Skip to main content

Emerge from Persistently Low Achievement Scores to Flourishing Student Achievement and Engagement

We partner with you to address the low student achievement scores and difficult conditions of schools starting on the Pathways to School Advancement. On the Emerge Pathway, we tailor our comprehensive services to your school’s unique needs and goals for your students and empower you to implement rigorous and engaging classroom instruction that translates into significant learning gains. Our team members have extensive experience coaching schools to achieve student outcomes by rapidly improving conditions, redesigning instructional systems, and deepening leadership capacity.

Shaw Elementary School students engaged in academic teaming.

Scroll down for more detail

The Emerge Pathway Is Right for Your School

If you have …

  • Students who express challenging behaviors
  • High teacher and principal turnover
  • Persistently low achievement scores

If these challenges and conditions are typically under control in your school, but student achievement scores have plateaued or fluctuates from year to year, you may be better suited for the Elevate Pathway.

Schedule a Meeting with Michelle

If you want to …

Move leaders from fighting fires to systems improvement
Cultivate positive behaviors in all students
Motivate educators and build instructional capacity
Increase educator retention
Engage students in rigorous, standards-based instruction
Lead to accelerated achievement and sustainable results
Build a schoolwide learning culture of rigor and agency on the pathway to the Empowerment Destination.
Scroll down for more detail

Our Social Mission Drives Our Results

This work matters to us. Our social mission is to end generational poverty and eliminate racial achievement gaps through transformed core instruction.

We are so serious about our social mission that we founded our own independent Applied Research Center.

Our research center verifies every project using the most exacting federal research standards. We ensure our methods work in every school and every classroom in all the different communities that our partner schools serve.

The Emerge Pathway will help your school become the great equalizer children need it to be.

We Are Not a Program – We Do Systems Work

Schools starting in the Emerge Pathway often have implemented program after program without obtaining the desired student achievement results. In many cases, students express challenging behaviors and a difficult school environment persists because the behavioral and instructional systems were not addressed first. Programs cannot build the foundational systems necessary for sustainable growth. Systems work is second order change which requires time and the personalized support of dedicated leadership coaches.

Embedded Support for Systems Development

Our onsite school leadership coaching focuses on rapid, small wins that lead to sustainable systems improvement and instructional leadership development for principals. Every one of our leadership coaches has served as successful school or district leaders. Every single one.

School principals work side by side with our leadership coaches, learning by doing. This alliance ensures new practices immediately transfer and impact the school’s instructional systems, creating visible wins and building principal confidence.

“They sent the best and the brightest they have from their company to help mentor and develop us as instructional leaders to really move our school forward.”

Dr. Debra Wright-Hudson
Principal, McLaughlin Middle School, Lake Wales, FL

“Having someone side-by-side coaching me and giving me feedback and helping me see things from maybe different perspectives, has really helped me grow as a leader. It also holds me accountable for making sure that I’m focused on the right things instead of getting caught up in things that might not have as great of an impact.”

Sarah Garcia
Principal, Shaw Elementary School, Tampa, FL

We Don’t Push Rocks Uphill – We Push Them Downhill

We build positive momentum quickly with a series of small wins that cascade into larger wins for the school. This provides a boost of confidence in the school advancement process while the effort gains greater momentum.

Hope Becomes Contagious

With each success, the culture begins to change, beliefs begin to change and hope spreads across the school.

“The consistent feedback and support through our coaching systems have allowed our teachers to really open up and be vulnerable with their growth, which is in turn making a huge impact on their performance and effectiveness in the classroom.”

Sarah Garcia
Principal, Shaw Elementary School, Tampa, FL

Momentum Builds

We focus first on a coalition of the willing – those brave teachers that want to try something different to get a better result.

These teachers build momentum and buy-in among the faculty as they embrace the new approach. They essentially drive adoption of second order change in classroom practices.

Soon their classrooms pop with engagement and positive student behaviors. We celebrate their progress and invite others to visit their classrooms and replicate their success.

Teachers lead teachers into positive change.

“There is not only teacher buy-in, but also a strong desire on the part of teachers to create classrooms where all students can be successful. Teachers feel a lot of pride, students feel pride, and leaders in the front office celebrate student success. When you walk in, you are hearing about all these stories about students. That proves to me that something special is happening at Moseley Elementary School.”

