Defining excellence for Schools-the five fundamental supports, including for family and community involvement
Derived from CPS SIPAAA printout from CPS and University of Chicago Consortium for Chicago School Research
A service of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee and the HPKCC website, www. hydepark.org.
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"Chicago School Reform: Myths, Realities, and New Visions" an alternative view can be seen in http://createchicago.blogspot.com.
For the study/book from which Defining Excellence is drawn, "Organizing Schools for lmprovement: Lessons from Chicago," and links to about and video of symposium January 14 2010, go to the Organizing Schools page.
Films on school reform tell very different tales. The establishment version is "Waiting for Superman." Other viewpoints are in "August to September" and "The Takeover of Testing."
"Schools strong in most fundamentals were at least ten times more likely than schools weak in most to show substantial gains in reading and mathematics"- Consortium on Chicago School Research
(For more on the background of this program, visit UC Consortium Research Findings- Organizing Schools for Improvement.)
Elaine Allensworth, statistical analysis co-director of the CCSR, described the book and findings to a Grand Boulevard Federation meeting in February 2010. She described how the improving and nonimproving subsets of African American low income closely located schools differed over 7 years. The improvers were called Hancock and the non Alexander. Hancock schools increased because of the 5 Essential supports-- leadership, parental involvement, teacher support , curriculum alignment, and safety/order. The latter works through improvement in attendance and including social interaction in the core curriculum. Furthermore, the principal has to work with the teachers on how to use a curriculum component-- in other words real teacher involvement. And teachers have to make parents their partners. Community partnerships and resources outside the school also help and also feed back into helping students deal with social and emotional issues so they can focus on learning in the classroom.
Defining Excellence- What are the Five Fundamentals for School Success?
They help schools focus on what matters most. they are levers (not prescriptions) for whole-school improvement. (SIPAAA = the School 's 2-year Improvement Plan)
- Instructional Leadership
- Professional Capacity
- Learning Climate
- Family and Community Involvement
There's more to a whole-school framework... Instruction is the core, but student achievement won't improve without a climate of trust and strength in all the fundamentals and especially leadership. All, including members of the community, need to trust on another, share a vision of success, and focus on what matters.
Instruction: Great schools deliver effective, engaging instruction and support to all students.
Instructional Vision: School staff develop and implement a coherent school wide instructional program based on the schools' vision and mission.
- All members of the school community internalized the school's mission and vision, which guide school policies and classroom decisions.
- Teachers and out-of-school staff ensure that academic, enrichment, and supplemental programs form a single, coherent instructional program tied to the school's vision.
- Teachers and other staff follow through on the priorities adn activities laid out in teh SIPAAA; instructional decisions are tied to this school improvement plan.
Content and pedagogy: Teachers engage all students in rigorous lessons aligned with the school's instructional goals and the appropriate standards.
- Teachers align their instruction to state and College Readiness standards; individual lessons are organized into a comprehensive instructional plan.
- Students participate in meaningful, intellectually challenging tasks, receive additional support to ensure mastery, and are held accountable for their learning.
- Students master grade-level content through appropriately-paced, engaging instruction that appeals to students' varied learning styles, interests, and needs.
Data-driven improvement: Teachers address all students' needs by using student work and assessments to make instructional decisions.
- The school analyzes multiple data sources, including families' feedback, to gauge the school's effectiveness and areas in need of improvement.
- Teachers use a variety of assessments (observations, student portfolios, tests) to determine what students are learning; they modify instruction so all students can access grade-level content.
- Schools instructional leaders use data to identify school-wide programmatic and professional development needs and achievement trends and adjust school plans accordingly.
Instructional Leadership: Great schools are led by exceptional principals who share leadership responsibilities.
Goal Setting: The principal and leadership team collaborate to establish and communicate instructional goals for school success.
- The principal leads the school community in creating and revising a vision for the school that is informed by the community context.
- The instructional leadership team sets high expectations for teaching, learning, and leading and fosters an environment where staff are free to take risks.
- The principal and instructional leadership team are knowledgeable about instructional best practices and research; they expect and support high-quality instruction in every classroom.
Resource Management: The leadership team allocates and manages resources to support the school's instructional program.
- The instructional leadership team allocates and manages the school's resources - people, time funds, and materials - to address school priorities and students' needs.
- The school community evaluates and plans school programs and policies based on their contribution toward reaching school goals.
- Teachers use other staff, classroom volunteers, and family resources at home to maximize the amount of individualized instruction students receive.
