The South Plains Collaborative School Network (SPCSN) is a group of schools in the Lubbock, Texas, area which have banded together to collectively pursue school improvement and engage in transformative practice. To that end, Lubbock Cooper ISD (LCISD) invited the SPCSN School Transformation Pod to visit the campus of Laura Bush Middle School (LBMS) last Friday. About 12-15 school districts sent administrators to this event to learn about the strategies being deployed at LBMS in the interest of creating a world class learning environment for its students.
LBMS principal Edna Parr and assistant principal Kyle Hendrix provided an overview of the deployments and underlying philosophies driving that work. They and several other LCISD folks then led classroom “power walks” on the campus, to provide us an on-the-ground view of their efforts.
Some powerful learning, takeaways, and notices for me:
- Instructional improvement at LBMS is centered on The Fundamental 5 (Cain & Laird, 2012): 1) Frame the lesson, 2) Work in the power zone, 3) Frequent small group purposeful talk, 4) Recognize and reinforce, and 5) Write critically.
- A deep commitment to “intentional practice” is embedded into LBMS daily processes.
- Persistent attention to the quality of relationships between and among ALL stakeholders is a top priority.
- Deep learning and critical thinking are more highly valued than a pathological pursuit of superficial content coverage.
- Formative assessments of learning are a constant focus, through the small group purposeful talks, the daily writing synthesis of learning, the “exit tickets” on which students summarize learning, effective use of inquiry, etc.
- A marrow-deep commitment to continuous improvement seems to pervade the culture of both LCISD and LBMS.
Wouldn't it be nice if every child could attend a school like LBMS, in which student-centeredness and an intense focus on quality learning are relentlessly and intentionally pursued? Schools like that just feel right.
The sharing and cross-pollination of transformative undertakings like the school visit described above are part of a bigger movement afoot in Texas, driven largely by the Texas Association of School Administrators School Transformation Network.
Good stuff! Very good stuff! Thanks for the invite, Dr. Macy Satterwhite. Thanks for the hospitality, Ms. Parr and Mr. Hendrix.