School Improvement, Curriculum & Instruction, & Professional Development Processes
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 continuous improvement process. All improvement efforts without our District are structured and planned under the umbrella of the Michigan Integrated Continuous Improvement Process. This includes curriculum, instruction, assessment, and staff professional development. Each of these areas is planned for in our district-identified work that includes strategy implementation and effectiveness monitoring. The district plan provides support, materials, and other resources to carry out the necessary activities to achieve the ultimate district goal of increasing student achievement.
The Michigan Center School District implements the continuous improvement process. The staff from the district and each building work within teams to not only determine district-level goals but also a plan to incorporate multi-tiered systems of support for core academic areas as well as consider whole child needs. The process ensures that each building is able to make decisions based on data from their building as connected to the overarching district data story. The process stretches across the entire year with multiple reviews of implementation and strategy/activity design and reflection on the progress towards desired outcomes. This ensures that our staff is working to meet the needs of ALL of our students.
The continuous improvement process provides a structure for our teachers and administrators to develop goals, strategies, and activities within the continuous improvement plan that are a mirror of the current needs of our students based on multiple types of data (achievement, demographic, perception, and process).
We seek input from our community and parents through the district’s Parent/Guardian Survey which is shared with our families each fall. Our families provide feedback and complement our school improvement process with this inclusion. Perception data reflection allows for district leadership and staff to adapt to modifications that may be needed.
As part of the continuous improvement process, administrators and building team leaders share details and expectations of the district goal work.
This communication of details and expectations allows for unified efforts and focus to start each year and also to revisit. This work continues throughout the year. Teams reflect on the successes and barriers to actualizing robust and intentional efforts for fidelity. Progress toward desired outcomes is kept at the forefront of the work.
Evaluation of our district's continuous improvement plan happens with embedded checkpoints throughout each year and beyond. Year-to-year data reflection is included in this process. The identification of areas to stop, start, and continue the work needed to reach our goals determines the next steps. Two different lenses are included in the evaluation of our plan. One lens is the quality of implementation. Was the plan implemented as designed? The second lens is that of student achievement. Did the plan and implementation lead to the outcomes/results desired?
The Program Evaluation is the evaluation of strategies, programs, and initiatives to accelerate achievement and close achievement gaps and is a key step in the continuous school improvement process. In addition, all federal programs (Title I Part A, C, and D; Title II, and Title III) require annual evaluation, especially when federal and/or state funds are used to support such efforts.
Monitoring of the implementation of continuous improvement plans, including resources (Tite, 1, Title II, At Risk, and General Fund), is conducted on a monthly basis with teamwork. Staff at each building meet monthly to review goals, areas of focus, and implementation of strategies. Is the work happening as designed? The District’s Leadership Team which consists of the Superintendent, Business and Human Resource Manager, all building principals, and the District’s Student Success and Reporting Coordinator, meet monthly to review progress and the status of the work in progress. Each month some data analysis takes place to embed the continuous nature of changing needs, progress, and target trajectories relative to desired outcomes for the district.
Student Achievement Impact
The district and building teams monitor the impact that the strategies are having on student achievement throughout the year. Three main academic data points each year are identified (beginning, middle, and end of the year). The teams meet to discuss the data that has been collected to determine if any changes need to be made to the continuous improvement plan. What successes and challenges are we seeing? This data/information and these decisions are then used during the review of the implementation discussed above to ensure the best plan to meet the needs of ALL students is in place or will be adjusted in the future.
In an effort to communicate that our curriculum is aligned with the State Standards with our staff, students, parents, and community, the District works to continuously share information directly related to state standards. Multiple forms of communication are used for this purpose. Some of these forms may include the district website, teacher websites/resources, family communications, and report cards.
Staff-Communication of the curriculum to our staff is built into our continuous improvement work. Specific curriculum focus professional development has been designed to help assist our staff in better understanding the expectations of the state curriculum including content and skills.
Students-The curriculum is cited for each lesson throughout the District on a daily basis. Teachers often reference the curriculum as being available through various resources.
Parents-Parents receive information about the curriculum in the fall during welcome back Open Houses and from our teachers during both sets of Parent/Guardian/Teacher Conferences. In addition, the elementary principals meet with the Parent Teacher Organization multiple times throughout the year where information about the District and specifically curriculum is shared.
Community-Information about the curriculum is shared with our community on our District website. The Superintendent also presents at local community groups (Center 3 Horse Club, Eagles, and Lions Club) and reminders of the curriculum information updates are included.
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 balanced assessment system.
As a District, all three buildings have similar expectations as to how our staff goes about planning for their instruction and assessment.
Across the District, teachers are expected to implement strategies consistent with those in Robert Marzano’s Nine Essential Instructional Strategies for Teaching.
Assessment is considered just as important as curriculum and instruction in our District. Our staff has received, as a part of their professional development, work in the areas of balanced assessment system, literacy, positive behavior intervention system, and social-emotional learning. We continue to evolve our assessments and assessment system to provide our grasping of the curriculum as it 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 data/information needs. The District employs a Data and Assessment, School Improvement Coordinator to help provide support to our instructional staff and leadership team in the use of data via the District’s various data sets.
Professional development for all staff is designed and identified for the district and within each of our buildings as supported by the District's continuous improvement plan. Areas for improvement are targeted by the district and building teams based on the needs that arise through the study of data, dialogue, and discussion/decision-making. Multiple forms of data are considered to ensure a full picture of the building’s culture, student achievement, classroom instruction, and assessment. The District helps to facilitate a discussion across buildings to gauge the need for professional development that is congruent with the district's continuous improvement plan. Differentiation of professional development needs is captured for the district and building teams and individual staff growth to complement and accent the outcomes desired for ALL students.