Cultivating a School Culture of Learning & Growth

When leaders in the Lancaster Independent School District (ISD) began dreaming up ways to increase teacher support and accelerate student achievement across the district, cultivating a school culture of learning & growth became top priority.

“Quality teachers equal student achievement. I’ve always been a believer in that,” said Tatanisha Stevenson, principal of Lancaster ISD’s Houston Elementary. “If we improve the quality of our teachers and their instruction, that’s going to increase student achievement.”

Dr. Cassandra Barker, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services, echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of building sustainable teacher support that increases student success across the board: 

“Our philosophy is if we strengthen the teacher and the teaching practices in the classroom, you can scale the success.”

Dr. Cassandra Barker

In partnership with engage2learn, Lancaster ISD began rebuilding the foundation of the district’s school culture in January 2022. Through job-embedded coaching on instructional and cultural best practices for administrators, instructional coaches, and teachers in every single K-12 school, the district sent the message that coaching and professional growth isn’t just for certain grades or experience levels or subjects; coaching is for everyone.

“We’re building a learning ecosystem to give our teachers what they need to teach students to be continuous, lifelong learners,” said Dr. Barker.

| RELATED: The Long-Term Impact of Coaching New Teachers |

To make the most of their reenergized school culture, coaches and coachees began utilizing eSuite to document 1:1 coaching conversations, submit evidence of implementing best practices, and recognize growth every step of the way through progress badges.

“[Normally] we put things into place, and we don’t get to see it or celebrate it. What [eSuite] helps us do is see our progress and celebrate it,” said Dr. Barker. “A lot of times people just want to be seen. This helps us see our teachers. It helps us see our administrators from afar so that when we do actually see them in person, we can recognize them.”

In fact, since coaching began just a few months ago, Lancaster ISD teachers and staff have earned over 200 badges on instructional and cultural best practices in eSuite so far, building momentum for even more growth into the 2022-2023 school year.

As one coachee put it, “I am not done with BPs (best practices) yet!”

Cultivating a School Culture of Learning & Growth graphic: Snapshot of Lancaster ISD badges earned in eSuite
Snapshot of badges earned by Lancaster ISD coachees

Charged with the responsibility of seeing the big picture, the minute details, and everything in between, Superintendent Dr. Katrise Perera aligns the district’s development of a growth-focused school culture with their mantra, “More than a diploma.”

“It has to be more than just about a diploma. It really does have to be about growing individuals and people and good citizens so that they can contribute. I always like to say that what’s good for the community is good for the locality, is good for the state, and ultimately, is good for this great nation.”

Dr. Katrise Perera 

| RELATED: How Teacher Coaching Transformed My District |

If you’re ready to increase teacher support, accelerate student achievement, and build a growth-focused school culture across your campus or district, start a partnership with e2L today!