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School Improvement: Creating High Performing Schools


Multiple ways are used to communicate. Parents feel comfortable communicating with the school. ... Textbooks are a resource, not the curriculum ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: School Improvement: Creating High Performing Schools

School Improvement Creating High Performing
  • This presentation is intended to accompany the
    Georgia School Council Institute GuideBook

Progress in Georgia Schools since 2000
  • Many schools in Georgia have shown remarkable
    progress in student achievement since the A
    Reform Act of 2000 and the No Child Left Behind
    Act of 2001.
  • What are these schools doing to be successful?
  • Is there a common set of behaviors at these
    schools that can be replicated elsewhere?

Effective Practices School Study
  • 47 schools were selected by the Georgia School
    Council Institute (GSCI) based on performance
    and/or gains over a 3 year period.
  • Selection was based on an analysis of test scores
    in all grades, subjects, and demographic
  • Similar school analysis was based on student

What Kinds of Schools?
  • Rural, suburban, and inner city
  • Wealthy communities to very poor communities
  • Small schools (190 students) to large schools
    (2500 students)
  • Old schools (built in 1936), new schools, and
    schools with half the population in portable
  • Community schools and district-wide schools
  • Three high schools, four middle schools, forty
    elementary schools (ranging from K-2 to K-8 and
    everything in between)

The Process after Selection
  • Contacted the Superintendent
  • Requested additional data
  • Conducted a full day visit
  • Visited classrooms
  • Toured the school and grounds
  • Face-to-face interviews with a variety of

Topics Discussed
  • School improvement plan
  • School leadership
  • Staffing
  • Curriculum
  • Staff development
  • Staff leadership roles
  • School council role
  • Staff-parent interaction and communication
  • School atmosphere
  • Student, parent, and staff expectations
  • School priorities and goals for the future

Findings Five Common Characteristics
  • Effective Leadership
  • Effective Teaching
  • Effective Use of Data
  • Effective Discipline
  • Effective Engagement of Community

Effective Leadership I
  • Superintendent is key to providing an environment
    that allows the principal to be successful.
  • Leadership comes from the principal.
  • Principal is allowed to assess the needs of the
    school and make changes.
  • Principal is willing and able to make tough or
    unpopular decisions.
  • Principal is totally involved with instruction.

Effective Leadership II
  • Principal is very visible and visits classrooms
    on a regular basis.
  • Principal provides verbal and written feedback on
    classroom visits.
  • Principal understands and can articulate the
  • Principal attends teacher training and staff
  • Principal can determine if student work is
    meeting the standard.

Effective Leadership III
  • Principal can model quality classroom
  • Principal conducts staff meetings as a learning
    opportunity for staff.
  • Principal uses regular memos and e-mails instead
    of staff meetings to relay information to staff.
  • Principal attends grade-level and
    cross-grade-level meetings.
  • Principal communicates with parents on a regular

Effective Leadership IV
  • Principal encourages parents to visit the school.
  • Principal develops programs, processes, and
    events to involve parents.
  • Principal values parent and community
  • Principal plans for regular communication with
  • Principal is an encourager and motivator.
  • Principal has high expectations of all students
    and staff.

5 Common Characteristics
  • Effective Leadership
  • Effective Teaching
  • Effective Use of Data
  • Effective Discipline
  • Effective Engagement of Community

Effective Teaching I
  • Teachers understand the curriculum.
  • Horizontal and vertical alignment of curriculum
    is evident.
  • Grade-level planning
  • Cross-grade-level planning and communication
  • Examining curriculum at the previous and
    subsequent grade-levels
  • Teachers use curriculum as the basis for
    instruction and textbooks as a resource.

Effective Teaching II
  • Teachers instruct, evaluate, remediate, and
  • Teachers value time on task.
  • Teachers communicate regularly with parents.
  • Students are provided additional and alternative
    opportunities to learn after school, Saturday
    school, summer school, intercessions, and

Effective Teaching III
  • Teachers share best practices and have common
    planning times.
  • Teachers have comprehensive, planned, meaningful
    staff development.
  • Teachers are trained on effective strategies and
    use varied teaching techniques.
  • Teachers use activities that motivate and engage

5 Common Characteristics
  • Effective Leadership
  • Effective Teaching
  • Effective Use of Data
  • Effective Discipline
  • Effective Engagement of Community

Effective Use of Data I
  • Data is analyzed at multiple levels
  • Student level test analysis allows for targeted
    assistance for students.
  • Classroom level test analysis allows for targeted
    staff development.
  • Grade level test analysis allows for targeted
    grade level staff development.
  • School level test analysis allows for school-
    wide staff development.

