District Administration December2017 - 86

ProfessionalOpinion
Restructuring for a culture
of collaboration
Feeder track model helps improve graduation rates
and student growth

T

he organizational tendency of
many large school districts is to
divide elementary and secondary education into separate departments.
Dearborn Public Schools' central office
followed this model for decades. During
tough financial times there was a history of competition for limited district
resources between elementary and secondary central office staff and building
administrators. This led to a culture of
little collaboration between secondary
and elementary faculty. When district
educational programs or models did
not produce the desired results, it was
common to blame staff at the other level
(i.e., high school blames middle school,
middle school blames elementary).
In 2015, the Dearborn Public
Schools central office organization was
restructured with the goal of promoting
a culture of collaboration within a pre-K
through 12 district feeder track model.
District feeder tracks
The district vision for the feeder track
model was to ensure an effective pre-K
through 12 focus on student growth,
achievement, and career and college
readiness. A feeder track was defined
as the attendance area of elementary
schools and middle schools that included
the population of the high school. The
feeder track model merged instructional
supervision and evaluation along the
boundary lines that defined school attendance. The three high schools in the
district (Dearborn High, Edsel Ford and
Fordson) formed three separate feeder

DAmag.me/collab

86 December 2017

In addition to school
and classroom visits,
executive directors
developed a schedule
of school-based
leadership meetings.
tracks, and an executive director of student achievement position was created
to organize instructional supervision
in each. Executive directors supervised
building principals and reported directly
to the superintendent on the executive
leadership team.
The goal was to eliminate competition for district resources that divided
elementary and secondary administrators
and departments. With pre-K through
12 school teams working collaboratively
for the success of all students in their
feeder track, teachers, administrators and
central office supervisors share responsibility and resources.
Instructional leadership
Effective instructional leadership is
evidenced by district leaders' presence
in schools focused on instruction. In
addition to school and classroom visits,
executive directors developed a schedule
of school-based leadership meetings.
Professional learning was the focus with
instructional rounds as a part of every
session. Additionally, monthly leadership meetings focused on professional
learning were completed for elementary,
middle and high school administrators.
The intent was for the three executive directors to participate at all levels to
ensure communication and consistency.

By Jill Chochol and Glenn Maleyko
Even with three feeder tracks, the focus
remains on one district.
Monthly district leadership meetings
The superintendent hosted monthly, collaborative, professional learning meetings
with topics relevant to every participant
and scheduled breakout sessions on a
variety of topics. Administrators were
surveyed on topics of interest and were
invited to facilitate sessions. The sessions
were led by principals, teachers, department directors, executive directors and
the superintendent. The chief requirement for content of the sessions was
that it was relevant and interactive. Staff
modeled the expectations for the multiple building principals to implement
with their faculty for professional learning and job-embedded training.
"The feeder track model allows for
vertical articulation for strategies, curriculum and student support," notes
Shannon Peterson, one of the executive
directors of Student Achievement for
the district. "The job-embedded professional learning has included learning
walks with pre-K through 12 teachers,
affording a rare glimpse into a different
level of education. It is seldom when an
elementary teacher and/or administrator
has a chance to observe an instructional
strategy in a high school classroom and
vice versa."
The focus on collaborative leadership
in a culture of continuous improvement
through the feeder track model has facilitated the work of administrators and
teachers in improving student growth in
Dearborn Public Schools. DA
Jill Chochol is executive director of Student
Achievement for Dearborn Public Schools.
Glenn Maleyko is superintendent of Dearborn
Public Schools.
District Administration


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration December2017

District Administration December2017 - Cover1
District Administration December2017 - Cover2
District Administration December2017 - 1
District Administration December2017 - 2
District Administration December2017 - 3
District Administration December2017 - 4
District Administration December2017 - 5
District Administration December2017 - 6
District Administration December2017 - 7
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District Administration December2017 - Cover3
District Administration December2017 - Cover4
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