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Nine Characteristics of High-Performing Schools Second Edition

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Presentation on theme: "Nine Characteristics of High-Performing Schools Second Edition"— Presentation transcript:

1 Nine Characteristics of High-Performing Schools Second Edition
Prepared by G. Sue Shannon, Ed.D. OSPI Senior Researcher August 2007

2 Presentation Overview
Review the revision process of the Nine Characteristics of High- Performing Schools Resource Highlight areas of new discussion Examine implementation ideas for the characteristics Present key ideas & talking points Suggest group participation using modified jigsaw

3 Nine Characteristics Resource -- 2nd Ed. Review Process
Reviewers examined original document & suggested revisions & new resources. Author reviewed recent research studies & professional literature. Author revised document to expand & deepen the discussion of the characteristics. OSPI documents were added to pertinent characteristics. Reviewers read & commented on second edition. A year ago I requested about 20 educators, both in OSPI, ESDS, Districts etc. to provide feedback on the first edition of the Nine characteristics resource, and how useful it was, if there were gaps, etc. I also asked for suggestions of “latest and greatest” resources that should be considered in updating the document. Folks graciously provided their thoughtful ideas about the work. Needless to say, the response was almost overwhelming. Thus as I read and read, the resource became longer and longer. The result is a more comprehensive review of the literature related to the implementation of the nine characteristics. We have traded a succinct treatment of the nine, limited to about 2-3 pages each – which was perhaps sufficient as a “starter” resource, for an expanded and deeper treatment of the concepts. However, as folks have been engaged in the work of school improvement, they are generally ready to go deeper. Hence, the document you have. The introductory chapter highlights the expanded concepts that are treated in other chapters regarding the specific characteristics.

4 Conclusions from review
The original research-base has not changed; nine characteristics are still viable, thus maintained. Characteristics are explained and developed for deeper understanding. Implementation ideas are expanded using current research and professional literature. Graphic illustrates relationships between & among characteristics. School improvement cycle of inquiry is suggested. Schools and districts must move beyond planning to doing to close the “knowing-doing gap.”

5 Nine Characteristics of High-Performing Schools
A clear & shared focus High standards & expectations for all students Effective school leadership High levels of collaboration & communication Curriculum, instruction & assessments aligned with state standards There was consensus that the nine characteristics work. The research-base has not changed. The characteristics have become somewhat institutionalized. They are supported by the most current research literature – words and phrases may differ but concepts are quite consistent. So, although definitions could be “wordsmithed,” it was felt it would be counterproductive to begin making changes in titles of the characteristics and their basic definitions.

6 Nine Characteristics (continued)
Frequent monitoring of learning & teaching Focused professional development A supportive learning environment High levels of family & community involvement

7 Relationships among characteristics

8 Second Edition: Expanded Concepts
Effective processes for improving schools Expanded perspectives on effective leadership Relational trust Quality instruction, grading practices, monitoring Professional learning communities School improvement research has roots in the effective schools research, teacher efficacy studies, and others. Of course, research continues. Report includes an overview of some of these studies that confirm the nine characteristics as well some ideas of effective improvement processes. Effective leadership includes newer research on distributive leadership, sustainable, lateral capacity building, and studies on school and district leadership attributes linked to student learning. Relational trust – the “social glue” needed for school improvement Report provides considerable attention to curriculum, instruction and assessment – going beyond cursory alignment to deep alignment and implementation. Professional learning communities – qualities and suggestions for creating them

9 Expanded Concepts (cont.)
Cultural competence & culturally responsive teaching Family & community engagement in schools High school improvement District improvement Need-based allocation of resources (funding, staffing, & support) Cultural competence and culturally responsive teaching – document includes definitions and suggestions in the second edition. Family and community – section emphasizes the need to move beyond just casual involvement to more authentic engagement High school studies reveal that the nine characteristics apply, although the original research looked mostly at elementary schools. The High Schools We Need: Improving an American Institution, an OSPI research synthesis published in 2006 District improvement – topic is included in view of NCLB as well as the importance of the district support of school improvement. Characteristics of Improving School districts, an OSPI research synthesis published in 2004. Need-based allocation of resources – research emphasizes importance of putting the resources of people, materials/tools, and support where they are needed most.

