinforcing? Were there unexpected outcomes? Were there non-linear outcomes (minimal effort ? big effect)?          
16
Objectives
  • To develop a complex adaptive system model for
    understanding effective adaptive changeexploring
    what key features of such models look like in
    theory practice.
  • To use this model to assess specific aspects of
    educational change with which you are familiar.
  • To gain a sense for how you might apply a CAS
    model to efforts at transformation in your
    school.

17
  • Some Key Features of Complex Adaptive Systems

18
(1) Initial Conditions
  • How much did people plan for reform before
    enacting change? Were they strategic?
  • Did people anticipate challenges?
  • Were people able to draw on existing strengths?
  • Was there a plan? Was it logical?

19
Initial Conditions The Coalition of Essential
Schools (CES)
  • Where you start with school reform often has a
    big impact on where you end up.
  • Path dependence

20
A School-within-a-school strategy
  • 5 charter member of the Coalition of Essential
    Schools embraced a school-within-a-school
    structure
  • Promoted divisiveness charges of favoritism
  • 3 years later, only one school remained a member
    of the Coalition

21
  • Who came in and said there was something wrong
    with Silas Ridge High's curriculum? . . . It is
    a sequential curriculum American, English, and
    World literaturesophomore, junior, and senior
    years. . . . Who said . . . the sophomore
    English curriculum was better with a topic-based
    curriculum? . . . A couple teachers sat down
    and wrote that curriculum over the summer,
    Coalition teachers. . . .We were changing what I
    thought was good about Silas Ridge High Schoola
    strong academic curriculum, high standards, kids
    getting into the top colleges in the country.
    What was wrong? That was what really bothered
    me. And then it simply affected every teacher in
    the school when it took all levels of classes and
    changed the curriculum. It made us two different
    schools. Silas Ridge HS English teacher

22
(No Transcript)
23
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of the degree to which it
    attended to the issue of initial conditions.

24
(2) Was a sense of disequilibrium or dissonance
generated?
  • Was a context created which disrupted normal
    routines?
  • Were new opportunities created?
  • Was the system prevented from reverting to the
    status quo?
  • Were people no longer doing what they had always
    done?

25
Adaptive leadership
  • Exercising leadership from a position of
    authority in adaptive situations means going
    against the grain. Rather than fulfilling the
    expectation for answers, one provides questions
    rather than protecting people from outside
    threat, one lets people feel the threat in order
    to stimulate adaptation . . . rather than
    quelling conflict, one generates it instead of
    maintaining norms, one challenges them. (p. 126)
    Ronald Heifetz, (1994). Leadership without easy
    answers. Cambridge, MA Harvard University Press.

26
National Standards Benchmarks
  • Benchmark 7.1 The curriculum adheres to
    appropriate, delineated standards, and is
    vertically aligned to ensure that every student
    successfully completes a rigorous and coherent
    sequence of academic courses based on the
    standards and rooted in Catholic values.
  • Anyone getting nervous?
  • Sense of urgency?
  • Feeling excited?

27
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of the degree to which it
    generated a sense of disequilibrium.

28
(3) Distributing Control Generating New
Networks
  • Was control effectively distributed?
  • Did people have power to act in response to
    disequilibrium they experienced?
  • Were opportunities created that allowed people
    working in similar areas to engage with their
    collective work in-depth?
  • Did people maintain or generate relevant
    connections beyond their immediate network?
  • Were there both strong and weak ties?

29
Strong weak ties, innovation, trust
  • The extent to which organizations are able to
    innovate depends in part on the social links with
    the organizational units, as well as the links
    outside the organization. (p. 97)
  • Innovation emerges between rather than within
    people. (p. 98) Moolenar, N.M. Sleegers, J.C.
    Social networks, trust, and innovation The role
    of relationships in supporting an innovative
    climate in Dutch schools.
  • Trust Sincerity, Competence Reliability (Bryk
    Schnieder, Trust in Schools)

30
Network formation
  • School leaders . . . can influence tie formation
    though the creation of opportunities for teachers
    to interact in regular and long-lasting ways.
    Coburn, C.E., Choi, L. and Mata, W. (2010).
    Network formation in the context of a
    district-based mathematics reform.

31
A leadership truism

32
  • Standard 6.4 The leader/leadership team
    establishes and supports networks of
    collaboration at all levels within the school
    community to advance excellence.
  • Standard 7.7 Faculty collaborate in
    professional learning communities to develop,
    implement and continuously improve the
    effectiveness of the curriculum and instruction
    to result in high levels of student achievement.

