MLFTC partner moves entire school to a team-based model

With the support of the Arizona Community Foundation, Kyrene de las Manitas and MLFTC will build the first whole-school Next Education Workforce model.

 Project title 
MLFTC partner moves entire school to a team-based model

 Official grant name 

Building a whole-school, Next Education Workforce Model at Kyrene de las Manitas, Kyrene School District

 Award amount 
$111,817

 Grant effective dates 
June 1, 2021May 3, 2022

 Principal investigator(s) 
Brent Maddin

 Direct sponsor 
Arizona Community Foundation



The challenge

Over the last three years, ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College has worked with SPARK School at Kyrene de las Manitas, a school-within-a-school serving grades 3–5, to move from the standard one-teacher, one-classroom model to a Next Education Workforce team-based model. The progress has been significant.  When students come to SPARK, they come to a dynamic learning space that can be configured for collaborative project-based learning activities. A core team of six educators —  including teacher leaders, certified teachers, full-time MLFTC residents and a part-time MLFTC intern — work cross-disciplinary to support the 120 students.  So when, in early 2020, COVID-19 upended schools and forced systems to pivot — overnight — to new models of teaching and learning, SPARK was already six months into implementing a team-based staffing model. While other schools grappled with what to do next, SPARK was already deepening and personalizing learning for its students.  Although the pandemic disrupted the lives of families, students and educators at SPARK, their work to build a school for the future equipped them with the roles, systems and mindset to continue learning in spite of chaos and uncertainty.  After implementing a Next Education Workforce model, the school reported that SPARK students — on district interim assessments in ELA and math — were performing equal to or better than their peers learning in traditional models. Parents of SPARK students expressed a strong satisfaction of the model and a desire to expand a team-based model to grades 6–8.  The Kyrene School District recently voted to build on this success and move the entire Kyrene de las Manitas school to a Next Education Workforce model.  



The approach

MLFTC, in partnership with leadership at Kyrene de las Manitas, will build the first whole-school Next Education Workforce model. Teams of educators — teacher leaders, professional educators and MLFTC teacher candidates — will leverage their distributed expertise to deepen and personalize learning for all students at Kyrene de las Manitas.  

With the support of the Arizona Community Foundation, MLFTC will catalyze, support and document the transition of Kyrene de las Manitas school to a team-based Next Education Workforce model. This will make them the first MLFTC partner to move an entire school to a team-based model. 

Currently, 50% of students in grades 3–5 at Kyrene de las Manitas are enrolled in SPARK Next Education Workforce models. Moving forward, Kyrene de las Manitas will transition all students in grades K–6 beginning in fall 2021 and will continue to further expand the models to grade 7 in fall 2022 and grade 8 in fall 2023. By 2023, Kyrene de las Manitas will serve all 500 students in grades K–8 in Next Education Workforce models. 

The project will occur in two phases: 

Phase 1: Prepare to Scale SPARK Intermediate

In this phase, the school will commit to hire one additional educator team to prepare for expanding this model to all students in grades K–6, and remodel existing classrooms to create an additional learning space with technology and flexible furniture. 

Meanwhile, MLFTC will partner with the school’s leadership to provide monthly professional development for five educator teams in team-based teaching. The college will also provide five-day training for the educator teams during the summer, with other schools implementing the models; as well as co-create evaluation tools and collect and analyze feedback from all stakeholders and outcomes from students and educators.

Phase 2: Implementation

During this phase, Kyrene de las Manitas will launch the SPARK model for all students in grades K–6 with teams of educators with distributed expertise working to deepen and personalize learning. They will also remodel existing classrooms to create two additional flexible learning spaces for K–2 teams.  

MLFTC will provide assistance via a senior program strategist to serve as a consultant, plan monthly development opportunities and coordinate a week-long summer training for all five educator teams. Additionally, the college will create and make available Next Education Workforce resources to assist in implementing the model and collect and analyze feedback from stakeholders and outcomes from students.

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