School Improvement Plan

What is School Improvement Planning?

School Improvement Planning is more than a plan, it is a framework for change. The plan, itself, is simply a map that identifies the school’s destination and requires both decision-making and action from a variety of stakeholders to reach that destination in the most direct route. As Dr. Sam Redding wrote in The Mega System Handbook, “high-functioning schools and schools cited for their effectiveness do the right things, do them continuously, and always look for ways to improve. Schools that fail with comprehensive school reform do so not for lack of resources, other than time, but for want of determination and internal discipline.”

NCStar is a web-based tool that guides a district or school team in charting its improvement and managing the continuous improvement process. NCStar builds accountability as well as helps schools track their improvement plans. NCStar is premised on the firm belief that district and school improvement is best accomplished when directed by the people, working in teams, closest to the students. NCStar requires a “culture of candor” in which district and school personnel talk openly and honestly about their professional practices that contribute to student learning. Since school improvement is such a unique process for each school, NCStar contains over 100 research based effective practices (indicators) and allows schools flexibility to personalize their school improvement plans to meet their distinct needs. NCStar brings all stakeholders into the continuous improvement process by allowing “view only” capability and “real time” transparency of the school improvement plan process to all staff, district personnel, school board members, and parents.

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Guiding Principles for School Improvement
A review of school improvement and strategic planning literature provides several guiding principles to establish a conceptual framework for school improvement in North Carolina. These principles are discussed below. The vision of the North Carolina State Board of Education is that every public school student will graduate ready for post-secondary education and work, prepared to be a globally engaged and productive citizen.

The State Board of Education established the following five goals for public education:

  1. Every student in the NC Public School System graduates from high school prepared for work, further education and citizenship.
  2. Every student has a personalized education.
  3. Every student, every day has excellent educators.
  4. Every school district has up-to-date financial, business, and technology systems to serve its students, parents, and educators.
  5. Every students is healthy, safe, and responsible.