Jonathan Hinke
Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives, Putnam County Schools, FL

Teachers Become Leaders

The coalition of the willing quickly become influencers and advocates and help the principal lead the change process. Often, these same teachers become future leaders building a strong bench in the school and district.

“We now have teachers who are providing the PLC Leadership rather than just sitting and getting. The teachers are taking accountability and taking on that leadership role.”

Nicole Medich
Director of School Learning – School Turnaround, South Bend Community Corporation, IN
Scroll down for more detail

Teacher Retention Skyrockets

Teacher retention skyrockets and school culture transforms in every school we work with starting in the Emerge Pathway.

Staff Consistency Makes School Feel Like a Safe Place for Students

“When our students connect with their teachers, it breaks them to lose that person. I think it’s because they have so much change in their life outside of school. School is the place where they need consistency. Unfortunately, they were used to walking in every August to new faces. To now see the same staff, the same principal, the same student services team and behavior team—that’s really amazing for our students and for us.”

Stephanie Woodford
Principal, Lakewood Elementary (2018- 2021), St. Petersburg, FL
Current Deputy Superintendent, Pinellas County Schools, FL

Before the partnership teacher turnover was at 70%. Teacher turnover decreased to 15% in the first year of partnership and to 3% in the second year of partnership.

Before the partnership teacher turnover was at 56%. Teacher turnover decreased to 23% in the first year of partnership and to 17% in the second year of partnership.

Teacher Morale Restored in a Transformed Learning Culture

“The year before was depressingly one of the darkest periods of my life because I was in a classroom with basically no support… I was considering leaving my career… The partnership is what made the true change in the classroom, which is what actually transformed the culture of the entire school.”

Shelby Bellamy
Instructional Coach and MTSS Coordinator, former 2nd Grade Teacher, William D. Moseley Elementary School, Palatka, FL
Scroll down for more detail

Visible Changes in Students

We provide the structures and supports to help students develop agency or the ability to self-direct their learning. Our support and model of instruction transition students from a learning environment that creates dependent, compliant learners to one that cultivates independent, critical thinkers.

Developing Student Agency Inside Classrooms

Changes in both teacher and student behavior soon become evident as teachers gradually release the responsibility for learning to students. Listen to a group of students discuss the resources available while working on a given task in the video below.

The most important transformation is always within the students themselves. We don’t just re-label students as “scholars.” We go deeper with our model of instruction and support students as they become empowered scholars in their learning environment. A learning culture is formed, focused on rigorous critical thinking and reasoning, where students engage in deeper learning and scholarship. Students take center stage and positive behaviors become incredibly visible in all our partner schools. Visitors notice the difference in student behavior and ask how to do the same in their schools.

Empowered Learning Environment

Our model of instruction creates classroom learning environments of rigorous engagement through purposeful and meaningful tasks that require student dialog around standards-based content. Classroom instruction transforms from low-rigor activities and worksheets to high-rigor team tasks.

In every case, student behavior and attendance improve because students are meaningfully engaged in satisfying, quality learning.

Scroll down for more detail

The Emerge Pathway Journey

Our Emerge solution includes comprehensive services for school advancement that is tailored to the unique needs of schools with persistently low achievement scores. The Emerge Pathway leads these schools through fundamental systems development that transforms classroom instruction and leads to rapid gains in student learning.

Once systems have been established and conditions in the school are stable, the school can quickly move through the Elevate phase of school advancement toward the Empowerment Destination.

Empowerment Destination

This Destination is reached when the instructional systems and educator capacity development converge to create a transformed learning culture of high student agency and academic rigor in every classroom among every student.

Schedule a Meeting with Michelle

Pathways to School Advancement

A True Partnership

Mutually Accountable Partnership

We meet you where you are, we learn your current strategies, and we activate your instructional vision, initiatives, and goals for school advancement.

We walk your schools with you, we own your data with you, and we work shoulder-to-shoulder with you.

We embed ourselves in the daily work of the team, share your problems and challenges, and are invested in your overall outcome.

“I know that sometimes schools fear an outside consultant coming in and taking over, but my experience with IE has been incredible. It is a true partnership, and they have been such a huge support piece for us which has actually made the work of transformation easier.”

