Recent research indicates that students have inequitable access to grade-level materials and instruction along the lines of race and class. It’s now more clear than ever that closing the stubbornly persistent opportunity gap requires systemic change. Research also shows us that quality curriculum has a larger cumulative impact on student achievement and we see this first hand in our work with districts. The adoption and implementation of high-quality curricula can be an equity lever for districts to address inequities in the system.
This is positive news but the adoption and implementation of curricula by itself won’t suffice. A successful strategy to ensure equitable outcomes for all students requires both technical and adaptive solutions with not just a quick fix, but long term cultural and mindset shifts.
School districts must devote time to directly address the opportunity gaps that are caused by systemic bias and racism. Our education system is intrinsically designed with bias – from deciding what to teach to which students, to assuming the ability of students, to providing inequitable access to high-quality instructional materials. The systemic change needed to ensure equitable outcomes will require districts to align financial and human resources with high-quality curriculum, professional learning and assessments, while also addressing the internalized mindsets and beliefs of the adults in the system.
In our work, we collaborate with districts and offer sustainable solutions for successful implementation and equitable student outcomes. Here are three effective change management strategies you can leverage in your district:
1. Facilitate systems coherence: Align your instructional supports, vision, and school structures and resources as a critical measure to ensure sustainable implementation of high-quality instructional materials that produce equitable student outcomes.
2. Explore the challenges: Discover the “why” behind the changes and comprehend “what” needs to be done differently. Then, design a plan that addresses “how” to implement the systemic changes that are needed to ensure equitable, high-quality instruction, materials, professional learning, and assessments.
3. Change mindsets: Facilitate shifts in beliefs and the professional practices of your teachers and leaders by helping everyone feel incentivized and supported to develop the mindsets, skills, and capabilities to change.
When inciting successful change, addressing adaptive challenges are critical to ensure the sustainable implementation of high-quality instructional materials. This is why we have partnered with UnboundEd to support districts to build their capacity to create equity focused systems. As part of our partnership model, district partners experience immersive professional development designed to build, improve, and sustain equitable instructional excellence in ELA, math, and leadership. Our collaborative work combines UnboundEd’s standards aligned resources and equitable instructional practices with Pivot’s job-embedded, curriculum aligned implementation support services. Through thoughtful understanding of how to sustainably build capacity for equitable student outcomes, our combined lenses and supports facilitate the adult learning and behavioral changes required at scale.