SCHOOLWORKS QUALITY REVIEWS©
The Broad Foundation
In 2007, The Broad Foundation was seeking an organization with the capacity to conduct
qualitative evaluations of five finalist districts for the annual Broad Prize
. SchoolWorks was selected because of its expertise in the qualitative review of schools and districts and its ability to develop a unique approach to the prestigious Broad Prize finalist site visit process. Today, SchoolWorks continues to partner with The Broad Foundation, managing and facilitating site visits to identify Broad Prize finalist districts. Through use of a research-based framework and multiple days of evidence collection, site visit teams identify districts’ practices that have contributed to gains in student achievement. Site visit reports are one source of information The Broad Prize Selection Jury uses to determine the annual winner of one million dollars in student scholarships.
Chicago Public Schools
SchoolWorks conducts several types of site visits for Chicago Public Schools Office of New Schools. Charter schools seeking renewal from Chicago Public Schools undergo a renewal site visit led by SchoolWorks. The renewal site visit process was designed by SchoolWorks in collaboration with the Office of New Schools, to increase the amount of data and analysis available to inform renewal decisions. In the 2008-2009 academic year, SchoolWorks designed and piloted a formative protocol to review charter schools at the mid-point of the charter term in order to provide formative feedback to guide improvement well in advance of renewal. As part of the Renaissance 2010 initiative, the Office of New Schools has engaged SchoolWorks in assessing the quality of groups seeking to open new schools in the Chicago Public Schools.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education –
Division for Accountability, Partnerships and Assistance
Since the establishment of the Massachusetts School and District Accountability System in the late 1990’s, SchoolWorks has been contracted by the Department to conduct more than 200 independent reviews of traditional public schools and districts. Through evaluative and diagnostic reviews, SchoolWorks – based on its analysis of each school’s strengths and areas for improvement – has made recommendations for intervention and school improvement. In addition, these reviews provide school and district leaders with a framework to reflect upon and assess the efficacy of school improvement initiatives.
In the spring of 2009, SchoolWorks collaborated with the Department to develop a site visit protocol designed to understand district improvement efforts. SchoolWorks conducted reviews of seven of the Commonwealth’s largest urban districts, including district-level interviews and site visits to more than 40 schools.
New Leaders for New Schools - Effective Practice Incentive Community
As part of a federal Teacher Incentive Fund grant, New Leaders for New Schools is partnering with SchoolWorks to develop case studies of schools with outstanding achievement gains. This ongoing project has included the development of school self-studies, telephone interviews and school visits to document effective practices. The case studies may be viewed at the Effective Practice Incentive Community website.
New York Charter Schools Institute
SchoolWorks has designed and implemented an assessment of charter schools authorized by the New York Charter Schools Institute. Scheduled during the third year of a school’s charter term, these assessments measure the school’s progress toward its stated goals and provide recommendations to improve the school’s reporting of its performance.
New York State Education Department
Beginning in the fall of 2005, SchoolWorks designed and implemented protocols for charter school renewal visits and third-year comprehensive monitoring reviews for the Board of Regents – one of the charter school authorizers in New York State. Teams of independent evaluators from SchoolWorks have used the charter school renewal protocol to assess the extent to which a charter school has met the standards for renewal at the end of its charter term. Through the third-year comprehensive monitoring review visit, SchoolWorks has monitored a school’s compliance with state and federal regulations; evaluated the school’s progress toward the goals and objectives as outlined in its school improvement plan; and, provided recommendations to the school on ways to strengthen and enhance its improvement initiatives.
SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT PLANNING
National Heritage Academies
National Heritage Academies (NHA) and SchoolWorks partner on a full range of services designed to support school improvement. Since 2005, SchoolWorks has conducted school quality reviews of a set of NHA schools. Using a research-based protocol designed to understand effective school practices, a team of representatives from SchoolWorks and NHA visit a school for three-and-a-half days to understand the school’s strengths and areas for growth and to provide recommendations for future improvement. After the site visit, SchoolWorks follows up with the schools over a multi-year period to continue to support improvement planning.
This annual cycle of school quality reviews provides NHA with school-level improvement information and an annual trend report that identifies key strengths and areas for growth across the NHA network. This comprehensive report helps drive network-wide improvement efforts.
KIPP has partnered with SchoolWorks to develop and implement a school quality review process that links improvement planning to individual schools and emerging school regions. Like many SchoolWorks projects, the protocols and processes are especially adapted to meet the organization’s needs. For KIPP, SchoolWorks has developed a school review protocol that incorporates the KIPP Foundation’s Healthy Schools framework. Implemented across two-and-a-half days, the review process includes a report on school strengths and areas for growth, as well as a root cause analysis and prioritization process that helps schools immediately move forward with plans to improve performance.
