Creating Clear Outcomes & Wraparound Support for Students
May 2, 2023
Creating Clear Outcomes & Wraparound Support for Students

It is not enough for all children to have access to the human right of equitable and inclusive education. Our schools need to have a clear sense of the outcomes we want each learner to demonstrate. I’ve talked in some previous episodes about an amazing organization in Guatemala, Camino Sequro.

This week on the podcast, I’m sharing more about what makes Camino Seguro special and spotlighting a few other schools and tying in past episodes where we talk about why clear outcomes, a mission that drives the organization, and wraparound support are so important to the success of our students.

Systemic support is necessary for our students, including basic human needs like safety, shelter, and food. Combine these with clear student outcomes and we will see a big and positive shift in the education of our youth.

Jump in the Conversation:

[2:10] – Three aspects of healthy humans and forward-moving organizations
[2:30] – Recap of first two parts of this series
[2:58] – Looking at mission-driven organizations
[4:30] – What I’ve learned from podcast guests
[5:06] – The way we frame direction for students
[5:52] – About Philips High School and its mission, vision, and accomplishments
[9:46] – How can we get to outcome-based clarity
[14:00] – Student outcomes don’t change until adult behaviors change
[15:30] – What holistic support looks like at LEADPrep
[17:30] – My own transition

Links & Resources



Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast. Please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:08
Hello Education Evolution listeners. It’s been a while since I’ve recorded a solo episode. So to create a three part solo podcast series is definitely a first let me summarize the recent parts of this series and add in part three. Every now and then something comes into our lives and shakes us up and gives us a chance to reorganize our values and perspective. In January, I learned of a school that serves the poorest of children in Guatemala City, Camino seguro also known as safe passage, learning their story, and my recent visit is the catalyst for this deep reflection about human rights, global service and a clear direction forward. These became the three topics of this podcast series, the Camino seguro children are part of the community that makes its living from scavenging at one of the largest garbage dumps in Central America. I took this transformative experience to unpack three aspects of healthy humans and forward moving organizations, the human right to education, the value of service to organizations like Camino seguro and the organizational needs for clear outcomes, mission driven work, and wraparound support to fulfill the mission. In the first part of this series, I addressed education for all children around the globe, as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG and human right. In the second part, I looked at service and how it can be a wonderful medicine to help combat part of the mental health challenges presently facing our culture, particularly in our youth and young adults. This third and final part is looking at mission driven organizations focusing on student outcomes and using data to inform. It’s not enough for all children to have access to the human right of equitable and inclusive education. Our schools need to have a clear sense of the outcomes we want each learner to demonstrate Camino seguro has this very clear mission and desired outcomes. And that drives their amazing work. components of this focus. They know who they serve, what outcomes they intend the roadmap to get there, including a very detailed five year strategic plan with a full Gantt chart, and have identified and provided the wraparound supports to move their mission forward. So their nonprofit provides a school with meals and snacks. Sometimes the only food a child may get that day, parent buy in, and caring teachers with a consistent format across the grades.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 4:00
Safe Passage also offers after school and Saturday tutoring for their alumni as they move on to other schools, English lessons for adults, and workforce development for the mothers. They know these extra supports are important tools to fully serve their community and get the results they desire. Impressive, right? Links to this powerful NGO, nonprofit, and how you can serve are in the show notes below. While sharing out educational innovation. I learned so much from my podcast guests, and it is a joy to pull from them and mix resources together to create new possibilities. I’d like to build on this outcomes focus with two specific podcast resources. One, a school that is used community input to create a dynamic mission with clear graduate outcomes guiding their decisions and to AJ crabill’s new book Great on their behalf, why school boards fail, how yours can become effective. Links to both are in the show notes. In effective schools, we often frame our clear direction by what we want our graduates to look like as a result of attending our schools. While many graduate profiles are documents that hang on a wall or sit on a shelf, there are exceptions. In Episode 39, I came away being very impressed with the Edgecombe County graduate profile outcomes that I learned about when I interviewed the high school and middle school principals there. This district has invested the time to develop and implement a direction for their learners that goes past graduation and addresses who their learners are as adults. Beautiful. Let me tell you a little bit more about them.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:53
