Academic Review Handbook

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Academic Review Handbook

  1. 1. Academic Review Handbook 2009-2010
  2. 2. February, 2010 2009-2010 VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Academic Review Handbook Developed by Office of School Improvement Virginia Department of Education Richmond, Virginia ii
  3. 3. Original Document Edited and produced by CTE Resource Center Richmond, Virginia Virginia Department of Education Copyright ©2005, 2006, 2007 Virginia Department of Education P.O. Box 2120 Richmond, VA 23218-2120 Original Document Edited and produced by CTE Resource Center Margaret L. Watson, Administrative Anita T. Cruikshank, Writer/Editor Virginia Sowers, Writer/Editor The Center is a grant project of the Virginia Department of Education, Office of Career and Technical Education Services, and is administered by Henrico County Public Schools, Department of Career and Technical Education. http://www.cteresource.org/ Notice to the Reader In accordance with the requirements of the Civil Rights Act and other federal and state laws and regulations, this document has been reviewed to ensure that it does not reflect stereotypes based on sex, race, or national origin. The Virginia Department of Education does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, handicapping conditions, or national origin in employment or in its educational programs and activities. The activity that is the subject of this report was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education. However, the opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Education, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education should be inferred. iii
  4. 4. Acknowledgments The Academic Review Handbook outlines and explains the Academic Review process for those Virginia schools rated as Accredited with Warning. It also provides information on Conditionally Accredited schools, PASS schools, schools with Accreditation Denied and No Child Left Behind federal legislation. The Academic Review process was developed in response to the requirements of the Standards of Accreditation (SOA): “The Department of Education shall develop a school academic review process and monitoring plan designed to assist schools rated as Accredited with Warning. All procedures and operations for the academic review process shall be approved and adopted by the Board.” (8 VAC 20-131-310.A) The goal of the Office of School Improvement (OSI) is to assist those schools striving to achieve full accreditation by conducting and monitoring academic reviews; designing and providing technical assistance; guiding and implementing quality instruction; and explaining and ensuring compliance with the statutes and regulations for schools in Virginia. The Academic Review process was first developed and implemented during the 2000-2001 school year. At the end of each school year since, the Office of School Improvement has analyzed the data collected in the schools, along with the results of evaluations completed by school and division staff, to determine the components of the process that were working well and those that needed to be adjusted. Each year, groups of stakeholders have met to discuss the process, analyze the data, identify needs, and offer potential solutions. The OSI staff has shared these ideas with other department staff to determine ways in which the Academic Review process will be modified and enhanced to better meet the needs of schools. These changes were implemented the following year and then the cycle was repeated. Following the 2002-2003 school year, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) realized the need to formalize the process of reviewing and renewing the Academic Review process. With the yearly benchmarks for student achievement continuing to increase and with the rating of “Provisionally Accredited” being discontinued, the number of warned schools was expected to increase substantially in the coming years. The increased requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 were also expected to have an impact on the accreditation ratings of schools. The Academic Review process, as it was currently designed, would need to be revised to meet the unique challenges that lay ahead. For this reason, the department formed the first Academic Review Steering Committee. The steering committee was comprised of central office staff members, teachers, principals, independent contractors, and VDOE staff. The primary purpose of the committee was to provide guidance to the department in developing and revising Academic Review processes and materials and to bring recommendations forward to the full committee for agency/Board review, as necessary. Committee members were also assigned to one of six task forces to focus on specific issues related to the Academic Review process. Each task force was assigned specific outcomes related to one of the following tasks: ←Developing a division-level review process; ←Revising the Academic Review manual and materials; ←Recruiting and hiring independent contractors; ←Developing a training program for reviewers; 0Adjusting the Academic Review process, as needed, to meet the unique needs 1of alternative schools and centers; and, 2Scheduling academic reviews. iv
  5. 5. Each task force recruited additional team members to assist with completing the assigned tasks. Task forces met over the summer and provided the steering committee with updates of their progress. The steering committee provided each task force with feedback regarding its accomplished tasks and offered suggestions and insight to assist the team in completing other assigned tasks. After the 2003-2004 school year, academic reviewers provided feedback through a survey designed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the process. As had occurred previously, task forces were developed from this data. The 2004 task forces were as follows: ←Division Level Review; ←Academic Review Manual; ←Academic Review Training; ←Technical Assistance; ←ART-TASS (The Academic Review Tool); ←Indicators-Essential Actions; and ←COSTWS (Coordination of Services to Warned Schools). The information included in the 2005-2006 update of the Academic Review Handbook represented the work of previous steering committees and many task forces. Their work was accomplished through the sharing of ideas, skills, and expertise in an atmosphere of collaborative problem solving. In October 2006, the Virginia Board of Education revised the Standards of Accreditation (SOA), and further revisions were made to the Academic Review process. The 2007-2008 update to the Handbook provided further clarification to the review process and incorporated the SOA changes into the Handbook. The reporting process for the reviews was refined in 2007-2008 with the addition of the WIRELESS reporting system. This process was used for first year warned schools only. School Support Team reports remained word processed documents. All reports were electronically exchanged between the review teams, schools, divisions, and VDOE. The revised Academic Review Handbook for the school year 2008-2009 was again a collaborative effort involving a committee composed of members of the Office of School Improvement and several Academic Review Team Coordinators and team leaders. The revisions reflect a need for the various sections of the handbook to be used independently according to the needs of the Academic Review contractor and the type of review that a particular school has been assigned. The handbook is posted on the OSI Web Site for ease of access and to enable current material to be revised and posted in a time efficient manner. All reporting forms, school materials, and review protocols are online, as well. Updates for the 2009-2010 academic year have been made to this document. The current handbook, as posted on the Office of School Improvement Web site, is accurate and applicable. The Office of School Improvement appreciates the time, energy, and resources devoted by committee and task force members to renew the Academic Review process so that our schools, and our students, are provided the assistance and support needed to raise student achievement. Contact Information: Office of School Improvement Virginia Department of Education P.O. Box 2120 Richmond, VA 23218 Telephone (804) 786-1062 Fax (804) 786-9763 v
  6. 6. http://www/pen/k12.va.us/VDOE/SchoolImprovement vi
  7. 7. Table of Contents Section 1: The Academic Review Process.............................................................. 1 Background Information...................................................................................... 2 Purpose of the School-level Academic Review............................................. 2 Overview of the Academic Review Process........................................................ 3 Figure1: Academic Review: A Continuous Process..................................... 5 Table 1: Overview of the Academic Review Process................................... 6 Table 2: Tier Assignments for Academic Review Teams............................ 7 Figure 2: Academic Review Flowchart........................................................ 8 Table 3: Academic Review Timeline of Activities....................................... 