Promoting Principal Autonomy in Ohio

Reynoldsburg Schools thumb

Reynoldsburg City School District (RCSD), just outside of Columbus, Ohio, faces many of the challenges shared by school systems around the country: high student need, flatlining budgets, and the responsibility of preparing students for college and careers in the 21st century.

To meet this challenge, the school system is focused on personalizing learning for their community of more than 6,000 racially and economically diverse students. This includes sponsoring multiple schools of choice, creating STEM academies, and promoting the use of blended learning throughout the district.

But RCSD knows that blended learning won't be successful as a "one-off" program. The district aims to "create the system conditions" for blended learning and other personalization strategies to thrive. They are looking at how all elements of a school system, from human capital to funding, to school design, need to transform to support what students and teachers need.

Lisa Duty is a partner at The Learning Accelerator, a non-profit whose mission is to accelerate the implementation of high-quality blended learning in school districts across America. Lisa is a thought partner to the district, working closely with leadership to implement a system-wide vision for personalized learning. In the post, she explains how and why principals will get new budget autonomy in RCSD—up to 90% of school-based funds.

"Leveraging the Core Budget to Change America's Schools," April 24, 2014. The Learning Accelerator

 

Highlights from Lisa's blog:

  • "Blended learning requires a fundamental redesign of instructional and organizational models, transforming the core elements of teaching and learning—changing roles, structures, schedules, staffing, and core budgets."
  • "Greater autonomy helps free principals and their staffs to pursue new approaches to school management, instruction, staffing, and supports so they can respond more nimbly and effectively."
  • "It's not enough for a district to have great models of blended learning classrooms—they need to create system conditions where schools will thrive. Reynoldsburg is taking multiple actions in order to overcome the tremendous gravitational pull of business-as-usual. In the end, performance won't have anything to do with the actual budget dollars—it's not about money. It will be about the vision and skills of the principal to leverage this new opportunity, the team they lead, and just how much they "get it."

 

You can follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaDuty1