Posted on Nov 01, 2019


Mineral Wells Rotarians on Wednesday heard how Mineral Wells ISD's two-year-old Opportunity Culture initiative is benfitting teachers and students in its elementary school classrooms.


Mineral Wells ISD school board member and Rotary program chair for the week Scott Elder brought Travis Elementary School Principal David Wells, who in turn brought with him campus educators Carla Watson, Patti Newsome and Lindsey Wells, who all serve as Multi-Classroom Leaders (MCLs) for the school under the Opportunity Culture program.


Also attending Wednesday's meeting were Rotarians Dr. John Kuhn, who is superintendent of Mineral Wells ISD, and club Secretary Karyn Bullock, who is the district's communications director. John Kuhn's administrative assistant Marilyn Bradshaw attended as a special guest.


The Opportunity Culture initiative, which is growing in popularity across Texas and the nation, aims to impact and improve classroom instruction by creating an atmosphere of teamwork, coordination and communication among teachers within the grade levels and areas of instruction. Wells said in the two years the program has been in place, the district is realizing the benefits through gradually improving state accountability test scores.


Wells said when it was first introduced to the district in 2017 there were those who embraced the concept, and some who were initially resistant. He said Travis Elementary's fourth- and fifth-grade teachers adopted the initiative at the beginning of the school year, while the sixth-grade teachers did not. He said within a couple of months, they changed their minds and began using the OC model and concepts.


Kuhn said Opportunity Culture is now in place at all three of MWISD's elementary school campuses.


The Texas Education Agency (TEA) several years ago made Texas the first state agency in the nation to support districts implementing Opportunity Culture. The MCLs are provided additional pay for their campus leadership work. Districts in other states are now doing the same.


MWISD has over 3,200 students of which about three-fourths are designated as economically disadvantaged and about 10% are English language learners.


In Opportunity Culture Texas, a team of teachers and administrators at a school study and choose among several models that use job-position redesign and age-appropriate technologies to reach more students while also personalizing high-standard, academic instruction. School teams may also review and redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time to plan and collaborate.


Teacher-leaders under the model often lead teaching teams and conduct on-the-job coaching and development.


As MCLs receiving additional pay, districts like Mineral Wells see it as a way to provide higher salaries to top teachers as an incentive to stay, rather than seek higher-paying positions elsewhere. That helps with retention while their expertise, leadership and guidance helps develop new and less experienced teachers grow into their roles and enhance the quality of education in their classrooms.


MCLs are selected from teachers who have a history of excellence. The MCLs will support teachers on their team to plan and deliver quality instruction leading to increased student achievement.


Opportunity Culture Texas model prototypes were designed by Public Impact, a national group with a mission to improve learning outcomes for all children, with a special focus on students who are falling behind. Public Impact advises TEA and Education Service Center, Region 20, in their design and implementation support of Opportunity Culture Texas districts.


For more information about Opportunity Culture Texas and Opportunity Culture:


Public Impact Opportunity Culture website: