About the Grant $25,000 over three years; from GLISI to work with them on a pilot program to foster “a culture of continuous improvement;” goals include decision-making based on data from multiple sources and college and career readiness
By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor
The Morgan County School System will receive a $25,000 grant over three years based on work system and school administrators completed at a leadership summit last winter.
The Board of Directors of the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI), the organization that hosted the summit and awarded the grant, chose to award Morgan County the grant because “GLISI was so impressed with our team of building and system leaders,” according to information provided by Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett, distributed at the Aug. 12 Board of Education (BOE) meeting. The board is made up of corporate executives from the likes of IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Invesco, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE), Georgia School Boards Association (GSBA) and Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA).
“The GLISI board was very excited about teaching us about the performance culture we’re going to have here,” Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach said in a later interview.
In partnership with GLISI, the school system will use the money to work with GLISI for three years on a pilot program that will support systems in constructing “a culture of continuous improvement in their schools,” the information states. GLISI’s purpose is to train teams of leaders, not just individuals, to constantly improve and to use “focus on data-driven instruction,” observation and feedback, not solely prescribed curriculum, in decision-making, Bennett told the BOE.
“We learn how to do a better job digging into that data,” Assistant Superintendent Jean Triplett said in a later interview, asked about the role data played in decision-making previously as opposed to what was learned through GLISI. Before, administrators tended to look at the data and then consider what could be done to correct any problems; through GLISI, administration has learned to identify the problems, then analyze them for a root cause – things like economic factors and attendance, for example – before addressing a correction.
“Many educational leaders don’t know how to change and improve,” Bennett said, adding that the GLISI training teaches leaders how to continuously improve based on data.
GLISI has also honed in on leadership at the high school level as far as preparing students to be college- and career-ready. Morgan County High School itself received funding – $100,000 over three years – from the Gates Foundation for their Data Utilization Project, which has developed the base for analyzing college- and career-readiness data for use in their work with GLISI.
“The state’s (prescribed) proficiency levels are way too low for success in college and careers,” Bennett said.
Local school system leaders will work with Sue Holt of GLISI, a 39-year veteran of school administration and educational consulting, on the pilot program.
Morgan County was one of two systems chosen to receive the grant, the other being Atkinson County.