The Time for Equity Survey and Case Study: Exploring Teacher Ownership, Knowledge and Leadership

About Time for Equity: Teacher Ownership, Knowledge, and Leadership Survey

The “Teacher Ownership, Knowledge, and Leadership Survey” is part of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform’s Time for Equity project, an ongoing effort to support the Ford Foundation’s national Learning Time initiative. Time for Equity builds the capacity of schools, districts, communities, and partner organizations to improve educational opportunities in the nation’s most underserved school systems through expanded and reimagined learning opportunities. The approaches, organizations, and districts involved in this work are examining and restructuring how existing time is used in school, as well as creating systemic partnerships, resources, and structures that link schools with public agencies or community organizations to create higher-quality teaching and learning opportunities.

To support these efforts, AISR developed the “Time for Equity Indicators Framework”, which presents a set of twenty-four indicators that school communities can use as “yardsticks” to measure and refine their efforts to create more and better learning time for young people. (The indicator framework can be found at timeforequity.org)

This survey aims to gather information regarding one of these indicators – the extent to which teachers have opportunities at their school to learn about, contribute to, and lead current improvement efforts. In particular, the survey will explore the various structures and sources of support that assist teachers in gaining knowledge and building ownership of the high schools that they work in.

In Los Angeles, teachers and administrators engaged in promising approaches to high school education are being invited to participate in the “Teacher Ownership, Knowledge, and Leadership Survey.” If you choose to participate, you will be joining teachers from across the district in providing valuable information that can deepen our understanding of the valuable role teachers play in school improvement efforts, and assisting LAUSD educators and policymakers in creating the conditions that contribute to improving schools’ and students’ learning opportunities, growth, and success.

We anticipate no risk or inconvenience to participants. All participation is voluntary, and participants may withdraw at any time without consequences of any kind. Participants may also refuse to answer any survey questions they don’t want to answer. All responses will remain anonymous and confidential. The survey takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.  The survey can be taken at a convenient time, before or after school hours, and can be saved to complete at a later time.

About Time for Equity: Los Angeles Case Studies

The Time for Equity case studies will explore the conditions that are essential for increasing student achievement. Through carefully designed case studies of schools implementing promising approaches to high school education, we will provide insight into new and alternative ways of measuring what matters for student learning, and how we should/can assess school success. In particular, the case studies will provide an opportunity to gain a fuller and deeper understanding of the critical role teachers play in realizing school improvement.

The project will focus on three Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) high school sites, each engaged in transformation through the implementation of one (or more) of three approaches that are working towards ameliorating educational inequalities by broadening students’ learning opportunities. Implementation of each of these approaches – Community Schools, Linked Learning, and Promise Neighborhood – requires an exploration, restructuring, and/or expansion of time use to ensure students’ access a broad, enriching curriculum; health and wellness; and opportunity to learn from and establish relationships with caring adults within and outside of the classroom. Importantly, each of these approaches have created a system that prioritizes the opportunity for continuous improvement through a deliberate process that allows for the sharing of knowledge about new programs, practices, and strategies. As such, these approaches recognize the need to provide time for teachers to learn about the initiative and to learn from each other as well as other colleagues to establish system coherence and a shared understanding of the nature of the work.

Using constructs from the research literature and our conceptual framework, we will design tools and instruments for collecting data about the conditions that allow for an expansion of learning opportunities through teachers’ ownership, knowledge, and understanding of the initiative. Case studies will explore the following:

•  What systems and structures, created and/or reinforced by partnership, help promote and support teachers’ ownership, knowledge and leadership of the initiative? What are the challenges?

•  What are the expected outcomes of increasing teacher ownership, knowledge, and leadership of the initiative?

The case studies will use a mixed-methods approach, and each will be tailored to meet the particular needs and context of the school site and partner organizations. Through the administration of teacher and administrator surveys (described above), interviews, and observations, we aim to explore teachers’ shared understanding of improvement goals and student expectations, how teachers work collaboratively to share knowledge and practices, and opportunities for teachers to lead improvement efforts. Site visits will take place during the 2015-2016 academic year.

This project will contribute to the ongoing discussion regarding how best to capture the efforts of schools that are working to improve the experiences of both teachers and students. Our goal is to help identify different measures of school success and to provide an opportunity for others to learn from these successes. In particular, we hope to highlight how the process of sharing knowledge, ownership, and leadership contributes to a school’s overall growth and improvement.

About Time for Equity: Digital Storytelling Project

As part of the Time for Equity project, we have partnered with StoryCenter (formerly the Center for Digital Storytelling) to work with a group of teachers from case study sites to create personal digital stories of their work. These two-to-three minute first-person videos incorporate narration, music, photos, and video.

Over the course of two days, with help from StoryCenter and AISR staff, participants will craft a narrative about their work as a teacher, first sharing their story in a group, then honing it in written form, and finally recording it as a voiceover. They will also gather images, music, and video to accompany the narration. StoryCenter facilitators will then put all the pieces together to create a final digital story for each participant.

The goal of these stories is to give teachers the time and space to reflect deeply on the work that they do, and the collective impact they have on the lives of students. The workshop format, with ten participants, will also provide the opportunity for participants to reflect on their work and progress with other passionate peers who are engaged in similar efforts.

From a communications and outreach perspective, these stories will give education stakeholders, those interested specifically in your school and those interested in expanded learning time and opportunities nationally, a window into the classrooms where this important work is being done.

About StoryCenter:

StoryCenter, formerly the Center for Digital Storytelling, was founded in 1993 and is based in Oakland, California. StoryCenter has drawn from testimonio, popular education, and facilitative filmmaking practices to develop methods for engaging small groups of people in sharing short, first-person narratives that document a wide range of culturally and historically embedded stories. For more on StoryCenter’s work, see www.storycenter.org.

Examples of Digital Stories:

The Time for Equity study will be conducted by a research team led by Dr. Marisa Saunders from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. If you have any questions or concerns about the research study, please feel free to contact Dr. Marisa Saunders at (310) 866-2263 or marisa_saunders@brown.edu. Research concerns can also be directed towards the Research Protections Office at Brown University: (401) 863-3050.

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