School Improvement Plan

How can a principal or school leader create a school improvement plan that does more than meet an accountability criterion? How can a school improvement plan become an actionable driver of school success? These are the questions we asked, and here’s what leading educators said.

Actionable Plans for School Improvement

If you’ve been in education, especially public education for any length of time, you’ve likely experienced the school improvement plan that serves as a paperweight or bookshelf dust collector.

If not, then you’re among the lucky ones.

Yet luck is not a key strategy for continuous school improvement. Instead, a strategic plan for improvement is. Especially, a plan that is actionable.

How do we create actionable plans for improvement?

Plan for the planning. We often neglect to make time to strategically plan our planning. In Drive, Daniel Pink offers 3 factors as drivers: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Leaders who want continuous improvement spend time planning to enrich each of these drivers. – Aubrey Patterson

When a leader increases autonomy, celebrates mastery, and clarifies purpose, she builds capacity with her team and teachers.

The steps should also be written out as just that: actual steps that can be taken. We often focus on the theoretical and talk about big ideas without fully thinking through how to implement those ideas. – Kori Brown

School Improvement Ideas

With mandates and regulations, it’s possible to be easily sidetracked into merely creating a school improvement plan. So let’s talk about the many things you probably already do, but let’s think about them in terms of effective school improvement plans.

It seems like we create plans then set them on a shelf. Plans need to be SMART and they need to be revisited often. – Jennifer Farmer

These are some of the top school improvement ideas:

  • Refine your professional learning community (PLC) practices and protocols.
  • Use social media to create networking opportunities for the professional at your school.
  • Plan to increase the effectiveness of your school’s collaborations.
  • Design smart data dashboards.
  • Plan for increased personalization of student learning and professional learning opportunities.

Dynamic Action Plans

Your mission in the school fundamental. Your school’s vision only changes every 2-5 years. But action plans change at least annually. They change based on results, or at least they should. That’s the essence of a dynamic action cycle.

What’s a dynamic action cycle?

In a constant state of action…setting goals, learning, collaborating, coaching, making changes… – Jacqueline Vogel

A dynamic action cycle depends on goals and discovery. It’s focused on perpetual adjustment towards greater levels of school improvement.

The big difference to me is the articulation of what the change will look like so evidence can be evaluated for successful outcomes! SMART Goals assist in this effort. – Jon-Eric Ziaer

School Improvement Plan FAQs

Here’s a basic overview of the process and outcomes of an effective school improvement plan. Feel free to share or use at your own school.

What is Continuous School Improvement?

Continuous school improvement refers to the process of creating a strategic plan that results in increased student outcomes over time.

How do I Develop a School Improvement Plan?

There are five main steps in creating a school improvement plan: 1) Clarify your mission and vision, 2) Conduct a needs assessment, 3) Identify your thematic goals, 4) Identify objectives and key results, 5) Plan action steps.

Why are School Improvement Plans Important?

The school improvement process is by far the most valuable work of the school community. It’s the collective, strategic effort to ensure that each student has an optimal learning experience.

As an administrator, we always try to have a plan for things unfolding in a certain way. Yet, life throws us curveballs, and we have to reshuffle priorities based on what happens. We have to learn to do that, but also keep our eye on the ball. – Cristobal Saldana

What works for you when developing a school improvement plan? How are you getting results in school improvement? What ideas did you like in this post? What can you add?

Leave a comment at the bottom of the post.

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