9 The Academic Review Team Glossary................................................................10 Section 2: Areas of Review and Their Indicators.................................................11 Introduction..........................................................................................................12 Curriculum Alignment.........................................................................................13 Curriculum Alignment Indicators........................................................................14 The Use of Time and School Scheduling Practices.............................................15 Time and Scheduling Indicators..........................................................................16 The Use of Data for Making Instructional and Planning Decisions....................17 Using Data Indicators..........................................................................................18 Professional Development...................................................................................19 Professional Development Indicators..................................................................20 School Improvement Planning.............................................................................21 School Improvement Planning Indicators............................................................22 Research-based Instructional Intervention...........................................................23 Research-based Instructional Intervention Indicators..........................................24 Organizational Systems and Processes................................................................25 Systems and Processes Indicators........................................................................26 School Culture.....................................................................................................27 School Culture Indicators....................................................................................28 Section 3: Academic Review for First Year Warned Schools..............................29 Overview of the Section.......................................................................................30 The Initial Visit: Academic Review Team Leader Duties...................................31 The On-site Visit: Conducted by the Academic Review Team..................................32 Academic Review Report…………………………………………..………….33 Follow-up Visits: Coordinated/Conducted by the Academic Review Team Leader .........................................................................................34 vi
  8. 8. Section 3 Appendix: Academic Review Team Resources…………………...…36 Summary of Responsibilities: Academic Review Team......................................37 Summary of Responsibilities: Division and School Staff....................................39 Academic Review Protocol..................................................................................42 Academic Review Protocol for Mathematics Targeted Review..........................44 On-site Visit Planning Worksheet.......................................................................46 Summary of School Staff Interview Questions...................................................49 School Staff Interviews: School Curriculum Alignment.....................................53 School Staff Interviews: Time and Scheduling...................................................54 School Staff Interviews: Use of Data...................................................................55 School Staff Interviews: Professional Development...........................................56 School Staff Interviews: School Improvement Planning.....................................57 School Staff Interviews: Research-based Instructional Intervention...................58 School Staff Interviews: Organizational Systems and Processes........................59 School Staff Interviews: School Culture..............................................................60 Classroom Observation Log................................................................................61 Classroom Observation: General.........................................................................62 Classroom Observation: English..........................................................................64 Classroom Observation: Mathematics.................................................................66 Classroom Observation: Science.........................................................................68 Classroom Observation History/Social Science……………………………….. 70 Mathematics Report and Essential Actions for Middle School Mathematics (MREA)..........................................................................................71 Observation Rubric for Mathematics Lesson......................................................73 Section 4: Academic Review for Second and Third Year Warned Schools………………………………………….…………….80 Modifications to the Academic Review Process…………………………..…......81 Protocol for School Support Team Coach……………………………….….…....81 Section 4 Appendix: School Support Resources...................................................82 Resource Tool for SS Coach – Principal Interview Questions..............................83 School Improvement Process Questions………………………………………....85 Superintendent’s Memo No. 202: Modifications to the School-level Academic Review Process Approved by the Board of Education……………......89 Section 5: Conditionally Accredited Schools............................................................91 Background Information………………………………………………………….92 Process for Obtaining Conditional Accreditation…………………………….…..92 Alternate Governance Committee..........................................................................94 Auditors of Conditionally Accredited Schools......................................................94 Monitoring Procedures...........................................................................................94 vii
  9. 9. Flowchart for the Conditional Accreditation Process................................................95 Conditional and PASS Reports…..............................................................................97 Section 6: Essential Actions....................................................................................102 Essential Actions for Use in Academic Reviews………...…………………...…104 Curriculum Alignment..........................................................................................104 Time and Scheduling Practices.............................................................................106 Using Data for Making Instructional and Planning Decisions............................107 Professional Development...................................................................................108 School Improvement Planning.............................................................................109 Research-based Instructional Intervention...........................................................110 Systems and Processes.........................................................................................111 School Culture.....................................................................................................113 Section 7: School Self-study Resources.................................................................114 Background Information......................................................................................115 Selecting Self- studies for Staff to Complete.......................................................115 Division Practices Self-study and Interview Form..............................................116 School Improvement Update Self-study..............................................................120 Instructional Practices Self-study........................................................................122 Instructional Practices Self-study Compilation of Results..................................126 Instructional Leadership Self-study.....................................................................129 Instructional Leadership Self-study Tally Sheet..................................................131 Instructional Leadership Self-study Results........................................................133 School Culture Self-study....................................................................................134 School Culture Self-study Tally Sheet.................................................................138 School Culture Self-study Results by Item..........................................................140 School Culture Self-study Results by Category...................................................143 Final School Self-study........................................................................................145 Research-based Instructional Intervention Self-study.........................................147 Section 8: School Improvement Planning.............................................................150 Background Information......................................................................................151 Process.................................................................................................................151 Sample of School Improvement Plan – Format #1..............................................153 Sample of School Improvement Plan – Format #2..............................................157 Section 9: October 1 Update Report.......................................................................164 Completion and Submission of Annual Reports..................................................165 Superintendent’s Memo No. 233, Annual Reports on Status of Three-Year School Improvement Plan Implementation......................................166 Sample of October 1 Signature Page ..................................................................168 Status of Implementation Three-Year School .....................................................169 viii
  10. 10. Section 10: Schools Denied Accreditation………………………………………..170 Background Information......................................................................................171 Flowchart of Options for Accreditation Denied……………...………….……...173 Section 11: Other Reviews and Interventions……………………………...……174 Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS)...................................175 Background Information......................................................................................175 Technical Assistance……………………………………………………………175 Requirements for Coaches...................................................................................176 PASS Reports..………………………………...………………………………..177 Section 12: No Child Left Behind..........................................................................183 Background…………………………………………………………….………..184 What Should Reviewers Know About School Improvement Schools…………..185 What Academic Information is Important to Know About Schools in Title I School Improvement…………………………………………………………………….188 Table 1 Overview of NCLB Process……………………………………….……189 No Child Left Behind School Plan Components Linked to Center on Innovation and Improvement (CII) Rapid Improvement Indicators………………….…….192 Section 13: Glossary.................................................................................................199 . Section 14: Office of School Improvement Contact Information........................204 Section 15: Helpful Websites...................................................................................206 Section 16: Resources and Presentations……………………………….…….….209 ix
