Southern Cross Consultancy's methodology is based on the premise of providing exemplary professional learning experiences and services which will result in increased student outcomes.
The moral purpose of our professional learning services is based on improving and maximizing every student's achievements, disposition, knowledge and practices in mathematics and literacy through building and strengthening teacher quality. Our work is aligned to the National Professional Standards (Learning Forward, 2011) and the Hattie's (2008) indicators of student achievement.
Several models underpin our work including:
Model 1: Gradual Release of Responsibility
This coaching model, based on the Gradual Release of Responsibility (Pearson and Gallagher, 1983) is focused on mutual trusting relationships between the consultant, the teachers, and the principal/assistant principal. With the focus on building teacher efficacy and teacher ownership. This model is applied to our professional learning experiences and ensures that the consultant shifts from assuming all the responsibility for modeling and performing the teaching "to a situation in which the (teachers) assume all of the responsibility" (Duke and Pearson, 2002, p.11). It provides teachers with a professional learning framework moving from the consultant as an expert with knowledge to building teacher understanding, application and ownership. It ensures teachers are supported in their acquisition of the skills, strategies and knowledge necessary for highly effective Mathematics teaching.
Model 2: Stages of Consultancy
Job-embedded coaching and workshops are integral parts of this Professional Learning model. The coaching process used at Southern Cross Consultancy comprises 5 stages. These include:
Stage 1: Diagnose and Analyze
Collaborating with each individual school, our consultants ensure an individualized approach through leading the comprehensive analysis of systemic and school-based data. A needs assessment is also completed.
Stage 2: Develop and Plan
Informed by these specific data-driven needs, the consultant will collaboratively develop a strategic professional learning action plan complete with specific, systemic and school based aligned SMART goals, actions, resources and measures of success to drive the work, aligned to the Chancellor’s Instructional Expectations for the year as well as the school's chosen frame work for teacher effectiveness.
This Professional Learning Plan will guide the consultancy work and ensure maximum accountability for the work to be completed, with in-built monitoring and review processes.
Stage 3: Differentiated and Customized Consultancy/Professional Development & Learning
At Southern Cross Consulting Corporation, the Mathematics consultant implements a range of customized, differentiated professional learning experiences utilizing the above design methodology for grade level teacher teams, individual classroom teachers, teachers new to the school and new to the profession, administrators, cluster teachers and paraprofessionals that focus on facilitating effective teacher team collaboration and professional learning.
Stage 4: Monitor/Evaluate/Review/Refine
We have established specific processes that ensure the ongoing monitoring and reviewing of the impact of the professional learning on student outcomes and teacher effectiveness.
Stage 5: Diagnose, Re-Plan, Differentiate Consultancy/Professional Development further
The cycle of consultancy continues with the ongoing diagnosis of teachers’/Principals’ needs, adjusting the professional learning plan to ensure maximum effect of building each teacher’s and administrators’/coaches’ content and pedagogical knowledge, redesigning and implementing the best professional learning experiences that align to, and meet each teacher’s stages of concern and effectiveness, as mapped on the components of the school's teacher effectiveness rubrics, with the goal of crafting best practices in effective teaching and learning.
Thus our consultants continually diagnose and analyze teachers’, students’ and the school’s needs, adjust their action plans while monitoring the measures of success and differentiate their coaching according to needs. The end of year report reflects these adjustments and differentiation.
Model 3: High Impact Instructional Leadership
For the last 8 years, Southern Cross Consulting Corporation’s lead consultants were instrumental in foreshadowing the use of Fullan, Hill and Crevola’s (2006) six key components of school renewal with their highly successful consultancy work in New York City schools. Within the concept of whole school change, this model as illustrated above is comprised of six essential components including Assessment Literacy, Classroom Teaching, Professional Learning, School and Class Organization, Intervention, and Home/School/Community partnerships (p. 91). The notion of coaching embraces all six of these components.
With Southern Cross Consulting Corporation’s focus on continually seeking best practice in order to "raise the bar for all as it closes the gap" (Fullan, Hill & Crevola, 2006), these six key components serve as a foundational framework for building strong instructional leadership.
Image source: Fullan, Hill and Crevola (2006)
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