33
  • Standard 8.5 Faculty collaborate in
    professional learning communities to monitor
    individual and class-wide student learning
    through methods such as common assessments and
    rubrics.

34
  • How often do administrators and/or teachers at
    your school work collectively and intensively in
    group contexts on school-related matters (e.g.,
    designing interim assessments, analyzing data,
    conducting classroom observations).
  • a) It is a normal and explicit part of school
    routines. 3/20
  • b) We dont necessarily set aside time for
    collective undertakings but opportunities do
    arise for this to occur. 8/53
  • c) People work in groups at my school but it is
    mainly on the basis of happenstance. 3/20
  • d) We seldom work collectively on aspects of our
    practice. 1/7
  • e) We never work collectively on aspects of our
    practice. 0/0

35
A Centralized Network
36
A Distributed Network
37
A Decentralized Network
38
A Comparative View of Networks
39
  • What networks do you have at your school that
    offer opportunities for faculty and
    administrators to promote mutual trust by
    creating opportunities for them to experience one
    anothers sincerity, competence, and reliability?
  • What specifically do they do that promotes these
    outcomes? What risks do people take?
  • How do you know that trust is the ultimate
    outcome? What does the trust engendered by these
    experiences look like?

40
  • Thinking about your example of effective or
    ineffective educational change, can you think of
    ways in which some form of a network might have
    supported this reform work?

41
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of networks.

42
(4) Culture Values Beliefs
  • Did key people in this endeavor share similar
    values about important aspects of their
    collective work?
  • Did they believe all students can learn?
  • Did they consider it their responsibility to
    ensure that this occurred?
  • Did they appreciate the power of working
    collectively to make this happen?
  • Were there mechanisms/opportunities aimed at
    promoting shared values?

43
  • To what degree do faculty and administrators
    share common values and beliefs regarding
    important aspects of your educational practices
    and policies (e.g., all students should be held
    to rigorous standards).
  • a) Faculty and administrators share largely the
    same beliefs about the critical features of
    effective teaching and learning. (3/21)
  • b) Most faculty and administrators share
    comparable views about the critical features of
    effective teaching and learning. (8/57)
  • c) At my school, faculty and administrators are
    about evenly divided regarding the critical
    features of effective teaching and learning. (2
    14)
  • d) Faculty and administrators are my school
    differ notably with regards to the critical
    features of effective teaching and learning.
    (1/7)
  • e) There is virtually no consensus among faculty
    and administrators at my school regarding the
    critical features of effective teaching and
    learning. (0/0)

44
Sr. Helen Prejean (via Aaron Brenner)
  • We watch what we do to see what we believe.

45
National Standards Benchmarks
  • Standard 1 An excellent Catholic school is
    guided and driven by a clearly communicated
    mission that embraces a Catholic Identity rooted
    in Gospel values, centered on the Eucharist, and
    committed to faith formation, academic excellence
    and service.
  • Standard 2 An excellent Catholic school
    adhering to mission provides a rigorous academic
    program for religious studies and catechesis in
    the Catholic faith, set within a total academic
    curriculum that integrates faith, culture, and
    life.

46
Culture disequilibrium
  • Life for everyone in a school is determined by
    ideas and values, and if these are not under
    constant discussion and surveillance, the
    comforts of ritual replace the conflict and
    excitement involved in growing and changing. . .
    . If the principal is not constantly confronting
    ones self and others, and if others cannot
    confront the principal with the world of
    competing ideas and values shaping life in a
    school, he or she is an educational administrator
    and not an educational leader. Seymour Sarason,
    The Culture of the School and the Problem of
    Change (1971)

47
  • If a visitor walked into your school, what would
    your culture look like? What would they see?
    What values would be evident?

48
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of shared cultural values.

49
  • BREAK TIME!

50
(5) Were multiple levels of the system
impacted?
  • Were interventions into the system evident at
    multiple levels of the system?
  • Did this effort impact students, teachers,
    administrators, parents?
  • Were changes evident in classrooms, meetings, and
    extracurricular contexts?
  • Did the reform permeate varied aspects of the
    school system?

