(Detailed Description)

An Overview
Board, District, School and Classroom Components
Detailed Description
Implementaton of Standards

Pre Planning A planning meeting occurs between a MES certified consultant, the Superintendent, and the person in the district selected to coordinate/facilitate the process district-wide. Usually this is the Assistant Superintendent for Instruction or a person in a similar position. (Often, however, the Superintendent chooses to be the process's coordinator/facilitator.)
District Team
Staff Development

A district-wide team is formed consisting of key teachers from each school, the principal of each school, the Superintendent or his/her representative and other people selected by the district such as Board members, parents, support staff, students and other community representatives.

The district-wide team participates in three days of inservice education regarding the effective schools research, change research and their implications for a school improvement process based on the effective schools research.

Subcommittee Work
- Draft Master Plan
- Survey Instrument
- Disaggregated Analysis

The district-wide team then forms several subcommittees to write a draft district plan. This plan serves as the bases for policy recommendations.

Subcommittees need to develop draft answers to the following questions:

  1. What is our district's definition of effectiveness? What are the assumptions, the basic principles upon which the process rests? What is our district's mission? What is the recommended timeline for the process? Who should be on school improvement committees? For how long? How are they selected? Usually three full days are required for this task.
  2. What effective schools survey instrument will we use? Do we want to give it to students, support staff and parents as well as to teachers and administrators? Usually this task can be accomplished by the subcommittee meeting for one full day.
  3. What student learning do we value? How is student attainment of this learning indicated? By traditional norm referenced tests? By State Education Department tests? By authentic assessment instruments? By performance indicators such as attendance, discipline referrals, etc.? (For example, the subcommittee might decide to recommend concentrating on student learning of reading and arithmetic in the elementary schools, and not to concentrate on measuring student learning in other areas such as handwriting, social studies, grammar, etc.)

This subcommittee also develops answers to the following questions: For each test/indicator selected, what score is indicative of Excellence? Competence? Minimum Curricular Mastery? (For example, on a high school department examination, 95% might be selected for Excellence, 85% for Competence and 75% for Minimum Curricular Mastery.)

The district's testing expert should be on this committee as well as key teachers and principals from each level. Usually this subcommittee can do its work in two half days, several weeks apart, assuming that the district's testing expert does some preparatory work and some work for the second session.

District Team
Approves Plan
The district team reconvenes to hear and discuss the reports of the subcommittees. Normally this process requires two days of intense discussion. By the conclusion of this meeting the team will have created and agreed to a District Plan for the effective schools process to recommend to the Superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education. This plan will contain the district's goals and other organizational items and serve as the basis for policy recommendations on standards, processes and annual reporting requirements.
Approved By
- Superintendent
- Board Of Education

Both the Superintendent and the Board of Education either formally approve the team's recommendations, or return them to the team with questions/concerns for the team to consider.

Once the Board approves the district plan, the district team has the option to abandon or continue. We recommend that it continue to meet for the purposes of communication, coordination and fine-tuning the process as the years progress. Unless there is a conscious effort to foster across-district communication, each building tends to concentrate increasingly upon itself and not profit from knowing what others are doing and learning.

School Improvement Teams Formed School improvement teams are formed. They consist of the principal, teachers and other groups as indicated in the district plan. Frequently students, parents, support staff and other community representatives are on these teams. Which groups will be represented on the school improvement teams, how they will be selected and how long they will serve is decided during the development of the district plan.
Initial Needs Assessment
- Presence Of Correlates
- Disaggregated Analysis

The selected effective schools correlates survey instrument(s) is administered to the groups identified in the district plan.

Student performance data (as specified in the district plan) is disaggregated

Improvement Teams
- Trained
- Develop Draft Plan

School improvement teams are trained how to analyze the disaggregated student performance data, how to analyze the correlates needs assessment data, how to discuss and decide among competing priorities and how to write an improvement plan for their school based upon this data and process. Introductory small group skill training also is included in the training.

The school improvement training workshop consists of two sessions. The first is for three days. This is followed by a break of several weeks during which the team members discuss what they did with their colleagues and obtain recent research on the problems which they identified.

