The Client. Aldine ISD ranks among the highest performing school districts in the state of Texas, with a student enrollment of over 62,000 students in 72 schools. The district has earned seven special recognition ratings since 1996 and was the winner of the coveted Broad Prize for Urban Education in 2009. Aldine is ranked as the second-best large school district in Texas for educating African-American students and is ranked third in quality among large Texas school educating Latino students, according to recent studies conducted by Texas A&M University and the University of Texas- Pan American. AISD’s school board is one of 24 across the nation, and the only one in Texas, to receive the coveted Magna Award from the American School Board Journal in 1999.
The Challenge. Aldine’s tag line is “Producing the Nation’s Best. The school district’s goal is to create the best learning environment for students while equipping teachers with the best tools and strategies to achieve this goal. To further this effort, senior administration incorporated “Professional Learning Communities” (also known as collaborative teaming) into the planning process for the entire school district. This approach initially received a mixed response from teachers. Some were confused about how Professional Learning Communities would help them become more effective as teachers. Others felt this more collaborative process would impede their control in the classroom. The challenge was to build buy-in to the teaming process and to teach the team-leader skills necessary for conducting productive meetings with diverse workgroups.
The Process. Trinity initiated a detailed needs analysis through a variety of group and individual interviews, meeting first with senior leadership to identify core objectives, and then observing various teams throughout the District to assess team leaders’ skills.
The Solution. Trinity custom-designed a training process that included the following:
- A two-day training program delivered to more than 500 department chairs, assistant principals, and principals, scheduled over an 8-week period. Concurrent classes were facilitated Trinity Training and Development trainers.
- Observations of over 120 teams, a process that included videotaping of actual team meetings
- Follow up “one-on-one” coaching with team leaders
The Results. The following outcomes were achieved:
- Over 88% of all observed teams performed at “good” or “excellent” levels based upon team performance, participant involvement, quality of discussion, and produced outcomes
- Over 82% of team leaders who employed techniques taught in the training reported decreased conflict and higher confidence in leading meetings
- Less than 3% of team leaders performed at a “below-average” or “poor” level
- Over the past five years, Aldine has retained Trinity to train over 150 additional new teachers each year in the collaborative team process
“District staff members continue to talk about the training and what they learned about their own style of decision-making and their ability to conduct meetings and complete projects. At the school level, the training has helped campus leaders facilitate campus-planning meetings and encourage teacher collaboration. The training has helped Aldine move forward in building professional learning communities on each campus. The Trinity Training has had a strong impact on the staff development in Aldine lSD, and I can recommend the training without reservation.”
Wanda Bamberg, Superintendent of Schools, Aldine Independent School District