‘Communities of Practice’ visits kick off at Achieve 180 campuses 

Weekly visits by district departments part of centrally provided supports

Leaders from various HISD departments visited Patrick Henry Middle School on Oct. 12 for the first “Communities of Practice” visit under Achieve 180 , the district’s plan to increase student achievement at underperforming schools.

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Achieve 180 is based on six pillars that will guide the transformative work across the district and includes centrally provided resources, support, and staffing for the 44 campuses in the program.

Each week, staff members from various HISD departments will visit a different school to tour the campus, observe classroom instruction, and view staff collaboration and instructional planning. The group then will meet to debrief what they saw and have a frank “think tank” discussion with campus and district leadership on instructional alignment at the school, teacher effectiveness, and specific problems of practice observed during the classroom visits. 

The goal of the visit is to not only offer input and feedback from district departments, but to ensure the central office is providing the right kinds of support and resources for each campus and that all departments are aligned in the Achieve 180 work. The trip to Henry MS included staff from the curriculum, special education, multilingual, research, leader development, and the instructional technology departments.

“We’ve had district leaders and central office staff members tour campuses before, but having all these departments here at once collaborating and self-reflecting on their part in this work is so powerful,” said School Support Office Katherine Roede. “In just the few hours we were here today, a representative from the IT department was able to fix a technical issue the campus has been having which now clears the way for school staff to focus on instruction.”

At the end of each meeting, the leadership team for the school leaves with clear action steps and department representatives return to the central office with their own set of action items. In addition to the weekly Communities of Practice visits, central office departments are also assisting with extended-day teacher training  happening every Wednesday afternoon.