  11. 11. Section 1 The Academic Review Process 1
  12. 12. SCHOOL-LEVEL ACADEMIC REVIEW PROCESS Background Information In 1995, the Board of Education approved revised Standards of Learning (SOL) to reflect higher student achievement expectations as part of Virginia’s educational reform program. In July 2000, the Board revised its Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (SOA) to include increased accountability and support for schools. More recently, in July of 2002, former Governor Mark Warner announced the Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS) initiative and emphasized the importance of providing technical assistance to schools striving to improve student achievement. With that objective in mind, and with the support of the Board of Education and the Virginia Legislature, the Department of Education developed and refined the Academic Review process to provide assistance to schools needing improvement. A school-level Academic Review is one of many types of technical assistance available to public schools. A school rated Accredited with Warning in one or more content areas undergoes an Academic Review. The results of the Academic Review become the basis for school improvement planning and implementation, as described in the three-year School Improvement Plan (SIP) required by the Standards of Accreditation (SOA). Purpose of the School-level Academic Review The school-level Academic Review is designed to help schools identify and analyze instructional and organizational factors affecting student achievement. The focus of the review process is on the systems, processes, and practices that are being implemented at the school and division levels. Specifically, information is gathered that relates to the following areas of review: f Implementation of curriculum aligned with the Standards of Learning; Use of time and scheduling practices that maximize instruction; Use of data to make instructional and planning decisions; Design of ongoing, school-based program of professional development; Implementation of a school improvement plan addressing identified areas of weakness; Implementation of research-based instructional interventions for schools warned in English or mathematics; Organizational systems and processes; and School culture, including engagement of parents and the community. These areas of review provide a framework for the school-level Academic Review process. Within each of these areas, indicators reflecting effective practices have been identified for review. These areas of review are based on state and federal regulations and research-based practices found to be effective in improving student achievement. The Academic Review team collects and analyzes data that demonstrate the school’s status in implementing these practices. Based on their findings, the Academic Review team provides the school and the division with Essential Actions that can be used to develop or revise, and implement the school’s three-year School Improvement Plan, as required by the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia. A three-year School Improvement Plan must be developed and implemented, based on the results of an academic review of each school that is rated Accredited with Warning [or Accreditation Withheld/Improving School Near Accreditation] upon receipt of notification of the awarding of this rating and receipt of the results of the academic review. (8 VAC 20-131-310.F) 2
  13. 13. The school-level Academic Review process is tailored to meet the unique needs and circumstances presented by the school. The first year that a school is rated Accredited with Warning an Academic Review team conducts a comprehensive review of the areas related to the systems, processes, and practices that are being implemented at the school and division levels as indicated above. Throughout the school’s continued status in warning, the Academic Review process is designed to monitor the implementation of the School Improvement Plan and provide technical assistance to support the school’s improvement efforts. The school-level Academic Review process is designed to be diagnostic in nature, meaning that the process is tailored to meet the unique needs and circumstances presented by the school. Specific activities are conducted during each visit. The review team collects and analyzes data that show the school’s status in implementing these practices. Based on their findings, the team provides the school and the division with information that can be used to develop, revise, and implement the school’s three-year School Improvement Plan (SIP), as required by the SOA. The division superintendent may request that the school division be allowed to conduct its own Academic Review process of schools Accredited with Warning, using its own established processes. Such requests must be sent to the Superintendent of Public Instruction for approval. The request must show that the proposed process and areas of review address the components of the school-level Academic Review process approved by the Board of Education. Overview of the Academic Review Process The school-level Academic Review is a continuous process. An overview of the process for identifying and supporting schools in the Academic Review process is described in Figure 1. The focus of the Academic Review is on the development, monitoring, and implementation of the SIP. Table 1 provides an overview of the implementation steps of the school-level Academic Review process. In the first year of warning, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) assigns the school to one of three Academic Review “tiers” based on the circumstances of the school. Table 2 describes the tiered approach that is used to assign schools to an Academic Review process in their first year of warning. An Academic Review team, either state or locally directed, will conduct an on-site review and assist the school in identifying areas of need and writing an effective three-year SIP. Concurrent with developing a SIP, priority assistance is prescribed by the Academic Review team and approved by the Department of Education for immediate delivery. If the school is not Fully Accredited in the year following the Academic Review team’s visit, the VDOE will assign a School Support Coach to provide technical assistance to the school and/or division to modify, monitor, and implement the SIP. Figure 2 illustrates the Academic Review process for each year the school is Accredited with Warning. A full Academic Review is completed the first year of warning. If the school continues to be warned, the School Support Coach will focus on the SIP, its implementation, and rate of progress. The fourth year as Accredited with Warning can lead to a rating of Accreditation Denied or Conditionally Accredited as illustrated in Figure 2. The timeline of activities of Academic Reviews or School Support Coach visits are outlined in Table 3. Each review is unique based on the needs and challenges of each school. The goal of each review is to increase student achievement and to build local capacity for improvement at the school and division levels. Technical Assistance Profile (TAP) The Technical Assistance Profile (TAP) functions as the nucleus of the Academic Review reporting process by providing a comprehensive profile of schools that are not rated Fully Accredited and/or are identified in Title I School Improvement. Components of the TAP include school demographic information, needs assessments, current Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) interventions, and current and previous Virginia Department of Education reports. After accreditation ratings and adequate yearly progress (AYP) results are announced by the VDOE, the Office of School Improvement will complete the TAP for each school rated Accredited with Warning, Conditionally Accredited, in Title I School Improvement, as well as participants of the Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools (PASS). 3
  14. 14. This information will be distributed to the Academic Review Team Leaders, School Support Coaches, PASS Coaches, and Conditional Auditors. During the course of the academic year, additional Academic Review reports will be incorporated into the TAP with the final document encompassing all reports related to a particular school. 4
  15. 15. Figure 1 ACADEMIC REVIEW: A CONTINUOUS PROCESS Accreditation Ratings are Determined If Accredited With Warning If Accreditation is Denied, the SOA requirements are monitored by the Department of Education Academic Review Process Department of Education staff reviews data and assigns the school to an Academic Review tier or a School Support Coach (SS Coach) is assigned If Not Warned in Previous of the Table 1: Overview Year: School is assigned to an Academic Review If Warned in Previous Year, tier; Academic Review team assigned to the SS Coach is assigned school Based on academic review findings and current year’s data and review, SIP is reviewed, school improvement process is Academic Review team conducts on-site monitored, and technical support is given to review the school’s improvement committee by the SS Coach. SIP is written School and/or division technical assistance if provided by the SS Coach Priority technical assistance is provided SIP is implemented and monitored until the throughout the remainder of the year and school is no longer warned or accreditation is school improvement planning and denied implementation are monitored 5
