Reflections on Improvement
Sometimes my job is really fun! As part of our school improvement grant this year, I interviewed a variety of principals and assistant principals regarding their AYP success. What became apparent fairly quickly was that success was not built on a specific initiative. In fact schools that did not have large gains in student achievement looked similar on paper. So what is the discernable difference?
Here are some common characteristics of the AYP Success Schools:
- Sustained building leadership
- Sustained building vision
- Patience - Buildings had long-term plans – 5 to 10 years in most cases
- Relationships and culture were primary considerations. Leaders consciously and strategically built relationships between:
- Building leadership and teachers
- Teachers to teachers and
- Teachers to students
- Focus on implementation.
- Many teams got lost here… focusing on providing the two hours of professional development mentioned in the plan. Schools experiencing success focused on the changes in classrooms as a result of the professional development.
It is also worth noting that of the few high schools making high growth, all of them talked about engaging students as partners e.g. Advisory Councils and Mentoring.