Unified improvement planning is the most essential duty of the School Advisory Council. It is the blueprint for change that improves students’ learning.
The law says that in the fall of each year, the principal of each school, with the assistance and cooperation of the school advisory council and school staff, must adopt ambitious goals and plans to improve graduation rates and student achievement. The annual planning cycle involves determining/re-examining the vision and mission for the school, completing a needs assessment that results in a school profile and needs statement indicating priority goal areas, and developing an action plan for the year’s school improvement. At the end of the school year, the cycle continues with the annual evaluation of those results to the public and to the local board.
Building goals shall be consistent with, but not limited to, the State Board of Education’s goals and objectives. Each district’s accreditation contract should delineate the district’s priorities for improvement. While the planning process varies form school to school, several key elements of the planning process are described in more detail below:
- Gather Information
- Student Performance Profile
- School assessment results related to local board of education adopted student outcome and performance standards expected at designated levels;
- Number and percentage of students attaining and exceeding the district student performance standards at designated levels separated by race/ethnicity and gender;
- Indicated levels of school satisfaction resulting from surveys or community meetings of students, former students, staff, and community members representative of the different racial/ethnic populations within the school attendance area;
- Findings from research on effective educational practices;
School demographic trends and community needs; and
- Performance of exceptional and language minority students.
- Analyze Data and Make Decisions
- Program begins by developing broad goals and objectives for the educational processes. Goals should be worded simply and written as SMART goals.
- S Strategic and specific
- M Measurable
- A Attainable
- R Results-oriented
- T Time-based
- Identify the activities of schools that can advance students towards those goals and objectives.
- Develop a means of evaluating achievements and performance of students.
- Report to students, parents, teachers, board of education, and the general public on the educational and safety performance of the public schools.
- Assessing and Reporting
- Focus on asking the right questions, choosing the right indicators of performance, and reporting to the right audience;
- Build assessment into the action plan that accompanies each goal;
- Benchmark assessment should be used to monitor progress;
- School Advisory Councils should be updated periodically;
- Reports should be made to community members using a variety of means;
- An annual report, prepared at the district level, is to be made available to community members.