Case Study: Targeted Site Visits

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) utilizes a set of four Turnaround Practices as the foundation for successful sustainable improvement efforts.

Each year, the state offers Targeted Site Visits or “TSVs” to provide schools engaged in a sustainable improvement process with formative feedback on where they are in implementing the four Turnaround Practices. SchoolWorks and its partner the Institute for Strategic Leadership and Learning (INSTLL) have successfully collaborated with DESE to manage the Targeted Site Visit process since its inception in 2017.

The Challenge
  • Develop a site visit protocol for Targeted Site Visits that provides schools with meaningful feedback on the implementation of Turnaround Practices.
  • Staff and train review teams annually in the evaluation process and evidence collection tools.
  • Conduct Targeted Site Visits at 35-50 Massachusetts schools annually.
    • Plan visits with districts and schools.
    • Collect qualitative and/or quantitative data relative to the implementation of the Turnaround Practices.
    • Facilitate prioritization and action planning with school teams in alignment with evaluation findings.
    • Submit annual site visit reports to DESE and districts.
    • Conduct an annual analysis of patterns and trends.
SchoolWorks Approach
  • SchoolWorks annually staffs and trains a team of thirty TSV reviewers and support personnel to implement TSVs using the Protocol and Rubric.
  • During 1.5-day visits, a team of three trained educators visit each school to collect and analyze data about school performance. Team members review key documents, conduct focus groups with teachers and staff, interview the principal and other select leaders, and observe instruction using SchoolWorks Classroom Visit Tool.
  • Each TSV concludes with a half-day onsite prioritization session. The review team leads school and district representatives through a collaborative analysis of the TSV findings and related data. Participants identify priority areas for improvement (linked to Turnaround Practices and the Instructional Criteria) and develop actionable next steps and benchmarks.
  • Following the TSV, districts and schools receive a written TSV report that includes a summary of strengths, detailed findings for each of the 10 components that comprise the 4 Turnaround Practices, formative ratings (on instruction and for each turnaround practice), and prioritized issues and action steps identified by the school during the visit.
  • SchoolWorks and INSTLL continually work in close partnership with DESE to modify and refine the process in order to optimize the analysis, feedback, and support provided to recipient schools.
The Results
  • To date, SchoolWorks and INSTLL have conducted over ninety Targeted Site Visits to participating schools and districts across the Commonwealth.
  • The number of schools selecting SchoolWorks and INSTLL as TSV providers increased by 90% in 2018, and by 110% in 2019.
  • SchoolWorks and INSTLL have been contracted by multiple districts to conduct TSVs at schools that are not allocated funding from DESE.
"SchoolWorks and INSTLL have been key partners in helping DESE to envision, implement, and continually refine this sustainable improvement support for Massachusetts schools."
- Erica Champagne, Director, Office of Effective Practices in Turnaround
    Dates: 2017-present

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