  16. 16. Table 1 Academic Review Process Overview of the Academic Review Process Step 1 Review of Accountability Data The Department of Education reviews accountability data for all schools Accredited with Warning. Based on the review of data, if the school was not warned in the previous year, the school is assigned to one of three tiers of review (see Table 2) and the Department of Education identifies the membership of the Academic Review Team. If the school was warned in the previous year, based on the review of data and report of academic review findings, the Department of Education assigns a SS Coach to provide technical assistance. Step 2 Academic Review for First Year Warned Schools The Academic Review Team completes a review of the school resulting in a draft report of findings that is shared with the principal and superintendent or designee. The Department will approve the final report of findings and send a copy of the report to the division superintendent and local school board chairperson. Step 3 School Support Coach for Second-Year and Third -Year Warned Schools If a school is Accredited with Warning for the second or third year, the SS Coach provides focused technical assistance and monitoring of the School Improvement Plan (SIP) throughout the year as prescribed by the level of intervention (technical assistance). Step 4 School Improvement Planning The Academic Review Team assists the school in writing an effective School Improvement Plan (SIP) based on the team’s report of findings. Immediate priority assistance is provided throughout the remainder of the year. For those schools warned in the previous year, the Department of Education reviews accountability data, assigns the SS Coach and assigns a level of technical assistance. The SS Coach monitors the implementation of the SIP and assists, if necessary, with modifications to the plan. The SS Coach provides guidance and technical assistance to the school’s improvement committee in promoting school improvement. 6
  17. 17. Table 2 Tier Assignments for Academic Review Teams Tier* Characteristics of Schools Academic Review Academic Review Team Team Members Members Provided by Provided by VDOE Local Education Agency (LEA) (certified in process) Tier I: State Any school warned in 2 or more Academic Review None Directed content areas OR Title I school Team Leader, warned in English or VDOE staff or mathematics that DID NOT contractors meet requirements in the assigned to assist content area(s) to make in the school in the Adequately Yearly Progress area(s) of (AYP) under NCLB improvement Tier II: Locally Title I school warned in English Academic Review LEA staff assigned to assist Assisted or mathematics that DID meet Team Leader, the school in the area(s) of requirements in the content VDOE staff or improvement area(s) to make AYP under contractors assigned to assist NCLB OR Non-Title I school the school in the warned in English or area(s) of mathematics that DID NOT improvement meet requirements in the content area(s) to make AYP under NCLB OR Any school warned in science or history /social sciences with a pass rate more than 14 points lower than that required for full accreditation Tier III: Locally Non-Title I school warned in Academic Review LEA staff assigned to assist Directed Team Leader the school in the area(s) of English or mathematics that improvement DID meet requirements in the content area(s) to make AYP under NCLB OR Any school warned in science or history/ social sciences with pass rate within 14 points of that required for full accreditation *The Superintendent of Public Instruction may approve other school-level Academic Review tiers or other VDOE initiatives as alternatives to approved review processes dependent upon special needs and circumstances. 7
  18. 18. Figure 2 Office of School Improvement Academic Review Flow Chart WARNED SCHOOLS SS Coach SIP Review and School Improvement Technical Support Full Review OR School Support Review and Coach 8
  19. 19. Table 3 Academic Review Visit Timeline of Activities AR Visit Purpose Persons Responsible Preliminary • Academic Review Team Leader Academic Review Team meeting with should introduce himself/herself to Leader Principal (optional; the principal. • Ensure that the can be by principal has received the required telephone) self-studies and understands how to administer and compile them. • Describe the AR process and answer any questions that the principal may have. • Schedule the initial visit within the next weeks. Consider scheduling the on-site visit as well. • Review the school calendar and master schedule to ensure that the desired content observations can be completed on the scheduled review days. • Schedule and/or conduct the staff orientation, if desired. Initial Visit • Determine current status of Academic Review Team improvement efforts. • Interview Leader principal, staff, school improvement team and observe classrooms. • Prescribe on-site visit. On-Site Visit (All • Assess instructional and Academic Review Team Tiers) organizational practices. • Identify areas of strength and areas for improvement. • Establish essential actions for continued improvement. Follow-Up Visits (All Technical Assistance • Facilitate Coordinated by Academic Tiers as needed) incorporation of essential actions Review Team Leader; TA into SIP. • Facilitate and support providers may vary implementation of essential actions. Progress Check • Determine progress Academic Review Team of school in implementing Leader essential actions. 9
  20. 20. Final Visit (optional) • Identify significant changes in Academic Review Team practice, and recognize Leader accomplishments. • Assess status of school improvement planning efforts. 10
  21. 21. The Academic Review Team Glossary Academic Review Team Leader The Academic Review Team Leader (ARTL) is an experienced reviewer assigned specific schools within the state. This person assists the Office of School Improvement (OSI) with administrative duties such as scheduling and coordinating visits, training, facilitating technical assistance, reviewing School Improvement Plans (SIP) and reviewing and submitting reports. He or she is the leader of the Academic Review (AR) team for division-level and school reviews, serves as a liaison between the review team and the division superintendent, and leads the reviews in his/her assigned schools. Another Academic Review Team Leader responsibility is to assist and support principals with the implementation of the Essential Actions as recommended by the AR team. The Academic Review Team Leader may serve as a technical assistance provider for selected schools, as appropriate. The Academic Review Team Leader is responsible for the final report and distributes the report to the OSI, the division, the school, and the AR team. The Academic Review Team Leader is responsible for coordinating and conducting follow-up visits and any final visits to the school, as needed. The Academic Review Team Leader provides the school principal and the division superintendent with the names of the team members in advance of the review. The superintendent may, with good cause, request the replacement of a team member. Academic Review Tier Status Schools Accredited with Warning may be designated as Tier I, II, or III according to a variety of criteria. Table 2 in this section presents an explanation of tier status. Central Office Contact To facilitate the review process, the local superintendent assigns a central office staff member to serve as a contact person for the AR team. This person may also assist the team with review activities as appropriate. The ARTL consults with the OSI and the superintendent to determine in what capacity the central office contact person will assist and support the team. Review Team For the on-site visit, the AR team may include additional academic consultants, Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) staff members, special education staff and consultants, and Local Education Agency (LEA) representatives. Team members are experienced educators selected from a cadre of academic consultants and VDOE staff who meet specific criteria established by the department. All team members have participated in a training program and have had experience reviewing curriculum and analyzing data. An effort will be made to designate one member of the AR team who has expertise in one or more of the content areas in which the school is warned. School Support Coach (SS Coach) The AR process for schools warned for the second or third consecutive year is through the support of the SS Coach. Schools that have had an Academic Review but are subsequently warned will receive technical assistance from the SS Coach based on the specific needs of the school. Team Member Academic consultants serve as AR team members. The primary duty of the team members is to serve on AR teams during the on-site visit and provide technical assistance in follow-up visits. In local divisions with schools designated as Tier II or III, local school division personnel may serve as AR team members. 11
  22. 22. Section 2 Areas of Review and Their Indicators 12
  23. 23. Introduction By reviewing documents, conducting interviews, and observing classrooms and operational practices, Academic Review team members collect data related to the following eight primary areas of review: • Implementation of curriculum aligned with the Standards of Learning; • Use of time and scheduling practices that maximize instruction; • Use of data to make instructional and planning decisions; • Design of ongoing, school-based program of professional development; • Implementation of a school improvement plan addressing identified areas of weakness; • Implementation of research-based instructional interventions for schools warned in English or mathematics; • Organizational systems and processes; and • School culture, including engagement of parents and the community. School and division practices related to these primary areas of review are assessed within the context of the following: • The school’s three-year School Improvement Plan ( SIP) (8 VAC 20-131-310.F); • The research-based instructional intervention method adopted by the school, if the school was warned in English and/or mathematics (8 VAC 20-131-310.B); • The school division’s and school’s organizational systems and processes; • The school’s learning environment and readiness for change, as evidenced by the school’s culture; and • The school division’s and school’s use of resources, including fiscal resources. This section of the guide provides a research base for the eight areas of review. A summary of Virginia’s regulations related to these areas is also provided. 13
