SCHOOL QUALITY REVIEWS
SEN’s School Quality Review services provide local education agencies with a clear, rigorous, and research-based picture of their schools’ academic, cultural, and operational health. As both formative and summative tools, SQRs position school systems for successful school improvement initiatives.
WHY SCHOOL QUALITY REVIEWS
Districts and networks use SEN SQRs to establish a roadmap to a shared understanding of school quality within a school building or across a school system and to identify the highest-leverage action steps for putting those schools on track for lasting improvement–both by capitalizing on school strengths and developing action plans for areas of focus. SEN school assessments serve as detailed snapshots of school quality both before and after an intervention takes place. They also provide districts with common language to evaluate schools’ progress.
WHAT SETS SEN APART?
SEN’s SQR process and training programs are designed by the former leader of NYC’s Office of School Quality. SEN’s reviewers are former high-performing school leaders who have led schools in a turnaround context. This firsthand experience uniquely qualifies the SEN review team to deliver accurate ratings and to provide insightful, useful, and prioritized feedback. In addition, SEN offers a suite of workshops focused on specific aspects of its quality rubric for schools or school systems desiring added support with their SQR findings.
At the onset of the SQR process, SEN engages with school district senior leadership to tailor the review to the client’s particular needs. School reviews are comprised of meetings with school leaders, classroom visits, teacher team observations, and focus groups involving key stakeholders (i.e. teachers, parents, students). Each review culminates in a feedback session to highlight rubric-based strengths and areas of focus. Detailed school-level reports with rubric ratings memorialize feedback for school communities. Related district- and network-level Round Ups analyze common themes across SQRs to inform priorities, strategy, and planning across schools.
SEN’s SCHOOL QUALITY REVIEW RUBRIC
The SEN SQR rubric is comprised of 10 indicators associated with three distinct quality categories:
- Instructional Core: Curriculum (1); Pedagogy (2); Assessment (3)
- School Culture: Positive Learning Environment (4); High Expectations (5)
- Structures and Systems for Improvement: Leveraging Resources (6); Goals & Action Plans (7); Teacher Support & Supervision (8); Teacher Teams & Distributed Leadership (9); Continuous Improvement (10)
The indicators of quality for Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Assessment are grounded in the theory of action that student learning improves when the relationship between student, teacher, and content–collectively, the instructional core–is improved. The theory of action extends to include the idea that efforts to improve the instructional core are either supported or hindered by the quality of school culture, structures, and systems for improvement. The work belonging to each category is informed by an equity lens to ensure the school community effectively involves and serves all stakeholders.
FEATURED SCHOOL QUALITY PROJECTS
• The Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership (SEZP) is an attempt to create a zone within the Massachusetts public school system using conditions which make charter schools successful. Springfield’s is one of a small number of similar efforts countrywide to create serious autonomy and accountability conditions in district schools.
• SEN supports key strategic priorities of the SEZP by conducting an annual set of School Quality Reviews (beginning Spring 2018). This SQR process yields written reports for each school to inform school-level improvement planning, as well as data sets which help the district plan supervision and support across schools.
• SEZP schools are moving in a positive direction. Compared to baseline SQR data from Spring 2018, nine of 10 participating schools made progress in all turnaround practices of SEZP’s Roadmap for Student Success framework.
• SQR recommendations have been formally rolled into the annual strategic planning process across the district and feed into each principal’s performance framework.
• SEN now provides the Massachusetts Department of Education with a comprehensive, statewide package of support and school monitoring visits which includes the generation of goals and benchmarks to guide school improvement work.