10 1. A Clear & Shared Focus A core purpose -- focus on student learning
Creates shared emphasis for direction Includes vision and specific goals Involves school and community Improvement cycle Data analyzed to set goals and objectives Identify & implement activities, programs Evaluate & renew efforts to sustain improvement Leaders establish & maintain focus

11 2. High Standards & Expectations for All Students
Content standards, performance standards, expectations: Standards – academic purpose of school & high quality achievement Expectations – confidence that students will meet the content and performance standards Required knowledge & skills for workplace & college have converged Teacher expectations conveyed through practices: Collaborative practices—common lessons, assessments, looking at student work Effective questioning strategies Authentic pedagogy, minds-on student engagement Fair & equitable treatment of students

12 3. Effective School Leadership
Leadership includes administrators, teachers, & others in school & districts Leadership depends upon relationships & shared goals Effective leadership is Distributed Sustainable Collaborative across schools & districts Effective leadership builds and involves Relational trust, the “social glue” for school improvement Changes in attitudes, beliefs, & values about student learning Collaborative professional learning communities—a culture for school improvement & changing practices

13 4. High Levels of Collaboration & Communication
Staff collaboration includes Talking about practice Observing each other Working on curriculum Teaching each other Professional Learning Communities promote A climate of support, respect, cycle of feedback Identification & commitment to common learning standards Common lessons and assessments Capacity of staff & increased teacher efficacy Caring and positive relationships among staff and student Higher quality of student learning

14 Collaboration & communication—cont.
Effective family, community, and school collaboration and communication requires Schools to take responsibility for communication to include Listening to the public & creating dialogue Ensuring two-way regular, clear communication Building partnerships to promote the well-being of students Providing multiple means for communicating with stakeholders, e.g., newsletters, home visits, electronic communications

15 5. Curriculum, instruction & assessments aligned with state standards.
Alignment of curriculum, instruction & assessment adds coherence & effectiveness – levels the playing field for students Deep alignment includes Matching topics Matching cognitive demand in the standards (EALRs & GLEs) Matching contexts (instructional conditions & tasks)

16 Alignment of state standards—cont.
Curriculum is subject matter; textbooks are tools, not the curriculum Washington curriculum includes Essential academic learning requirements Grade level expectations Curriculum planning processes, e.g., Understanding by design Unwrapping standards Universal design for learning

17 Alignment of state standards—cont.
Effective instruction has greatest influence on student achievement Effective instruction -- interactions among teachers & students around content within a specific context or environment Teaching can be improved by understanding & using Frameworks of attributes & behaviors of effective teachers & teaching Dimensions & principles of learning Standards for authentic pedagogy Instructional strategies & structures Culturally responsive teaching and cultural competence

18 Alignment of state standards—cont.
Assessment must align with learning targets (standards) and purposes Assessments should focus on key knowledge & complex learning Assessments FOR learning are formative, not summative Formative assessments guide further student learning & teaching Assessments methods include Selected response Essay Performance assessments Personal communication

19 Alignment of state standards—cont.
Grading and reporting practices in a high standards system Align with the principles of standards-based reform Link appropriately with criteria in EALRs & GLEs Communicate individual student achievement accurately Grades should not reflect other topics such as behavior, absences, attitude, or participation

20 6. Frequent Monitoring of Learning & Teaching
Monitoring is “analyzing what we are doing against the results we are getting” & wanting (Schmoker, 1996) Measures provide feedback to teachers, learners & stakeholders about learning & school & class processes Effective monitoring is non-threatening, occurs frequently, provides continuous feedback for improvement For assessments to effectively monitor student learning, consider Assessment standards, purposes & methods Measurement tools Assessment FOR learning Student-involved assessment Scoring guides or rubrics Evidence of learning

21 Frequent monitoring of learning & teaching—cont.
Monitoring & communicating student learning require Coherent grading & reporting practices Use grades to communicate an accurate picture of real student achievement Grade only on achievement of pre-specified targets Rely on most current, available information Keep grading practices separate from discipline Advise students on grading practices in advance

22 Frequent monitoring of learning & teaching—cont.
Monitoring school & classroom processes includes Collecting information Examining progress toward school goals Effective monitoring requires Trusting relationships Safe & secure environment Explicit valuing of individuals Attention to student learning needs Critical questions for school teams to ask: What is it we want all students to learn? How will we know when each student has learned it? How will we respond when students are experiencing difficulty? (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, 2004)

23 Frequent monitoring of learning & teaching—cont.
Monitoring & Reflection tools STAR Search – skills/knowledge, thinking, application & relationships Classroom “walk-throughs” – reciprocal, reflective, designed to support thinking about practice Characteristics of walk-throughs: Short, focused, yet informal observation Identify possible area for reflection Have curriculum & instructional focus Follow-up occurs occasionally, not after every visit Informal & collaborative, not inspection

