Introducing the OASIS-model:
Online Approaches to Site-based Improvement and Sustainable change
The OASIS model is designed to improve your school’s in-house capabilities in a sustainable and lasting way. We at Reading Ways have developed this model based on academic research and years of professional experience working with adult learning. The OASIS-model is a new model for learning that builds on the concepts of capacity building, professional development, and adult learning. It is a blended model that combines online approaches (such as e-learning and online support) with traditional site-based support.
The benefits of using the OASIS model are:
- It is accessible, flexible, and engaging;
- Learning becomes social and anchored within the community;
- The expertise stays in your building, district or region.
OASIS = Online Approaches + Site-Based + Improvement + Sustainable Change
Improvement: Effective Professional Development
Professional development can have a positive impact on student achievement (Kennedy, 2016; Kraft, Blazar, & Hogan, 2018). Insights from researchers and instructional leaders tell us that effective professional development programs for middle and high do the following:
- Use a site-based approach
- Span across multiple years
- Enhance teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge
- Invest time and resources
- Provide opportunities for colleagues at all levels to work together and collaborate
- Use formative assessments and data to guide professional-development activities
- Integrate new methods and employ robust models of learning
The OASIS model uses these principles of effective professional development to help schools make transformational changes.
Site-Based: Learning Within a Community
Because the model is site-based, even though the courses are online, the learning takes place within a school community led by the Reading Ways Site Leader.
External support with highly skilled coaches has been shown to engage and support professional development (Kraft et al., 2018; Matsumura, Garnier, & Spybrook, 2012). However, many schools notice that this engagement fades when the coaching contract ends—which is no surprise, because it is difficult for a novice coach to apply principles of adult learning effectively.
Reading Ways offers a solution to this fade-out effect by providing a knowledgeable outside support network to support early work. Your participation in an OASIS group is designed to help your internal instructional leadership shine.
The OASIS Regional Network
The OASIS regional network connects schools that are in driving distance from one another. In each OASIS group, there is a Regional Facilitator. The Regional Facilitator’s job is to organize meetings and support the Site Leaders. The number of Site Leaders in an OASIS network depends on the capacities of the Regional Facilitator and the experience of the Site Leaders. In the first year of implementing the OASIS model, there might be 2–5 Site Leaders, while as the months go by, the network may expand.
Our Regional Facilitators are educational leaders in their region. They are experienced coaches, principals, or district administrators who understand the challenges faced by new leaders and have coached them successfully. Regional Facilitators lead the online coaching course for your coaches (for graduate credit, if desired) and hold regular meetings with new coaches as well as monthly meetings with the entire regional OASIS cohort. It is not easy to step out of the classroom and start supporting instructional change. Regional OASIS leaders are there to support new coaches at each step of the journey.
The Site Leader is a coach, educational specialist, team leader, or veteran teacher responsible for overseeing their team’s professional development. The Site Leader enrolls in Reading Ways’ 15-hour course focused on the principles of adult learning, which results in a literacy action plan for your school. During the course, they develop a multi-year literacy plan that then becomes the basis for work in the school. New coaches usually need quite a bit of support at this point, often including weekly meetings with the OASIS regional leader during the first year; other levels of support are available for more experienced coaches. The Reading Ways Site Leader develops the skills of an instructional leader while supporting online and on-site learning.
Sustainable Change: In Two Ways!
OASIS aims to provide sustainable change, which happens when capabilities are built into the fabric of the school. This type of change is permanent and transferable from one generation to the next. OASIS is sustainable because it strengthens your schools’ in-house capabilities. The learning structures and capacities that are developed during our work together remain at the school. We have multiple levels of online and in-person support to ensure that your school community can stay engaged for the long haul.
A sustainable model is also one that meets the needs of the present without endangering the ability of future generations to fulfill their needs. Therefore, we are committed to leaving a small carbon footprint.
Online Approaches: E-learning and Online Support
The online approaches in OASIS include e-learning and online support.
Having to drive to another location after a long day of work can be tiresome. Many prefer to go home to a workstation (or sofa), open up the computer, and start learning. With online courses, staff can learn whenever they want and on their own time, with high levels of engagement and accountability. Moving communication online makes scheduling more flexible and support more accessible—your support network is only one click away. At the same time, this work is meaningless if it does not connect to the professional lives of teachers and the work done in the classroom. Each online course ends with school-based meetings led by the Reading Ways Site Leader who facilitates deeper inquiry and reflection on newly adapted strategies.
Kennedy, M. M. (2016). How Does Professional Development Improve Teaching? Review of Educational Research. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654315626800
Kraft, M. A., Blazar, D., & Hogan, D. (2018). The Effect of Teacher Coaching on Instruction and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of the Causal Evidence. Review of Educational Research, 88(4), 547–588.
Matsumura, L. C., Garnier, H. E., & Spybrook, J. (2012). The Effect of Content-Focused Coaching on the Quality of Classroom Text Discussions. Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 63, pp. 214–228. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487111434985