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Georgia School Council Institute Effective Practices Study


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Title: Georgia School Council Institute Effective Practices Study

Georgia School Council Institute Effective
Practices Study
GSCIs Effective Practices Schools
  • 47 schools were selected based on test results
    from 2000, 2001 and 2002
  • Analysis of all grades, subjects, and demographic
  • Similar school analysis based on student
  • Selection was based on performance and/or gains
    over 3 year period

Variety of Schools
  • Rural, suburban, and inner city
  • Wealthy communities and very poor communities
  • Small schools (190 students) and 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)

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

Additional Data Collected
  • Student achievement data
  • Special programs
  • Budget
  • School organization
  • School calendar
  • Parent involvement programs
  • Student expectations (handbook)
  • Staff development programs
  • Reading, language arts and math programs and

  • Interviews were conducted with small groups in a
    quiet space provided by the school with
  • Teachers (across grade levels and subjects)
  • Principal (and administrative team)
  • Central office (Superintendent or designee)
  • Parents (reflecting total population)
  • School Council
  • Secretary, Custodian, Lunchroom, Paraprofessional
  • Media Specialist
  • Counselor
  • Students

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

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

Effective Leadership
  • 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
  • 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
  • Principal can model quality classroom instruction
  • Principal conducts staff meetings as a learning
    opportunity for staff
  • Principal uses memos, emails, etc. 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
  • Principal encourages parents to visit the school
    and develops programs, processes, and events to
    involve parents
  • Principal is organized and has daily routine
  • Principal is an encourager and motivator
  • Principal has high expectations of all students
    and staff

Effective Teaching
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

Effective Use of Data
  • 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
  • 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

Effective Discipline
  • 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

Effective Discipline
  • School-wide discipline plan
  • Entire staff supports and follows discipline plan
  • 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

Effective Engagement of the Community
  • 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
  • Active, involved and visible school councils and
  • 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 through
    business partners and volunteers

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

  • 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
  • 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
  • Create instructional groups within the classroom
    to fit students academic needs
  • Make efficient use of time
  • Carefully orient students to lessons
  • Provide clear and focused instruction
  • Routinely provide students with feedback and
    reinforcement regarding their performance
  • Review and re-teach as necessary to help all
    students master learning the material
  • Use strategies to help build students critical
    thinking skills
  • Use effective questioning techniques to build
    basic and higher level skills
  • Give high-needs students the extra time and
    instruction they need to succeed
  • 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
  • Parents understand assessment results

  • 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 leadership supports good teaching,
    which leads to higher levels of student
  • There is no magic bullet- just hard work.
  • The building blocks of effective schools are
    curriculum, instruction and assessment.
  • When students are engaged in learning, discipline
    is not a problem.
  • Parents want to help their children succeed in

Georgia School Council Institute Effective
Practices Study