High Leverage Opportunity 1 – Statewide Support to Low-Performing Schools
“They allowed themselves to slow down and not be overtaken by the sense of urgency — we all know that sense of urgency is really important in helping these schools, but to have time to really do the right analysis, the right engagement, planning, so that work can be implemented with fidelity and sustained.”
The school improvement professionals comprising Cohort IV of the LAUNCH!™ Training were meant to chart new territory. They were the first cohort sponsored by the Regional Center 6 at SERVE to help build capacity and improve services for low-performing schools. Then the COVID-19 pandemic wrought its havoc, forcing the program to become an online virtual training experience on the fly.
“One of the things we found out is that, yes, we can do this virtually,” said Deb Page, CEO and President of The Institute for Performance Enhancement (TIFPI). Page co-founded the Georgia-based Institute that offers LAUNCH!™ Training and other performance improvement services (see Filling the Gap for School Transformation). Page said the Cohort IV participants used the unique circumstances to help become more efficient and productive. “They allowed themselves to slow down and not be overtaken by the sense of urgency — we all know that sense of urgency is really important in helping these schools,” Page said. “But to have time to really do the right analysis, the right engagement, planning, so that work can be implemented with fidelity and sustained.”
The comradery and shared learning translated online as well. The usual LAUNCH!™ touches were there. For instance, coaches maintained their teamwork and personalized team names — Ron’s Raptors and Donna’s Dynamos to name two. When school improvement specialists serve multiple schools from hours away, drive time and travel logistics are always a challenge. In virtual spaces, everyone involved could be together instantly.
Even the culminating graduation of Cohort IV in June thrived in a GoToWebinar ceremony. “Pomp and Circumstance” played over a PowerPoint presentation in which participants’ supervisors noted the growth transferred to the workplace during the training.
Daundria Phillips, Ph.D., is a School Effectiveness Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education and was a Cohort IV participant. “The LAUNCH training provided me with a plethora of resources and tools to use to support the schools and school districts I serve,” Phillips said. “I particularly appreciated the organizational tools and resources. As an educator who possesses some characteristics of a Type A personality, I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced to charts (i.e. Task Breakdown chart) and graphs that allowed me to ‘chunk’ my work and organize it into more easily manageable and doable parts.”
As the cohorts continue (Cohort V is underway), Page is noticing that participants do not want to break away, they want to keep collaborating because for the first time they have a professional network tackling the same work and challenges.
“They have a network like they’ve never had,” Page said. Scaling the training to cover more of the Regional Center 6 region of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina is something she’s considering. “There’s a group of us working on collaborative planning so that (school improvement professionals) all have the same language, same tools in mind,” Page said.
This website was developed under a grant from the Department of Education through the Office of Program and Grantee Support Services (PGSS) within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), by the Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) at the SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro under Award #S283B190055. This website contains resources that are provided for the reader’s convenience. These materials may contain the views and recommendations of various subject matter experts as well as hypertext links, contact addresses, and websites to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any outside information included in these materials. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, enterprise, curriculum, or program of instruction mentioned in this document is intended or should be inferred.
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