Earlier this fall, the California Department of Education invited Alliance Ouchi High School Principal Dea Tramble and Assistant Principal Jaime Hahn to present to more than 150 educators from across the state at the annual California Assessment Conference regarding the successes of the school’s math program.

The presentation, entitledA Case Study – One School’s Journey to Achieving Breakthrough Results on CAASPP, focused on how the school reshaped their math program to achieve record, double-digit CAASPP gains in 2019 across the 6-12 Ouchi-O’Donovan complex.

Attendees left with the following outcomes:

  1. A definition of a strong data-driven school culture, and how to face adaptive challenges throughout the implementation process;
  2. Familiarity with an instructional coaching model that puts data, high-quality lesson planning, regular feedback loops including both teachers and scholars, rigorous instructional cycle, and a Relay coaching model at the forefront;
  3. An understanding of the role that school leaders and teachers have in prioritizing data to monitor scholar progress toward obtaining proficiency on the CAASPP:
  4. Greater insight into using summative assessment results to set instructional goals;
  5. Tools and resources to replicate the Alliance Ouchi-O’Donovan model, including a math intervention program, Intellectual Prep Protocol, and capacity building.

According to Assistant Principal Hahn, the leadership team decided to share their story so that others could learn from their systems and models, while also highlighting the “tough decisions, collective efforts, and shared successes” of the three-year journey for their teachers to see and be proud of, adding that “radical change causes tension, but in hindsight it was all worth it.”

The presentation was facilitated by Phillip Gedeon, a former Director of Mathematics at Alliance who now operates as an independent math consultant. Principal Tramble hired Mr. Gedeon to assist in strategically prioritizing math at Ouchi-O’Donovan after the shift to the Common Core State Standardized Initiative caused a dip in standardized testing scores. Part of the strategy included building a proverbial bridge between the middle and high school. “We recognized that if middle schoolers were struggling, then they would come in as ninth graders struggling,” explained Assistant Principal Hahn.

Principal Tramble attributes her ability to have autonomy over her school budget and make creative decisions based on the needs of her scholars, including hiring a consultant, with being a charter school leader. “I’m not sure if I would have had that kind of flexibility in other districts,” she said.