Schoolwide improvement is a complex ongoing process that requires a continuous goal of involving all members of the school community to work hard to address every student's needs. It is a collection of data, planning tools, professional decisions, interactions, and activities that further the goal of student achievement.
A qualitative case study method was used to examine one elementary Title 1 school's experience in implementing a continuous, comprehensive school improvement plan over a five year period from 2003-2008. This is a high needs diverse school with over 80% of the families living in poverty.
The researcher conducted 14 on-site interviews including the principal, faculty, and staff from the school to assist in determining the most important schoolwide improvement strategies from the faculty's perceptions at the case site. The Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Human Resources of the case site school district was also interviewed in regards to the school leadership and collaboration at the case site. The researcher also made several site visits, observed different team sessions and collected several cultural documents.
The strategies followed in implementing a comprehensive school improvement plan at the case site included: Value Added teacher training and collaboration, implementing the Circle of Courage™ framework, the Restorative Justice Center, Ubuntu philosophy, Behavior Facilitator and the Student Support Center, ELL home liaison, extended school day focused specifically on vocabulary instruction, Bright Future's Health Literacy Center, school leadership and teams, and professional learning communities.
The student achievement gradually improved over the five year process of schoolwide comprehensive improvement. The school has achieved the proficiency NCLB level for math from 2003-2007. They achieved their first year of reading proficiency NCLB level the 2006-2007 school year.
This transformational journey has been a result of years of hard work requiring endless meetings, open communication, commitment, a willingness to change and a lot of patience.