Wednesday, September 4, 2013

School Improvement Plan Feedback: SOAR Protocol

The feedback from the SOAR protocol we used on Friday with our school improvement plan is very helpful and interesting.  I will provide a summary and some commentary here; however, if you are interested in reading all of the feedback, click here.  There are very few revisions to the School Improvement Plan, and you may Click here to review it again, if you like.  If you have feedback not covered in this protocol (questions, concerns, etc.), be sure to stop by and share these with me (or e-mail them to me).

Thanks again for your time and attention to this process.  We are all involved in the success of our school and the implementation of this plan.

Faculty members listed a variety of strengths and very few were repeats of one another.  I believe this to be an advantage: the SIP is strong enough to warrant a list of several strengths rather than a few repeated ones. A few that stand out to me are:

  • Including several voices,
  • Aligning the format to our Marzano work, and
  • Creating manageable and effective goals.
I do not have much commentary on this section except to thank everyone for sharing the strengths of the document so generously.

The list of opportunities was also diverse. I think it's clear that we understand that successful implementation will lead to an increase in achievement, a decrease in negative behaviors, and an improvement in staff morale.  In addition, several teachers noted the opportunity for collaboration and other colleagial conversations.  A few specific opportunities that stand out to me are:
  • Those that indicate we can benefit from more conversations (about anything from new ideas to race, gender, and ability) and
  • Those that mention the necessity of more time.
Unfortunately, more time is a difficult resource to provide, and when I am able to provide it, it might be difficult sometimes to prioritize how you want to use that time.  This year, in addition to giving time to departments on professional development days (a regular Hixson Middle School Practice), I am providing time on fourth Mondays as well.  If you want to work on new ideas, reflect on your teaching, share ideas, etc., you may use that time as long as you communicate that to me.  In addition, Dr. Roberts budgets for a sub for each teacher in the building.  That means you can decide to take a day to work on anything that is priority to you (sometimes departments have used this money in other ways).  You may contact your curriculum coordinator and advocate for time as well. 

Our aspirations are both varied and aligned with our goals.  There is great organization value to this alignment.  Thank you for being so thoughtful.  Three aspirations stand out to me:
  • Implementing a 1:1 environment with appropriate technical support and development for teachers,
  • Implementing proficiency scales consistently and well, 
  • Supporting one another with the implementation of Discovery, and
  • Including elective and non-core teachers in the RtI process.
  • Our LMT and tech department are working and planning to make sure students and faculty have what they need to implement a 1:1 environment effectively.  We will learn by doing and will need to flexible with one another and ourselves.  This is the year to begin conversations and use what time we have to work out some of these details.
  • The district C & I department is work on creating district-wide essential learning goals and scales that will be Board-approved and become our curriculum.  In the meantime, use what is effective and makes sense for you.
  • We can use team representative meeting time and fourth Monday time to work together on Discovery.  A specific question was about the effectiveness of just 25 minutes of time. At this time, based on what we know from research and experience at workshops, etc., 25 minutes (and even less) can be effective.
  • We are working on ways to include non-team teachers in data meetings and other RtI-related practices, including finding coverage for teachers during these meetings.
Faculty mentioned several results we might see, including an increase in MAP, AIMSweb, SRI, and other scores and a decrease in discipline referrals.  Other results that were mentioned include:
  • An increase in student engagement, and
  • An improved learning climate for students and for teachers.
I do not have much commentary to add as I believe these long- and short-term results will be valuable indicators.  In early October, I will ask that you use the proficiency scales in the SIP to rate yourself anonymously.  I hope that when we return at various points in the year to these scales, our overall scores will improve as well.

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