SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT, CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION,
Michigan Center School District strives for the continual improvement of student achievement and works tirelessly towards this goal within a defined and consistent district wide School Improvement process. All improvement efforts within our District are structured and planned for under the umbrella of the School Improvement Process. This includes staff professional development, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Each of these areas are planned for in our individual building’s school improvement plans that drive the overall district school improvement plan. The district plan is structured to support the building plans with materials and resources to carry out the necessary activities to achieve the ultimate district and building goal of increasing student achievement.
The Michigan Center School District has implemented a continuous school improvement model over the last several years. The Data Retreat Process® has served our District very well in the pursuit of increased student achievement. The staff from each building works to develop a plan for each of the core academic areas with the addition of Coordinated School Health. The process ensures that each building is able to make decisions based on the data from their building. This Process stretches across the entire year with multiple reviews of implementation and strategy/activity design to ensure that our staff is working to meet the needs of ALL of our students.
o The Data Retreat Process® provides a structure for our teachers and administrators to develop goals, strategies, and activities within the school improvement plan that are reflective of the current needs of our students based on multiple types of data (i.e. achievement, perception).
o We seek input from our community and parents through the District’s Parent Advisory Committee that meets multiple times throughout the school year. Input and clarification within the each building’s school improvement plans is provided by this group to our individual building principals in the fall.
o As part of the school improvement plan design, each building staff designs the “roll out” for their team’s school improvement plan
o This “roll out” helps to communicate the details and expectations of the plan with the other staff members who were not a member of the team that designed the school improvement plan
o Prior to the start of the school year, each building’s school improvement team “rolls out” the plan to the entire staff at each building to ensure a common understanding of the expectations stretches across the entire staff
o Evaluation of our each of our buildings’ school improvement plans happens formally at the beginning of the Data Retreat Process for the following school year. The evaluation is done at this time so that the staff is able to evaluate the success of each goal, strategy, and activity to determine if it should continue into the plan for the upcoming year. When we do the evaluation, our teams look at the plans from two different perspectives. The first is to look at the plan in regards to how it was implemented. We ensure that our strategies were implemented as designed. The second perspective is to look at the student achievement as a result of the strategies and activities that were implemented. This process allows each of our individual buildings to truly evaluate the success of each of their plans.
§ Program Review
· The Program Review is a recently required report by the Michigan Department of Education. Our building principals facilitate conversation with their staff to accurately answer the questions posed in the report. This is done over a series of meetings where a section of the questions is focused on until all questions have been addressed. This document is submitted to the Michigan Department of Education and it is also used as a resource in the Data Retreat Process.
· Monitoring of the implementation of the plans, including resources (i.e. Title I, Title II, At Risk, & General Fund), is conducted on a monthly basis. Staff at each building meet monthly to review the checklists associated with each plan to ensure that implementation of the strategies and activities is happening as designed. The District’s Leadership Team that consists of the Superintendent, Business Manager, all building level principals, and the District’s Data and Assessment Coordinator meets monthly to review the status of one subject areas plan. The subject areas are rotated monthly throughout the school year.
§ Student Achievement Impact
· Each building monitors the impact that the strategies and activities are having on student achievement throughout the school year. Three data collection points each year are identified in each of the building’s school improvement plans. The teams meet to discuss the data that has been collected to determine if any changes need to be made to the plans. This data/information and these decisions are then used during the review of implementation discussed above to ensure that the best plan to meet the needs of our students is designed for the upcoming school year.
In an effort to communicate our curriculum that is aligned to the State Standards with our staff, students, parents and community, the District has placed curriculum documents and links directly to the state standards on our website. In addition to being posted on the website, the district communicates our curriculum with the individual groups mentioned above in a variety of ways to ensure a clear understanding of the curriculum exists.
· Communication –
o Staff – Communication of the curriculum to our staff is built into each of our building’s school improvement plans. Specific curriculum focused professional development has been designed to help assist our staff in better understanding the expectations of the changing state curriculum over the last several years.
o Students – The curriculum is cited for each lesson throughout the District on a daily basis. Teachers often reference the curriculum as being available on the District website, as well as many of their own webpages.
o Parents – Parents receive information about the curriculum in the Fall during the welcome back Open Houses and from our teachers during both sets of Parent Teacher Conference. Parents are also made aware of the availability of the curriculum being online throughout the year. In addition, the Superintendent meets with a Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) multiple times throughout the year and information about the District and specifically the curriculum is shared at these meetings.
o Community – Information about the curriculum is shared with our community on our District website. The Superintendent also presents at local community groups (i.e. 3 Horse Club, Lions Club, and the Eagles) annually, and frequently reminds the groups of the availability of the curriculum on the District’s website.
While it is vital that our staff has a firm grasp on the expectations of the curriculum, the District also feels that our teachers need support in the implementation of research based instructional strategies and a valid and reliable assessment system.
o Instructional Planning – As a District all three of our buildings have similar expectations as to how our staff goes about planning for their instruction and assessment.
· Instruction – Across the District, teachers are expected to implement strategies consistent with those in Robert Marzano’s Nine Essential Instructional Strategies for Teaching. Planning for instruction also needs to reflect common key areas that are noted below:
§ Michigan State Standards (Common Core)
§ Michigan Science Standards
§ Social Studies
· GLCE’s & HSCE’s
§ Non-Core Subjects
· State Standards
§ Word Wall
o Learning Outcomes/Objective/Target
§ Bloom’s Taxonomy
§ Webb’s Depth of Knowledge
§ “Students will…” Statements
o Student Activities
Assessment is considered just as important as curriculum and instruction in our District. Our staff has received professional development in the area of assessment and we continue to evolve our assessments and assessment system to provide our staff with the best information possible as to how our students are understanding and grasping the curriculum that is being taught. As a District we are striving for a balance in our assessments so that our staff has a true picture of how each of our students is performing. Multiple forms of assessments are used in classrooms depending on the need of our staff. In an effort to assist our staff with using the data most efficiently and appropriately, the District employs a Data & Assessment Coordinator to help provide support to our instructional staff in the use of data via the District’s data warehouse software. Dates/times are designated at each building on a monthly basis for staff to meet with the Coordinator. The District also supports a Data Coach at each building to help provide additional support to our staff. These Data Coaches meet three times throughout the school year with our Coordinator to go over current topics and changes that may arise so that they are able to communicate this information to the rest of their staff at each building.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENTProfessional Development for all staff is designed and identified in each of our building school improvement plans and supported by the District Improvement Plan. Areas for improvement are targeted by the school improvement teams in each building based on the needs that arise through the study of data related to the building. Multiple forms of data are reviewed annually through the Data Retreat Process to ensure that a full picture of the building’s culture, student achievement, classroom instruction and assessment are all considered. The District helps to facilitate discussion across the buildings to gauge the need of professional development as a district or if the need exists in an individual building. Over the last several years, trainings have been designed to address needs of the district as a whole. Now that the needed ground work and basic understanding is in place, individual building needs are being addressed.