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Think Systematically, Act Systematically
Author:  M. Galvin, D. Parsley
Format:  article
The Exemplar will be most useful for: Become a Teacher Leader
Working with data to improve student outcomes can be a daunting task for many. Teacher leaders can help by engaging the staff in a fractal improvement experience. In other words, “big,” or systemic, improvement is made up of a series of smaller efforts.

The fractal experience should be broad enough to encourage participation by all, but narrow enough to implement and obtain results in a short time (approximately 4-6 weeks). Jefferson High School was one such school that experienced success using the fractal improvement experience. It encouraged the staff to reflect on the structures and processes that assisted them in their use of data before moving forward with the next improvement cycle.

A fractal improvement experience is empowering, especially as teachers make real or measurable gains with students. The mastery experience encourages them to begin acting and thinking systematically. A fractal experience can also change the culture of the school from one of working in isolation to one of shared responsibility and collective action.
Teacher leaders can model these shifts in their own work and encourage their colleagues to do the same.

Citation: Parsley, D., & Galvin, M. (2008). Think Systematically, Act Systematically. The American Association of School Administrators Journal of Scholarship and Practice. Vol. 4, No. 4 pp. 4-10.
Domains: domain 5
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