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What $1.25 million Looks Like in Nashville

by Susan Ohanian

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) is paying Tribal Consulting group, a British firm, $6.3 million over 5 years for guidance in improving certain targeted schools. According to Nashville City Paper this money comes from federal grants.

This is Tribal's first major project in the states. "We see it as a groundbreaking approach to school improvement, to take schools from where they are to where they might be," David Crossley, Tribal Group's strategic leader for the Metro partnership, told The City Paper. "It's based on the premise that almost anything you want to do in terms of improving schools, some school somewhere is doing it."

Crossley's bio provides this information:

David was a Director at the SSAT from 2004 – 2008. He is committed to 'school-led system leadership' and the 'by schools for school'’ approach modeled in the Raising Achievement and Transforming Learning project (RATL) which supported over 700 secondary schools in England between 2004 and 2008. The project was researched by Professor Andrew Hargreaves of Boston College, Mass in the USA who described RATL as, "one of the most distinctive, promising and successful reform models to emerge in the recent history of educational change and school improvement"

After Tribal had been in Nashville one year studying the district, David Moran presented a 12-slide Power Point of their findings.

Here is David Moran's resume:

David leads Tribal Education Inc work in the states, based in Nashville, Tennessee. He is the Project Director for the Inspirational Schools Partnership, Nashville programme, which works in partnership with the Metro Nashville Public Schools district supporting 33 High Priority schools.

David joined Tribal Group in August 2010, as Director of Operations for the Inspirational Schools Partnership. Previously, David worked at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) as Operational Director for Information, where he led the innovative Data Enabler programme.

Key Points:

  • Tribal is the largest provider of educational quality review services in the world, currently carrying out reviews in over 30,000 institutions a year.

  • What Tribal Does: School Engagement, Desktop Analysis, Navigator Self-Review, External Review, Improvement Planning, School Support Network.

  • Educational Outcomes: Across the district, outcomes are too low and are not improving fast enough.

  • The MNPS central office is bureaucratic and does not effectively support continuous improvement.

  • In the 34 schools we are working with:

    *1 out of 3 respondents rated student or staff culture as being acceptable.

    *1 out of 4 respondents rated teaching and learning as being acceptable

    *4 out of 5 respondents indicated a desire for greater autonomy.

    *1 out of 3 respondents were satisfied with their school's access to & use of data.

  • There is a lack of principal autonomy and no clearly defined accountability.

  • In the 34 schools we are working with, there is a:

    *High degree of in-school variation

    Lack of:
    *student engagement
    *standard processes
    *an achievement culture
    (i.e. low expectations and low aspirations prevail)
    *principal autonomy
    * defined accountability
    *school level strategic and succession planning

    â€Â¢ Only 22% of lessons observed judged to be effective

    Source: 2278 lessons have been observed

  • The strategy needs to change as the system improves

    Source: How the world’s most improved school systems keep getting better – Michael Barber 2011

  • 2013 -- a year of change

    â€Â¢Defining autonomy and accountability
    â€Â¢Personalizing learning
    â€Â¢Developing and expanding the network lead principal structure
    â€Â¢Restructuring the central office to support that structure

  • urgency to change

  • $1.25 million spent. . . and student poverty and homelessness not mentioned.

    $4.75 million to go.

    Tribal found a High degree of in-school variation. Are they going to try to eliminate this?

    — Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools





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