  24. 24. Curriculum Alignment with State Learning Standards What the Research Says What Virginia’s Educational Reform Says Curriculum alignment can be defined as The Standards of Quality (SOQ) require the Board of the degree to which expectations and Education to establish “educational objectives” (known as the assessments are in agreement and serve in Standards of Learning or SOL) and to revise them periodically. conjunction with one another to guide the Local school boards are also required to “implement these system in ensuring that students learn objectives.” The SOQ also authorize the Board of Education to what they are expected to know and do provide assessments that determine the level of achievement of (Webb, 1997). More specific to the the SOL by all students (22.1-253.13:1). Academic Review process and Virginia’s education reform initiatives, alignment The Standards of Accreditation (SOA) require school divisions may be defined as follows: to develop curricula based upon the SOL for students in grades The degree of agreement between the K-12. Classroom instruction of the SOL must be designed to local curriculum and the Virginia accommodate all students (8 VAC 20-131-70). Students must Standards of Learning (SOL) that ensures pass prescribed numbers of SOL tests to be eligible for valid and accurate information about Standard and Advanced Studies diplomas (8 VAC 20-131-50). student performance in an academic content area when measured by the SOL tests. Alignment, therefore, is achieved through the establishment of : • content—what students should know and be able to do (SOL); • a curriculum developed for each set of the broad content standards; and • systems of assessments matched with the content. In an aligned system, all content standards must be accounted for in some manner (Mitchell, 1996). Fenwick English (1997) summarizes the importance of curriculum alignment when he says, “Kids do better on tests when you teach them what it is you’re going to test them on than if you don’t. There’s no research to dispute that.” According to English (1997), curriculum, instruction, and assessments must be aligned so that what is taught is tested and what is tested is taught. 14
  25. 25. CURRICULUM ALIGNMENT INDICATORS Numbe r Descriptor CA 1 WRITTEN CURRICULUM CA 1.1 Making curriculum resources and supplementary materials available for use by teachers Establishing specific learning objectives that align with state learning standards and address CA 1.2 essential understandings, knowledge, and skills Listing instructional strategies and learning activities that align with state learning standards and CA 1.3 address essential understandings, knowledge, and skills Developing daily lesson plans that fit logically within the unit and within the context of the CA 1.4 overall curriculum Using student performance data to develop daily lesson plans that reflect consideration of the CA 1.5 learning strengths and needs of students Evaluating the appropriateness of pacing and mapping regularly, and making appropriate CA 1.6 adjustments Analyzing the curriculum components across grade levels in like content areas to identify areas CA 1.7 of strength and areas of weakness CA 2 TAUGHT CURRICULUM Focusing instruction on specific learning objectives that promote the attainment of state learning CA 2.1 standards and address essential understandings, knowledge, and skills Using available curriculum resources and supplementary materials appropriately to promote CA 2.2 attainment of state learning standards CA 2.3 Presenting accurate knowledge through meaningful contexts and connected disciplines CA 2.4 Employing instructional strategies that are research-based and proven effective Assigning projects and tasks that require students to integrate and apply their learning in CA 2.5 meaningful contexts and to reflect on what they have learned CA 2.6 Providing students with learning experiences that engage them in active learning Differentiating instruction to meet the identified needs of individual students and groups of CA 2.7 students CA 2.8 Providing all students access to available materials, resources, and services to support learning CA 2.9 Monitoring teacher implementation of the curriculum throughout the year CA Providing teachers with feedback on the alignment of instruction to state learning standards and 2.10 essential understandings, knowledge, and skills CA 3 ASSESSED CURRICULUM CA 3.1 Assessing student progress on a regular basis Ensuring that assessments are aligned with state learning standards and essential understandings, CA 3.2 knowledge, and skills Providing opportunities for students to take tests that are similar in content and format to state CA 3.3 assessments Using a variety of classroom-based assessment methods and tools (student self-evaluation, CA 3.4 performance checklists, rubrics, scales, projects, products, tests, quizzes) before, during, and after units of study to monitor student progress Providing assessments that require students to use knowledge, comprehension, application and CA 3.5 reasoning skills Periodically reporting student progress toward mastery of learning objectives to students and CA 3.6 parents in a way that is clear and understandable 15
  26. 26. Monitoring the results of classroom-based assessments to ensure attainment of the knowledge CA 3.7 and skills required for success on state assessments The Use of Time and School Scheduling Practices What the Research Says What Virginia’s Educational Reform Says When students spend time in classrooms Virginia’s SOA reflect the importance of maintaining a school actively focused on learning objectives, they do environment that maximizes its potential for instructional time. better at mastering the subject matter (Cawelti, Principals must protect academic instructional time from 1999). Fitzpatrick’s (1998) research supports interruptions to the greatest extent possible, allowing the the use of instructional practices that increase maximum time possible to be spent on teaching and learning time-on-task by actively engaging students in (8 VAC 20-131-210.B). Teachers are expected to use that learning. Cotton (1995) suggests that time effectively to provide educationally sound instruction classrooms be organized and managed to (8 VAC 20-131-220). minimize disruptions, to keep transition time between activities short, and to establish Virginia’s SOA prescribe the length of the school day, the routines for handling administrative matters, length of the school year (8 VAC 20-131-150), and the number thereby keeping non-instructional time to a of clock hours of instruction that schools must provide in the minimum. various courses taught (8 VAC 20-131-80; 8 VAC 20-131-90; 8 VAC 20-131-100). The SOA also offer opportunities for Effective schools manage operational practices schools to adjust their scheduling to meet these requirements to maximize the amount of time allocated for in different ways. learning (Cotton, 1995). They schedule core academics so that these subjects are least likely to be interrupted by other school events (Fitzpatrick, 1998). Effective schools use alternative scheduling practices to maximize academic learning time, and they also provide instructional support outside of the regular school day to students in need (Cotton, 2000). 16
  27. 27. TIME AND SCHEDULING INDICATORS Number Descriptor TS 1 INSTRUCTIONAL TIME Basing decisions related to the pacing of the curriculum on state test blueprints and on student TS 1.1 performance data TS 1.2 Arranging classroom instructional time to allow for a variety of instructional activities TS 1.3 Organizing instruction and structuring lessons to maximize student time on task TS 1.4 Maintaining a high level of student engagement throughout the lesson Using classroom instructional time to provide enrichment opportunities and support services to TS 1.5 individuals and small groups, based on students’ identified strengths and needs TS 1.6 Establishing classroom routines that maximize the use of non-instructional time Establishing school-wide organizational practices that minimize unnecessary interruptions to TS 1.7 instructional time TS 1.8 Regularly monitoring the use of instructional time in classrooms TS 2 SCHOOL SCHEDULING PRACTICES Meeting SOA requirements for length of school year, length of school day, or number of hours of instruction in core areas • Length of school year (180 days OR 990 hours grades 1-12; 540 hours TS 2.1 kindergarten) • Length of school day (5-1/2 hours; 3 hours minimum for kindergarten only) • Number or percentage of hours of instruction in core areas (ES: 75% in 4 core areas; MS/HS: 140 clock hours OR 560 total in 4 core areas for grade 6) Building schedules based on identified learning and instructional needs that support the TS 2.2 implementation of improvement initiatives TS 2.3 Scheduling nonacademic events to have a minimal impact on instructional time TS 2.4 Allocating time in the schedule for teachers to collaborate with other teachers, parents, and students TS 2.5 Establishing procedures and communicating expectations related to the allocation and use of time Ensuring that the time allocated for specific activities is used to complete essential tasks according to TS 2.6 established expectations Using a school schedule that is conducive to providing intervention and remediation strategies and TS 2.7 programs within the school day TS 2.8 Allocating resources to extend learning time beyond the regular school day Regularly monitoring the implementation of schedules and making adjustments, as needed, to TS 2.9 maximize efficient use of time 17
