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ERIC Number: ED560196
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Charlotte, N.C.'s Project L.I.F.T.: Ranson IB Middle School Launches an Opportunty Culture. An Opportunity Culture Case Study
Barrett, Sharon Kebschull; Han, Jiye Grace
Public Impact
Principal Alison Harris is blunt in describing what she confronted on her arrival to Ranson IB Middle School in 2011. "I was placed in what many people would call an impossible situation," she says. During her initial visit to the school in 2009-10, she watched as students changed classes--while teachers pressed against the lockers to avoid being run over. "There was a pervasiveness of disrespect, and no order or purpose." Ranson needed safety, order, and structure--and then, major academic improvement. After struggling to improve the culture among students and staff, Harris saw the great need to recruit and retain excellent teachers. When she began at Ranson, the school needed 70 teachers. It had 42. She learned from Project L.I.F.T. (Leadership and Investment For Transformation) about Public Impact's Opportunity Culture initiative--in which schools use job redesign and technology to reach more students with excellent teachers, for more pay, within budget, and to develop all teachers on the job--and decided to bring its possibilities to Ranson. Her school design team eventually settled on two models in combination: using multi-classroom leaders, who lead a team of teachers and take accountability for their students' outcomes, for far more pay; and time-technology swap teachers (also known as blended learning teachers), whose students alternate between age- and child-appropriate digital instruction--as little as an hour daily per student--and teaching delivered in person. Harris allowed one teacher to start his multi-classroom leader role midway through 2012-13, even though other L.I.F.T. schools would not begin implementing the models until the next year. She quickly saw results, and on August 26, 2013, Ranson started a new school year fully staffed, with many more great teachers and a staff committed to its new structure and purpose. This case study looks at the planning for and early days of Ranson's Opportunity Culture work.
Public Impact. 504 Dogwood Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27516. Tel: 919-240-7955; Fax: 919-928-8473; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Public Impact
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina