FSSD works on final self-assessment stage
By Carole Robinson, Staff Writer
“Outside viewers with no emotional connection can often see things through data and provide fresh eyes and new lens on what we are doing.”
FSSD Associate Director of Schools Teaching and Learning
Monday about 60 Franklin Special Schools parents, school staff and community members came together for a couple hours to complete the final step in a data-driven district self-assessment.
This is a process the district goes through every five years as part of the AdvancEd Accreditation process – formerly SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) Accreditation. The process is voluntary but necessary if the district wants to remain committed to continuing improvement, said Catherine Stephens, associate director of schools teaching and learning.
National Standards of Quality have changed within the past five years and self-assessment is helpful in providing performance feedback in several critical areas such as purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, continuing improvement and resources and support, Stephens said.
Each school participated in its own self-assessment in the fall, which also included students, staff, teachers, custodians, assistants, parents and community members.
Stakeholder feedback is very important, Stephens said.
“We need to know, does the district communicate a voice that is consistent and clear?” she added.
Since the assessment is data-driven, “We use several forms of data to evaluate how and what we are doing,” Stephens said. “A district facilitator is with each group [to provide data to those] working on the assessment,” Stephens said.
TCAP scores, reading assessments and STARS benchmarks are some of the data used in the process.
“Based on the data, we are able to identify our strengths and acknowledge areas to improve,” Stephens said.
Once the evaluation is completed and the data compiled, five educational professionals – peer evaluators – from other areas of the country, armed with the district’s data, will make onsite visits to evaluate the assessment and offer their own “professional” evaluation.
“Outside viewers with no emotional connection can often see things through data and provide fresh eyes and new lens on what we are doing,” Stephens said.
The final piece of the process, which began with training in the process on July 9, 2012, will be the evaluators’ final presentation to the Board of Education during a special meeting on April 10.
Posted on: 2/6/2013