Harvard Graduate School of Education lecturers Deb Helsing, Robert Kegan, and Lisa Lahey found that when adults continue to learn at their jobs they are better at creating that experience for other people. Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) and Pivot Learning are putting this theory of change into practice. They began by gathering data about school climate and culture through the YouthTruth Survey to identify areas for growth.
“When policymakers and school leaders talk about improving schools, much of the focus is on test scores, teaching strategies, curriculum and other services consumed directly by students. Often less attention is paid to the culture of adult learning in a school building, but maybe it’s time that changed,” writes KQED’s Katrina Schwartz in an article describing MPUSD’s journey.
The team at MPUSD and Pivot Learning use students’ feedback to have conversations about improvement. For example, the survey revealed that a majority of students don’t feel like their teachers care about or have high expectations for them. These types of realizations are central to the growth theory of change. Student feedback prompts school leaders to confront their own mindsets and ensures educators keep learning about how to better serve students.