24 7. Focused Professional Development
High standards require teachers to develop deeper knowledge & new skills Effective professional development should be evaluated in relation to impact on student learning & improvement of teaching Learner-centered professional development is Focused on what students are to learn School-based, integral to daily work, job-embedded Identified by teachers and often developed by them Continuous, on-going, with follow-up & support Evaluated by multiple sources of information on outcomes for students, not only participant satisfaction Washington Professional Development IN ACTION A career-long continuum reflecting teacher capacity Linked to impact on student learning

25 Focused professional development—cont.
Approaches for professional development: Mentoring & peer support Teacher inquiry—study groups, action research Lesson study & looking at student work Walk-throughs Professional learning communities tend to Reduce teacher isolation Increase commitment Build shared responsibility Increase understanding of content & good practice Lead to more satisfaction, professional renewal Help make significant advances into adapting teaching to students’ needs Specific OSPI program professional development ideas

26 8. Supportive Learning Environment
Positive school climate & culture is marked by Reasonable expectations for behavior Consistent & fair application of rules & regulations Caring responsive relationships among adults & students Warm, inviting classrooms—teachers as “warm demanders”—high standards with sufficient support Safe & personalized learning environments tend to Communicate high expectations Provide time & opportunity for students to achieve Attend to students’ interests, problems, accomplishments Communicate caring & build rapport with students Use culturally responsive pedagogy Help students understand effort-based ability

27 Support learning environment—cont.
Skillful classroom management contributes to positive climate & makes good intellectual work possible Positive relationships & productive learning communities seem to impact classroom climate to greater degree than discipline policies alone Effective classroom management strategies include Teaching & reinforcing positive behaviors & skills Appropriate physical layout Specific, clear classroom routines & procedures Explain, rehearse, reinforce classroom routines Planned transitions between activities Consistent standards across the school

28 9. High Level of Family & Community Involvement
Education is the shared responsibility of all stakeholders Family involvement is a key factor in students’ improved learning “Authentic partnerships” – significant engagement of families, schools, and communities Partnerships need to be culturally relevant & build on “common ground”

29 High level of family & community involvement—cont.
Schools offer multiple ways for stakeholders to participate, including these types of involvement: Communicating—regular, meaningful two-way communication Parenting—promoting & supporting family skills Student learning—assisting student learning Volunteering—supporting & assisting students & schools School decision making & advocacy Collaborating—using community resources

30 High level of family & community involvement—cont.
Schools have responsibility to take the lead & help parents & families to Understand they SHOULD be involved Know they are CAPABLE of making a contribution Feel INVITED by the school & their children. Community involvement benefits students, schools & families through formal partnerships informal relationships & activities Involvement resources are plentiful

31 School Perception Surveys
Perception surveys are designed for school & district use They capture respondents’ thinking at a point in time They provide one type of data for school improvement planning Surveys include School Staff Survey of School Characteristics Student Surveys—High School grades, Middle grades, Elementary grades Parent/Community Survey

32 Group Participation Modified Jigsaw
Organize in small groups by grade level or content areas Read assigned sections from the Nine Characteristics Resource Jigsaw discussion Use sample questions to guide discussion & apply to school setting Follow-up reflection

33 Discussion Questions What are one or two compelling ideas in the section? What are the implications of these ideas in our/your classroom or school? What potential obstacles are there to implement the ideas? What will it take to overcome the obstacles? What ideas need more investigation? What is an unanswered question?

34 “Jumpstart” School Improvement by focusing on Implementation of Nine Characteristics
Try using short meetings of teams, grade level teachers, or faculty, with suggested agenda: Before the meeting -- Develop an agenda; name facilitator, timekeeper, recorder During the meeting -- Desired outcomes for meeting (1 minute) Strategies that worked (5 minutes) Chief challenges (3-5 minutes) Proposed solutions (8-10 minutes) Action plan (10 minutes) Specific solutions to focus on between now & next meeting. Determine who is responsible for specific tasks After the meeting – document team’s focus (Schmoker, Results: The Key to Continuous School Improvement, 1999) Schmoker suggests collaborative planning, teaching, and follow up related to identified content and/or learning standards. Here is a potential template for regular team meetings from Schmoker’s book Results: The Key to Continuous School Improvement. The sample agenda is designed to focus on instruction, to be short, and to jumpstart the work of improving teaching and learning.

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