School Improvement Plan

OVERVIEW

In a sense a school is a business. Any life activity that has complex activities to meet a goal might be called a business even though that word gets some negative connotation at times. If you prefer the analogy of a machine then it works just as well.

Schools must have purpose, run smoothly, and get their job done. At the forefront of this is having some kind of plan. The School Improvement Plan is the plan used by schools to address problems and issues they are having. It is used to steer the school and staff towards goals they have in the future.

DID YOU KNOW?

I thought I would include this section. Although since many of you have worked in public schools in the US, you may already know this. I have not worked in a school in the US so I was unaware until I did a little research.

a School Improvement Plan (SIP) is…..

required by state and federal regulations
must be revised every two years
includes four sections in its standard form
I. Data and Analysis (data automatically populated)

II. Action Plan

III. Plan Development, Review, and Implementation

IV. Board Action

These facts may be out of date as regulations change frequently but I found them useful. Also, I am interested to know if perhaps like many things in the US, this varies from state to state. The information above I gleaned from the Illinois State Board of Education website.

http://www.isbe.net/sos/htmls/school.htm

http://www.isbe.net/sos/pdf/sip_guide.pdf

FOR WHO?

Most certainly the plan exists for the well-being of the students as a final result but along the way to that goal many use the plan. Also, the plan could have many different goals which means more people are involved. This is how I would see it working out.

Administration “preaches” it, “broadcasts” it, and reminds everyone in a friendly way what everyone should be doing. involves them… doesn’t alienate
Teachers must learn it and be an active part of it. Perhaps one of the hardest jobs would be getting everyone involved(admin’s job)
Parents should be thought of in some objectives. They should be considered as partners for teachers and goals.
Students need to be thought of in some cases. How can they be motivated to fit in to the plan? Is the plan feasible for them? too hard?

USE & ITS HOME?

Planning is essential to meet any goal so this format could be adapted to individual classrooms, sections of a school(math dept., etc.), and school wide. Each level might have their own plan. However, the facts listed above in the DID YOU KNOW? section seem to be aimed more towards a school wide plan.

In a dream scenario all those different levels(class,dept,school) would be working on their own goals though.

Bottom line no matter the level, for success, the key stakeholders need to feel the importance of being involved in it. They need to believe in the cause.

In my estimations this would be the hardest thing about making a plan like this work well. I think the core ideas of the plan would need to be frequently revisited and monitored to make sure everyone is onboard with it.

The plan should “live” in the hearts and minds of the stakeholders. However, how do you pull that off without sounding as corny as the previous sentence?

In order to get everyone involved without alienating people from the plan there needs to be some wiggle room for their own individuality.

Then perhaps it could “live” in its rightful place with those who need it most.

SUMMATION

SIP = A broad or specific plan to improve the school by getting the most important people involved in a way that will offer the best chance for success.

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As part of my ongoing pursuit of a masters in ed with an ESL focus I will be posting my reflections from assignments I am doing.

Currently I we are discussing School Improvement Plans as part of our Data Analysis and Assessment course

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