Then a second session is held for two days. By the end of this session the team will have prepared a draft improvement plan for their school based upon the effective schools correlates and disaggregated student performance data.


Because we have observed that teams tend to stay away from curriculum and instruction and from issues that affect what occurs in the classroom, we require that in the first year at least one component of a school's improvement plan deal with these issues. In the second year at least two components of the improvement plan must deal with these issues.

Michael Fullan in his book, The New Meaning of Educational Change, reinforces our observations. He cites Levine and Eubanks who concluded from their research that: "school councils rarely tackle even instructional issues let alone second-order change...There are few if any indications, that early movement toward site-based management has been associated with substantial change in instructional delivery or student performance. To a significant degree, satisfaction may have been attained precisely through neglecting requirements for inconvenient institutional reform [in favor of more superficial easier to implement changes]." (p. 202)

  Annual Implementation Cycle
Faculty Approves Plan The school improvement team presents its draft improvement plan based upon the correlates and disaggregated student performance data to the faculty for discussion, review modifications if needed, and approval. If the faculty does not approve the plan either in part or in whole, the team returns to the drawing board, revises the plan and then presents the revised plan to the faculty for approval.
Plan Implemented

The school improvement team and faculty work long and hard during the year to implement the plan.

While this is occurring the district office provides support, encouragement, cheerleading.

Because the adults in the school already are doing the best they know how to do, given the conditions under which they are working, staff development is a key element of an effective schools process. Usually, staff development programs are designed to add new instructional skills (e.g., cooperative learning, curriculum alignment or performance assessment) and/or to help teachers implement specific programs (e.g., assertive discipline).

During the year, the Superintendent of Schools personally meets with each team to ask, "How are you coming on implementing your plan?" "What can I do to help you?" These visits demonstrate the Superintendent's support for the process and the team's efforts. We have found that these visits are most helpful and that requests made of the Superintendent are reasonable.

At the end of the year, student performance data is disaggregated to see if improvements have occurred in the equity and quality of student learning over the past year. This data also serves as one element necessary for forming the plan for the coming year.

At the end of the year the effective schools survey instruments are readministered. The purpose is to see if the perceptions of various groups have changed as a result of the activities which occurred during the year and to provide data upon which to base next years plan.

- Disaggregated Analysis
- Presence of Correlates

Improvement Team
- Develops Draft Plan For Coming Year
- Prepares
Evaluation Report

Based upon input received from the disaggregated student performance data and the correlates survey data, the school improvement team meets during the summer for four days to prepare a data-based, data-driven improvement plan for the next year.

At the same time that the school improvement team develops its annual plan, the team prepares an evaluation report for what has occurred, distributes it to various groups and discusses it with them.

  This is the beginning of the annual cycle of school improvement. The emphasis is upon continuous incremental improvement. Over the years, this will have a major impact upon the quality of student learning and the climate of the school.
Annual Evaluation Report The Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee, prepares an evaluation report for the effective schools initiative which is submitted to the Board of Education in open public session by no later then October 31 of each year, preferably sooner. The purposes of this report are to provide data to the Board that improvement is occurring (and thus maintain Board support) and to demonstrate to the faculties that the district is serious about the process.
Ongoing Process

Throughout the entire process, from day one, the Superintendent provides visible, enthusiastic support for and leadership.

As new members come on the school improvement teams, they need to be trained in the effective schools research and change research. If this does not occur, soon there will be nice, well-meaning people on the teams who will flounder due to lack of knowledge about the effective schools research and MES process. This training can be done by one of the More Effective Schools certified trainers, or several people from a district who participate in a training program which would qualify them to do this training.

During the first two full years of implementing school improvement plans, each team meets with a MES certified trainer for the purposes of feedback, technical assistance, midcourse correction, and reinforcement of what they are doing correctly and well.

At the end of the fifth full year of implementation the school district conducts a five year longitudinal cohort survival evaluation of each schools' improvement results.



An Overview
Board, District, School and Classroom Components
Detailed Description
Implementaton of Standards



(Validation Credentials)


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