Philips High School in Edgecombe County is black high school founded in 1949 for grades eight through 12. Before its opening students in the area attended brick school, along with other students from two other counties. Brick school was a former slave plantation that was transformed into one of the first accredited schools for African Americans in the South. Since the opening of this high school, this school district has created a K 12 Innovation Zone that serves the north side of Edgecombe County, their vision. We are the architects of our lives, their mission, we provide learners a liberating education rooted in equity that allows them to develop and pursue their passions, realize their life’s purpose, act with agency and remain resilient. They have for graduate aims for all learners, and a fifth aim that is relevant to their particular community. As the world is shaken up by advanced artificial intelligence tools such as chat GBT for graduate aims that move beyond memorizing math facts and writing essays are critical for our future. In this age of ever advancing technology. Let me share the Edgecombe counties Ames, they state by the time our graduates are 25 They will say one, I know my purpose and what I am passionate about. And I am living this out, too. I possess global awareness and agency. Three, I engage productively in my community for I am resilient in the face of new challenges. And then pertinent to their community five, I can return to or stay in Edgecombe County. It takes a huge commitment to reflection and a willingness to redesign the learning process to end up with such intentional outcomes and learning experiences for youth. This school district began with analyzing their own prejudices, biases and assumptions. They then practice empathy by conducting empathy interviews to make sure they were designing with the community and not for them. Then they designed and piloted a new school model called North Philips School of innovation.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 8:20
Some of the key learning experiences they are committed to developing a deep sense of love and belonging, especially during banner time in the morning with students exploring identity, equity and the intersection of the two, practicing empathy, what it is, why it’s important and how to engage, experience making change, dismantling inequities, and creating just systems designed for change projects, exploring possibilities and passion, starting with our own history and context to make all learning relevant, and deep critical thinking and every form of literacy, financial reading, etc. I’m spending so much time unpacking what they’re doing because models such as this are the future of education. We have to get past short term memorization to do well on tests and move toward this higher level humanistic view of education. And we need our youth to have an opportunity to explore passions and purpose so that they are forces for good in the world. Too many youth don’t have a sense of direction when they graduate and end up floundering with increased mental health needs are burdened with student loan debt and an education that does not align with their gifts or careers that are meaningful to them. How can boards and school leaders get to this point of outcome based clarity?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 9:52
Let me foreshadow a bit. In a few weeks, Education Evolution will feature AJ crabill. This interview will This will be episode 163 is going to unpack how school boards can be very intentional to move away from traditional adult inputs, such as lecturing students and creating nice buildings and move to student outcomes, who is AJ? AJ serves as conservator at DeSoto ISD where his guidance has improved the DeSoto ratings from F and academics Finance and Governance to B ratings. And as governance director at CGCs. He served as Deputy Commissioner of Texas Education Agency and Board Chair of Kansas City Public Schools, so he knows his way around governance. In AJs new book, which I have and I love, and coaching for school boards, he helps school boards lead in a direction that assures a focus on learner outcomes like Edgecombe County has done I will put a Jays contact information and new book link in the show notes. So why do school boards fail? Aging asserts it could possibly be because we’re not setting clear outcomes, and putting in the time necessary to measure our progress and adjust course in an ongoing manner. AJ drives home the point that not only do we need to have these clear outcomes and measure them, but that our schools need to prioritize improved student outcomes and de emphasize adult inputs. Even when there is board training available to help boards understand the difference between their role in governance and school leaders role in operations. Rarely is their board coaching, such as what AJ and his team offer to help boards develop. Likely AJs book hot off the presses shows how to create this framework for our boards. The book is great on their behalf, why school boards fail and how yours can become effective. And it’s a powerful resource. Healthy boards spend their time on these higher level activities. They move past lack of knowledge, lack of know how and lack of world view, the book contains five steps for boards to create continuous improvement in student outcomes. It first starts by talking about why boards fail. And a lot of these are knowledge based failures, skill based failures, and mindset based failures. And then it goes into the four steps to rectify this and become an outcomes based student centered board.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:38