  28. 28. The Use of Data for Making Instructional and Planning Decisions What the Research Says What Virginia’s Educational Reform Says According to Joseph Juran (1992), the term The SOA address the need for schools to use data to make data refers to a body of information derived decisions about instruction and planning. The SOA require the from prior activity, organized and studied to school staff and community representatives to review annually aid in the conduct of future activities. Data is the extent to which the school has met its prior goals and the major resource for planning. objectives; to analyze the school's student performance data, including data by grade level or academic department as Tom Peters (1987) calls data the basis for necessary; and to report these outcomes to the division measuring improvement, saying, “What gets superintendent and the community in accordance with local measured gets done.” The continual collection school board policy (8 VAC 20-131-20). of important data fuels improvement. A quality system that includes data collection and analysis and the setting of goals drives positive change. The constant feedback provided by data keeps the achievement of goals in focus. 18
  29. 29. USING DATA INDICATORS Number Descriptor D1 INSTRUCTION Using data/evidence from multiple sources to plan instruction that promotes the attainment of state D 1.1 standards and essential understandings, knowledge, and skills Collecting, compiling, and analyzing data related to instructional practices to determine the degree D 1.2 of alignment with state learning standards and to identify professional development needs Sharing responsibility for collecting and compiling data related to instructional programs and D 1.3 services D 1.4 Sharing responsibility for analyzing data and making instructional decisions based on the results Collecting and compiling individual student performance data to identify students’ needs, plan D 1.5 instruction, and monitor individual student progress over time Using results of data analyses to design, monitor, and evaluate instructional programs, support D 1.6 services, and professional development activities Training staff in the processes and procedures for collecting and analyzing classroom-based, local, D 1.7 and state assessment data to make instructional decisions D2 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING Compiling and using data/evidence from several sources to develop a profile of the school related D 2.1 to student performance Analyzing data/evidence related to the perceived limitations of instructional practices and D 2.2 organizational conditions to identify goals and objectives for school improvement planning Analyzing data over time to look for trends in student performance and to identify strengths and D 2.3 limitations of instructional programs and services Disaggregating state and local student performance data by appropriate subgroups of students to D 2.4 identify needs and monitor student progress Collecting and analyzing data/evidence on a regular, periodic basis to monitor plan D 2.5 implementation and to evaluate improvements over time Making data relevant to the implementation of school improvement strategies and initiatives D 2.6 available and accessible to staff Training staff in collecting and analyzing data to identify relevant goals and objectives for school D 2.7 improvement planning and to monitor the plan’s implementation and evaluate improvements over time 19
  30. 30. Professional Development What the Research Says What Virginia’s Educational Reform Says Not only does effective teaching require a The SOA require the principal to involve the staff of the thorough knowledge of academic content and a school in identifying the types of professional development mastery of professional teaching strategies, it needed to improve student achievement and to ensure that the also requires effective counseling and staff members participate in those activities. Additionally the communication skills. Professional development principal is required to provide for needed professional should be an ongoing initiative that assists development (8 VAC 20-131-210). The SOA also require, for teachers in assessing the effects of their teaching schools that are accredited with warning, the development of a on student performance. Darling-Hammond and School Improvement Plan that includes plans for professional McLaughlin (1995) found that successful development of staff (8 VAC 20-131-310). professional development strategies share several features. Such strategies tend to be • experiential, engaging teachers in concrete tasks of teaching, assessment, and observation that illuminate the processes of learning and development; • grounded in participants' questions, inquiry, and experimentation as well as profession-wide research; • collaborative, involving a sharing of knowledge among educators; • connected to and derived from teachers' work with their students, as well as to examinations of subject matter and teaching methods; • sustained and intensive, supported by modeling, coaching, and problem solving around specific problems of practice; and • connected to other aspects of school change. These approaches shift from old models of "teacher training" or "in-servicing" to a model in which teachers confront research and theory directly, regularly evaluate their practice, and make use of their colleagues for mutual assistance. 20
  31. 31. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS Number Descriptor PD 1 ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT Designing an ongoing, school-based program of professional development that is based on the PD 1.1 analyses of data and is aligned with the school’s goals for improving student achievement Basing professional development programs and activities on research-based principles and PD 1.2 practices Allocating resources to support the professional development program and ensure implementation PD 1.3 of improvement initiatives Focusing the core of staff learning on research-based content and instructional practices that have PD 1.4 been proven effective in improving student achievement Identifying essential learning outcomes from professional development activities that will be used PD 1.5 to change practice Including theory, demonstration, practice with feedback, and coaching in the school’s professional PD 1.6 development programs and activities PD 1.7 Monitoring the degree to which new practices are implemented as prescribed PD 1.8 Determining the effect of changes in practice on student learning PD 2 PERSONAL PROFESSIONAL GROWTH & EVALUATION Embedding professional growth and development into job performance expectations and the PD 2.1 performance evaluation process Analyzing data/evidence from a variety of relevant sources to identify goals for individual growth PD 2.2 and development Aligning plans for individual professional development with local improvement initiatives and with PD 2.3 areas identified for individual growth Connecting teachers’ learning outcomes from professional development activities directly to their PD 2.4 work in classrooms Connecting teachers to external resources such as conferences, workshops, and support networks PD 2.5 that align with the needs of individual teachers, departments/grade levels, or local improvement initiatives Providing opportunities for teachers to experiment, practice, and obtain feedback as they integrate PD 2.6 newly learned skills into their repertoire of instructional practices PD 2.7 Regularly monitoring the progress of staff in achieving individual professional development goals 21
  32. 32. School Improvement Planning to adjust effort toward improvement.” What the Research Says Glickman (1993), in Renewing America’s Schools, makes two According to DuFour and Eaker (1998), “One salient points regarding action without study and planning that of the most difficult problems that school never turns into action. Action is effective only with careful practitioners must overcome in their efforts to planning, and planning is wasted without effective action. He bring about meaningful school improvement is states, “Action, planning, and study should be simultaneous; the mistaken notion that school improvement is one activity should feed information into the others.” a short-term task to be completed rather than a long-term commitment to a new approach.” Planning efforts, therefore, should articulate goals and strategies over a number of years. Harris and Carr (2001), in Succeeding with Standards: Linking Curriculum, Assessment, and Action Planning, identify a school improvement planning process that involves collecting data, analyzing that data, and then making instructional decisions that are directly linked to the findings. After thoroughly examining data and making instructional decisions, the next step is to develop an action plan. The action plan establishes key benchmarks, interim checkpoints, and a timeline. Peters and Austin (1982) make a solid case for monitoring the progress of plan implementation over time in A Passion for Excellence. They define monitoring as paying attention to what is happening. For schools and students to make gains, there must be a system for collecting and analyzing data in place. Harris and Carr (2001) indicate that an important element of school improvement plans is the periodic, interim measurement of student performance. Interim measurements provide the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of the action plan. Harris and Carr (2001) use the phrase “Keep your eye on the prize.” They suggest that collecting and analyzing data on a regular and consistent basis will track growth and flag stagnation. They cite Schmoker (1996) as saying that data can be “an invaluable tool, capable of telling us how we are doing, what is and is not working, and how What Virginia’s Education Reform Says 22
