What We Do EduQuality
To impact the quality of education children receive and foster an enabling environment for learning, Opportunity EduFinance offers a holistic three-year school development program to local affordable non-state schools, called the 'EduQuality Program.' The program is delivered through a blended learning model that combines digital, self-access content on tablets for school leaders and teacher mentors with highly interactive in-person training and support.
Network of School Clusters
Most affordable non-state schools are run by sole proprietors that operate in a silo, without the benefits of a 'school system' or network of peers for mutual collaboration and learning.
To address this, we first collaborate with our financial institution partners to engage their school borrowers, inviting them to attend an Introductory Seminar. When schools agree to join the three-year EduQuality program, they self-select into clusters consisting of 4-12 schools per cluster, the model for a 'self-improving school system.' School leaders are guided through this process and encouraged to join clusters within their geographic area, ensuring they can regularly meet together to create communities of collaboration, support, and leadership development. Teacher mentors meet together within the same clusters for regular professional development training.Each cluster is supported by a local Education Specialist that provides guidance, resources and support.
Through clusters, school leaders and teacher mentors develop professional relationships and trust over time, finding that the benefits of collaboration, development, mutual support and problem solving together far outweigh the risks of any perceived competition between cluster members. Ultimately, the cluster model fills a ‘school system’ gap that many non-state schools face and provides a network for school leaders to rely on that can continue beyond the EduQuality three-year program.
Pathways to Excellence
In order to target education quality improvements it is important to first identify what education 'quality' means, which can be difficult.
To address this, we collaborated with international education experts to design Pathways to Excellence (P2E), a guide for school leaders to self-diagnose the quality of education at their school. This helps leaders map out both their strengths and areas for growth, enabling them to have full ownership of quality improvement priorities. School leaders score themselves from one to four – with level four indicating excellence – across 18 domains of school quality organized into three focus areas: School Culture, School Management, and Teaching & Learning.
Using the results of their annual school self-assessment, school leaders then work with stakeholders in their school community to create a school development plan to improve upon areas of greatest need. Leaders are encouraged to target 2-5 areas for improvement each year using the action points and support resources outlined in Pathways to Excellence. EduQuality works to help school leaders continue building their strategic planning skills for school improvement, institutionalizing an iterative improvement process that will be sustained beyond the three year program.
BENEFITS OF BLENDED LEARNING
Each school leader in the EduQuality program receives a tablet pre-loaded with the Chalkboard Education application. P2E has been fully digitized and uploaded to the app, providing leaders with an interactive school self-assessment tool and form to submit their scores digitally. The application also hosts the vast EduQuality Resource Library that provides practical action points for all 18 domains in P2E at all target levels of quality, meeting schools where they are at along the pathway to improving quality.
Submitted self-assessment and school development plans are sent directly to EduFinance’s centralized database, increasing efficiency and data quality, helping EduFinance better understand the school partners we are supporting.
School Leadership Professional Development
Affordable non-state schools are established by entrepreneurs with a variety of education backgrounds - from business to former classroom teachers.
Similar to many business owners, school owners often self-identify as lacking certain skills that are beneficial for operating a school. As part of the EduQuality program, senior school leaders are offered professional development training with a focus on instructional leadership and school management best practices.
These workshops are offered several times per year covering topics that are most relevant to school leaders, including business and financial management, school marketing, teacher retention, and child protection. This training helps school owners improve their schools, both as businesses and places of learning.
BENEFITS OF BLENDED LEARNING
School leaders bring their tablets to each SLPD workshop. At the end of the workshop leaders are asked to take and digitally submit:
a comprehension quiz to gauge attendees’ overall understanding of the topics and how they can be improved in the future.
a self-assessment survey to understand how school leaders are currently operating in their schools related to the training topic.
a workshop satisfaction survey to continue tracking leaders’ engagement with the content and trainers.
Teacher Mentor Professional Development
Teachers in affordable non-state schools often have a wide range of educational backgrounds, and many have had limited access to professional teacher training or ongoing professional development.
To support and meet teachers where they are at in their training, EduQuality uses a training-of-trainers model (ToT) to identify and equip teacher mentors to train their peers through professional development sessions, classroom observations and feedback, and ongoing coaching methods. The team uses a data-driven approach, combining in-person coaching and digital content to help teachers work toward a set of recognized professional standards, build their confidence, and develop in their careers.
Within each cluster, school leaders are asked to identify teacher mentors at their school using specific criteria. With the support of their school leaders, these teacher mentors are invited to attend trainings by the cluster Education Specialist on foundational teacher training topics, including classroom management, teaching and learning, and literacy. Teacher mentors are also equipped with the skills to deliver these same professional development trainings to their peer teachers, using a clear trainer's guide provided through a digital learning management system.
BENEFITS OF BLENDED LEARNING
The blend of digital content with interactive in-person trainings is critical to delivering effective professional development to teacher mentors. Using their tablets mentors:
complete pre-reading and extended learning sessions to further develop their overall learning around each session topic.
take simple quizzes and self-assessments that help mentors stay engaged, test their comprehension and self-assess their current confidence in using new teaching techniques.
deliver the same professional development sessions to their peer teachers using the digital facilitator guide, as well as classroom observation and coaching tools.