Sarah Garcia
Principal, Shaw Elementary School, Tampa, FL

We Honor Your Work

We complement and build on the work at your school.

We provide the intensity of support and structures needed to rapidly transform leadership practices and enhance classroom instruction while honoring the current work of the school.

We implement systems that are missing or are not well-functioning and strengthen systems that are working.

We build capacity in instructional systems as well as leaders, teachers, and students.

“We are not paying for someone to come in and do something to us. This is a lot of coaching work for both the leadership team as well as for professional learning for our teachers with an emphasis on teacher leadership teams. Instructional Empowerment works alongside our teachers to help them develop and expand capacity.”

Brandon White
Assistant Superintendent of Academics, South Bend School Community Corporation, IN

What Principals Can Expect

What Teachers Can Expect

Schedule a Meeting
with Michelle

Our Secret to 100% Success

Our approach is methodical and fast paced. However, our comprehensive school advancement services begin only after we have a thorough understanding of your school.

Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Every school entering the Emerge Pathway receives a Comprehensive Needs Assessment from a team of experts. A full report of findings and recommendations is provided that identifies what is working and any critical issues that need to be addressed.

Leading Scientific Indicators of Instructional Rigor

We bring the most research-validated measures of rigor in the nation. We apply these scientific indicators of instructional rigor to focus the principal and school leadership team on the practices that must change and then coach on how to make those changes.

Tiers of Embedded Support

All our coaches are experts in their field. A leadership coach and team of faculty coaches are provided to every partner school to support principals, the leadership team, instructional coaches, and teachers. Our onsite coaches become embedded in the school community and form strong bonds throughout the partnership.

We simultaneously build the capacity of the principal, school leadership team, teacher leaders, instructional coaches, teachers, and ultimately students with our commitment to systems improvement.

“The reason why I have confidence in Instructional Empowerment is because there is grounded research in coaching. The impact they can have on a novice teacher up to a very seasoned teacher can be tracked and researched. They are very intentional about who they bring. They have a background with schools that serve students with lives like ours. I think that is very important to the work that they do.”

Brandon White
Assistant Superintendent of Academics, South Bend School Community Corporation, IN

Practical, Hands-on Professional Development

Everything we do is focused on high-quality instruction with increased student engagement and rigor. Our professional development is relevant, authentic, and immediately transferable with highly engaging student and teacher resources. We believe that our in-person and job-embedded professional development accelerates growth and transforms classrooms into thriving and dynamic learning environments.

Muessel Elementary School faculty professional development in South Bend, IN

Short Cycles to Accelerate Progress

We understand the urgency all educators feel to make progress in a challenging environment. To accelerate implementation, we use a weekly action board and daily stand-up meetings to ensure all leadership actions are aligned to data and connected to their vision for instructional improvement. This daily and weekly accountability provides focus and follow through which quickly results in early wins and helps the team move from firefighting symptoms to curing root causes in their instructional systems.

Shaw Elementary School Leadership Team in front of action board in Tampa, FL

Executive Action Team Meetings

We believe reciprocal accountability is the foundation to a successful partnership. The principal and school leadership coach present their progress and data to the district executive action team every 30 days. The team transparently collaborates around available data, successes and impediments in the field, next steps, and how the district office can support the school advancement process. We hold ourselves accountable to the goals set forth and agreed upon in our proposal.

Schedule a Meeting with Michelle

“The most powerful attribute of the partnership has been meeting our schools where they are and assessing what tools we can use to help support them based on their needs. Each time I collaborate with Instructional Empowerment, I walk away from the meeting feeling that they’re just as invested in the success of our schools as we are.”

Brandon White
Assistant Superintendent of Academics, South Bend School Community Corporation, IN

Hope Is Not a Reform Strategy

Our process helps schools move from “buying a program and hoping it will work” to a scientific approach and implementation with transparent data. We don’t believe in surprises. You will know every 30 days our exact progress, and with our scientific indicators of rigor, you will see the real-time data of instructional systems improvement.

The Longer You Partner with Us,
the Better Your Results

Build Your Capacity

Our goal is for you to experience self-sustaining increases in student learning gains.