  33. 33. Virginia’s Standards of Quality (SOQ) speak to the need for school divisions and schools to develop long-range plans. Each school division is expected to develop a six-year School Improvement Plan that is based upon each school’s biennial plan (22.1253.13:6.C). The SOQ also require that “corrective action plans” be submitted to the Board of Education for any schools “not meeting the criteria for … effectiveness as determined by the Board” (22.1253.13:3.F). In the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (SOA), the Board determined that the schools not meeting the criteria for effectiveness are those schools rated Accredited with Warning in specific subject areas. The SOA require that each of these schools develop a three-year School Improvement Plan, which is to be based on the results of an Academic Review, and that this SIP be approved by the local superintendent and school board (8 VAC 20-131-310.F). This SIP must include nine components, which are described in Section 8 VAC 20-131-310.G of the SOA. Schools are required to report annually on the implementation status of their SIP (8 VAC 20-131-310.H). In this report, schools are to provide evidence (data) of implementation of specific strategies. SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING INDICATORS Number Descriptor SIP 1 CONTENT OF PLAN Basing the three-year School Improvement Plan (SIP) on the results of previous Academic SIP 1.1 Reviews, as required by the Standards of Accreditation (SOA) Developing the three-year SIP with the assistance of parents and teachers, as required by the SIP 1.2 SOA Using baseline data/measures relevant to areas for improvement to identify goals for school SIP 1.3 improvement planning SIP 1.4 Establishing clear goals that relate to student achievement SIP 1.5 Establishing yearly, measurable objectives or benchmarks that are linked to goals 23
  34. 34. Describing the strategies to be implemented and the specific action steps to be taken to meet SIP 1.6 each objective Including data collection activities at regular, logical (not random) intervals throughout plan, as SIP 1.7 part of strategies/action steps SIP 1.8 Including a system of monitoring student progress at regular, logical (not random) intervals SIP 1.9 Selecting achievement indicators that are appropriate to goals and objectives SIP 1.10 Identifying sources of evidence that are appropriate to strategies/action steps Identifying person(s) responsible for implementing strategies/action steps and collecting SIP 1.11 data/evidence Establishing timelines over a three-year period and linking shorter timeframes to specific action SIP 1.12 steps/strategies Including all nine components required by Section 8VAC20-131-310.G of the SOA (Refer to TA SIP 1.13 Document in AR User’s Handbook or SOA for list of components.) SIP 2 IMPLEMENTATION SIP 2.1 Focusing implementation on improved student achievement SIP 2.2 Implementing strategies and action steps in the manner described in SIP SIP 2.3 Documenting implementation of strategies/action steps Collecting and compiling data/evidence of the degree to which strategies and action steps are SIP 2.4 implemented as described in the SIP SIP 2.5 Monitoring the efforts of staff in carrying out their responsibilities SIP 2.6 Meeting established timelines for completing strategies/action steps and collecting data/evidence SIP 2.7 Establishing procedures for macro-to-micro analysis of data SIP 3 RESULTS SIP 3.1 Establishing a system for monitoring and adjusting the SIP Analyzing data/evidence to determine the degree to which strategies/actions steps are SIP 3.2 implemented as intended Systematically monitoring student achievement at regular intervals throughout the year to SIP 3.3 determine effectiveness of improvement initiatives SIP 3.4 Using data to determine the impact of improvement initiatives on student learning SIP 3.5 Modifying goals and/or objectives based upon the analyses of date/evidence Modifying less successful strategies and adding new strategies, as needed, to promote continued SIP 3.6 improvement SIP 3.7 Reaching established student achievement benchmarks and/or objectives SIP 3.8 Communicating the status of implementation and the results to stakeholders Research-based Instructional Intervention What the Research Says What Virginia’s Education Reform Says 24
  35. 35. Researchers have studied numerous Schools accredited with warning in English and/or instructional methods and models/programs mathematics are “expected to adopt a research-based designed to improve student achievement. instructional intervention that has a proven track record of Results of their studies have been compiled and success at raising student achievement in those areas” (8 VAC evaluated. 20-131-310.B). Schools that had such a method or model/program in place prior to an Academic Review would be considered to have met this requirement. The SOA require the Board to publish a list of “recommended instructional methods” (8 VAC 20131-310.D). The Department of Education has compiled a list of instructional interventions and cross-referenced them to instructional methods inherent in them. This list is provided on the DOE website http://www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/. Schools may adopt and implement a research-based instructional intervention that is not on the list by requesting a waiver from the VDOE. However, they must be able to show that the intervention meets the criteria established by the Board, which include • Science-based evidence of effectiveness; • Implementation and capacity for technical assistance; • Replicability; and • Correlation with or adaptability to the Virginia Standards of Learning in English or mathematics. • Information about how to access the waiver on the website Academic Review team members focus their review on the implementation of the instructional intervention and on how the school determines its effectiveness in improving student achievement. Reviewers do not evaluate the intervention itself. RESEARCH-BASED INSTRUCTIONAL INTERVENTION INDICATORS Number Descriptor RBI 1 PLANNING RBI 1.1 Describing baseline measures upon which the intervention selection is based 25
  36. 36. RBI 1.2 Using data to determine which intervention would best meet the needs of students Providing evidence that the available research supports the intervention as one that has been RBI 1.3 proven to positively affect student achievement Providing evidence that the adopted intervention meets Board of Education criteria for identifying and selecting interventions that are not on the Board approved list, but include instructional methods with a proven track record of success at raising student achievement. • Scientifically- RBI 1.4 based evidence of effectiveness • Implementation and capacity for technical assistance • Replicability • Correlation with or adaptability to the Virginia Standards of Learning in English or mathematics RBI 1.5 Linking implementation of the intervention with the three-year SIP Describing specific action steps that will be taken to provide training, feedback, and support for RBI 1.6 implementation RBI 1.7 Establishing specific timeframes for action steps RBI 1.8 Establishing regular intervals for collecting and analyzing data/evidence of implementation RBI 2 IMPLEMENTATION Designing a professional development program to train teachers in the intended outcomes, key RBI 2.1 aspects, and protocols of the intervention RBI 2.2 Ensuring that teachers understand and can articulate key aspects and protocols of the intervention Allocating sufficient resources to support implementation (time, materials, supplies, space, RBI 2.3 personnel) Making internal and/or external facilitators available to teachers to provide the technical RBI 2.4 assistance necessary for successful implementation (staff development, consultation, collaborative problem solving) RBI 2.5 Documenting implementation of the key aspects and protocols Analyzing data/evidence of implementation of the intervention to determine the degree to which it RBI 2.6 is being implemented as prescribed by developers RBI 2.7 Regularly providing teachers with feedback on the implementation of the intervention RBI 2.8 Focusing implementation on improving student achievement RBI 3 RESULTS RBI 3.1 Using student progress assessments inherent in the intervention as intended by developers RBI 3.2 Identifying other performance data that provide evidence of student achievement RBI 3.3 Systematically monitoring student achievement at regular intervals throughout the year RBI 3.4 Reaching the school’s established student achievement benchmarks Correlating data/evidence of implementation with student achievement data to determine RBI 3.5 effectiveness of the intervention RBI 3.6 Establishing a system for monitoring and adjusting the intervention RBI 3.7 Modifying implementation, as allowable, based upon the analyses of data RBI 3.8 Communicating implementation status and results to stakeholders Organizational Systems and Processes What the Research Says What Virginia’s Educational Reform Says 26
  37. 37. All organizations have systems by which they While neither Virginia law nor Board of Education regulations define roles and responsibilities, manage specifically require that certain systems be in place, best operations, and lead change. To operate practices dictate that effective systems and processes are effectively, the systems themselves must be needed to accomplish tasks required by SOA. For example, as clearly defined and managed (Bolman and the instructional leader of the school, the principal is expected Deal, 1988). An effective system has the to protect instructional time, analyze test results, provide “right” people doing the “right” things in the professional development, monitor and evaluate the quality of “right” way. instruction, allocate and manage resources, facilitate communications with parents, and maintain a safe environment As organizations seek to change, systems must for learning. The success of the principal in accomplishing change. If little systemic strength exists in an these tasks depends on the implementation of effective systems organization, then clearly defined plans must and processes. be developed and implemented to increase the probability that change will occur (Novick, Kress, et al., 2002). Research conducted by the Virginia Department of Education indicates that schools rated Accredited with Warning for multiple years tend to have weak systems for defining roles and responsibilities, for managing operations, and for leading change (Virginia Department of Education, 2002). Conversely, earlier research conducted by the VDOE found that high-poverty schools having high levels of student achievement had well-defined, effective systems in place (Virginia Department of Education, 2000). SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES INDICATORS Number Descriptor SP 1 SYSTEMS 27
