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What Happens We Leave? : Systems To Sustain Long-Term Impact In Schools

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

By: Mercy Munialo

Antanasia skips over potholes on her route to school. She thinks of her learners and her heart immediately beams. She wants the very best for all of them. She, just like them, grew up in a marginalized community. She knows what it’s like to have unqualified teachers for most of one’s life. To share desks and books, and the leftover supplies from wealthier schools. She also knows the value of a teacher who makes you feel valued and seen. Who challenges and supports and believes in you. She wants to be that teacher for her 41 learners.

Yet as she walks, something has kept gnawing at her mind. She is a keen teacher in the way she approaches classroom culture. Her students are motivated and focused. Antanasia’s Dignitas leadership coach has helped her get to this point. Their workshops and quarterly observation and coaching has strengthened her skills. However, she still struggles with differentiation and planning inquiry-based lessons. Her coach has two months until she exits her school. What will happen when her coach leaves? Will she be able to gain these skills in time? How will Antanasia keep learning after her coach’s exit?

Educators Dignitas works with are able to create schools where students thrive.

These are the questions my educators and I face. As a senior leadership coach at Dignitas, I have the privilege of training and coaching teachers and school leaders from Mathare to Homa Bay. Our team is proud to unleash the potential of 450 educators in marginalized communities so that 33,000 students have a higher-quality education. But the question still remains: how do we sustain our impact after formal partnership ends?

Our apt school leaders have been doing well through our programming. However, in some cases, after our tenure in our schools, learning dwindles away and teachers revert back to old habits. As an organization, we had to come back and brainstorm on ways of addressing this problem. This is why I joined Metis. During my Fellowship period, I am working to answer this question: how might we support leaders to collaborate for personal and professional growth?

On this journey, I have interviewed teachers and headteachers, I have learned skills for program design and behavior change. I have learned from other organizations and will be connecting with Metis mentors who can guide me.

Mercy having a coaching conversation with a teacher at Alpha Care School Uthiru.

“Metis enables me to thrive in my work!” Mercy with Metis Fellows at a Community of Practice.

Metis, a movement of change makers came in handy in helping bridge this gap to help us refine, try and iterate our idea in order of remodel PLCs to prepare implementation in our schools. Metis is actively involved in turning each individual’s bold idea of change into actionable steps that can bring about lasting change. I was lucky to be nominated by our Executive Director and got a scholarship through Metis and Dignitas late last year in order to be a part of this dream team under Cohort 3 of education change makers.

The most effective leaders are the most attentive learners!

Both Metis and Dignitas take learning and growth to be at the core of what they do. Both organizations are not only keen on individual but collaborative growth which bridges the gap of working in ‘silos’ to bring about robust and impactful change. As a change maker set to learn from an intersect of passionate believers in quality education for the Kenyan child from both organizations, I stand a chance to help my organization test out and refine how we have previously conducted PLCs to help enable sustainability in our schools and the larger communities. In this way, Antanasia who is a representation of the teachers I work with can have a hope that long after Dignitas has exited, her school will have clear structures that help build knowledge sharing among teachers courtesy of the impact that Metis will have had on making this a reality.

Thank you Metis! Thank you Dignitas! Thank you changemakers!

Read more about Mercy and her workhere. Learn more about Dignitas here.

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