You know all of those school improvement plans that you have to fill out and turn in on time and make fit in the allotted number of pages…you know those ones you hurry to finish and rarely look at again until you make revisions and go through the whole rigamarole again?
Yeah, those plans.
Well, they’re WORTHLESS.
Yep, total junk – not even worth the paper they’re printed on.
And here’s why…
Because we don’t take them seriously enough to make smart decisions on HOW we’re going to use the information contained in the plans to leverage for real results.
What are real results?
- They’re outcome driven (meaning kids are showing that they know how to do things on the test)
- They’re built on actual numbers – not gut reactions or stories that make us feel better when a student doesn’t perform like they should be
- They stick – they’re not built on a perfect circumstance or a certain test administrator and they certainly don’t change over the weekend!
- They have partners – they’re not alone – the results make sense in light of other assessment results
I know you want REAL RESULTS, dontcha?
So, how do we get real results AND have our school improvement plans accepted by the powers that be at the same time?
- We leverage school improvement plans by focusing on the instructional core: Put into action things that bring up the overall level of instructional quality throughout the block
- We leverage school improvement plans by kicking out proven-to-NOT-work actions and activities from the past – if you gave it a good try and it didn’t work, then dump the practice and move on
- We leverage school improvement plans by choosing simple-to-regularly-implement-tasks – – – avoid activities that are too convoluted or hard to follow
- We leverage school improvement plans by building in review – focusing on something once or for one year doesn’t mean that we’ll remember it! So, build in review and cycle-back to re-commit to the practices from your plan that you’ve already taken care of!
- We leverage school improvement plans by taking them seriously – don’t slough it off as “another plan” – see it as an opportunity to refine, redefine and reflect on practice – these are VERY important in the life of an organization!
So where should you start? Start by pulling out your old school improvement plans, dust ’em off and start looking at what you’ve done, what you haven’t and what you don’t remember. Start there. And go slowly. And think smartly. And focus on the return on the school improvement plan investment.