Effective Use of Data II
  • Staff is not threatened by data.
  • Staff is fully trained in data analysis.
  • Staff understands the importance of data.
  • Staff supports data analysis.
  • School has planned approach to use data.
  • School analyzes many kinds of data, not just
    achievement-related data.

5 Common Characteristics
  • Effective Leadership
  • Effective Teaching
  • Effective Use of Data
  • Effective Discipline
  • Effective Engagement of Community

Effective Discipline I
  • All students are the responsibility of all staff.
  • Staff demonstrate on a daily basis that they care
    for the students.
  • Staff knows and communicates regularly with
    students and parents.
  • School is student-centered.
  • Staff, students and parents take pride in and
    responsibility for the school.
  • Sense of community exists.

Effective Discipline II
  • A school-wide discipline plan exists.
  • Entire staff supports and follows discipline
  • Parents and students understand and support
    discipline plan.
  • Expectations are posted in each classroom.
  • Students are expected to respect adults.
  • Adults are expected to respect students.
  • Teachers handle the majority of discipline.

5 Common Characteristics
  • Effective Leadership
  • Effective Teaching
  • Effective Use of Data
  • Effective Discipline
  • Effective Engagement of Community

Effective Engagement of the Community I
  • Communication is planned and frequent.
  • Multiple ways are used to communicate.
  • Parents feel comfortable communicating with the
  • Two-way communication with teachers is prompt and
    readily available.

Effective Engagement of the Community II
  • Active, involved and visible school councils and
    parent organizations exist.
  • Parents understand what their children are
    learning and how they can help.
  • Parents are regularly invited to school for a
    variety of activities.
  • The community supports the school with business
    partners and volunteers.

3 Primary Areas of Focus
  • The building blocks for student achievement are
  • Curriculum
  • Instruction
  • Assessment

3 Primary Areas of Focus
  • Common characteristics found in these schools
  • Focus on academic achievement
  • Clear curriculum choices have been made
  • Frequent assessment of student progress with
    multiple opportunities for improvement
  • Emphasis on writing

  • Common characteristics found in these schools
  • External evaluation
  • Curriculum is a separate document from the
  • Textbooks are a resource, not the curriculum
  • Assessments measure students knowledge of
    standards, not the content of the textbooks

What to look for at your school
  • Are curriculum standards posted in the classroom?
  • Can students state what is being learned?
  • What curriculum resources are being used?
  • How is implementation of the curriculum
  • How is new curriculum being implemented?
  • What professional development do teachers receive?

  • Common characteristics found in these schools
  • Teachers create instructional groups within the
    classroom to fit students academic needs.
  • Teachers make efficient use of time.
  • Teachers carefully orient students to lessons.
  • Teachers provide clear and focused instruction.
  • Teachers regularly provide students with feedback
    and reinforcement regarding their performance.

  • Common characteristics found in these schools
  • Teachers review and re-teach as necessary to help
    all students master learning the material.
  • Teachers use strategies to help build students
    critical thinking skills.
  • Teachers use effective questioning techniques to
    build basic and higher level skills.
  • Teachers give high-needs students the extra time
    and instruction they need to succeed.
  • Teachers monitor student progress closely.

What to look for at your school
  • Do teachers use a variety of instructional
  • Do teachers receive staff development on
    instructional strategies?
  • Do teachers have time for planning?
  • Do teachers meet regularly for cross-grade-level
  • Do teachers participate in collaborative
  • How do teachers evaluate instruction?

