Organizing to Learn in the Chicago Public Schools
Owen-Moore, Tina M.
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CitationOwen-Moore, Tina M. 2019. Organizing to Learn in the Chicago Public Schools. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
AbstractThe story of the Chicago Public Schools is a magnificent district turnaround story. In 1987, the U.S. Secretary of Education, William Bennett, called Chicago's schools "the worst in the nation." Rattled by this, the business and education communities came together to change that narrative, and they did. Thirty years later, a study out of Stanford University identified that the test scores of students in the Chicago Public Schools improved more between 2009 and 2014 than the average scores of all students in the United States (Sean F. Reardon, 2017). This was a moment of celebration for CPS. However, the work didn't stop there. Today, the communities continue to collaborate to meet the needs of young people, from Pre-K through college graduation.
In 2018, as a doctoral resident in the Harvard Ed.L.D. program, I was asked to assist with one such collaborative effort - the aspiration to create "mechanisms to ensure systematic sharing of effective practices across all public schools in Chicago (district or charter)" with a focus on "data-driven knowledge sharing." The hope was that this kind of intentional collaboration and practice-sharing could serve to reduce opportunity gaps and continue the upward trend of accelerated outcomes for young people.
This Capstone explores how I approached the project of creating a system-wide strategy for knowledge-sharing within the Chicago Public School system. I used a design-thinking framework, Nonaka and Takeuchi's Knowledge Spiral Theory, boundary spanning leadership practices, and a data-driven approach to create the space for our team to uncover and pilot activities that could be considered in a system-wide strategy. The next step for our team is to develop a data model with our city-wide research partners which will help us to identify schools that are achieving strong results in the outcomes we hope to replicate, so we can regularly study those outcomes and make their systems of practices explicit and visible for other schools and leaders to learn from.
The Capstone provides additional insights and recommendations for how the Chicago Public Schools, which has made great gains by being well-organized to execute, might continue to accelerate this growth by organizing itself to learn.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42063276