Sharon Locke, former superintendent in Naugatuck, doesn’t want to talk about equity – she wants to create equity! Locke has been consulting with the Center for several years, and the results, she says, have been remarkable, especially in improved math scores and in growth with the district’s highest-needs students.
Locke said that when she arrived in Naugatuck in 2014, her team reviewed the data and identified the gap in student growth between math and ELA. Students in the same cohort were improving in ELA yet remaining flat in Math. Her administrative team embarked on a journey to create a coherence framework to improve math learning in the district and engaged the Center as the partner in that work.
Locke explained, “With support from the Center, we wrote a district Theory of Action and implemented Instructional Rounds focused on improving math instruction.”
The first time she visited another district to witness Instructional Rounds in action, Locke said, she realized everyone was struggling with keeping children at the center of learning and fully engaged at a high level every day. The Center, she said, helped each school team construct a Theory of Action to cultivate a community of professional learning so that each and every student was engaged in critical thinking and demonstrating competence. The expectation of growth for every student translated into more equitable outcomes.
On average, Connecticut’s low-income students achieved 53.5% of their growth targets on the spring 2017 Smarter Balanced Math Assessment. In Naugatuck, the rate for low-income students was 61.8%, earning them the top rank among all large districts with large low-income populations. (Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now. (2018). Field Guide to Education in Connecticut, 2018, p. 27)
“The Center cares deeply about advocating for equity. They own this process with us,” she explained. “Wherever our learning takes us, the Center is willing to lock arms and be our partner. They help us take an honest look at our data and figure out what works, and then evolve with us. It’s an amazing learning relationship…..everyone at the Center helps me think critically about my leadership and has been a tremendous facilitator of learning in our district…I am so grateful for their partnership”
–Sharon Locke, superintendent, Naugatuck