The Challenge
South Carolina Department of Education’s Office of Educator Effectiveness and Leadership Development (OEELD) believes that those closest to the work should lead the work. OEELD wanted to find a way for teachers and administrators to respond to opportunities to innovate and improve systemwide. They partnered with Mira Education to design and implement a statewide collective leadership framework for schools and districts.

The Solution
The Collective Leadership Initiative (CLI) places schools in cohorts focused on co-ownership of challenges and solutions; educator personalized learning; and storytelling. CLI helps build a collaborative culture and high-quality professional learning that promotes student attainment of world-class knowledge, skills and life characteristics – and also supports teacher retention by creating meaningful opportunities for teachers to lead without leaving the classroom.

Because of our involvement in CLI last year, we opened this year in a very different way. Staff is now convinced that their voices matter, and ownership of decisions is at an all-time high. We know we can trust and depend on one another, and collectively we can face our challenges. While we know that nobody has all the answers, we as a collective [school] do.

CLI participant Dr. Cassandra Bosier, principal of Polo Road Elementary.

The Impact

Schools on the CLI path have grown in collective efficacy measures – since 2018, there has been a 57% increase in participants who consider themselves leaders in their schools. There were also substantive shifts in two conditions related to school culture – shared influence and relationships and social norms.

Data also show that leveraging the skills of educators can result in improved long-run teaching effectiveness, educator retention, and student outcomes – despite disruptions such as a pandemic and school consolidations.

Participating schools and districts have also seen an improvement in how time is allocated, targeted instruction, collaborative learning, and hybridization of roles.