The first is step one, and it’s a focus mindset. And he goes into what that entails. Step two is clarifying priorities. Step three is monitoring progress. Step four is aligning resources. And step five is communicating the results. Back in step four, he talks about the most valuable resource that a board has. And it is their time, he talks about a school board that spent a lot of time as they were looking at merging busing services with the city, in looking at the priority of the color of the school bus, it went on and on and what color of yellow and how to get the teachers involved and the newspaper involved. And in the end, the results, nothing except for a waste of time. And he goes on to talk about how the board invests its time matters. We can learn from these wasted time experiences. And whatever the school board’s focus on, they are incentivizing everyone else to focus on it as well. We follow their lead. So he has some really great ways to monitor how time is used, and to how to how to make it more effective. So his book is fantastic. I recommend it for all school leaders, and school boards. I’m an idea person, ideas bounce around in my head all day long. I love combining them or sharing the resources I discover with others. Hence this podcast. Getting laser like focus is not as easy for me. But a student outcome focus with a very clear destination and priorities and look for us is vitally important. What results will we be able to see if we are focused on student outcomes? Could having a coach help our boards get that focus and stay on course? Absolutely. Because student outcomes don’t change until adult behaviors change. AJ repeated that important phrase. It’s up to us as adults to change our behaviors to get to the student outcomes that are meaningful for our teens, tweens, young adults. Even with these intentional outcomes, there’s usually nothing emption that students arriving at school are ready to learn Camino seguro school and many others, especially those in places with limited resources or large needs. know they need to address the holistic needs of the child and create the systemic support necessary for a learner to thrive.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 15:18
Systemic support includes helping parents have parenting tools, and providing for basic human needs in any way possible. needs such as safety, shelter, and food, holistic support, and my micro school includes having specialists such as a counselor, speech and language pathologist and occupational therapist. It also entails having teachers collaborate with each other to better understand each learner profile, plus outside collaboration with parents and specialists, there is much to be learned about supporting each student that goes beyond what a teacher can do in isolation in the classroom. This holistic support combined with clear student outcomes is vital. Did I feel uncomfortable reflecting on the many resources our youth have in the Seattle area compared to those of this Guatemalan zone of extreme poverty? Absolutely. Our children have no say about the zip code they’re born into. So I’m channeling my discomfort with the influence of my family, friends, and I have been blessed with. I’m using the resource of this podcast to humbly challenge those of us in relative affluence to look beyond our comfort zones, and national borders, and be committed to making sure that all our precious rainbow of learners around the globe have the basic human right of equitable and inclusive education. Giving back as I addressed in part two of this series is good for our youth, and all of us. I know that volunteering to create this podcast blesses me as much as anybody else. And I’m grateful. Can we look beyond our borders and stretch our hearts to embrace the youth around the globe? I’m blown away by the service that Camino seguro nonprofit is providing not only as a school, but as a holistic and systemic support to these poorest of poor families in Guatemala City. They are checking many boxes listed in this podcast to make sure the basic human right of equitable and inclusive learning is available in spite of extreme poverty. How do I know so much about safe passage? As many of you know, this is my 10th and final years serving as founding director of my amazing micro school lead prep. I will assist with admissions next year, and I’m seeking my next great source of growth, employment and service. I was a finalist for the executive director position at Camino seguro. That is how I came to know them well. While they ultimately hired a local Guatemalan with NGO experience, I am committing to being an ongoing resource for this dedicated and powerful source of change in Guatemala City. Please, open your heart and see if this might be something you are also called to do. As always, thank you for being a part of the education evolution.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 18:30
I know how challenging it is to make changes inside your own school or community. I’ve spent years working with schools around the world on creating learner centered programs. And it always struck me how much schools were able to get done with the right tools and guidance. If you’re ready to make changes like this in your own school, let’s talk and put together an action plan. Visit for a free 15 minute call. And let’s see if we’re a good fit for more work together. Thanks again for listening. To support the education evolution. Subscribe so it lands in your podcast app and gets out to more decision makers. Then rate and review it. For more information in shownotes go to Education Evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen heard, valued and thriving. We are in this together and we need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. Thank you for listening, signing off. I am Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.

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