Practice Activity: Evaluating School Improvement Plans
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.Conduct a peer review

Having peers from other schools critique your school improvement plan would help ensure your plan both said what you meant it to say and was well aligned. When you participate in a peer review process, you learn whether what you wrote is actually what you want your plan to say and what you want to avoid. The peer review guidelines below will support you in this process.

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Peer Review Exercise

Will your School Improvement Plan likely lead to the improved student achievement you are seeking?

Directions: Schools should take turns presenting the following information about their school improvement plan. After each school has presented, participants from the other schools should ask the following questions and should provide recommendations about whether the presenting school is likely to see the improvement they are looking for if they implement the strategies they have identified.

Part I: Are your strategies and evidence of attainment aligned with your objectives?

School presenters should share the following information with the group about their most critical objective:

  1. The objective and evidence of attainment you have identified for that objective.
  2. The strategies you have identified to attain the objective.
  3. The milestones you have identified to monitor whether you are making good progress toward meeting your objective.

Group members should ask the following questions and follow through with any probing or clarification questions that help the presenting school decide whether their objectives and strategies will lead them to improved performance.

  1. What data was used to determine this would be an area of need?
  2. Is the objective about student achievement?
  3. Does the objective target improved performance for all students?
  4. Does the objective require a school-wide focus for attainment?
  5. Did you believe the evidence of attainment was sufficient to determine whether the objective had been met? Was the evidence quantified in any way?
  6. Would you define evidence of attainment for that objective any differently? Do you have any other suggestions for data to collect as evidence of attainment?
  7. Are there sufficient milestones in place to monitor the progress of the school in a timely enough way to change course if the progress is not sufficient?
  8. Are the strategies based on an identification of the school's problem in the objective area, i.e. the chief causes of your data being low in that area? If yes, what were the problems identified? If not, how were the strategies chosen?
  9. Does each strategy lead to the attainment of the objective?
  10. Which strategies would have the greatest impact on attaining the objective?
  11. Are there any strategies you could eliminate from your plan because they are not high impact strategies?

Part II: What does your staff need to know and be able to do to carry out your school improvement strategies?

School presenters should share the following information with the group about their staff development plans:

  1. The staff development activities planned for the implementation of the school improvement plan.
  2. The approximate time frame for staff development activities.

Group members should ask the following questions and follow through with any probing or clarification questions that help the presenting school decide whether their staff development plan is likely to result in staff being prepared to implement their school improvement strategies.

  1. Does your School Improvement Plan provide clear direction on what you and your staff need to do?
  2. What are you asking staff to do? In order to do that, what do they need to know and be able to do?
  3. Which of the areas you identified for staff development do you think are the greatest need and would result in the highest impact?
  4. How will you determine what teacher's feel are their staff development needs in relation to what you are asking them to do?
  5. What are the best ways to deliver staff development in the areas you have chosen? Which of these areas need continuous training throughout the year?
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