Presentation on theme: "Nine Characteristics of High-Performing Schools Second Edition"— Presentation transcript:
1 Nine Characteristics of High-Performing Schools Second Edition Prepared byG. Sue Shannon, Ed.D.OSPI Senior ResearcherAugust 2007
2 Presentation Overview Review the revision process of the Nine Characteristics of High- Performing Schools ResourceHighlight areas of new discussionExamine implementation ideas for the characteristicsPresent key ideas & talking pointsSuggest 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 focusHigh standards & expectations for all studentsEffective school leadershipHigh levels of collaboration & communicationCurriculum, instruction & assessments aligned with state standardsThere 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 & teachingFocused professional developmentA supportive learning environmentHigh levels of family & community involvement
8 Second Edition: Expanded Concepts Effective processes for improving schoolsExpanded perspectives on effective leadershipRelational trustQuality instruction, grading practices, monitoringProfessional learning communitiesSchool 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 improvementReport 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 teachingFamily & community engagement in schoolsHigh school improvementDistrict improvementNeed-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 engagementHigh 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 2006District 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 directionIncludes vision and specific goalsInvolves school and communityImprovement cycleData analyzed to set goals and objectivesIdentify & implement activities, programsEvaluate & renew efforts to sustain improvementLeaders establish & maintain focus
11 2. High Standards & Expectations for All Students Content standards, performance standards, expectations:Standards – academic purpose of school & high quality achievementExpectations – confidence that students will meet the content and performance standardsRequired knowledge & skills for workplace & college have convergedTeacher expectations conveyed through practices:Collaborative practices—common lessons, assessments, looking at student workEffective questioning strategiesAuthentic pedagogy, minds-on student engagementFair & equitable treatment of students
12 3. Effective School Leadership Leadership includes administrators, teachers, & others in school & districtsLeadership depends upon relationships & shared goalsEffective leadership isDistributedSustainableCollaborative across schools & districtsEffective leadership builds and involvesRelational trust, the “social glue” for school improvementChanges in attitudes, beliefs, & values about student learningCollaborative professional learning communities—a culture for school improvement & changing practices
13 4. High Levels of Collaboration & Communication Staff collaboration includesTalking about practiceObserving each otherWorking on curriculumTeaching each otherProfessional Learning Communities promoteA climate of support, respect, cycle of feedbackIdentification & commitment to common learning standardsCommon lessons and assessmentsCapacity of staff & increased teacher efficacyCaring and positive relationships among staff and studentHigher quality of student learning
14 Collaboration & communication—cont. Effective family, community, and school collaboration and communication requiresSchools to take responsibility for communication to includeListening to the public & creating dialogueEnsuring two-way regular, clear communicationBuilding partnerships to promote the well-being of studentsProviding 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 studentsDeep alignment includesMatching topicsMatching 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 curriculumWashington curriculum includesEssential academic learning requirementsGrade level expectationsCurriculum planning processes, e.g.,Understanding by designUnwrapping standardsUniversal design for learning
17 Alignment of state standards—cont. Effective instruction has greatest influence on student achievementEffective instruction -- interactions among teachers & students around content within a specific context or environmentTeaching can be improved by understanding & usingFrameworks of attributes & behaviors of effective teachers & teachingDimensions & principles of learningStandards for authentic pedagogyInstructional strategies & structuresCulturally responsive teaching and cultural competence
18 Alignment of state standards—cont. Assessment must align with learning targets (standards) and purposesAssessments should focus on key knowledge & complex learningAssessments FOR learning are formative, not summativeFormative assessments guide further student learning & teachingAssessments methods includeSelected responseEssayPerformance assessmentsPersonal communication
19 Alignment of state standards—cont. Grading and reporting practices in a high standards systemAlign with the principles of standards-based reformLink appropriately with criteria in EALRs & GLEsCommunicate individual student achievement accuratelyGrades 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 processesEffective monitoring is non-threatening, occurs frequently, provides continuous feedback for improvementFor assessments to effectively monitor student learning, considerAssessment standards, purposes & methodsMeasurement toolsAssessment FOR learningStudent-involved assessmentScoring guides or rubricsEvidence of learning
