Edgecombe schools expands Opportunity Culture initiative

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Multi-Classroom Leader Gwenevere Peebles works with a group of students at Coker-Wimberly Elementary School, where the Opportunity Culture initiative has been implemented.


From Contributed Reports

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

To attract and retain great teachers, as well as increase student achievement, Edgecombe County Public Schools is planning to expand the national Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring budgets.

Through a partnership with Public Impact, Edgecombe County Public Schools began the 2017-18 school year with three Opportunity Culture schools on the north side that form a feeder pattern: Coker-Wimberly Elementary School, Phillips Middle School, and North Edgecombe High School. The district plans to begin in the Tarboro and Princeville feeder schools during the 2018–19 school year, and the south side feeder schools the following year.

In an Opportunity Culture, a team of teachers and administrators at each school chooses among models that use job redesign and age-appropriate technology to reach more students with personalized, high-standards instruction—one hallmark of great teachers. School teams redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time for teacher planning and collaboration, often with teacher-leaders leading teams and providing frequent, on-the-job development.

“The impact Opportunity Culture is having on our school is the potential for growth and empowerment on all levels for everyone,” said Gwenevere Peebles, multi-classroom leader at Coker-Wimberly Elementary School. “Every adult in the building has a coach. Every adult plays an essential part in reaching, teaching and preparing our students for academic success.”

Opportunity Culture will take on a different form in each school, as this work is driven by teams at the school level. Currently, School Design Teams from Stocks Elementary School, Princeville Elementary School, Martin Millennium Academy, W.A. Pattillo Middle School and Tarboro High School are engaged in the process of analyzing their data, refining their vision, and developing their staffing models using the Opportunity Culture principles and guidance from the District Design Team.

“We believe that empowering highly effective teachers to continue to impact student achievement in the classroom will help retain excellent teachers. These teachers should be given opportunities to reach more students and to lead and develop their peers on the job without leaving teaching,” said Erin Swanson, ECPS director of innovation. “We feel this work will be transformative for our students and schools, and move us closer to our district vision.”

Edgecombe County Public Schools plans to host a series of community meetings next spring to give families a chance to learn more about Opportunity Culture.