Skip to main content

How We Serve

Philosophy

The CASTLE model rests on the belief that collaboration within and across schools is instrumental to the future of Catholic education. CASTLE cultivates a spirituality of communion among faith, leadership, and academic disciplines through a research-based approach to program design and improvement. This collective leadership model positions Catholic School Teacher Leaders in partnership with the school principal and systems-level coordinator to serve as catalysts for increasing academic rigor and nourishing spiritual formation. This marriage of mind, heart, and community serves as the living breath of the Catholic school.

Practice

The CASTLE model brings together a cohort of schools within a diocese or regional proximity. Through our program coursework, teacher leaders are formed as master teachers and school leaders in the areas of mathematics and English language arts curriculum and instruction. Particular attention is given to the meaningful integration of Catholic spirituality within these content areas with the goal of surfacing the mutuality between faith and reason and forming intentional disciples. The CASTLE program offers coursework for school principals and systems level coordinators to support their development as proponents of this collective leadership model. The overarching goals of this two-year program are increasing academic achievement, spiritual formation, and collaboration within and across the Catholic school community.

Program Goals

goals

 

Collective Leadership Model

Collective Leadership

The Collective Leadership Model responds to research suggesting that school leadership is especially influential when it is shared among members of the school community. This entails flattening the traditional school administrative hierarchy, instating teacher leaders and systems-level coordinators who work alongside school principals to grapple with cultural and curricular issues, foster collaboration among faculty within and across schools, and nourish the spiritual growth of the school community. The CASTLE model is motivated by a Gospel-centric framework which animates leadership development across all aspects of our program.

Teacher Leaders

Teacher leaders bring content and pedagogical expertise to their schools’ leadership teams and a keen understanding for ways to enliven the Catholic identity of mathematics and English language arts classrooms. Through the CASTLE program, our teacher leaders engage in two years of coursework focused on deepening their own spiritual growth, disciplinary expertise, and Christocentric leadership practices. This coursework is augmented by school-based field experiences and lived out through the accompaniment of peer teachers in their professional journeys.

School Principals

In a collective leadership model, the principal still serves in the traditional role as the school leader, but partners with the teacher leaders and the systems-level coordinator in support of student formation. Through CASTLE, principals participate in Administrator Academies to learn how to optimize the collective leadership model with the goals of increasing instructional capacity, student learning, and spiritual formation across all grade levels. The Administrator Academies are designed using the lens of Christ the Teacher, they prioritize the virtues of humility and self-awareness, and they surface God’s authority in all aspects of our lives.

Systems Level Coordinator

The Systems Level Coordinator functions as the CASTLE point person at the (Arch)Diocesan level. These coordinators create the infrastructure for principal and teacher leader collaboration across schools as informed by their authentic understanding of the local educational landscape. Through our Administrator Academies, they develop leadership, communication, and school coordination skills. This role is motivated by our apostolic call to solidarity and community and shows witness to the Catholic faith through the “bringing together” of our Catholic schools.

Iterative Program Design

CASTLE draws on a body of research showing that schools employing licensed mathematics and literacy teacher leaders have shown improved performance in the areas of student academic achievement, teacher instruction, and teacher beliefs about their subject matter.

Interested in learning more about our research? Check out our research repository.

Initial Program Development

The first stage involved a partnership with the Diocese of Stockton, CA which resulted in an increase in standardized test scores over the 2018-2020 academic years. This outcome was an outlier among schools nationwide during this time period. Stockton’s superintendent of schools noted that the CASTLE initiative enabled students to grow in mathematics even in the midst of pandemic-induced disruptions. 

Pilot Study

CASTLE then embarked on two distinct, three-year pilot studies in the dioceses of Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN and Kansas City, KS and MO. Data collected from this phase has informed the improvement of program design and evaluative instruments used to measure outcomes and efficacy. 

Scaled Certification Program and Evaluation

A two-year, 23 credit certification program for Catholic school mathematics and literacy teacher leaders is currently being developed with an intended commencement in summer 2023. The scaled up stage will undergo a rigorous evaluation to corroborate CASTLE's collective leadership model as an effective lever for school vitality.

Where We Serve

CASTLE Team

Subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter!