SchoolWorks has been honored to partner with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) since the beginning of 2015. By the close of this school year (2016-17), SchoolWorks, in collaboration with CMSD, will have conducted school quality reviews at approximately 75% of all CMSD schools. When the project began, SchoolWorks and CMSD worked collaboratively to design a protocol that is aligned to the district’s initiatives and school performance framework. The intent of these reviews is to monitor the effectiveness of CMSD schools and ensure that students have access to high quality educational opportunities. Through these reviews, the district is gathering baseline qualitative data, which informs its school performance framework.
The district’s goal is to conduct reviews at all of its schools by early in the 2017-18 school year. Once baseline reviews have been conducted, the district will begin cyclical reviews of schools based upon its tiered support model that is currently being developed. The goal of the tiered support model is to provide greater and more customized support to schools, particularly those requiring more intensive support. Such schools will likely receive school quality reviews more frequently than others.
According to Jill Cabe, the School Quality Review Coordinator for the district, one key aspect of ensuring smooth reviews is to proactively communicate with all school partners, teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders in the academic process. The district has worked diligently to ensure stakeholders know what to expect as part of the school quality reviews. As a result, most stakeholders have been open and welcoming of the reviews.
Cabe noted that the reviews have provided helpful qualitative data to the district and have had a positive impact. For example, Cabe noted that the district has been pleased to see that the work conducted in CMSD around social-emotional learning has been apparent in the school quality review data. Cabe further noted that the reviews have been helpful for the district regarding program evaluation. More specifically, the reviews have allowed the district to better understand what programs at the school level are working well, how schools are utilizing and implementing such programs, and how other schools might learn from each other. In fact, schools are reaching out to the district to inquire about strong models and exemplars within the district, as aligned to the school quality review protocol, and are then visiting these schools to identify best practices and bring information back to their own buildings. Another benefit of the school quality reviews is that schools are beginning to use the results to inform their budget planning process, as well as their instructional plans. Cabe expressed excitement regarding the work being done as a result of the school quality reviews, stating, “We are starting to hear and see it bubbling up, and it’s thrilling.”
Cabe shared that the district “appreciates the depth of relationship and level of support from the SchoolWorks team.” She further noted that SchoolWorks has been responsive to the district’s success-oriented feedback, and continues to refine and improve the process with the goal of improving teaching and learning for the children of Cleveland.