On June 7, more than 250 educators from across our region joined in celebrating student outcomes, learning what works, and how to do more of it. This occurred at our first-ever RSE-TASC Student Outcomes Conference a/k/a SOcon. Seventeen school, agency, and program teams celebrated the student outcomes that they’ve achieved, and shared how they did it. Student outcomes refer to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students need in order to be independent and successful in school, career, and community. Student outcomes are why we exist as educators. Thus, SOcon was not a conference. SOcon was a switch – “from archaeological problem solving to bright-spot evangelizing” (Heath & Heath, 2010, p. 48).
Chip and Dan Heath (2010) define bright spots as what’s working, and evangelizing as obsessing over what works and learning how we can do more of it. “Bright spots are flashes of success that can illuminate the road map for action and spark the hope that change is possible” (p. 48). This idea might sound familiar to you because the RSE-TASC Reporter celebrates student outcome bright spots every month! Our bright spots highlight the student outcomes that were achieved and the instructional practices and/or systems that were implemented to achieve them. It is fitting that this month’s bright spots feature the student outcomes celebrated by our 17 SOcon teams (see p. 4).
Keep the Switch Going, the last chapter in Switch, begins with an apt cliché, “A long journey starts with a single step.” (Heath & Heath, 2010, p. 250) While every journey must start with a single step, we know that many additional single steps must follow in order to make the journey a success and achieve our desired outcome. We want your journey to be a success. We want you to achieve your desired student outcomes. We want you to share what worked and how we can do more of it. This is why we are sharing our 6-step SOcon framework, used by the teams who celebrated their student outcomes, to show other SOcon attendees how to do more of what worked.
Here is the 6-step SOcon framework:
- This is who we are, as a school/program/agency/community, and this is who our students are.
- These are the long-term student outcomes we are striving to achieve so that every student is independent and successful in school, career, and community.
- These are our student outcome bright spots; i.e., these are the student outcomes we have already achieved!
- These are the systems and practices that we have already implemented to achieve our student outcomes.
- These are the structures that allowed us to support staff in implementing these systems and practices.
- This is what we are doing next, to continually improve toward achieving our long-term student outcomes.
This 6-step framework worked for SOcon and it applies to all of us, regardless of role, scope and setting. For example, using this framework effective practices could be shared by a school team meeting with a students’ families to identify intensive individualized supports, by co-teachers who are collaboratively lesson planning for a new unit, by a multi-disciplinary school curriculum team seeking to increase grade-level learning of students with disabilities and students who are English Learners, and by a district, family, and community team addressing issues of disproportionate discipline outcomes of students of color.
As previously mentioned, this month’s bright spots feature the student outcomes achieved by the 17 teams who presented at SOcon. To learn what worked for these schools, and how to do more of it, use the link provided under the bright spots to read each school’s story as outlined through this 6-step framework. We wish you an enjoyable summer and all the best as student outcome evangelizers!
Heath, C. & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: How to change things when change is hard. New York: Broadway Books.