Know Your Starting Point
By Bart Teal @BRSOE
January 5, 2017
At this time of year, we set forth with resolve to make improvements in our lives. Whether it's health and fitness, financial security, or personal growth, the first step in any improvement process is to document your starting point. Only after you know your starting point can you celebrate the steps toward your goal.
The same is true with school improvement. You have to know your starting point. And while test scores and graduation rates are critically important, they are measures that tell a story AFTER the fact. What we need are measures we can use everyday that will help us improve those end results. For example, if I want to lose 10 pounds, I won't be able to do it by simply focusing on the scale every day. My everyday attention must be placed on what I eat and a my commitment to exercise daily.
In schools, we need a daily focus on areas critical to school success such as a clear focus on students and student support, a commitment to excellent school culture, actively engaging students in rich curriculum, integrating (truly integrating) technology in the classroom, ensuring school safety, working with parents and the community, and supporting our teachers.
It may seem hard to measure all of these indicators of success at once ... but it's not. We have a tool that gives schools insight into nine areas critical to school success through the eyes of administrators, teachers, support staff, students, and parents. This tool identifies school strengths and provides a blueprint for making positive changes where needed.
Perhaps most importantly, like most successful change programs, our program offers a supportive network of other school officials who have been through the process and are committed to delivering excellent education in their own schools.
This year resolve to know how your school is doing... really doing... so you can have a positive impact on EVERY child.