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Collaborative School Reviews

Collaborative School Reviews
How to Shape Schools From the Inside

A Joint Publication with Ontario Principals’ Council

June 2013 | 216 pages | Corwin
Beverly Freedman and Raf DiCecco show how to design and implement a rigorous and effective school evaluation process, conducted by personnel from within your district in collaboration with your school leadership team. Here you'll find user-friendly guidance for planning and managing every step of the review process, including

A research-based case for how collaborative school reviews transform teaching and learning

Guidance on ensuring that the review process aligns with the district's mission and goals as well as with the Common Core State Standards

Best practices and protocols for creating review teams and conducting onsite classroom observations

How-to's for effectively using data to gain a balanced view of school performance

A composite case study that brings the collaborative school review process to life

This breakthrough book shows how to bring school and district teams together to shape sustainable, positive change and strengthen student achievement.

About the Authors
Improving Schools Matter

Why a Resource on School Reviews?

What Makes This Approach Different?

Our Lens is the School

This is a How-to-Resource

1. Setting the Stage
Collaborative Schools Reviews: A Path for Improvement

What is a School Review?

What Distinguishes Collaborative School Reviews from Other Reviews?

Achieving Excellence-A Strategic Lens to Contextualize Collaborative School Reviews

Collaborative School Reivews as Opportunities for Transformational Change

Our Case Study: The Lone Birch School District

In Summary

2. Designing Collaborative School Reviews
Step One: Design Effectively

Link Collaborative School Reviews to District Vision, Mission and Transformational Agenda

Collaborative School Review Policy

Collaborative School Review Design/Process


Procedures and Protocols

Structure and Flow for the Review

Protocols for Classroom Observations

Expectations and Protocols for the Onsite Classroom Observations

Possible Questions for Members of the Review Team to Ask Students

Capacity Building

Stakeholder Engagement

Alignment with other Requirements/Processes

Conceptualizing the Collaborative School Review Process: Lone Birch

In Summary

3. Planning Commences at the District Level
Setting the Stage

System Level Planning Process and Detailed Work Plan

Capacity Building

Teams Matter

Leadership, Coordination, Planning at a System Level to Prepare for the Reviews

Composition of the External Review Teams

Developing a Self-Assessment Tool

Data Plan

Capacity Building Plan

Data Management-Creating a Data Tapestry

Lone Birch's Data Management Plan

Communication and Engagement

Communication Plan

Other Planning Considerations for Lone Birch

In Summary

4. Planning Continues at the School Level
Layering the School-based Priorities on the District Priorities

Pleasant Valley

Organizing for the Review

Areas for Focus and Feedback

Supporting Data


Meadows Middle School

Organizing for the Review

Areas for Focus and Feedback

Supporting Data


Harper High School

Organizing for the Review

Areas for Focus and Feedback

Supporting Data


In Summary

5. The Day of the Review Arrives
Harper High

Introduction and Setting the Stage

Conducting the School Review

Debriefing and Sharing Findings and Feedback

Meadows Middle School

Introduction and Setting the Stage

Conducting the School Review

Debriefing and Sharing Findings and Feedback

Pleasant Valley Public School

Introduction and Setting the Stage

Conducting the School Review

Debriefing and Sharing Findings and Feedback

In Summary

6. Unpacking the Results: Ensuring Improvement Happens
Accountability Structure

Roles and Responsibilities

Verbal Feedback and Formal Report

Analysis: Unpacking the Reviews

Work Plan to Implement Suggested Changes

Unpacking the Reviews at the Schools

Pulling Out District Level Trends and Patterns

A Follow-Up Plan

Monitoring and Evaluation of Collaborative School Review Process

In Summary

7. Creating Excellence and Innovation from the Inside Out

"Compared to the Standard Bearer review process, those included in the book are more detailed and provide more questions for reflection throughout the process."

Dr. Gayle Wahlin, Retired Asst Supt, Currently Educational Consultant
DuPage Regional Office of Education, Wheaton, IL

"I liked the use of the case study approach with the Lone Birch School District. It made the concepts and processes come alive. The case study examples and stories supported the discussion in each chapter. I liked how the chapters differentiated between planning at the district level and planning at school level. BRILLIANT IDEA! I felt that there was appropriate coverage of critical areas."

Tom Lindsay, Assistant Superintendent
Mannheim District 83, Franklin Park, IL

"A further consideration is the insightful inclusion of student involvement in the review process—often a neglected population. The authors have coined the phrase "Data Tapestry," indicating that in order to achieve evidence-informed practice, there is a need for the collective use of rich, broad data. significant omissions or excesses."

Dr. Sara E. Spruce, Professor of Ed
Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais, IL

"The questions and suggestions for classroom visitations were insightful and well done."

Mary Johnstone, Director
AdvancED Alaska, Anchorage, AK

"The authors are true transformational leaders, keenly tuned in to current challenges and changes in classrooms and schools today. Their reader-friendly resource features an engaging and clear writing style and easy to follow guidelines, based on research and their personal experiences and insights. Their collaborative "inside out" model for school improvement is built on collegiality and accountability, uses data-driven evidence, and can be easily tailored to meet individual needs. What is key is that it is a cost-effective, positive "non-deficit" model, encouraging educators to look within their schools and systems for strengths and opportunities for learning and growth to benefit all students. This is definitely a resource well worth reading and using!"

Susan Schwartz, Instructor
Master of Teaching Program, OISE, University of Toronto

"It is heartening to read about a practical, specific and supportive school review process that begins with true collaboration! Bev Freedman and Raf Di Cecco offer a complete package for educators who crave how to collaboratively guide school improvement from the inside out. This brilliant approach to improvement includes the Review; the Professional Learning needed; and the monitoring to sustain. A must-read for those who want systematic, dynamic school reviews that engage!"

Lyn Sharratt, Author of Putting FACES on the Data

"The authors share a wealth of experience, knowledge and practical wisdom balanced with compassion and vision. They recognize the power of effective conversations and structures to promote student success. This book should be required reading for anybody leading change at their school or district."

Susan Murray, Senior Education Officer
Eastern School District, St. John's, NL, Canada

"Bev Freedman and Raf DiCecco address one of education's most complex questions-how do we improve learning in all schools so that every student achieves success. Through sound research and rich illustrative examples, Freedman and DiCecco show the answer is not about external pressure and compliance, rather, it is all about an effective and collaborative design process that strategically shapes schools from the inside out. A must read for those interested in transformational change."

Karen Grose, Central Coordinating Superintendent
Strategy and Program Planning, Toronto District School Board, Toronto, Canada

"Many books provide general prescriptions for school systems wanting to improve outcomes and reduce achievement gaps. Collaborative School Reviews, on the other hand, provides a detailed yet flexible approach to an important vehicle for achieving this end. The authors are clear on principles, provide many examples of specific practices, and understand the importance of local context. Their work is guided by a solid knowledge of the relevant research as well as extensive direct experience. Every education leader will get valuable ideas from his work."

Ben Levin, Author of More High School Graduates

"Collaborative School Reviews provides insightful and thought provoking processes to assist system leaders and principals develop effective methods to provide on-going feedback and support to schools thus raising achievement levels for students and supporting strong support structures for teachers. This book is a must read for any school system leader who wants to develop a supportive systemic system for school improvement."

Michael Borgfjord, Superintendent/CEO
Seine River School Division, Lorette, MB, Canada

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452242958

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