Report of the Quality Assurance Review Team for Spearfish High School Review Dates: 11/17/2008 - 11/18/2008.
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Report of the Quality Assurance Review Team for Spearfish High School Review Dates: 11/17/2008 - 11/18/2008
Purpose of the QAR Evaluate the school's adherence to the AdvancED quality standards. Assess the efficacy of the school's improvement process and methods for quality assurance. Identify commendations and recommendations to improve the school. Make an accreditation recommendation for review by the national AdvancED Accreditation Commission.
Following the Quality Assurance Review Team Visit Submit a progress report actions and progress the school has made on the recommendations. reviewed at the state and national level to ensure the school is addressing the recommendations.
Standard 1. Vision and Purpose “ Highly Functional” The school establishes and communicates a shared purpose and direction for improving the performance of students and the effectiveness of the school.
Strengths of Vision and Purpose The school leadership is continually engaged in promoting the school’s vision and values through in-service activities, posters, committee work, the school website, and contacts with community members. The vision statement is clear, concise, and easy to remember.
Opportunities in Vision and Purpose Develop a strategic plan. Solicit input from community stakeholders in developing the school’s vision for guiding the teaching and learning process.
Standard 2. Governance and Leadership “ Operational” The school provides governance and leadership that promote student performance and school effectiveness.
Strengths: Governance and Leadership Spearfish High School has been NCA accredited for 81 years. The annual report is very informative and easy to read. The school district provides professional development opportunities for certified staff and encourages training opportunities for classified staff. The school improvement process is teacher driven.
Opportunities in Governance and Leadership Incorporate more time for professional development (in-service time) in the school calendar to allow teachers and staff to work on the AdvancED process, curriculum development, and other pertinent educational issues. Facilitate the development of a parent/teacher organization. Encourage the booster club to be involved in activities beyond athletics.
Standard 3. Teaching and Learning “Operational” The school provides research-based curriculum and instructional methods that facilitate achievement for all students.
Strengths: Teaching and Learning Curriculum grouping meetings are a step in the right direction and should continue. Comprehensive information that supports curriculum is readily available through the laptop initiative and Parent Portal. The school protects instructional time to support student learning. Students and staff members have access to instructional technology and comprehensive materials.
Opportunities: Teaching and Learning Develop a strategic plan that encompasses each standard in this report. Implement more in-service planning time to develop instructional strategies to meet individual student needs. Consider offering more diverse vocational and life skills classes for the hands-on students who will be entering the workforce right out of high school. Address and implement strategies to improve the transition from middle school to high school. Implement a tool to verify improvement plan data and strategies.
Standard 4. Documenting and Using Results "Operational" The school enacts a comprehensive assessment system that monitors and documents performance and uses these results to improve student performance and school effectiveness.
Strengths: Documenting and Using Results The school’s leadership, including teachers, uses assessment data to determine interventions to improve student performance. There are clear procedures (D-F list review, TAT, Spartan time, etc.) in place to identify struggling students and interventions to encourage their success.
Strengths: Documenting and Using Results Reporting of data is especially strong. The school website and Annual Report are extremely thorough, serving to inform stakeholders as well as provide tools for analysis. Teachers also have access to individual students’ performance on D- STEP tests.
Strengths: Documenting and Using Results This school demonstrates a verifiable growth in student performance, as evident in reported ACT and D-STEP data.
Opportunities: Documenting and Using Results Develop and implement a systematic process for reviewing and analyzing instructional strategies related to school improvement goals.
Standard 5. Resource and Support Systems "Highly Functional" The school has the resources and services necessary to support its vision and purpose and to ensure achievement for all students.
Strengths: Resource and Support Systems Ninety-nine percent of the certified staff are highly qualified. Spearfish High School is a beautiful, well maintained facility centered on one ground level floor. The exception is one classroom and a weight/multi-purpose room with elevator access. Students and staff are expected to wear name badges, and all guests are checked into the office and wear very clear “Visitor Passes."
Strengths: Resource and Support Systems The school boasts two full time counselors and a career center. Services and budgets are audited regularly. The school provides special education and services for Advanced Placement students. Teachers are used as advisors to address academic and post high school needs of students. A YouthWise Counselor addresses at-risk students.
Strengths: Resource and Support Systems The school provides continuing education for all staff, including the ability to attend conferences. The walls and floors of the building are clean and maintained. The faculty requests relevant media and written material from the library services when needed.
Opportunities: Resource and Support Systems Explore a new way to hold parent teacher conferences. Revisit the Teachers as Advisors to be more effective for student achievement and interest. Provide more professional development time.
