District Administration July 2018 - 28

Administrative Leadership
Creating Alignment: Vision, Instructional Initiatives,
Professional Learning and Data-Driven Decision-Making
Rowland USD
Rowland Heights, California
CHALLENGE: Administrators wanted everyone in the
19-school district following
a central vision that would
drive instructional initiatives, foster personalized
professional development
and focus on data-driven
decision-making.
INITIATIVE: The district
created a new framework
for teaching and learning
to align instructional initiatives and plan professional
development. Each school
selected a focus area-such
as literacy, mathematical
practices or inquiry-and
then principals and their
leadership teams spent a
year identifying professional

learning needs and designing a PD program. Personalized learning occurred
via coaching, self-initiated
collaboration, communities
of practice and professional
learning communities. Classified staff also participated
in professional learning
aligned to the district framework.
IMPACT: "Having a collaboratively constructed framework has had a significant,
positive impact on staff and
parents," says Alex Flores,
assistant superintendent
for administrative services.
Student achievement has
increased as has participation, with nearly 300 stu-

MEASURING SUCCESS-With a single vision for the
entire district, Rowland USD has created an academic
environment that stresses innovation and includes
hands-on STEM learning.

dents attend the monthly
Saturday Learning Academy.
ADVICE: "Start with the
shared vision, develop a
framework for teaching and
learning that is so specific

that it adds clarity, and plan
all instructional initiatives
and professional learning
around that collaboratively
constructed framework,"
says Flores.

CORE Communities Organized to Reach Excellence
Aurora Public Schools
Aurora, Colorado

CHALLENGE: With fewer than half of students graduating from high school within four years, Aurora Public
Schools was identified in 2010 as one of the lowest-performing districts in Colorado.
INITIATIVE: Communities Organized to Reach Excellence, a school reform framework, covers the key areas
essential to increasing district and school staff capacity:
turnaround leadership, budget flexibility, talent management, charter authorization, innovation status, physical space, philanthropic relationships and community
engagement. The district uses communities of practice to
facilitate collaboration, analyze work and develop solutions. A timeline is set to implement improvement strate-

28 July 2018

gies for schools that continue to struggle. The district also
performs education audits to improve performance.
IMPACT: Graduation rates have increased 15 percent over
the past four years, and the dropout rate has improved to
a 12-year low of 2.5 percent. In 2017, 30 of the district's
schools earned "Performance" ratings-the highest in the
state's accountability system.
ADVICE: Every district needs to consider its unique context while developing a reform plan. Staff, parent and
community buy-in of that vision is also crucial for student success.

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration July 2018

District Administration July 2018 - 1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover1
District Administration July 2018 - Cover2
District Administration July 2018 - 1
District Administration July 2018 - 2
District Administration July 2018 - 3
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District Administration July 2018 - Cover3
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