Citing declining enrollment, Hickory superintendent rolls out plan to assess every school | Education

Each of the nine schools in the district will have a two-day assessment during which a team will visit classrooms, meet with administrators, teachers, families, students, and any other staff deemed essential to understanding the school, Silver said. Using the data collected during these visits, the team will determine which issues are district-wide and which issues are isolated to a particular school. After visiting all of the schools, there will be a two-day district assessment where the team will meet with administrators, board members and a focus group of principals.

Assessments are the same for every school, regardless of size and grade level, to ensure consistency. A team of four people will perform an assessment on each school. The lead reviewer will focus on the results of what schools and the district are doing. The other three team members are trained in the assessment process and will all have background experience relevant to the areas they will be reviewing, such as administration or teaching. In an attempt to give an unbiased third-party opinion, the team will be made up of people with no current or previous connection to the district, Silver said.

“So we’re not coming out with a checkbox and saying, ‘Are these things happening? What we focus on is everything the district and the schools are doing,” Silver said. “There is a clear focus on its impact, in terms of those two issues.” She said the purpose of evaluation is not to evaluate schools but to support them. The data collected is intended for the district and schools to use in improvement and future decisions.

Norma A. Roth