21 Frequent monitoring of learning & teaching—cont. Monitoring & communicating student learning requireCoherent grading & reporting practicesUse grades to communicate an accurate picture of real student achievementGrade only on achievement of pre-specified targetsRely on most current, available informationKeep grading practices separate from disciplineAdvise students on grading practices in advance
22 Frequent monitoring of learning & teaching—cont. Monitoring school & classroom processes includesCollecting informationExamining progress toward school goalsEffective monitoring requiresTrusting relationshipsSafe & secure environmentExplicit valuing of individualsAttention to student learning needsCritical 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 toolsSTAR Search – skills/knowledge, thinking, application & relationshipsClassroom “walk-throughs” – reciprocal, reflective, designed to support thinking about practiceCharacteristics of walk-throughs:Short, focused, yet informal observationIdentify possible area for reflectionHave curriculum & instructional focusFollow-up occurs occasionally, not after every visitInformal & collaborative, not inspection
24 7. Focused Professional Development High standards require teachers to develop deeper knowledge & new skillsEffective professional development should be evaluated in relation to impact on student learning & improvement of teachingLearner-centered professional development isFocused on what students are to learnSchool-based, integral to daily work, job-embeddedIdentified by teachers and often developed by themContinuous, on-going, with follow-up & supportEvaluated by multiple sources of information on outcomes for students, not only participant satisfactionWashington Professional Development IN ACTIONA career-long continuum reflecting teacher capacityLinked to impact on student learning
25 Focused professional development—cont. Approaches for professional development:Mentoring & peer supportTeacher inquiry—study groups, action researchLesson study & looking at student workWalk-throughsProfessional learning communities tend toReduce teacher isolationIncrease commitmentBuild shared responsibilityIncrease understanding of content & good practiceLead to more satisfaction, professional renewalHelp make significant advances into adapting teaching to students’ needsSpecific OSPI program professional development ideas
26 8. Supportive Learning Environment Positive school climate & culture is marked byReasonable expectations for behaviorConsistent & fair application of rules & regulationsCaring responsive relationships among adults & studentsWarm, inviting classrooms—teachers as “warm demanders”—high standards with sufficient supportSafe & personalized learning environments tend toCommunicate high expectationsProvide time & opportunity for students to achieveAttend to students’ interests, problems, accomplishmentsCommunicate caring & build rapport with studentsUse culturally responsive pedagogyHelp students understand effort-based ability
27 Support learning environment—cont. Skillful classroom management contributes to positive climate & makes good intellectual work possiblePositive relationships & productive learning communities seem to impact classroom climate to greater degree than discipline policies aloneEffective classroom management strategies includeTeaching & reinforcing positive behaviors & skillsAppropriate physical layoutSpecific, clear classroom routines & proceduresExplain, rehearse, reinforce classroom routinesPlanned transitions between activitiesConsistent standards across the school
28 9. High Level of Family & Community Involvement Education is the shared responsibility of all stakeholdersFamily involvement is a key factor in students’ improved learning“Authentic partnerships” – significant engagement of families, schools, and communitiesPartnerships 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 communicationParenting—promoting & supporting family skillsStudent learning—assisting student learningVolunteering—supporting & assisting students & schoolsSchool decision making & advocacyCollaborating—using community resources
30 High level of family & community involvement—cont. Schools have responsibility to take the lead & help parents & families toUnderstand they SHOULD be involvedKnow they are CAPABLE of making a contributionFeel INVITED by the school & their children.Community involvement benefits students, schools & families throughformal partnershipsinformal relationships & activitiesInvolvement resources are plentiful
31 School Perception Surveys Perception surveys are designed for school & district useThey capture respondents’ thinking at a point in timeThey provide one type of data for school improvement planningSurveys includeSchool Staff Survey of School CharacteristicsStudent Surveys—High School grades, Middle grades, Elementary gradesParent/Community Survey
32 Group Participation Modified Jigsaw Organize in small groups by grade level or content areasRead assigned sections from the Nine Characteristics ResourceJigsaw discussionUse sample questions to guide discussion & apply to school settingFollow-up reflection
33 Discussion QuestionsWhat 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, recorderDuring 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 tasksAfter 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.