51
Multiple levels (cont.)
  • Change in education, at whatever level, is not
    so much a consequence of effecting change in one
    particular factor or variable. . . . It is more a
    case of generating momentum in a new direction by
    attention to as many factors as possible. Mark
    Mason, Complexity Theory and the Philosophy of
    Education

52
Multiple levels (still cont.)
  • If one wants to ensure a consistent range of
    quality in a complex system . . . it is best not
    to isolate only one factor of the system for
    improvement. . . . The more levels of the system
    that the policy affects, the more likely it is
    that the policy will have a sustained effect.
    M. J. Buell D. J. Cassidy, The Complex and
    Dynamic Nature of Quality in Early Care and
    Educational Programs

53
A Lynch Leadership Academy example DREAM BIG
  • Determination, Respect, Excellence,
    Accountability, Mastery (DREAM)
  • Belief in God (BIG)
  • This policy has created a common discipline
    policy. It has set high expectations across the
    board for our faculty. Out of this has come a
    parent accountability contract. I have decreased
    tardiness. . . . All of this is coming out of my
    LGP. Catholic school principal, Cohort 1

54
  • Can you think of an example of school reform that
    attended to multiple levels of the system? Was
    it successful?

55
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of cultural values.

56
(6) Fractals
  • Do multiple aspects of the system draw on
    comparable strategies because they are effective?
  • Are effective strategies reproduced throughout
    the system?

57
Fractals in nature Branching patterns
58
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59
(No Transcript)
60
Reflection Critical to school transformation
  • How often does your school create opportunities,
    to stop and reflect, in some collective forum, on
    the work you are doing as faculty and/or
    administrators at your school? (This may be
    grade-level, departmental, or administrative
    groups.)
  • a) It is a normal and explicit part of our school
    routines. (3/21)
  • b) We dont necessarily set aside time for
    reflection on a regular basis but we do create
    opportunities for reflection to occur. (7/50)
  • c) Reflection occurs at my school but it is
    mainly on the basis of happenstance. (2/14)
  • d) Collectively, we seldom reflect on aspects of
    our practice. (2/14)
  • e) Collectively, we never reflect on aspects of
    our practice. (0/0)

61
  • What general strategies have you experienced that
    seem to be effective in efforts at school
    transformation?

62
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of the degree to which it drew on
    comparable strategies integrated throughout the
    reform.

63
(7) Are system elements balanced?
  • The Goldilocks principle Not too much, not too
    little.
  • Authority/Autonomy
  • Top-down/Bottom up
  • Challenge/Support

64
  • Thinking about reforms you are familiar with, did
    any aspects seem to be out of balance?

65
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of the degree to which the effort
    overall seemed to be in balance.

66
(8) Systematic Feedback
  • Was there an ongoing and relevant data stream
    regularly generated that was received by involved
    persons?
  • Did participants have a sense for what impact
    their efforts were having?

67
  • Benchmark 6.5 The leader/leadership team
    directs the development and continuous
    improvement of curriculum and instruction, and
    utilizes school-wide data to plan for continued
    and sustained academic excellence and growth.
  • Benchmark 8 An excellent Catholic school uses
    school-wide assessment methods and practices to
    document student learning and program
    effectiveness, to make student performances
    transparent, and to inform the continuous review
    of curriculum and improvement of instructional
    practices.

68
Why do you need a data stream?
  • With any enduring system, change is the norm so
    you need to react to emerging developments.
  • Data can be a means to perturb the system.

69
(No Transcript)
70
  • The curriculum adheres to appropriate, delineated
    standards and is vertically aligned to ensure
    that every student successfully completes a
    rigorous and coherent sequence of academic
    courses based on the standards and rooted in
    Catholic values.
  • Graded course of study
  • Standardized test scores
  • National standards
  • Curriculum maps
  • Specific notation of Catholic values in the
    curriculum
  • Course sequence
  • Common assessments
  • Written curriculum

71
  • In your experience in the field of education,
    what data have you found to be compelling?

72
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of its effective use of data.

73
(9) Synergy
  • Were key factors mutually reinforcing? When one
    system element did what it was supposed to do,
    did it enhance what other system elements did?
  • Were there non-linear outcomes (Minimal effort ?
    Big effect)?
  • Was the sum of the whole greater than the sum of
    the individual parts?
  • Were there unexpected outcomes?

74
  • As a school leader, when were you pleasantly
    surprised? What factors do you think contributed
    to this development? Why did this occur? What
    factors may have come into play?

75
  • Assess your example of successful/unsuccessful
    reform in terms of the outcomes it generated that
    surprised you.

76
The Final Step
  1. Add up your totals for the categories you
    assessed. (You may not have found every
    dimension relevant.)
  2. Divide that total by the number of categories you
    assessed.
  3. If you were looking at an effective reform, was
    your average greater than 2?
  4. If you were looking at an ineffective reform, was
    you average less than 2?

77
  • All models are wrong. . . but some are useful.
  • Was this model useful? What questions remain?
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