How? We establish instructional systems, high-capacity principal leadership, and a strong school leadership team. Strengthening systems and developing leaders’ and teachers’ instructional capacity is critical to our work.

Grow from a Strong Foundation 

Our research shows student learning gains and proficiency continue to increase each year during our multi-year partnerships. Our support level is typically more intense in the beginning to establish the core systems. As the principal and school leadership team increase their capacities to lead the work, we will build the ability to sustain the initiative.

Catch Your Own Fish 

Recall the old saying: Give someone a fish, and the person will be hungry tomorrow. Teach someone to fish, and the person will never be hungry. Quick fixes never lead to sustainable results. The longer we have the opportunity to coach you, the better we can build your capacity to sustain the work.

Learn more about how we partner with schools.

According to a districtwide 10,000 student research study meeting What Works Clearinghouse federal standards in Des Moines Public Schools, all students in partner schools that worked with our team had a statistically significant improvement. Students in Year 2 schools had larger learning gains: the equivalent of an additional 21 days of learning in reading and 10 days in math.

The More Coaching Days -
The More Student Achievement

Everything we do is research-verified, including the effects of our school leadership coaches.

Research verifies that the more days of our side-by-side leadership coaching we provide to a principal and their leadership team, the greater the student achievement acceleration.

Instructional Empowerment takes great pains in providing the best school leadership coaches to our partner schools. Every one of our leadership coaches has served as successful school or district leaders. Every single one.

Basileo, L. D., Lyons, L., & Toth, M. D. (In Progress). Measure Real-Time Improvement of Instructional Trends and Systems: Validation of a Diagnostic Observation Tool.

Partner Schools on the Emerge Pathway

Tripled State Accountability Results

Despite a history of low student achievement scores (87% of third graders were reading below grade level), Lakewood Elementary School dedicated itself to a partnership that would help all students achieve grade level proficiency and thrive beyond school. Lakewood serves students who have been historically marginalized – 100% of students receive free and reduced meals and 15% are homeless or in foster care. Lakewood’s educators and community cared deeply about improving student outcomes at the school.

After three years of partnership, Lakewood tripled their state accountability results. Students are now engaged in academic rigor and thriving with student agency.

Lakewood rapidly closed achievement gaps between:

  • Black students and non-Black students
  • Students receiving free and reduced lunch and students not receiving free and reduced lunch
  • Students with disabilities and those without disabilities
Lakewood Elementary School Case Study

Best Achievement Results in 7 Years

Although McLaughlin Middle School faced years of low scores on student achievement tests, the principal, staff, and community were determined to improve student outcomes.

McLaughlin serves many students who have been historically marginalized.

  • 72% of students receive free and reduced meals
  • 39% of the students are Hispanic
  • 26% of the students are Black

After partnering with our team members, McLaughlin exited state accountability status with their highest results in 7 years. The school culture flourished with positive student behaviors and authentic academic engagement.

McLaughlin’s achievement gaps closed completely between Hispanic and Non-Hispanic students in reading and nearly closed between Black and White students in math.

McLaughlin Middle School Case Study

State accountability data from the Florida School Grades Archives (2019- 2021).

Our Partners Sustain Their Improvements

William D. Moseley Elementary School always had potential for greatness, though the school faced a difficult journey. Moseley serves a diverse student population with varying needs in a fully Title I district.

  • 100% of students receive free and reduced lunch
  • 25% receive special education services
  • 78% of students are Black
  • 14% of students are homeless or in foster care

After two years of partnership with our team members, Moseley saw gains in student achievement, increased teacher retention by 40%, and exited state accountability status with their highest results in 10 years.

Since the consulting team members’ departure in 2019, Moseley continues to sustain their state accountability results and serves as a demonstration school for the rest of their district, contributing to the improvement of instructional systems districtwide.

William D. Moseley Elementary School Case Study

Interested in learning more about the Emerge Pathway?

Schedule a Meeting
with Michelle

Many of Instructional Empowerment’s team members previously served at another company led by CEO and Executive Director of Research, Michael Toth, before Instructional Empowerment was founded. They compiled some of the data and research on this website at this previous company. Michael Toth and the Instructional Empowerment team have perfected and applied their own evidence-based school advancement approach.