  • Common characteristics found in these schools
  • Teachers assess student progress regularly.
  • Teachers use alternative assessments as well as
    traditional tests to evaluate individual student
    strengths and weaknesses.
  • Results of assessments are used to guide
  • The purpose of assessments is understood.
  • Results of assessments are posted

  • Common characteristics found in these schools
  • Parents understand assessment results.
  • Parents understand required testing
  • Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs)
  • Georgia High School Graduation Tests (GHSGTs)
  • End of Course Tests (EOCTs)
  • National Assessment of Educational Progress
  • Norm Referenced Tests (NRTs)

What to look for at your school
  • Are periodic assessments given rather than just a
    final test?
  • Are pre and post tests used? How are assessment
    results used?
  • Is instruction adjusted based on test results?
  • What evidence do you see of the results?

Effective Practices Summary
  • Effective leadership supports effective teaching.
  • Effective teaching leads to higher levels of
    student achievement.
  • There is no magic bullet- just hard work.
  • The building blocks of effective schools are
    curriculum, instruction and assessment.
  • The focus is mastering, not covering, the
  • The focus is on what students learn, not on what
    teachers taught.
  • The focus is on using the data, not on testing.

Effective Practices Summary
  • When students are engaged in learning, discipline
    is not a problem.
  • Parents want to help their children succeed in
    school but often do not know how.
  • Parents need to be engaged in the school
    improvement process in order for it to be
  • Communities support schools they think are
    working hard to improve student learning.

FYI State Curriculum
  • The State Board of Education is required by law
    to develop a statewide basic curriculum including
    the competencies that all students must master
    before completion of high school.
  • Local boards of education must adopt the state
    curriculum or one that exceeds the state

Georgias New Curriculum
  • Georgia Performance Standards (GPS) is the
    revised curriculum currently being phased in over
    the next several years.
  • Performance standards state what a student is
    expected to know and how well a student must
  • The curriculum being phased out (QCC) was based
    solely on what a student is expected to know.

Georgias New Curriculum
  • There is a two-year implementation period for
    each subject and grade.
  • In Year 1, systems receive training on the new
  • In Year 2, systems implement and will be assessed
    on the new curriculum through the CRCTs, End of
    Course tests, and High School Graduation Test.

Georgias New Curriculum
  • Timeline
  • In 2005-2006, it is Implementation Year 1 for
    Math in grades K-2 and 7, and Science in grades
  • It is Implementation Year 2 for English Language
    Arts in grades K-12, Math in grade 6, and Science
    in grades 6, 7, 9-12.
  • The complete Phase in Plan for GPS is available

FYI Textbooks
  • The state of Georgia maintains an approved list
    of textbooks.
  • Local school systems select textbooks from the
    approved state list.
  • There is a budget cycle for purchasing textbooks
    usually every 7 years.
  • State assessments measure students knowledge of
    the state curriculum, not the content of the

  • What does your community need to know about
    curriculum, instruction, and assessments to
    understand and support the schools efforts?
  • Who is responsible for making sure parents are
    offered this information?
  • What can the school council do to facilitate this

FYI The School Improvement Plan
Role of the School Council
  • The school principal shalldevelop the school
    improvement plan and school operation plan and
    submit the plans to the school council for its
    review, comments, recommendations, and approval.
    O.C.G.A. 20-2-86 (r)(4)

New in 2005 Legislation
  • As part of its review of a school improvement
    plan, the school council at each school is
    authorized to request and receive data from the
    school relative to the schools utilization of an
    academic coach and whether such use of an
    academic coach has led to increased academic
    performance. O.C.G.A. 20-2-215(e)

The School Improvement Plan
  • School improvement plans are usually written to
    cover a three-to-five year period.
  • The plans should be reviewed and updated
  • All stakeholders should understand the goals of
    the school improvement plan, what progress is
    being made, and how they can support it.

Pop Quiz
  • What are three goals of your schools improvement
  • Did the school meet those goals in 2004-2005?

  • If you knew the answers, congratulations! Few
    people can answer without doing research.

School Improvement Process
  • Where are we?
  • Analyze data
  • Where are we going?
  • Set goals
  • How are we going to get there?
  • Select strategies
  • Are we there yet?
  • Monitor progress

  • Setting goals and selecting strategies requires
    specific, research-based information.

