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School Improvement Plans

Instructor: Joelle Brummitt-Yale

Joelle has taught middle school Language Arts and college academic writing. She has a master's degree in education.

In this lesson, we will learn about school improvement plans, including what they are, the information they include, why they are needed, and the steps for creating one.

What is a School Improvement Plan?

Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle where the images on some of the pieces are not printed clearly. It would be difficult to create the whole, complete picture. This is the idea behind the school improvement plan. A school improvement plan (SIP) is a comprehensive plan created by an individual public school that focuses on ensuring the academic success of all students attending that school.

The concept of the plan was born out of the 2001 No Child Left Behind legislation. No Child Left Behind set accountability standards for schools based on student proficiency in the areas of reading and math. According to the law, each year a school should see growth in student achievement in these areas, also called Adequate Yearly Progress(AYP). Within AYP are targets for student proficiency rates as measured by standardized assessments, graduation rates for high schools, and at least one other indicator at the elementary and middle school levels. Schools that achieve or exceed Adequate Yearly Progress levels set by each state for two consecutive years are recognized. Those that do not reach AYP in all areas for two consecutive years move into the school improvement process. During this time, the school pulls together a school improvement team of teachers, administrators, parents, and sometimes students to create a school improvement plan which the school will implement for three years. This plan attempts to address the areas preventing the school from reaching Adequate Yearly Progress.

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