Case Study: Personalized Learning Quality Reviews
Dallas Independent School District began its Personalized Learning (PL) initiative in the fall of 2013. To support its success, the Dallas ISD Personalized Learning Department sought to provide schools with an unbiased lens into their PL implementation success through a quality review process. Dallas ISD reached out to SchoolWorks in 2015 to help develop and implement Personalized Learning Quality Reviews.
- Support the development of a Personalized Learning Quality Review protocol that assesses the effectiveness of PL programs in accordance with defined standards and utilizes a process that allows schools to reflect on progress, celebrate strengths, and create focused next steps.
- Support the Dallas ISD Personalized Learning Department in implementing formative reviews at cohort schools.
The Ongoing Work
SchoolWorks served as both a thought partner and a task manager for the Dallas ISD Personalized Learning Team. During the first few years, reviews were conducted using a hybrid protocol that combined SchoolWorks’ School Quality Criteria with Dallas ISD’s Personalized Learning Coaching and Development Rubric. The Dallas ISD team subsequently developed its own comprehensive PL Readiness Continuum to drive coaching and support at the systems level. Today, Personalized Learning Quality Reviews are conducted over a period of two or two and a half days and are staffed with a mixed team of reviewers from SchoolWorks and Dallas ISD. In accordance with the Continuum, schools self-assess their progress towards personalized learning by selecting one of the ratings of “Not PL Ready,” “PL Ready,” “Consistent Practice,” or “Personalized” across a variety of indicators. This tool and process helps the campus team identify and prioritize areas of focus and drives cohort- and campus-specific professional development and coaching throughout the year.
Steps in the Process
- First, each school selects 3-4 domains (out of 12) from the PL Readiness Continuum as areas of focus for the visit. The school then self-assesses their readiness in the selected domains in accordance with the continuum.
- Prior to the visit, reviewers examine school documents that are aligned with the selected domains. Documents may include handbooks, lesson plans, and/or professional development plans.
- Once on site, the review team interviews groups of teachers, students, leaders, support staff, instructional staff, families, and the PL campus team, if applicable. Reviewers visit classrooms across grade levels and content areas; observe relevant meetings—such as data meetings or professional development sessions; and sometimes “shadow” teachers, students, and/or leaders to gain insight into their daily work.
- The review team shares findings of both strengths and areas of growth at the end of each visit. Using a facilitated action-planning process, reviewers help the school to determine goals and strategies against at least one area of growth.
- The experience culminates with a written report of findings, evidence, data, and the resulting action plan.
- Since the 2015-2016 school year, SchoolWorks has helped to implement over 20 school visits in Dallas using the Dallas ISD Personalized Learning Quality Review Protocol.
- Dallas ISD partnered again with SchoolWorks in 2018 to develop a protocol and process for conducting Personalized Learning Readiness Reviews – site visits designed to assess and classify the relative preparedness of schools to facilitate personalized learning effectively.
- SchoolWorks and the Dallas ISD Personalized Learning Team delivered a presentation at the 2018 iNacol Symposium, describing the learnings and successes of this ongoing partnership.