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Division Support for Substantial School Improvement. Virginia WebEx Program.

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Sponsored byVirginia Department of EducationKathleen Smith, Office of School ImprovementVirginia Foundation for Educational LeadershipRandy Barrack, Executive DirectorWith assistance fromAppalachia Regional Comprehensive Center andCenter on Innovation & Improvement

virginia webex faculty
Virginia WebEx Faculty
  • [List names and affiliations]
pre reading
  • The Handbook on Restructuring and Substantial School Improvement is the background text for this series of WebExes
  • Pages 1-44 should be read before the first WebEx
webex session 1 division support for school improvement part 1
WebEx Session 1: Division Support for School Improvement – Part 1

Agenda for the Session

  • Welcome and Introduction to Series – 5 minutes
  • Introduce Indicator 1 – 5 minutes
  • Discuss Indicator 1 Questions – 10 minutes
  • Introduce Indicator 2 – 5 minutes
  • Discuss Indicator 2 Questions – 10 minutes
  • Introduce Indicator 3 – 5 minutes
  • Discuss Indicator 3 Questions – 10 minutes
  • Introduce web-based planning and reporting process – 5 minutes
  • Our purpose is to help divisions provide their schools with the support and direction necessary for improvement
  • We will emphasize support and direction for schools in need of “substantial improvement”
  • The schools may or may not be in the process of restructuring
  • The division support system, however, will benefit all schools and the division itself
substantial improvement
Substantial Improvement
  • By substantial improvement, we mean a school that needs comprehensive reform rather than improvement of a specific program and/or component
  • By substantial improvement, we also mean that change must occur over a short period of time rather than incrementally over a long period of time
the webex series
The WebEx Series
  • 7 WebEx Sessions
  • Attended by division-level teams
  • Presented by the VDOE WebEx faculty of veteran division administrators
  • 20 Success Indicators (about 3 per session)
  • Content, discussion, post-session team tasks
  • Web-based planning and reporting system
focus on the how
Focus on the “How”
  • An Indicator is an element that research connects with successful school improvement
  • Missing link in research is the “how” behind the Indicator
  • This project will focus on the “how” as each division team carefully addresses the Indicators, plans improvement, documents their work, and shares their experience
  • We all want to directly address school improvement now, and we know the divisions are working with their schools.
  • The first priority of this series of WebExes is to strengthen the division and its ability to systematically support school improvement.
  • In the final session, we will introduce a similar process the division may utilize for each school’s improvement planning and implementation.
webex 1 indicators
WebEx 1 Indicators

Indicators of Success

  • IA02 - Community.The division includes civic leaders, and community organizations in division and school improvement planning and maintains regular communication with them.
  • IA07 - Achievement Targets. The state sets minimum division, school, and student subgroup achievement targets. The division sets maximum division, school, and student subgroup achievement targets.
  • IA11 - Data System. The division ensures that key pieces of user-friendly data are available in a timely fashion at the division, school, and classroom levels.
community and civic support
Community and Civic Support
  • IA02 - Community. The division includes civic leaders and community organizations in division and school improvement planning and maintains regular communication with them.

“When the division operates within a framework of civic and community responsibility for school success, the difficult options of restructuring [substantial school improvement] meet with greater support and understanding.”

Kenneth Wong, Handbook on Restructuring and Substantial School Improvement

communication and coordination
Communication and Coordination
  • Close linkages among school division, school board, community leaders can be beneficial in reforming schools
  • Civic/community support must be nurtured at the division level and for each school
  • Civic/community support are nurtured through intentional, coordinated efforts of division, with regular and effective communication
superintendent and school board
Superintendent and School Board
  • Present united front
  • Publicly provide support for reform; help sell vision to community
  • Ensure that student learning is the top priority for attention and resources
  • Engage in periodic self-evaluation of their own performance
  • Galvanize broad-based support for initiatives.
discussion build civic support
Discussion: Build Civic Support
  • How do the superintendent and board show unity of purpose with division/school improvement?
  • How does the division build civic, community support for school improvement?
    • Mayors and elected officials
    • Civic and community leaders
  • What communication systems must be put in place to keep everyone informed?
achievement targets
Achievement Targets
  • IA07 - Achievement Targets. The division sets division, school, and student subgroup achievement targets.
setting achievement targets
Setting Achievement Targets
  • Determine reasonable trajectories for improvement for
    • division
    • Each school
  • How specific?
    • Grade level
    • Subject area
    • Student subgroups
  • Incremental trajectory vs. immediate turnaround
    • Which schools need which trajectory?
discussion achievement targets
Discussion: Achievement Targets
  • Who is involved in setting achievement targets?
  • How are division targets explained to stakeholders?
    • Who gets what information?
  • How are different trajectories for different schools explained to each school’s stakeholders?
  • What are division staff, principals, teachers expected to do with the information?
data system
Data System
  • IA11 - Data System. The division ensures that key pieces of user-friendly data are available in a timely fashion at the division, school and classroom levels.
build technical capacity
Build Technical Capacity
  • Division research and evaluation units shift emphasis from compliance monitoring to building accessible data systems
  • Create a single, comprehensive data system rather than multiple ones for special purposes (e.g., special education, categorically funded programs)
  • Focus on diagnostic uses of data
    • ARDT
    • PALS
    • EIMS -- Jason.Ellis@doe.virginia.gov
formative assessments
Formative Assessments
  • Types of formative assessments
    • State or division-created formative assessments
    • Teacher team (school grade level or subject area) formative assessments
    • Vendor-provided formative assessments
      • Example: Northwest Evaluation Association’s assessments
  • Focus and strengthen use of formative assessments at all three levels—division, school, classroom
  • Focus teacher team efforts on modifications in instructional planning based on formative assessment results
use data to drive decisions
Use Data to Drive Decisions
  • Determine appropriate data to disseminate to parents, principals, teachers, school board, civic and community leaders
  • Use data to make decisions about programs and to allocate resources
  • Use data to monitor progress, keep attention on goals
productive data use
Productive Data Use
  • Data should focus primarily on student learning, at least at first, then secondary data, for example -
    • Attendance
    • Discipline
    • Parent and teacher perceptions
    • Classroom observations of “patterns of practice”
    • Analysis of lesson plans (individually and in teams)
  • Staff members need training and time to analyze data and apply conclusions to instruction
  • School boards need training in understanding data and applying to decision making
discussion division data system
Discussion: Division Data System
  • How does the division develop a comprehensive data information system that is user friendly and timely?
  • How can training in data use be provided for –
    • School board and community/civic leaders
    • Division staff
    • Principals
    • Teachers
    • Parents
    • How can data effectively inform instruction?
division team tasks from webex 1
Division Team Tasks from WebEx 1


  • Select: Division Support for Substantial School Improvement
  • Register your division (if not already registered)
  • Form your team (add non-WebEx participants?)
  • Plan tasks for each indicator-based objective
  • Monitor progress regularly