How much time do the instructional specialists in the Office of School Support and Improvement (OSSI) spend in the classroom co-teaching or coaching teachers? How do these instructional specialists help teachers improve instruction? How does their work differ from that of a resource teacher? Provide a breakdown of the amount of time the instructional specialists spend in schools in classroom, in schools doing other work, and not in schools?

Question#: 51


The primary role of the OSSI instructional specialists, official title “learning and achievement specialists” in the FY 2019 reorganization, is to support teachers, teams, departments, and leaders with the school improvement work.  The focus, frequency, and format of that support is designed with the directors of learning, achievement, and administration and school teams.  The five key areas of their work include:  (1) leadership development; (2) school improvement and achievement; (3) data-driven culture; (4) equity and access; and (5) professional learning. 

The specialists work with three primary audiences, including staff development teachers, leadership teams, and individual departments/grade level teams. Their work differs from resource teachers (high school) and content specialists (middle school) in that the specialists’ work is about building the capacity and providing support to design, deliver, and impact teaching and learning in schools and across clusters of schools.  They provide some support to individual teachers but primarily support, on average, 20-26 schools and spend 80 percent of their time (approximately 4 days per week) in schools.  One day per week is dedicated to engaging in professional learning to improve their practice, collaborative work within OSSI, and with other central office specialists to norm their shared work, and time working in director level teams to analyze data and plan next steps that inform support to individual and clusters of schools.  The OSSI learning and achievement specialists are critical partners in extending and deepening the work identified by the director, area associate superintendents, and strategic priorities of the district. 

Examples of this work include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Shared facilitation of curriculum training with specialists from the Office of Curriculum and Instructional Programs for individual teachers and school teams;
  • Job-embedded training and modeling of Performance Matters and the Evidence of Learning Framework with school teams;
  • Co-leading Study Circles and equity-focused training for individual schools with members of the Study Circles Program and Equity Initiatives Unit; and
  • Observing and analyzing teaching and learning to inform school improvement planning, including identifying goals, professional learning, and measures of impact.