Michigan School Improvement Planning
SchoolWorks assists NHA schools in Michigan that are transitioning to Title I school-wide status and that must (according to the Michigan Department of Education) participate in a one-year planning process. The planning process includes a series of formal meetings in which participants review requirements pertaining to operating with Title I school-wide status. Required Title I school-wide elements are crafted into an existing School Improvement Plan in order to demonstrate that the school’s transition to a Title I school-wide school will “upgrade the entire educational program” of the school.
San Diego Unified School District
The San Diego Unified School District engaged SchoolWorks to lead the redesign of its accountability practices for its charter schools. Working with a group of district and school representatives, SchoolWorks led a collaborative process to define a framework and set of processes to measure school progress toward renewal.
New Hampshire Department of Education
In 2005, SchoolWorks was contracted by the New Hampshire Department of Education to develop a comprehensive guide to its charter school accountability system. The guide was developed by gathering input from charter school constituents from across the state, review of state law and use of national best practices in charter school authorization. The guide entitled, New Hampshire Charter School Accountability Process, is available at the New Hampshire Department of Education website.
Bay State Reading Initiative
SchoolWorks began its program evaluation audits for The Bay State Reading Institute (BSRI) in 2007 - 2008. BSRI asked SchoolWorks to determine to what extent BSRI was able to meet or exceed its goals in the implementation of its reading reform model. In that first year, SchoolWorks reviewed seven schools; the program and the audits have expanded to 18 schools in three cohorts.
SchoolWorks worked closely with BSRI to develop a school review protocol aligned with the ten key elements of the BSRI reading reform initiative. SchoolWorks designed an array of tools targeted to collect the data needed to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. These tools included individual school self studies, classroom observation tools, and interview questions.
Reporting for the project meets the needs of multiple audiences. The primary audience for the evaluation is the state legislature, which funds the project. The secondary audience is BSRI, which uses the results to reflect on its practices and make any necessary adjustments to improve practice.
The final report is a comprehensive end-of -year trend report with an executive summary that addresses BSRI’s progress in meeting its established goals and benchmarks. Each section of the report individually addresses trends of progress across the Cohort 1, 2 and 3 schools. Strengths, areas for improvement, variations across schools and factors influencing implementation are discussed in each section as well as any current educational research when relevant to the discussion. Three additional reports, one for each set of cohort schools, provides summaries of individual status in relation to each of the ten elements.
Foxboro Regional Charter School VPSC Grant Evaluation
The Foxboro Regional Charter School (FRCS) was the recipient of a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Voluntary Public School Choice Program (CFDA No.84.361A). As part of its grant application, FRCS developed an external evaluation plan with specific goals to be monitored over the life of the five-year grant. SchoolWorks was hired to act as a third party to organize and conduct external audit activities. In the first stage, SchoolWorks collaborated with FRCS to design project goals and data collection instruments to target specific measures related to the Voluntary Public School Choice Program grant’s goals. This ongoing work with FRCS consists of annual data collection and analysis over the course of five years. SchoolWorks monitors the timely collection of all data, analyzes the data and assists with reporting.
Atlantis Charter School
Because of its experience in charter school operations and evaluation, SchoolWorks has been chosen by the Atlantis Charter School to analyze and report student achievement gains on standardized tests. The analysis follows the school’s accountability plan goals and is reported annually to the school’s charter authorizer.
SchoolWorks Leadership Coaching
Benjamin Banneker Charter School
At the request of its board of trustees, SchoolWorks provides leadership coaching to Benjamin Banneker’s principal.
Harlem Link Charter School
At the request of its board of trustees, SchoolWorks reviewed Harlem Link Charter School in the fall of 2008 and has been providing leadership coaching and charter renewal support to the school through the spring of 2009.
At the request of National Heritage Academies, SchoolWorks provides coaching and support to the school to assist with continuous improvement processes.
Comprehensive School Design and Technical Assistance
Philadelphia Transition School Project
As part of Philadelphia’s plans to develop smaller high schools, SchoolWorks assisted Motivation High School and Paul Robeson High School to increase student performance, graduation rates and college application rates. SchoolWorks provided ongoing technical support, including professional development for staff, developing partnerships with local colleges, running summer academies for incoming freshman and assisting with data analysis.
Renaissance School Fund
The Renaissance Schools Fund (RSF) of Chicago required assistance from SchoolWorks in the Performance Pipeline Program (PPP). The Renaissance Schools Fund is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves as the partner in fundraising and in the development of strategy and accountability for Renaissance 2010. SchoolWorks recommended enhancements to an existing school model and assisted the PPP Fellow in driving the replication process for two schools in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).