Every child learning. Not by chance but by design. – by Kelley King
This past week, I was in Los Angeles attending a 3-day educational research meeting with 14 other authors in the field of education. We studied the strategies and conditions in a school that have the biggest positive impact on students’ achievement. Further, we discussed how schools can translate this research into action.
Out of 250 influences (including factors at both home and school) on a child’s academic achievement, do you know what increases student achievement the most? It is something called Collective Efficacy. Collective teacher efficacy refers to a staff’s shared belief that, through their collective action, they can positively influence student outcomes. Educators with high efficacy show greater effort and persistence, a willingness to try new teaching approaches, set more challenging goals, and attend more closely to the needs of students who require extra assistance.
One of my respected author colleagues Jenni Donohoo recently wrote a blog on the topic and she identified six conditions that form the basis of collective efficacy in a school:
1. Advanced Teacher Influence
Advanced teacher influence is defined by the degree to which teachers are provided opportunities to participate in important school-wide decisions.
2. Goal Consensus
Reaching consensus on goals not only increases collective efficacy, it also has a direct and measurable impact on student achievement.
3. Teachers’ Knowledge About One Another’s Work
Teachers gain confidence in their peers’ ability to impact student learning when they have more intimate knowledge about each other’s practice.
4. Cohesive Staff
Cohesion is defined as the degree to which teachers agree with each other on fundamental educational issues.
5. Responsiveness of Leadership
Responsive leaders show concern and respect for their staff and protect teachers from issues that detract from their teaching time and focus.
6. Effective Systems of Intervention
Effective systems of intervention help in ensuring that all students are successful.
At GMLS, we are both fortunate and strategically intentional in the area of collective efficacy. We have a teacher and administrative team that functions extremely well. We work together to problem-solve, we openly collaborate and share with one another, feedback and coaching are welcomed, there are high levels of trust, and we are meeting daily to discuss individual student needs and how to best meet them – with the child’s needs always at the center.
Through collective efficacy, GMLS doesn’t leave students’ learning to chance. We design. And we never stop designing. We design because every child is unique, because we know we can always get better, and because we are committed to not just being a great school, but being the best school.