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This module explores shared accountability, with a particular focus on internal accountability. Coupled with distributed leadership, internal accountability supports continuous improvement of instruction and student learning. In the introductory video, Doug Reeves discusses the three components of shared accountability—distributed leadership, reciprocal accountability, and providing time and protocols for professional conversations. These components are the foundation for the content presented in this module. The roles and responsibilities of teams at all levels of the system (DLTs, BLTs, and TBTs) are described, both in narrative and through video segments. An illustration of shared leadership within a district is provided in a vignette with discussion questions. Other parts of the module supply links to relevant research and practical tools as well as providing discussion questions and activities teams can use to apply insights about shared accountability to their own circumstances.

This module aligns with: Ohio's Leadership Development Framework

  • Area 1: Data and the Decision-Making Process

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Discussion Questions

  1. After completing this module as a team, consider the ways in which the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) and OLAC resources can be used to support greater internal accountability for improved instructional practice and student learning.

  2. Review your district improvement plan and school improvement plans currently in use in the district. Identify steps that could be taken to increase shared learning and accountability across the district by considering the degree to which:

    • District goals and strategies are sufficiently focused and limited in number to allow for full implementation across the district.

    • Building strategies and actions are aligned sufficiently with district goals to allow for shared learning and district-wide improvement.

    • Building strategies and actions are focused sufficiently to meet particular instructional needs that may be unique to the population served by the schools.

    • Monitoring processes and schedules are effective in holding teams accountable for implementation and improvement.

    • The district provides sufficient feedback and support to BLTs and TBTs to allow for implementation and improvement.

  3. Review the Ohio 5-Step Process and discuss its level of use at the district, school, and classroom (i.e., TBT) level. What steps can be taken to increase its use at each level? How might consistent use of the Ohio 5-Step Process improve collective learning and accountability for student success?


Introductory Activities

  1. Differentiating Between External and Internal Accountability

    Identify requirements that can be characterized as external accountability requirements. Then identify aspects of your district or school operation that support internal accountability. Consider how external accountability measures might be used to foster greater internal accountability for student learning.

  2. Structures that Support the Development of Internal Accountability

    District leadership teams, building leadership teams, and teacher-based teams are team structures that, when used as designed, serve to increase shared accountability and shared leadership. Examine the use of leadership teams in your district and school and identify what aspects of team functioning contribute to or hinder greater shared accountability for improved instructional practice and student learning across the school system.

Advanced Activities

  1. Reciprocal Accountability

    Collect and review sample information (monitoring data) shared among teacher-based teams (TBTs), building leadership teams (BLTs), and the district leadership team (DLT) from each school in the district. Consider the approaches (e.g., reporting requirements, schedules) used across the district for communicating progress and the type of feedback, if any, typically provided among levels (e.g., district to school, school to classroom) of the system. Identify three things the district should do to hold BLTs and TBTs accountable while also providing needed support to improve team functioning on a district-wide level.

You can earn credit and contact hours for modules, webinars, and podcasts completed on the OLAC site.

For more information, visit the Credit Corner. If you’re seeking credit for the Gifted Education Professional Development Course or the Culturally Responsive Practices Program courses, you can find that information on the course overview pages.