CEI works with schools with persistently low achievement to help them transform into high-functioning educational institutions with vibrant and engaging learning environments capable of advancing learning for all students. CEI uses a 5-phased process to help persistently low achieving schools “turn around”:
- Conduct Needs Assessment – CEI works closely with the principal and School Leadership Team to conduct a thorough review of existing school data documented for at least a three-year period. The review team generates a report that identifies trends across the three years and then compare those trends with the school’s Comprehensive Educational Plans (CEPs) from the same time period, as these CEPs guided the school’s implementation of instructional strategies, professional development opportunities, and parent involvement activities. The purpose of this comparison of “inputs” (CEPs) and “outcomes” (various reports) is to map effective and ineffective instructional practices and strategies in order to close the gaps in student achievement. This report guides the team in the next phase of the process.
- Establish SMART Goals for School Improvement – CEI supports the principal and School Leadership Team in establishing SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) for the school, using both leading and lagging indicators to track progress towards these goals. Then, using a logic model approach, CEI helps the School Leadership Team set target benchmarks (annual as well as more frequent ones, as appropriate) attached to these indicators, as well as processes to collect, organize, analyze and take action on data related to these benchmarks.
- Align the Comprehensive Educational Plan with SMART Goals – Ultimately, the SMART Goals inform a re-engineering of the school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP) such that it sets a “blueprint” for implementing the restart process within the school. The SMART Goals help the School Leadership Team identify specific interventions, such as effective programs currently available but unused at the school, targeted professional development to increase capacity of the teachers, and focus topics for teachers to address key curricular and instructional issues. These interventions help educators cross the bridge from the current state of educational practices (those that result in persistent low performance) and into a new state of educational practices (those that will result in improved performance).
- Implement Turnaround Strategies & Practices – CEI’s role in the implementation phase is to help align resources, programs and other partner organizations at the school level so that they help achieve the school’s SMART goals rather than get in the way of progress. CEI will also bring the school into its larger network of schools so that they can benefit from sharing of effective practices, inter-visitations, peer support, sharing of resources (particularly in the area of PD), and collaborative problem solving.
- Ongoing Assessment & Action – In step 2, above, the school will have developed SMART goals, leading and lagging indicators for achievement of the goals, as well as benchmarks to track progress during the implementation phase. In order for the turnaround process to be effective, this data-driven design requires ongoing and in-depth analysis and use of the data collected in relation to the improvement design. CEI facilitates regular reviews of benchmark data through protocols that guide collaborative inquiry and decision-making based on data. Using a systematic approach, stakeholders look at data, discuss trends, identify problems, discuss the causes, craft interventions, develop goals, and track results. The School Leadership Team will be able to make course corrections to the Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP) in order to get back on track towards meeting any benchmarks that are unmet.