There is an often cited quote that says “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” The system that we are all part of is producing unacceptable outcomes for our students, particularly students of color and English Language Learners. We all share a sense of urgency about the need to close the achievement gap and improve educational outcomes for Pomona students.
Our challenge is to reflect deeply on our own role in the system that produces that result and to transform our system into one that will produce better outcomes for students.
Working together we can transform our system to get better results. We know that key parts of both the problem and the solution reside at school sites and at central office. Transforming practice at one will not be sufficient; we must transform our entire system to get a new result. This will mean that we have to challenge our assumptions about how things should work, take personal and professional risks, and keep a clear focus on improving teaching and learning in our district. We can expect bumps in the road but need to maintain both a sense of urgency and spirit of learning.
The good news is that the School Improvement Grant (SIG) provides funding to explore new solutions together. Our collective challenge is to seize this rare opportunity to transform our district, both at the school site level in our three SIG schools and the central office systems that support those schools. To do this work we will be building on the improvement strategies that showed promise in our SIG schools last year and will experiment with applying those improvement strategies to the central office. We are establishing a central office professional learning community focused on reflecting on performance data (for example, how many days it takes on average to hire a teacher) and implementing plans to improve our processes. Transforming our system will require us to not only improve our processes, but also to change the way we approach our work. Central office staff will participate in a professional development focused on improving our service skills.