Developing an Effective School Planincludes aChange Manager’s Handbook,Facilitation Notes, and a CD-ROM of the activities and interactive tools. Using this resource, schools develop a context-specific improvement plan that concretely addresses four essential questions: Where are we now? Where do we want to go? How will we get there? How will we know when we’ve arrived? A significant and intentional result of this process is increased school capacity to identify and analyze key data to inform decisions — about what goes into the plan, how the plan is carried out, and how success is measured.
Recognizing that all schools start the improvement planning process with different types and degrees of capacity, the guide includes a number of self-assessment tools to help a school planning team identify which activities are most useful for its schools and where any specialized expertise (in data analysis, for example) might be needed. One district user has characterized these materials in a way that capture's WestEd's goals in developing them: “Very approachable...they allow for flexibility as well as ‘going deep’ — on a variety of topics.” WestEd is in a unique position to offer these carefully scaffolded school improvement activities and tools. Over the years, WestEd staff have been called on to work with literally hundreds of schools to help them improve. Organizational wisdom about how to do this deepened and grew to such a degree that we decided to collect it in this school improvement package. The inquiry, planning, and implementation process embodied here represents the distillation and thoughtful organization of what WestEd staff have learned first-hand from their work with diverse schools across the country. The tools and activities themselves have been culled from this same work, representing the most effective on-site processes for guiding individual schools’ improvement efforts.
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