A formula for planning effective school improvement It’s nearing the end of the school year across America, which means thousands of principals are preparing school improvement plans for the 2013-14 school year. There are two common scenarios that take place, illustrated here by Principal A and Principal B: Principal A sits down and, with little input or involvement from others, dutifully writes an ambitious school improvement plan for the next school year. The plan is submitted to the central office and receives a stamp of approval. At the beginning of the new school year, the plan is shared for the first time with the school staff. Momentum and focus are quickly lost, and the plan sits on a shelf, practically untouched, until the end of the school year. Principal B, on the other hand, meets with the school leadership team to collect, organize, and analyze data to form several key problem statements. Next, the principal meets with school faculty members to present the data analysis and the key problem statements. Collectively, the faculty members review the data, identify root causes of the problem statements, develop goals, and create an action plan based on research-based practices. This all takes place before the summer break. At the beginning of the new school year, the plan is reviewed and staff members sign-up for subcommittees to lead implementation and actively monitor progress. Monthly progress reports and achievement data are reviewed by the school leadership team. Which school is more likely to meet its goals? It’s easy to predict that Principal B’s...

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