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Monitoring, Reflecting on, and Evaluating Progress toward School and District Goals

Monitoring, Reflecting on, and Evaluating Progress toward School and District Goals


In this lesson, students examine strategies to monitor, reflect on, and evaluate progress toward school and district goals.

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Source: Globe, Clker,; Thinking Person, Clker,; Fig Tree, Pixabay,; Plus Minus Delta, Provided by Author

Video Transcription

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Hello there, and welcome. My name is Gino Sangiuliano. And in this short lesson with a long title, we will be taking a look at ways to monitor, reflect, and evaluate progress toward school and district goals. Let's get started.

I have a fig tree, and that's somewhat unique living in the Northeast. You see, fig trees cannot survive cold winters and will die if not protected. There is no one particular way to do that, but rather many. The traditional method is to literally bury it underground in the fall, and unearth it in the spring, and that's a lot of work. Over the years I've tried other methods, as well, involving such things as blankets, plastic tarps, PVC piping, and wooden frames. The point is that each year I reflect on the method, weigh the pros and cons, and evaluate the fruits of my labor before deciding what to do next winter.

Growth in reflection go hand in hand, and this is especially true in site-based management. As practices and protocols are established, constant monitoring of progress toward goals is essential. It is often one of the final steps in the process set forth by the school or district, but that certainly doesn't mean it's the least important. As data keeps coming at us, we need to continue to learn how to best use it in a way that's going to help us progress toward meeting the goals, which is why teams should engage in reflection to help tease out what's working, what's not, and what changes you might consider making going forward.

Reflection on whether the strategies are helping will not happen by accident. We need protocols to get us there. The place to start is with these two important questions. Is our data demonstrating progress toward our goals? Are these goals bringing us closer to meeting the mission and vision of the team, school, and district? As mentioned earlier, there is a plethora of data available. Be sure to include both qualitative and quantitative data as part of your reflection.

Data is meant to be shared. It should be looked at and discussed as a team. Furthermore, the two questions mentioned here need to be asked of a team. This is where rich, sometimes difficult, discussions will take place. Use a tool like a plus/minus/delta to help during reflection. A plus/minus/delta is a graphic organizer that teams complete to identify what's working, what's not, and how barriers can be addressed.

Administrators are using this with teachers and teachers are using it with students as a way of reviewing strategies that are working or share what is getting in the way of their progress. The final piece is the delta, which helps initiate change toward improvement. Here are three question stems you can modify when using a plus/minus/delta. How is blank helping us to meet our goals? How is blank preventing us from meeting our goals? What can we do differently to move us closer to reaching our goals?

This is an actual plus/minus/delta I used with my staff last week. The SMART goal we were working off was 90% of students will develop and demonstrate self-management skills to regulate emotions and achieve behavior related to school success as measured by school-based respectful behavior surveys and Swiss data. We began by asking the team to list the strategies that are helping to support this goal. For example, we have caring teachers.

Next, we asked the team to list the things that are getting in the way of the team achieving the goals. An example from this column is a general lack of politeness and manners from our students. Finally, we asked the team to brainstorm strategies to help move us closer to the goal. An example from this column is to increase teacher presence during transitions.

Our next step will be to review and consolidate the suggestions under the delta, then rank them in order of their importance. Remember, it's not a vote, but it's by consensus that they agree on what strategies need to be replaced or revised. We will then go back to the original question. By changing these strategies and reaching our goal will we be moving toward the vision mission of the team, school, and district. If not, it is possible that we may have to go through the process of revisiting the SMART goal.

In either case, we will assign roles and responsibilities at a future meeting to ensure that the action steps developed will get done. A project manager will be assigned who will organize time for the team to review, reflect, and revise. In the event that our SMART goal needs some additional work because the data indicates there's no movement toward reaching it or moving closer to the mission and vision, here are the steps that we'll want to follow.

As a result of our latest progress review, what is it exactly that we want to accomplish? What will we do to measure progress toward the goal? Is our goal attainable? How will we know the new goal is more relevant and appropriate? What is our new timeline?

So it's time to go ahead and summarize what we covered. In this lesson, we learned the steps involved in monitoring goals. A key component is reflecting on the work and collecting data to help evaluate the results. We also reviewed a plus/minus/delta and looked at an actual example. Finally, we went over the questions that need to be addressed if goals need to be altered.

And now for today's food for thought. A plus/minus/delta is a very versatile tool. I've seen superintendents use it with administrators and preschool teachers use it with 4-year-olds. Come up with a list of situations where you think it could help you gather important information.

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, check out the additional resources section that come with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. Thanks again for watching. We'll see you next time.

Notes on "Monitoring, Reflecting on, and Evaluating Progress toward School and District Goals"

(00:00-00:12) Intro

(00:13-00:50) Fig Story

(00:51-01:25) Goals

(01:26-02:22) Tips

(02:23-02:54) Plus Minus Delta

(02:55-04:30) Example

(04:31-05:01) Altering SMART Goal

(05:02-05:55) Food For Thought/Summary

Additional Resources

Plus/Delta Classroom Assessment Technique

Iowa State University provides an overview of the Plus Minus Delta process for continuous improvement in the classroom. This is a brief and easy to understand overview.

The Goals of Differentiation

In this journal article, Carol Ann Tomlinson explains the overarching goals of differentiation. Interestingly, she references the use of Plus Minus Delta as a tool to build awareness in students. In this course, we have been using the tool to build awareness in the adults involved in SBM.