Source: Globe, Clker, http://bit.ly/1CVSonk; Thinking Person, Clker, http://bit.ly/1EmDSQV; Book, Clker, http://bit.ly/1Lm4wi2; Desk, MorgueFIle, http://mrg.bz/XQFKVf; Steps, Clker, http://bit.ly/1IU4q28; Bruce Springsteen, Provided by Author
Hello, and welcome to this tutorial about examining the considerations necessary to connecting the vision, mission, and goals to the school improvement plan. No matter where or what you teach, it's certainly a topic that is relevant in today's educational landscape. Let's get started.
The overarching theme of this lesson is connections, and how the work we do need to be well-planned, coordinated, and intentional. It actually reminds me of how musicians get ready for performance. Whether it's a garage band preparing for a local gig or an international superstar getting ready to play a sold-out stadium, they approach their work the same way. They have a vision for what their show will look and sound like, and goals for each song they select. Their professional development entails thousands of hours of practice. And the report they receive comes in the form of audience approval. At the end of the tour, they take a break, reflect, and then do it all over again. So the next time you hear someone refer to a teacher as a rock star, they may be right.
In any organization it's important that all parts are pulling the same direction. In the case of schools, this is manifested when connections are made between the mission, vision, and goals that ultimately lead to the development of a site-based school improvement plan. In order to maximize its effectiveness and its reach, the development of the school improvement plan must be an inclusive process that consists of many stakeholders, including, but not limited to, administrators, teachers, parents, students, and even members of the community.
The school improvement team is typically the PLC charged with the responsibility for development and monitoring a school improvement plan. The school improvement team generally includes the principal, teacher representation, parent representation, a community member, and, depending on the grade level, a student representative, as well. If the practice is to be adhered to with fidelity, the team will begin the process by establishing norms.
When creating a school improvement plan, it makes sense to begin with the vision and mission of the district, and build it from there. Even though the vision mission and goals can be personalized for that school based upon their own characteristics and assessment data, alignment to the district is essential. The assessment data used can include state assessment and the annual federal progress toward proficiency on state assessments as defined by No Child Left Behind requirements. Other information considered can come from behavior data and stakeholder feedback. In recent years, gathering this information has become much more efficient through the use of social media and other online forms.
In order to fully digest the data and identify gaps, school improvement teams are also provided with other information about school characteristics-- data including ethnicity, gender, English proficiency, economic status, graduation rates, college-bound rates, AP/IB enrollment, student program status, like special education, English language learners, 504s, RTIs, gifted and talented, and so on.
I've seen quite a few school improvement plans over the past 20 years or so, and I can tell you that some are more cumbersome than others. However, there are certain components that a school improvement plan should possess. And they include the vision and mission, list of the members of the team, a timeline for actions and goals, the areas of focus for the school year, broken down into action plans and SMART goals, systems of support and professional development necessary to reach those goals, a process and a vehicle for reporting progress on a regular basis, usually by quarter or trimester.
Let's take a look at what an actual school improvement plan looks like, and identify the components we just listed. These examples are taken from Lake Linden School in Michigan. Here, we have an example of the vision and mission, a list of the team members-- I blurred out their names for confidentiality's sake-- the goal, their timeline, the professional development needed in order to reach those goals, in the manner in which they're going to report and monitor their progress. I invite you to go back and pause at each frame to take a closer look.
A well-developed and effective school improvement plan is able to be aligned to the district mission, vision, and goals. But it's also personalized to meet the unique goals of the school. The result can be an effective tool to guide site-based management. Also, because the goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and bound by time, the school improvement plan builds in necessary accountability features and metrics to determine its effectiveness.
The goal, of course, of school-based management is continuous improvement of teaching, learning, and school culture. It's important, and often required, that the school improvement teams report their goals and progress and needs to the larger district administrative team-- which, in many cases, is the school committee-- to ensure an ongoing alignment and their support.
As we wrap things up, let's summarize. We began by reviewing the connections between the various parts of a school improvement plan. Next, we listed the school characteristic data that's collected and included in many of the plans. Then, we identified the essential components that make up a plan, and looked at them in the context of a real school improvement plan.
Now, some food for thought. Your school, no doubt, has a school improvement plan. Are you familiar with it? Have you read it? It will certainly give you some insight into what your district values and how they aim to achieve their goals.
For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please view the additional resources section that accompanies this presentation those resources include links useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.
Thanks so much for joining me. Have a great day.
(00:17-01:01) Let’s Rock!
(01:35-02:47) SIT & SIP
(02:48-03:18) School Characteristic Data
(03:19-04:07) Components of SIP
(04:08-04:55) Sample SIP
(04:56-05:46) Final Thought
(05:47-06:40) Summary/Food For Thought
School Improvement Planning: A Handbook
This handbook from the Education Improvement Commission in Ontario includes best practices, planning templates, and organizers to reference when developing a school improvement plan.
School Improvement Planning: Process Guide
This process guide from Washington State gives research-based best practices in planning and implementing school improvements. There are excellent resources - such as agenda templates - in the appendix that you can use as planning tools.