Mississippi Ed Talk

Season 1, Episode 12:
Gulfport Design Team

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Jan. 1, 2018

We often hear about the need for buy-in from teachers and principals on district-level goals, but what does that look like in practice? This month, we talked with administrators and teachers in the Gulfport School District to learn about their district's design team.

Comprised of teachers, principals, and district officers, the design team meets regularly to tackle big issues for the district. In past years, the group has worked on a plan for performance-based compensation for teachers and developed a strategy for increasing graduation rate for the high school. Currently, the team is developing a plan to address teacher shortages. Asking an elementary teacher to contribute to a plan for high school graduation or a middle school PE teacher to discuss kindergarten readiness may seem unconventional to some, but Gulfport’s leaders argue that this type of cross-school collaboration is key to district success.

In the episode, we first talk with Glen East, the superintendent in Gulfport, who discusses the history and purpose of the team from its inception. Next, we meet with three current members of the design team — two teachers and one principal — to learn about how the team benefits the district and how it has influenced their perspectives on district operations and school-level issues.

In this month’s Research Minute, Alexis Nordin summarizes the recent Degrees to Opportunity report from American Enterprise Institute, which found that technical and associate’s degrees can be just as useful as bachelor’s degrees in certain fields. 


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