40. Overcoming Barriers
to Transformation
Through System-Wide
Dr. Carol Johnson, Superintendent
Central Dauphin School District
We believe that we can no longer wait to do right by our students
in preparing them for a challenging world and for life after school.
We need to move beyond a focus on basic academics to a far greater
emphasis on learner engagement and personal skill development. We
need to do so in a way that is relevant to the 21st Century, not the one
in which we grew up, a century that ended more than 14 years ago.
More importantly, we need to do this as a district, not as one teacher
in a single classroom. It is our duty to provide a high quality education
to every child in every classroom in every school in our district,
regardless of where those children live. A zip code cannot be what
determines educational outcomes.
Dr. Carol Johnson
The Goal of the Central Dauphin
RRR Initiative
To transform learning, teaching, and leading
in every Central Dauphin classroom and school
through a focus on
positive relationships and
rigorous and relevant instruction.
Building a System-wide
Approach for Rigorous Learning
Rigor/Relevance Framework
The Central Dauphin School
Located in suburbs of Harrisburg
14th largest district in Pennsylvania
District covers 118 square miles
92,000 residents
11,000 students - 41 languages - 40% poverty
13 elementary schools
4 middle schools
2 high schools
900 professional staff
Focus on the Foundation
• Align curriculum maps to core standards
and rigorous / relevant instruction
• Transform learning and instruction through
a focus on rigor, relevance, and
• Build leadership capacity at all levels—
classroom, school, district
Year 1 (2013-14)
 Dr. Bill Daggett speaks at a CDSD district in-service in March 2013
 Introductory 1-day professional development sessions (Summer 2013)
 Leadership Academy for all administrators (August 2013)
 WE SURVEYS in all CDSD schools (September 2013)
 District in-service focused on rigorous instruction (October 2013)
 Strategic planning at school and district level (Nov. 2013 – Feb. 2014)
 Leadership coaching for school leadership teams (Jan. – May 2014)
 Instructional coaches support 115 Cohort 1 Teacher Leaders (Jan. – June
 Teacher-led district in-service (March 7, 2014)
 All teachers and staff apply what they are learning (March – June 2014)
Changing Course and Owning
the Process
• After October 2014
Reacting to feedback
Learning from our mistakes
Embracing agility
The absolute requirement for
superintendent engagement
Non-Instructional Staff
• Nurses, psychologists, social workers,
home and school visitors, and other
Trained as teams to find ways to enhance
each school’s relationship with
stakeholders (staff, students, parents)
Para-Professional Staff
Classroom para-professionals worked
with special educators to:
 Help students with modified assignments
 Help students with Close Reading activities
 Help make life skills and other specialized
classes more rigorous
Year 2 (2014-15)
 Teacher-led 1-day professional development sessions (Summer 2014)
 Leadership Academy for all administrators (August 2014)
more teacher
 60 Cohort 2 Teacher Leaders trained with a focus on building lessons on
authentic performance tasks (Aug. – Sept. 2014)
 Teacher-led in-service focused on rigorous instruction (September 25, 2014)
Bring it to
life in each
 Math practices and model lesson professional development
 Leadership coaching as school leadership teams guide rigorous and relevant
learning and teaching in their school (Oct. 2014 – May 2015)
 Instructional coaching for 92 Cohort 3 teachers in every school (Oct. 2014 – Apr. 2015)
 Teacher-led district in-service in every school (March 6, 2015)
 All teachers and staff apply what they are learning to their work (ongoing)
Year 3 (2015-16)
 Teacher-led 1-day professional development sessions (Summer 2015)
 Leadership Academy for all administrators (August 2015)
 60 Cohort 4 Teacher Leaders trained with a focus on vocabulary
strategies and analyzing student work (Aug. – Sept. 2015)
 Dr. Bill Daggett kicks off school year with all staff (August 27, 2015)
Bring it to
life in each
 Teacher-led in-service focused on vocabulary strategies (September 2015)
 Principal and teacher-led in-service focused on analyzing student work (October 2015)
 Leadership coaching as school leadership teams guide rigorous and relevant
learning and teaching in their school (Oct. 2015 – March 2016)
 Instructional coaching for identified teachers in every school (Oct. 2015 – Apr. 2016)
 Teacher-led district in-service in every school (March 2015)
 All teachers and staff apply what they are learning to their work (ongoing)
The Core of CDSD’s RRR Initiative
Teacher-led professional learning
Cohort 1
 115 teacher leaders
Cohort 2
 60 teacher leaders
Modeling rigorous instruction
Cohort 3
 92 teacher leaders
 Coached in developing  Coached in developing  Coached in using
& teaching rigorous
& teaching rigorous
 Lessons built around
 Led March 7th
performance tasks
in-service with
• Close Reading
• Reflective Writing
 Led September 25
 Led March 6th
in-service with
in-service with
Cohort 4
 60 ‘repeat’ TLs
 Coached in using
• Vocabulary
• Analyzing student
 Will lead September
in-service with
Leadership Coaching and Support
 2013 Summer Leadership Academy – administrators introduced to
RRR concepts, tools, and overview of three-year initiative
 Leadership coaching provided in all 19 schools
Review of school’s needs assessment reports
Formation of school leadership teams
Development of school strategic action plans
Coach / principal walkthroughs using CIR
 Districtwide RRR Team guides initiative implementation
 Developed vision statement for RRR initiative
 Reviews participant feedback and recommends adjustments
 2014 Summer Leadership Academy – focus on leading the transformation
of learning and teaching in every classroom and every school
The Tipping Point
Increased teacher collaboration
Encouraging signs of progress in the use of
Close Reading
Reflective Writing
Performance Tasks
More system-wide collaboration
Teacher to teacher
Teacher to Principal
Teacher to Superintendent
The Herd is Moving
Generally Westward
 Everyone is included.
 Teachers are trying to transform the way they teach.
 Students are being challenged by more demanding
learning expectations.
 We are making learning more engaging, more
relevant, more like the real world.
One Brief Shining Moment
My Journey Video
Core Beliefs of the RRR Initiative
We believe that to be prepared for 21st Century
citizenship, our students must be strong readers,
writers, and critical thinkers. Our ultimate goal is to
afford every student the opportunity to be college and
career ready upon graduation.
We will base our measures on more than the outcomes
of high stakes tests.
We are preparing our students for the biggest high
stakes test of all – to succeed in life after high school.
Thank you!
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Thank you for a great session!