The Importance of following a School Improvement Plan

Once a school improvement plan is created and implemented at a school, why is it important to follow it? An example to help make my point is the implementation of a dress code in a secondary school. Most school boards approve a code of conduct which includes a dress code component. How often will students get sent to the office for a dress code violation at the end of the day? (I have to add-Teachers are very busy these days with teaching and learning related tasks along with a mountain of paperwork to go with it. Teaching is not easy these days but is very rewarding). When a dress code is not enforced consistently according to the plan, chaos can be the result which could interfere with the learning environment or more importantly the learning process. Students get mixed messages and the teachers enforcing the rule are made out to be the “bad guys!” So, what are the implications if a school improvement plan is not implemented according to the plan?
The Plan

All members of a TEAM must first understand they are part of an organization working together to meet commonly established goals. Yes-there are smaller TEAMS or departments within the high school. When the TEAM establishes goals along with strategies to reach those goals, everyone must do their part to help the TEAM meet the goals. Progress monitoring to denote if we are on track to meet the yearly goals has to be part of the process. What would happen if some members of the TEAM decided to deviate from the plan? Who knows!

I would also note here that teachers should have the autonomy to try different strategies within the scope of an improvement plan. When teachers are not encouraged and supported to try innovative practices in the classroom, the Ferris Bueller-Bueller-Bueller Ben Stein

syndrome might be the end result. How boring!! If the plan is not followed, the end of year or summative data could be skewed making it difficult if not impossible to determine what strategies worked or did not work. When the time comes to create the school improvement plan for the following year, it would almost be like starting over. Sounds like another movie!

School improvement plans are always a work in progress that should be revisited often as data and research indicates the need for adjustments. However if all follow the plan, everyone will know what works to meet the learning needs of students and all will move forward together. I have heard the old saying, “an organization is only as strong as the weakest link.” When it comes to the education of students, all “links” have to be effective so students will be prepared for the next step beyond high school. Our future citizens are depending on us!

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