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How Elam Leadership Institute & EdPower are Assisting Districts with Unpacking Gaps & Disparities

Since COVID, schools have undergone a whirlwind of change. Everyone agrees that the pandemic certainly had a devastating impact on learning. According to NAEP (The National Assessment of Educational Progress), the average decline in math for 4th and 8th graders was the largest EVER recorded, and reading scores declined to the lowest levels in over two decades. Only half of the teachers teaching 4th and 8th grade reported feeling confident in their abilities to address the learning gaps.

Districts need desperate help coaching teachers on accelerating learning while simultaneously helping students bridge learning gaps. This is the exact mission and vision of The Elam Leadership Institute, led by Dr. Donna Elam. Dr. Elam brings decades of leadership and experience to educators obtaining both her master's and doctorate degrees from NYU while working to dismantle educational systems that do not provide opportunities for all students. Her leadership model is infused with hope helping educators understand the NOW WHAT questions that so many in schools ask today.

In 2018, The Elam Leadership Institute (ELI) partnered with EdPower to help schools understand how to utilize and interpret the data they were collecting to indeed make sure all students were on the path to success. Unpacking academic and behavioral gaps utilizing an asset-based model helps to operationalize equitable outcomes for all groups of students. The partnership brings districts together to unpack and address common recurring themes of today such as:

  • How can I increase data literacy in my school?

  • How do I increase rigor for all students?

  • How do I create a positive educational climate and environment?

  • How do I decrease the disproportionalities I am finding with our behavior incidents?

  • How do I incorporate collective efficacy into daily classroom routines?

  • How can I make sure everyone is interpreting the mass amounts of data received the same way?

Working with districts such as Metro Nashville Public Schools, Hoover City Schools in Alabama, or several districts in South Carolina, the goal is to unpack all of the gaps so educators understand how to move forward to accelerate achievement. ELI and EdPower make this process as easy and seamless as possible by pulling in all of a district’s data, analyzing the data on the district's behalf, and meeting with district teams to explain the root causes of disparities. So far we have learned that districts can pull data and they can analyze each report, but understanding how to move forward across all data sets can pose some problems. From there, districts personalize the professional development needed from ELI based on the reviews and walkthroughs.

Districts comment on how much this partnership has:

  • Increased capacity among leaders while breaking down silos

  • Increased high levels of engagement

  • Created a space for hard questions and topics to be unpacked

  • Instilled new mindsets, beliefs, and values that facilitated shifts in behavior and practice

These accomplishments are all research-based and aligned in parallel to the Elam Leadership Institute’s equity of effort framework which walks educators through how to design and implement inclusive curriculums, involve students in assessments, employ effective questioning techniques, and create positive educational environments and climate while also ensuring rigor for ALL students. A sample of additional sessions can be found here.

If any of this interests you please reach out to us to have a conversation! Also, check out this video sharing Dr. Terry Lamar for Hoover City Schools' experience with this partnership!


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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Her leadership model is infused with hope helping educators understand the NOW WHAT questions that so many in schools ask today. snow rider 3d

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