SAIC Principals Discuss the Benefits of Improvement Science and the Power of Networks

November 16, 2015

Nancy Carnevale and Michele Savage are principals of Delaware middle schools that participate in Carnegie’s Student Agency Improvement Community (SAIC) network. SAIC brings together researchers and practitioners to build the interventions, tools, measures, and practices necessary to develop students’ academic mindsets and learning strategies.

In this interview, Nancy and Michele discuss the benefits of working in the SAIC network. They note the value in collaborating with other network members and using improvement science to identify and test effective strategies that can be spread with confidence.

“Being involved with SAIC has changed the way my school functions and runs,” says Nancy Carnevale, principal of Milford Central Academy. “Mostly because for years, it was always about the big roll out — what’s our initiative for the year and what are we going to make everybody do? SAIC is totally different than that. It’s provided my teachers with many different onramps to get into improvement work. It’s also really cemented the idea of making these small changes on a small level, figuring out what works in this setting, and what didn’t work.”

“What was nice about the work we did with SAIC,” notes Michele Savage, principal of Shue-Medill Middle School, “is that it wasn’t about everyone telling us the answers — this is what you should do, or here is this curriculum. We were respected as individuals in a school and as professionals. And we were asked, ‘what’s happening in your school?’ I think it was the first time I’ve had anybody ask me. Usually people are telling me what it is I need to do or telling me about my school.”