Shared Leadership: School staff share leadership responsibilities and participate in decision making that advances the school's mission.
- The instructional leadership team empowers staff and holds them accountable for results, developing a plan for leadership succession.
- Teachers and students assume leadership roles outside the classroom, actively participate in the school improvement process, and take ownership of resulting setbacks and successes.
- The instructional leadership team reflects the varied perspectives in the school; the principal taps into staff members' interests and areas of expertise to strengthen school programs.
Professional Capacity: Great schools promote constant learning and professional growth for all school staff.
Focused Professional Development: All staff participate in concrete, targeted professional development aligned with SIPAAA priorities.
- All staff participate in school-wide professional development that is aligned to the school's priorities identified in the... SIPAAA.
- All staff set personal development goals and engage in a variety of PD activities such as school visits, coursework and reflection with peers to reach these goals.
- School leaders determine the success of past professional development and identify new PD needs during walkthroughs, classroom observations, and conversations with teachers.
Peer Collaboration: School leaders schedule and protect sufficient planning time, which teachers use to build collegiality and collaborate on instruction.
- Teachers make their practice public, welcome peers into their classrooms, share instructional strategies, and reevaluate their practices based on classroom observations.
- Staff demonstrate collective responsibility for students for students' success and support their colleagues, especially, new staff, in improving teaching and learning.
- The schedule includes grade-level and content-specific cross-grade planning time, which teachers use to problem-solve about improving instructional practices.
Continuous Learning: The leadership team facilitates dialogue focused on progress and actively engages with staff to improve instruction.
- The principal and instructional leadership team observe instruction and engage teachers in discussions about student learning.
- The instructional leadership team actively recruits, develops, and maintains quality staff through multiple evaluations that emphasize best practices and continuous improvement.
- Staff at all experience levels embrace innovation, are comfortable asking for help, and feel supported when they try an unfamiliar strategy or approach.
Learning Climate: Great schools feel safe, welcoming, adn inspiring for everyone in the school community.
Expectations: All members of the school community demonstrate high expectations for themselves and others.
- All members of the school community recognize the importance of intellectually demanding work; students and parents are involved in dialogue about student progress.
- Teachers provide challenging learning opportunities for a diverse student population, including those with special needs, while maintaining high expectations for their achievement.
- Students demonstrate their learning through their actions, conversations, and student work; excellent effort and achievement are rewarded.
Environmental: Students and staff establish and maintain a safe, welcoming school environment.
- The school environment is safe, clean, and orderly; the environment reflects a joy of learning, openness to ideas, and high expectations.
- Students and families report positive experiences with the school and recognize that all school staff enforce fair and consistent expectations for student behavior.
- The school has sufficient space and adequate educational materials for learning activities, support services, and recreation.
Relationships: All school-based interactions are mutually respectful, caring, and personalized.
- Students and adults in the school treat each other with care and respect; staff demonstrate collegiality in professional interactions and the principal maintains an open-door policy.
- Students demonstrate personal responsibility for their own and their peers' behavior and build trusting, positive relationships with peers and staff.
- All students and families feel comfortable in the school and personally connected to at least one member of the school staff; their feedback and participation are welcome.
Family and Community Involvement: Great schools build and maintain strong relationships with families adn the community.
Communication: There is regular, effective, two-way communication between school staff and families about student expectations and student progress.
- Members of the school community build trusting relationships, embrace teh school's vision and mission, adn develop a plan to involve families at the school.
- Staff establish two-way communication with parents using a variety of strategies adn media and welcome families into the school and classrooms.
- Teachers intentionally involve families in student learning through parent workshops, materials, and other resources that support learning at home.
Partnerships: The school and community share leadership and resources, including time, expertise, and facilities.
- School staff build on community strengths, invite parents to share their expertise with the school, and arrange meaningful volunteer opportunities for interested individuals.
- The school and community organizations share facilities, pool their resources, and partner to jointly address students' and families' needs.
- Community members, including the school governance team, have a say in major school decisions and actively support initiatives aligned to the schools's priorities.
Community Investment: Community members recognize the school as an integral part of the neighborhood and support school improvement.
- Community members understand the school's mission and contribute their talents to school improvement efforts.
- Families demonstrate their interest in the school and their children's learning through their participation in multiple school events including parent-teacher conferences.
- Businesses, community groups, and individuals actively participate in the school governance process and invest resources to improve the school.