At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, the leadership team at Winnemucca Junior High School in Nevada made a decision: they would fully commit to their new, high-quality ELA curriculum—and they’d do it by supporting teachers every step of the way.
“The team understood that a high-quality curriculum wouldn’t make a difference without high-quality instruction, and that high-quality instruction required support on every level,” explains the school’s ANet coach, Kelly Barber. “School and district leaders made it a priority to ensure that teachers were as prepared as possible—that they felt comfortable using complex texts, analyzing data effectively, and aligning their instruction with the curriculum.”
Together, Kelly, the ELA teachers, and assistant principal Laura Molini set their vision in motion. “We set instructional goals and determined how we’d reach them,” Kelly recalls. “Laura listened to the teachers and pushed them to go farther. Together, we articulated, ‘This is what we’re doing and why.’ They held themselves accountable—there were follow-ups every week.”
Winnemucca’s principal, Kelly Novi, pushed a strong message to his staff: Let’s do the work the right way the first time.
“Together, leaders worked with teachers on planning and alignment,” explains Kelly. “There was so much support. The leaders made sure teachers felt safe trying new things and asking questions.”
A year after Winnemucca’s leaders and teachers made their commitment, they received their 2018-2019 assessment results. Their hard work had paid off: Winnemucca had achieved gains of 9.2% in ELA, the highest in the state.
“These gains happened because the entire Winnemucca team was each deeply involved in planning and instruction,” says Kelly. “Teachers had support from school leaders, from the district, and from each other.”
As they celebrate this achievement, Winnemucca’s leadership team has already set its sights on a new goal: to take what they’ve learned in ELA and apply it to math. “Everyone sees that this work is important, and that support from the whole team makes it possible,” says Kelly. “They know it’s what they should be doing, and they know it will get results.”