State Education Initiatives
Partnership Aims to Create Tracking Tool for School Improvement Work
- By Dian Schaffhauser
education project in Maryland is testing the Peter Drucker adage: "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it." Regional
Educational Laboratory (REL) Mid-Atlantic
is working with the Maryland
State Department of Education
to develop a tool that tracks services and engagement received by schools that need the most improvement. Those services are delivered
by the state's
Office of Leadership Development and School Improvement (OLDSI).
idea is to take the actions specified in the state's plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act and "correlating state supports with
outcomes in the schools," according to a
description of the project,
provided by Project Director Natalie Lacireno-Paquet. The schools involved are typically the ones with the lowest performance on
academic outcomes, student growth and other measures.
provides coaching for school leaders and tools and resources through
a state resource hub.
point of developing a progress monitoring tool is not to collect new data, but to organize and use the data that are already available to
track progress," explained Lacireno-Paquet.
new tool is based on one already in existence, created by the
Center on School Turnaround & Improvement.
Domains of Rapid School Improvement"
covers four areas:
area has a set of expected outcomes and various steps (with milestones) that the state could take on its road to success. One
example offered by Lacireno-Paquet offered an outcome in which all of the school's leaders and its local school system leaders show
knowledge and capacity to implement their school improvement plans. A state action step might be for OLDSI to convene meetings of those
individuals from all of the schools in need of improvement and the district leaders so they can share how they're implementing their
respective school improvement plans. A milestone for that might be that 100 percent of the improvement schools and the district leaders
participate in the professional development opportunities. The data source would include a schedule and documents for the PD, such as
agendas and examples of tools and learnings shared.
and OLSDI will also jointly develop a guidance document to support the use of the tool they create. Then the state will use the tool to
come up with a "comprehensive picture of the strategies in play to support school improvement and identify any need for mid-course
more complete description of the project is openly available on
the REL website.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.