Who should be involved in improvement? Tips for Building Strong School Improvement Teams
The improvement process should include people representing the interests of the school, as well as the district and the community-at-large. The improvement process takes two dimensions: the district level and the school level. At the district level, the following would be involved: school board members, administrators, teachers, school counselors, parents, students, other community members, and union representatives. Their role is to set the district's vision and identify the district wide data, needs, and goals.
The school improvement team will set the direction that the school takes based on the overall district vision and specific needs established at the school site. Like the district, administrators, teachers, students, parents, other community members, and union representatives should be included.
As a school improvement team (SIT) is put together careful consideration needs to be given to ensuring that it truly represents the school's demographics such as: gender, ethnicity, socio-economic, language groups, as well as the school community's differing opinions.
Although these two dimensions vary, they do have many common elements. First the processes that the groups will go through will be similar. Second, groups need to be given an opportunity to form and to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Third, groups must have in place rules and guidelines that promote respect for all participants and allow all to communicate. Fourth, group size is key so that it is not too large or too small. Fifteen team members provide a broad level of perspectives while allowing the group to still proceed. This core group will be instrumental in getting the community at large's responses. Fifth, there must be a process for the various school committees to report to the school and school board. Sixth, there must be a task and timeline in place to ensure that the SIP occurs. Seventh, there must be a clear focus of why this group is meeting. Eighth, there must be a direct link to what occurs at the school level to what is occurring at the district level.