Organizational Conditions in Local School Districts to Support Teaching and Learning

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The Winston-Salem Forsyth County School System (WSFCS) completed a comprehensive needs assessment during the 2008-2009 school years to determine best practices to increase student achievement in all subgroups as defined by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (Department of Education [DOE], 2002, p. 35). The comprehensive needs assessment findings concluded that the school district lacked a formal model of district-wide collaboration to address shared norms, beliefs, values, goals, behavior, and academics (LEA Plan, 2008, p. 5). The school district is in the second year of implementing Professional Learning Communities (PLC) in each of the eighty-one schools. Twenty-six schools were designated to implement Single School Culture, thirteen high schools implemented Keep Learning on Track, and the remaining schools in the district designed a model of collaboration based on DuFour’s model of professional learning communities. Single School Culture results in the consistency of adult and student practices related to behavior, academic achievement, and climate. The processes are designed to develop the knowledge and skills of adults and student simultaneously. Behavior is a uniformed set of practices and procedures that are aligned to a school’s mission and goals. These practices and procedures are known and used by all staff to positively norm both student and adult actions. The goal of applying the Single School Culture for behavior process is to empower the staff to uniformly address behavior issues that in turn creates an ethos of fairness on a campus. Single School Culture for Academics is a research-based process that utilizes the most effective practices from the Efficacy Initiative, Standards in Practice from Education Trust, an... ... middle of paper ... ...f Education: DuFour, R., & Eaker, R. (1998). Sustaining the school improvement process. In Professional learning communities at work: Best practices for enhancing student achievement (pp. 105-130). Bloomington, IN: National Educational Service. Dukewits, P., & Gowin, L. (1996). Creating successful collaborative teams. Journal of Staff Development, 4(17), 12-16. Hirsh, S., & Killion, J. (2007). When educators learn, students learn: eight principles of professional learning. Phi Delta Kappan International. Retrieved from v90 West Palm Beach. (n.d.). . Retrieved from Winston-Salem Forsyth County School System Title I Department. (2008, March 13, 2008). Local Educational Agency District Improvement Plan. Winston-Salem, NC: Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.
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