What is STEP

The Supporting Teacher Effectiveness Project (STEP) embraces the task of addressing seemingly insurmountable challenges with limited resources. STEP is grounded in the theory of Positive Deviance, which is the idea that every community contains individuals who have found a way to succeed far beyond expectations despite facing the exact same challenges as their peers.

STEP brings teachers together to address practical, shared challenges and find solutions from within their own school and district communities. STEP provides an opportunity for team members to cultivate expanded networks and resources that can inform their approaches to solving problems. Teachers develop an appreciation for the power of Positive Deviance and learn to discern when changes lead to improvement and when they do not. As a result, the STEP process influences positive changes in culture, mindsets, and relationships amongst teachers, students, and school communities.

STEP presents an innovative approach to solving critical challenges in education by empowering teachers to become the primary agents of change within their schools.

STEP positively impacts the problems it addresses, but also the participants themselves. Schools become places where collaboration, communication, and shared accountability amongst teachers, administrators, students, and parents are the norm rather than the exception. STEP has the potential to transform the way schools and districts work.

Furthermore, STEP can easily support a variety of professional development efforts because it aims to improve student outcomes through teacher practice and collaboration. Incorporating STEP into aligned efforts can be done in a number of ways depending on the context.

The STEP initiative aims to:

  • Understand and promote methods for improving effectiveness in teaching
  • Provide innovative ways to build teacher capacity and leadership ability
  • Build teacher and Coach measurement capacity to evaluate instructional practices
  • Identify effective practices and learn from the teachers who implement them
  • Encourage continual learning and improvement for all teachers

STEP’s teacher-led approach encourages participants to:

  • Develop solutions that work within the unique context of their communities
  • Build collaboration within the STEP team and across the school or district/CMO
  • Be positive change agents
  • Build literacy in data and measurement by incorporating simple and formative measurement in the process