New tool to help administrators and teachers streamline their improvement process for better outcomes and increased efficiency
By Adam Bonilla, Research and Systems Improvement Analyst, and Adrian Oceguera, Software Developer
While school sites may have similar challenges to improving student achievement and performance, each school site and more importantly, each classroom, is unique. A district-wide mandate of one of the many possible solutions to increasing student achievement and performance will not work at every school site.
Instead, keeping student-centered decision making at every level of our learning organization, the district decided to implement “improvement science,” as the method to be used during the Strategic Planning Days, to develop a deep understanding of three key questions: 1) What academic needs require the most immediate change? 2) What are the root causes and contributing factors of that academic need? 3) What will it take to remove those contributing factors and subsequently the root causes to improve student achievement?
The “improvement science” process is very good at helping our administration teams (and their grade level / department leads) in deciding which academic focus area needs the most immediate change, through data and root cause analysis. Through primary and secondary driver analysis, teams focus on which new ideas should be implemented and/or which old ideas should be modified. One may ask, with so much data, analysis, and ideas in place all at once, how can somebody keep track of all of them? This is why we created and now introduce the Madera Unified Strategic Academic Planning (SAP) Tool.
The SAP Tool follows the “improvement science” framework and helps our administrators streamline and organize their research, to help them focus their attention to the problem at hand. Once the “improvement science” process is completed and administration teams have their action steps, the SAP Tool helps connect those administration teams to district support teams and has a library of best practices for extra help. Additionally, the district support teams can connect school sites with similar academic needs to problem solve together, thus creating a “networked improvement community.” We believe this further helps the district create a culture of excellence and clarity in decision-making that the SAP tool brings to all stakeholders. This will help us continuously match the needs of our students and the skills of our staff.