Each of Johnston County’s 46 public schools created mid-year school improvement plans that outline the ways the schools plan to continually enhance education and presented the plans to the Johnston County Board of Education.
“A school improvement plan is a way for schools to map out where they’ve been and where they want to go,” said Jenna McKeel, JCPS Director of School Improvement. ”It details what steps need to be taken throughout the year and specifies how they can progress, monitor, and measure that so they meet their goals by the end of the year.”
The mid-year school improvement plans also serve as a way to monitor the progress towards the school district’s vision of JoCo 2020, which focuses on quality classroom instruction that is engaging and personalized for overall student achievement.
“School Improvement Plans have been around for as long as I can remember,” said Kristy Stephenson, JCPS Executive Director for School Improvement. “But the process is changing. As we look towards JoCo 2020 and how we want teaching and learning to evolve, our school improvement processes are evolving.”
School improvement plans took on a new look in consideration of the JoCo 2020 mindsets, which are relationships, relevance, and innovation. Schools were asked to create innovative and engaging mid-year presentations that highlighted progress toward three priority areas for school transformation.
“I really enjoyed the engagement that I saw in looking at the board members faces,” said McKeel. “They were active participants in the process, rather than just listening to the information. They were learning similar to how our students are learning in the classroom.”
Instead of using spreadsheets, charts, and powerpoint slides, schools came up with innovative ways to capture the imaginations of stakeholders using videos, relevant visuals, and hands-on learning experiences. The plans were presented to the board by each school’s school improvement team and students, on occasion.
“In these presentations schools brought in props, had student participation, and used innovative digital formats that allowed the board members to see the progress very quickly,” said McKeel. “It shows how our leaders have evolved through the first phase of JoCo 2020 and some of the professional development they’ve obtained.”
“The schools embraced this new way of thinking. They made their presentations active and engaging,” said Stephenson. “This is what we hope the future of classroom instruction looks like.”
One example of a school improvement plan that was presented to the Board of Education was the dual language program at Selma Elementary. Students helped demonstrate the effectiveness of the dual language program by presenting the same information the school improvement team presented in Spanish.
“Schools are reflecting on what is and is not working and making adjustments appropriately,” said Stephenson. “We’re making a more personalized atmosphere for students and ultimately improving student achievement.”
The Johnston County Board of Education and the school improvement teams are encouraging all community stakeholders to view the presentations
and to become more knowledgeable on what schools are doing to better education in Johnston County.
“The community is part of the educational process, and it’s important that we have engagement from all stakeholders,” said Stephenson. “It takes all of us for academic progress to occur in our district.”