The commitment to continuous improvement is a critical element in WPS. At every step along the way, students, teachers and administrators have taken a critical look at their work and the process and asked, “How could it be better?” For example, after the first full year of implementation of CBS it was determined the district needed 16 performance levels instead of 10 in the core content areas. Yes, it meant a lot of work over the summer months, but the creation of a more successful system required the effort. In our CBS world, nothing is set in stone; there is always room for improvement.
We have established formal processes and developed tools that appraise current practice, measure results, reveal improvements and help determine next steps. These processes and tools provide systemic and systematic feedback at periodic intervals called evaluation cycles.
An example of one tool we use is the District Self-Assessment Tool (DSAT) that informally assesses the status of each component (Leadership, Shared Vision, Personalized Mastery, and Continuous Improvement) of our Learner-centered, Competency Based System along a developmental continuum that allows progress on each component to be measured. The DSAT is administered in December and May of each school year and guides reflection on the current status of the District-wide Learner-centered, Competency Based practices for the purpose of informing next steps by highlighting progress, refining and setting goals, evaluating action plans and monitoring key performance indicators.
The descriptor for each stage of the developmental continuum is provided here:
|AWARENESS: The district is interested in pursuing or believes that there is a need for these practices and processes. Members of the district may have discussed these ideas and may have done some initial research but have not approached the concepts in a formal way as a district.|
|UNDERSTANDING: The district has begun researching and planning to formally address these practices and processes. The district desires to increase the capacity of individuals who know how to do these processes and have begun to provide professional development opportunities for stakeholders.|
|1st IMPLEMENTATION: The district is working purposefully to formalize these practices and processes. The district has detailed plans in place and has begun implementation, but has not completed sufficient steps to collect data on the success of implementation.|
|ROUTINE: The district regularly uses these practices and processes as part of routine throughout the district. Members of the district willingly and purposefully engage in these practices and processes. The district has data spanning at least one cycle time showing positive growth.|
|REFINEMENT: The district has established cycle times and processes to continuously improve practices. The district has reviewed and refined the practices and processes over two or more cycle times. The district has data to demonstrate positive growth trends for 3 or more years.|
|REPLICATION: The district possesses the capacity and experience to assist other districts with these practices and processes. The district has willingly made available to interested districts examples of current practices and processes.|
An example of a process that is used more frequently and informally is our PDCA (Plan, Do, Check and Adjust) cycle. A description of that process is provided Continuous Improvement Model PDCA
While the previous examples speak to “systems improvement” all schools in Westminster Public Schools create School Improvement Plans that focus on “academic improvement” to meet state and federal accountability requirements.
Copies of these school improvement plans are available at here.
More information about the state and federal accountability requirements can be found here.