Opportunities: Resource and Support Systems Replace ceiling tiles that are in need of repair as they are stained and in some cases, are falling down. Create a long range strategic plan to help maintain resource and support systems. Finding: Spearfish High School has earned the overall assessment level of and has met this standard for accreditation.
Standard 6. Stakeholder Communications and Relationships "Operational" The school fosters effective communications and relationships with and among its stakeholders.
Strengths: Stakeholder Communications and Relationships The website is operational and functional. This website houses all information which is public access (student handbook, annual report, etc.) and is widely used. The school has provided telephones in each classroom and has provided each teacher with a laptop computer and email access.
Opportunities: Stakeholder Communications and Relationships Implement a climate survey through electronic software for all stakeholders to assist with planning and curriculum development.
Opportunities: Stakeholder Communications and Relationships Explore strategies for more effective parent teacher conferences. Explore ways to encourage parent organizations to include all facets of the extracurricular activities at SHS. Develop a long range strategic plan that includes stakeholders’ input.
Standard 7. Commitment to Continuous Improvement "Highly Functional" The school establishes, implements, and monitors a continuous process of improvement that focuses on student performance.
Strengths: Commitment to Continuous Improvement The school improvement process appears to be truly collaborative, with various stakeholders feeling that they have a voice in the process. Also, goals are clearly connected to the school’s vision and mission statement. Professional development is available and encouraged for all employee groups.
Strengths: Commitment to Continuous Improvement This school provides opportunities for vertical teaming and alignment in 13 different curricular areas. Although limited, time is also provided for discussion and reflection.
Opportunities: Commitment to Continuous Improvement Develop a clear connection among school assessment data, improvement goals, and strategy implementation so that instruction is clearly influenced or guided by documented data. Evaluate information provided by TechPaths to determine the impact on instruction to address school improvement goals and increase student achievement.
Opportunities: Commitment to Continuous Improvement Engage stakeholders, including parents and community members, in the processes of continuous improvement, possibly through the use of a strategic plan or similar tool.
During the Visit The QAR Team interviewed: the Principal 4 members of the administrative team 9 students, 7 parents, and 6 teachers and 6 support staff The team reviewed: Documents student performance data other artifacts provided by the school. Specifically, the team examined the school's systems and processes in relation to the seven AdvancED standards:
Commendation # 1 Spearfish High School has a clear, embedded vision and purpose. The interviews demonstrated an understanding of the vision and purpose by all stakeholders. It was also evident that the leadership team promotes the vision and purpose through in- services, posters, committee work, school website, and contact with community members. A clear mission and purpose assists with decision making on the most efficient use of time and human, material, and fiscal resources.
Commendation # 2 Spearfish High School has implemented extensive documentation of their data. The annual report and website are two beneficial compilations of the school's information. Many reports were evident during the QAR.
Commendation # 3 Spearfish High School provides classroom environments that are conducive to learning. Through observations, it was evident that the teachers are positive and demonstrate a sincere interest in student success. Parent, student, staff, and administrator interviews indicate that all stakeholders believe that students attend classrooms that are safe, respectful, and have high expectations. The classroom atmosphere is key to allowing successful teaching and learning to occur.
Recommendation # 1 Implement a formal strategic plan. It was evident through interviews that the school would benefit from a comprehensive and current plan that addresses prioritized school needs. This plan will help guide all decisions for this school.
Recommendation # 2 Utilize the data from assessments to further modify instruction to increase student performance. The team noticed a lack of evidence to support that data collection on student performance has been used effectively in guiding instruction. By implementing a systematic and meaningful process for reviewing and analyzing data, the school will be able to use this information to guide instructional strategies more effectively.
Recommendation # 3 Identify, communicate, and provide professional development on research- based instructional strategies that will assist teachers in delivering the curriculum. Through interviews and observations, it was evident that more time is necessary to address effective instructional strategies. Classroom observations indicated that more emphasis can be placed on differentiated instruction. By increasing the emphasis on research-based instructional strategies, students’ performance should increase.
Next Steps Review and discuss the findings from this report with all stakeholders. Ensure that plans are in place to embed and sustain the strengths noted in the commendations section to maximize their impact on the school. Develop action plans to address the recommendations made by the team. Include methods for monitoring progress toward the recommendations.
Next Steps Use the report to guide and strengthen the school's efforts to improve student performance and school effectiveness. Submit the Accreditation Progress Report detailing progress toward addressing recommendations. reviewed at the state and national level to ensure that significant progress is being made toward the recommendations.
Next Steps Continue to meet the AdvancED accreditation standards Host a QAR Team in 2013