  38. 38. SP 1.1 Using the school’s beliefs, vision, and mission to set goals, establish systems, and develop procedures SP 1.2 Analyzing data to identify strengths and needs at the individual and school levels SP 1.3 Involving stakeholders in developing systems and processes that address identified needs and the school’s improvement goals SP 1.4 Providing decision-makers with the information needed to solve problems and make effective instructional decisions SP 1.5 Using accurate and complete information to make decisions related to improvement initiatives SP 1.6 Monitoring and adjusting systems and processes to promote continued improvement SP 2 PROCESSES SP 2.1 Establishing systems and/or processes that focus on identified needs SP 2.2 Designing and defining processes so that desired tasks are accomplished according to expectations SP 2.3 Addressing issues that may hinder the accomplishment of tasks SP 2.4 Involving staff in the development of processes and in making decisions related to implementation SP 2.5 Designing processes that are cost effective with regard to the use of human, physical, and financial resources resources SP 2.6 Allocating sufficient resources to accomplish tasks SP 2.7 Assessing the degree to which processes are implemented and tasks are completed as intended SP 2.8 Assigning staff members to monitor implementation of processes SP 3 PROCEDURES AND ACTIVITIES SP 3.1 Providing opportunities for those affected by organizational changes to have input into the development of expectations and procedures related to the changes SP 3.2 Specifying procedures to be implemented and activities to be completed as part of the established system/process SP 3.3 Communicating expectations and responsibilities of individuals and groups in implementing procedures and activities SP 3.4 Establishing timelines for completing specific activities SP 3.5 Ensuring that activities are completed according to established timelines and procedures SP 3.6 Evaluating implementation of procedures based on their alignment with identified goals and the degree to which they advance the goals School Culture 28
  39. 39. Education, 2000). By sharing leadership and responsibilities, What the Research Says focusing on student achievement, and working collaboratively, school staff conduct well-planned and extensive outreach While systems, processes, and practices are the programs to communicate with parents and community focus of Academic Reviews, the importance of members. Doing so stimulates understanding of and support school culture in improving student for the school program (Cawelti, 1999). Extending the shared achievement cannot be ignored. It is the culture leadership opportunities to the school community encourages of the school that determines the effectiveness the community to share responsibility for student achievement of the systems, processes, and practices in and for school effectiveness (Walsh & Sattes, 2000). bringing about change in the organization and in supporting improved student achievement. The beliefs and actions of people within a school establish its culture (Novick, Kress, et al., 2002). A study of high-poverty schools with high student achievement showed that the staff believe all students to be capable of academic success, and they develop systems of high expectations reinforcing that belief (Virginia Department of Education, 2000). Strong leadership is essential for raising student achievement. An essential function of the school leader (principal) is to lead the process for establishing a common vision, clearly defined goals, and priorities related to school improvement (Corallo & McDonald, 2002). Effective principals take an active role in setting high expectations and instructional goals for student achievement (Bamburg, 1994). A study of high-poverty schools with high student achievement showed that principals of these schools are well aware of instructional practices in classrooms, regularly monitor the progress students are making, and have regular professional dialogues with teachers about student achievement data (Virginia Department of Education, 2000). Leadership must extend beyond the principal. It is essential for teachers to share in the leadership of and responsibility for student achievement (Corallo & McDonald, 2002). Principals in successful schools empower teachers as leaders, employ team-building strategies, and provide systems and processes by which teachers work collaboratively to improve student achievement. As a result, all teachers in the school accept responsibility for student achievement (Virginia Department of 29
  40. 40. What Virginia’s Educational Reform Say The SOA require each school to have a current philosophy, goals, and objectives that serve as a basis for establishing all policies and procedures (8 VAC 20131-20). The philosophy, goals, and objectives must be developed with the input of both professional and lay people who represent the populations served by the school. In addition, the school must consider the needs of the community when creating and reviewing the biennial school plan. This process of developing a shared mission based on a common set of beliefs is critical to establishing a school culture that is conducive to raising student achievement. Schools are also required by the SOA to promote communications and foster mutual understanding with parents and the community (8 VAC 20-131-270). To accomplish this, schools are expected to involve parents, teachers, citizens, businesses, and community agencies and representatives in the school improvement planning process and in the development of the educational program. Each year, parents and students must be informed of the school’s performance expectations for students. In addition, the school must provide parents and the community with an annual School Performance Report Card that includes data related to the academic achievement of students; student enrollment, attendance, and discipline information; the qualifications of teachers; and the accreditation rating of the school. Specific responsibilities of school staff related to school culture are also addressed in the SOA. As the instructional leader of the school, the principal is expected to effectively manage school operations, monitor instruction, and to involve parents and citizens in the educational program (8 VAC 20-131-210). Teachers are expected to provide instruction in an atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy, serve as role models, and assess student progress and report such progress to parents (8 VAC 20-131-220). In addition, support staff are expected to work with the principal and teaching staff to promote student achievement and successful attainment of the school’s goals. SCHOOL CULTURE INDICATORS Number Descriptor SC 1 LEARNING ENVIRONMENT Basing the mission of the school on the shared beliefs and common vision of the members of the SC 1.1 school community SC 1.2 Clearly communicating expectations for student performance to students and parents Implementing instructional and organizational practices that reflect high expectations for all SC 1.3 students and consideration of the culture and needs of the school community 30
  41. 41. Assigning teachers by matching the needs of students with the endorsements and demonstrated SC 1.4 strengths of teachers SC 1.5 Maintaining a safe and orderly environment for learning Implementing activities, programs, and services that support and enhance the academic SC 1.6 achievement and social development of students SC 1.7 Structuring school activities, events and special programs to promote high levels of involvement SC 2 SHARED OWNERSHIP SC 2.1 Involving staff, parents, students and the larger community in the decision-making process Seeking and using community resources to support the school’s improvement initiatives and raise SC 2.2 student achievement Establishing an organizational structure within the school consisting of teacher-led teams that cut SC 2.3 across the school both horizontally and vertically Focusing team planning and collaboration on the school’s improvement planning initiatives and SC 2.4 goals for student achievement Implementing programs and activities to involve and assist families in raising their children’s SC 2.5 academic performance Providing opportunities for students to make choices, learn responsibility, and practice leadership SC 2.6 skills SC 2.7 Using multiple communication strategies to disseminate information to stakeholders SC 3 CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT SC 3.1 Focusing improvement efforts on student learning and achievement Basing school improvement initiatives on research-based, field-validated strategies and practices SC 3.2 that address the areas identified for improvement Identifying and addressing the challenges existing within the school and community that may SC 3.3 impede the progress of the school in implementing improvement initiatives Allocating and providing sufficient resources to assist and support staff in implementing school SC 3.4 improvement initiatives Recognizing significant milestones and achievements of the school in moving toward the SC 3.5 established goals Establishing a process for regularly reviewing and renewing the school’s vision, beliefs, and SC 3.6 mission to ensure alignment with the culture and beliefs of the school community 31
  42. 42. Section 3 Academic Review for First Year Warned Schools 32

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