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District School Improvement Team (DSIT) School Reviews Frequently Asked Questions What is the DSIT? The DSIT was created in 1971 in response to the Colorado Educational Act of 1971. The Act mandated the formation of an accountability committee to make recommendations to the Board of Education regarding the adequacy and efficiency of educational programs. Who is involved in DSIT? The DSIT is made up of parent and community representatives from Adams 12. Membership is composed of representatives from each school in the district. Each school designates representatives to attend monthly meetings and communicate district-level news back to their buildings. DSIT meetings are open meetings and anyone is welcome attend! Why are DSIT representatives involved in school reviews? The state mandates that a district’s school accountability committee review school improvement plans before they are submitted to the Board of Education. DSIT has been involved in reviewing plans for over 19 years. Who are school reviewers? School reviewers are volunteer parents and community members who are part of the DSIT. Volunteers have experience writing plans on School Improvement Teams (SITs) at their own schools and go through special training conducted by the District. How are reviewers chosen for individual schools? There are a number of criteria that go into review assignments: Reviewer availability- how do schedules of reviewers match the schools review time? Reviewer history- ideally, a reviewer, especially the team leader, will review a school’s plan for 3 consecutive years beginning with the first year after the accreditation review and going through the following accreditation. Training- All reviewers go through training specific to the type of plan they will review. Only reviewers who have attended the Title school training may review Title schools. Type of review- accreditation reviews will have two or more reviewers. Off-year reviews will typically have 1-2 reviewers. How are school review teams set up? Each school will have 1-3 DSIT reviewers assigned to review its plan. If only one person is assigned it will be a team leader. Team leaders are reviewers that have previous experience conducting reviews. Their job is to communicate with the principal about the review schedule, mentor new volunteer reviewers and submit the strength/recommendation form to the school review coordinator. How are reviewers trained? Reviewers should be involved writing school improvement plans at their own schools. Additionally, they attend a 2.5 -hour training in the fall before reviews begin. Patti Gilmour conducts the training for non-Title schools and Patti Paredes for Title schools. Additionally, mini “trainings” are conducted throughout the year at DSIT meetings on topics like interpreting data, data trends and current curriculum. Why are most reviews scheduled in the evening? DSIT school reviewers are volunteers and most work during the day. Some can take time off work to do daytime reviews but most volunteer availability is in the evenings. For the 2009-2010 school year, all reviews will be conducted in the evening. All off-year reviews will be conducted the evenings of Oct. and Oct 21. Why don’t reviewers spend more time at the school (i.e. visit ahead of time?) Although DSIT reviewers would like to spend more time at each school, even visit during the day, it is not possible due to busy volunteer and school schedules. Most DSIT reviewers review more than one school and the majority work during the day. How is feedback processed after the review? Team leaders get together for two different meeting to go over all reviews before they are sent to the schools. The meeting allows feedback forms to be standardized and checked for grammatical and other errors. One meeting covers accreditation reviews and the other off-year reviews. All feedback to accreditation schools is provided by early December before the Blue Ribbon panel meets. The feedback process for off-year schools should be faster this year since all off-year reviews will be completed by October 21. Is there anything schools can do to help DSIT with the school review process? DSIT recruits school reviewers from its membership. Please designate your representatives and encourage them to attend DSIT! Also, schools play a major role in training school reviewers. The SIT experience volunteers get at their home schools writing plans, interpreting data and learning about teaching strategies is the best way for them to understand the process and become active participants at their home schools and better reviewers at other schools. Who do I contact if I have questions or comments? DSIT is always trying to improve the school review process. Your comments, questions and suggestions are always welcome. If you have questions or comments about the review process, please contact Kathy Plomer, School Review Coordinator at 303-460-9161 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
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