Education Executive - Summer 2012 - (Page 84)
DENNIS-YARMOUTH REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Creating a Culture
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District aims to create a professional atmosphere that improves students’ success.
ublic school districts today face more competition than ever before. Once upon a time, school districts only had to compete with private schools in their local area.
For districts such as the DennisYarmouth Regional School District (DYRSD) – headquartered in South Yarmouth, Mass. – students not only can opt for private education. Today, Superintendent Carol Woodbury says her district also competes for students with charter schools in other districts, as is allowed in the state of Massachusetts. In response, Woodbury and her staff are doing everything they can to make DYRSD the district of choice in the Cape Cod region. The district has lost more students than any other in the area – it served 3,140 students as of October 2011, compared to a high of 3,956 – and Woodbury believes professional development of her faculty and staff is the best way to keep students in the district. Cape Cod also has 7,000 fewer students living here than 10 years ago. “I think that any district that is going to be successful has to focus on organizational culture and employee growth and development,” Woodbury says. “Our focus for employee growth is based on research in education that highlights best practices that will improve student achievement.” DYRSD consists of seven schools: Ezra H. Baker Elementary School, Nathaniel H. Wixon Middle School, Laurence C. MacArthur Elementary School, Station Avenue Elementary School, Marguerite E. Small Innovation School, Mattacheese Middle School and Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School. throughout the district. The leaders are classroom teachers, as well, but DYRSD provides leadership training for its teacher leaders so they will have the skills to effectively serve as mentors for other faculty members. “Having teachers who are in leadership roles does help move the district forward, but we can’t just say, ‘You’re a leader,’” Woodbury says. “We have to provide training for them because they need a different skill set to work with colleagues than they do to work with children.” Team leaders are sent for a week’s worth of training every summer, as well as several training sessions throughout the school year. Woodbury says this helps create parallel paths as teams create common assessments with standards to be applied across the district. Leaders also are trained to become “agents of change,” Woodbury says, to provide the necessary support when asking staff to try new things. “Being a change-agent can be challenging. You need to build a culture of teamwork to get everyone to go along with what the team wants to do,” Woodbury says. “It’s about teamwork, but it’s also about helping adults learn.” Woodbury says DYRSD has been involved with this leadership program for four years, and the overall goal of the program is to improve student achievement. This is particularly important considering 47 percent of the district’s student body receives either free or reduced lunch rates. Additionally, there is a growing population of English
DYRSD had done a great deal to advance the professional development of its teachers. One initiative involves teachers as leaders. These teacher leaders meet weekly in professional learning communities that are organized by grade level or content area. The communities, led by teacher leaders help to create the professional culture the Woodbury seeks to implement
84 | Education-Executive.com SUMMER 2012
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Executive - Summer 2012
Education Executive - Summer 2012
Can't Live Without It
Broadening the Student Experience
Upgrading Facilities on Tight Budgets
Haylor, Freyer & Coon ◆ N.Y.
Anne Arundel Community College ◆ MD
Humber College ◆ Ont.
Grove City College ◆ PA
Broome Community College ◆ N.Y.
Coastal Carolina University ◆ S.C.
Cuyahoga Community College ◆ Ohio
Ottawa University ◆ Kan.
Brazosport College ◆ Texas
Idaho State University ◆ Idaho
Hillsborough Community College ◆ Fla.
Post University ◆ Conn.
Union College ◆ N.Y.
University of New Mexico ◆ N.M.
Naperville School District 203 ◆ Ill.
Santa Barbara Unified School District ◆ Calif.
Acadia Parish School Board ◆ LA
Mounds View Public Schools ◆ Minn.
Central Community School District ◆ LA
Chelmsford Public Schools ◆ Mass.
Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District ◆ Mass.
86elmira City Schools ◆ N.Y.
Glendora Usd ◆ Calif.
Harnett County Schools ◆ N.C.
Holmes County School District ◆ Miss.
Jefferson Parish Public School System ◆ LA
Harlandale Independent School District ◆ Texas
Kyrene School District ◆ Ariz.
Fort Huachuca Accommodation Schools #00 ◆ Ariz.
Kenosha Unified School District ◆ Wis.
Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District ◆ Texas
Maryland School for the Deaf ◆ MD
Mclean County District Unit No. 5 ◆ Ill.
Williamson County Schools ◆ Tenn.
Mesa Public Schools ◆ Ariz.
Palmdale School District ◆ Calif.
Plain Local School District ◆ Ohio
St. Martin Parish Schools ◆ LA
Oak Harbor School District ◆ Wash.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools ◆ MD
Vancouver Island University ◆ B.C.
Brandon School Division ◆ MB
Dalhousie University ◆ N.S.
Peace River School Division ◆ AB
University of Sudbury ◆ Ont.
Sandy Spring Friends School
The Pomfret School ◆ Conn.
Riverside Military Academy ◆ GA
The Thacher School ◆ Calif.
Education Executive - Summer 2012