The Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement Center for CSRI Home
 
Webcast by Mike Miles
Systems Thinking in Practice: How a Superintendent and Two Districts Applied a Model of Systems Thinking for Increased Student Achievement

arrow iconarrow iconUse the 'previous' and 'next' buttons to view the slides that accompany the speaker's presentation.

Bookmark and Share
What's this?
About the Webcast
This one-hour interactive video webcast presents how Superintendent Mike Miles did the following in two Colorado school districts:
  • Applied a model of systems thinking to raise student achievement.
  • Trained educational staff at all levels of a district to think and act systemically.
  • Employed a rubric in a systemic coaching cycle to diagnose system dysfunction.

Viewers gain insights from video interviews of school and district staff who worked alongside Miles to apply the Systems Thinking model. Viewers of the live webcast were given opportunities to ask questions during live Q&A; sessions.

Superintendent Miles was joined by Maria E. DiPietro Lamb, director of the Program Improvement and Family Support Branch in the Division of Student, Family, and School Support at the Maryland State Department of Education, and Chrisandra Richardson, director of Academic Support, Federal, and State Programs for Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Maryland. The moderator was Melanie Byrd, senior program associate for The Center.

What Is Systems Thinking?
A system is a group of elements with interrelated parts. A school district or building is a system with a common purpose or function. A school system enrolls students, educates them, and then graduates the students or sends them to the next educational institution. Most educational systems function at least at an adequate level, so not much attention is placed on system dysfunction. Instead, administrators attempt to address deficiencies in the parts or elements of the organization. Organizations that work systemically begin by looking for the connections between the various parts of the system and taking steps to ensure better coordination of organizational functions. Systems thinking aims to integrate the various parts of the system in a way that maximizes organizational effectiveness.

Bios of the Presenters
Mike Miles currently is the superintendent of schools at Harrison School District 2 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He previously was assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction at Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 in Fountain, Colorado. Preceding his career in education, which began as a classroom teacher, Miles served as a U.S. State Department diplomat in European countries and Russia.

Maria DiPietro Lamb currently is the director of the Program Improvement and Family Support Branch in the Division of Student, Family, and School Support and previously served as a family involvement specialist at the Maryland State Department of Education. She also served as assistant principal, elementary school facilitator, supervisor of federal programs and technology, and supervisor of instructional grants with Dorchester County Public Schools in Baltimore, Maryland. Her previous positions were as classroom teacher and countywide helping teacher in the Kent County Public School System in Kent County, Maryland.

Chrisandra Richardson is the director of Academic Support, Federal, and State Programs for Montgomery County Public Schools in Rockville, Maryland. She oversees Title I, School Improvement, and 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. While she was principal of Georgian Forest Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland, the school was recognized for its exemplary reading and special education programs and was featured in a special education textbook, Teaching Every Child, Every Day: Learning in Diverse Schools and Classrooms. Richardson has worked in public and private education for 30 years as a principal, preschool special education coordinator, curriculum specialist, teacher, parent educator, preschool director, and college instructor.

Melanie Byrd, J.D., is a senior program associate for The Center. Prior to joining The Center staff, she served as executive director for the charter corps of Teach For America in Charlotte, North Carolina. She also practiced education and poverty law in North Carolina at The Children's Law Center and the North Central Legal Assistance Program; her work focused primarily on representing students with special needs in school-related matters. Byrd began her career as an elementary special education teacher in Oxford, North Carolina.