What kind of specific information?
  • Start by looking at the demographics.
  • What changes are occurring?
  • What implications do those changes have for
    student achievement?
  • Does the school improvement plan reflect these

Consider these three questions as you view the
next four slides.
Demographics of Georgia Public Schools 2000-2004
FRL Free and Reduced Lunch LEP Limited
English Proficient
Demographic Trends 2000-2004
Increase in Minority Students 1994-2004
Increase in Students Receiving Free and Reduced
  • What possible impact might these population
    changes have on test scores?
  • What changes have taken place in your school?
  • Are demographic trends considered in your
    improvement plans?

What other information should be considered?
  • Look at standardized test scores and see how
    different student groups perform.
  • Is attendance or tardiness an issue at your
  • What are the discipline issues?
  • How many students are in upper level classes?
  • What are the demographics of special education,
    gifted, honors, and advanced placement classes?

  • What should a school council consider when
    reviewing and approving the school improvement

  • Goals specifically define the targeted
  • What do you want to accomplish in terms of
    student outcomes, by when, and how will progress
    be monitored?
  • Data-based research should be the basis for each

Goal Criteria
  • Is the goal measurable?
  • Is the goal clear and specific?
  • Does it relate directly to student achievement?
  • Is the goal linked to a year-end assessment or
    other standards-based assessment?
  • Is it annually updated to reflect an increase
    over the previous year?
  • Is it written in simple, understandable language?

  • Below are two sample goals. Evaluate them
    against the criteria. Are they appropriate for
    a school improvement plan?
  • Increase the percentage of students passing the
    Georgia High School Science Test by 10 percentage
    points in 2006.
  • Students will demonstrate effective problem
    solving skills.
  • 100 of parents will attend parent-teacher

  • Strategies are selected to meet each school
    improvement goal.
  • The goal is the destination, and the strategies
    are the vehicles to get there.
  • When selecting strategies, consider the resources
    needed, including funding, staff development, and
  • An excellent strategy that can not be fully
    implemented is more likely to cause frustration
    than to create positive change.

Evaluating Strategies
  • These are the questions to ask as a plan is being
    developed. Once the plan is in place, strategies
    do not need to be re-evaluated if the goals are
    being met.
  • Are the specified actions different from the
    current way things are being done?
  • Do the strategies specify actions to be taken?
  • Are there any barriers to implementing the

Evaluating Strategies
  • Do the strategies directly address the goal of
    increasing student achievement?
  • Do the strategies focus on curriculum,
    instruction, assessment, and school organization
    that will directly impact student achievement?
  • When implemented, will the strategies directly
    impact student learning?

  • Bellamy High School has set the following school
    improvement goal
  • By spring 2006, increase the percentage of
    students passing the Georgia High School Writing
    Test by 12 percentage points.
  • 2 strategies have been suggested. Evaluate these
    strategies against the criteria
  • Implement writing across the curriculum.
  • Increase the number of times students write per
    week in every class to two times.

Plan how to include the community
  • Use communication channels to build community
    awareness of and support for the schools goals.
  • All the stakeholders should understand the goals
    of the school improvement plan, what progress is
    being made, and how they can support it.

  • How many parents at your school could name a goal
    in your school improvement plan?
  • How can the school council help communicate the
    schools improvement plans and progress?
  • Has your school council approved the school
    improvement plan?
  • Does your school council monitor the progress of
    the plan?

Monitoring Progress
  • If the goals are being met and the goals are
    still appropriate, then no changes are needed.
  • When making changes consider the intended and
    unintended results.
  • Who will be affected?
  • Can those affected be made a part of the planning
  • Any change to the plan should be as well thought
    out as the original plan.

Additional Information
  • The Georgia School Council GuideBook has more
    detailed information on reviewing the school
    improvement plan and includes a goal review
    worksheet and a checklist for monitoring
    progress. See Pages 1.5-1.9.

Examples of school council recommendations
  • Precede parent-teacher conferences with a
    workshops for parents.
  • Hold Science and Math Nights with activities for
    each grade level across subjects.
  • Have a Read In for families in media center for
    reading and educational games.
  • Communicate to all parents the importance of
    daily on-time attendance.

School Improvement Creating High Performing
  • This presentation is intended to accompany the
    Georgia School Council Institute GuideBook
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