A Quick Guide to School Reflection Process
Because all schools are not alike and because they do not all foster the same beliefs about teaching andlearning, these characteristics will not measure or determine all facets of effective education. Schools areentities unto themselves and have created their own tools for teaching and learning that are inherent to theindividuality of the organization. Successful schools are created by the desires and beliefs of individualswithin the school who are driven by their own experiences and beliefs, and each school will differ.The characteristics listed below were first published by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratoryin 1984 and updated in 1990. The research cited classroom, school, and district practices that fosterpositive student achievement, attitudes, and social behavior. The list contains school-level practices thathave been shown to promote student learning. Goal developers may choose to use classroom-, school-, ordistrict-level practices, depending on the focus or level of goal setting. School-level practices are usedhere because the focus is on school-level site goals. However, before developing site goals, district-levelgoals should already be in place.
Effective School Characteristics and Practices*
Everyone emphasizes the importance of learning.
Strong leadership guides the instructional program.
The curriculum is based on clear goals and objectives.
Students are grouped to promote effective instruction.
School time is used for learning.
Learning process is monitored closely.
Discipline is firm and consistent.
There are high expectations for quality instruction.
Incentives and rewards are used to build strong motivation.
Parents are invited to become involved.
Teachers and administrators continually strive to improve instructional effectiveness.
There are pleasant conditions for learning.
REFLECTING STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
Strengths identify the school’s ability to perform, represent the achievement of the school, and identify
areas in which excellence is maintained. Strengths are recorded on focus sheets.Weaknesses of a school are the internal characteristics, conditions, or circumstances that prevent the
realization of the school’s mission. Weaknesses do not necessarily mean that the school staff do not have
the talent to improve in a particular area. Instead, they more often mean that a particular weakness has not
received the staff’s priority attention. Weaknesses provide an inventory of areas for which programs may
be designed to improve school effectiveness. Each of the professional learning community groups shouldkeep in mind that all schools have weaknesses. It is important that (PLC) reflection work groups decidewhich weakness can be tolerated and which are beyond the resources or control of the school staff tochange.
are the result of the reflecting work group’s analysis of the school’s strengths and
weaknesses. One purpose is to distinguish between weaknesses that are tolerable and those that arecritical and must be corrected. The focus sheets are compiled as one document and used in the goalsetting work group session to establish future goals for the organization.