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					CHESTER J. CULVER, GOVERNOR                                                                           DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
PATTY JUDGE, LT. GOVERNOR                                                                              JUDY A. JEFFREY, DIRECTOR

           April 20, 2010

           Superintendent Dana Kunze
           Griswold Community School District
           20 Madison
           Griswold, IA 51535

           Dear Superintendent Kunze:

           Attached is the report of findings for the Comprehensive School Improvement Site Visit
           at Griswold Community School District on February 23-25, 2010. The report is based
           upon interviews conducted with district administrators, teachers, and support staff,
           parents, students, community partners, advisory committee members, and board
           members, as well as a review of documents.

           The site visit was designed to assess progress with the Comprehensive School
           Improvement Plan (CSIP), provide a general assessment of educational practices within
           the district, make recommendations for improvement, and determine compliance with
           accreditation standards and federal program requirements (as applicable).

           Based on the findings from a comprehensive site visit, including a desk audit, on-site
           document review, and interviews, the Griswold Community School District maintains
           State of Iowa accreditation upon resolution of non-compliance issues described in the
           Chapter 12 Non-compliance Matrix and the Outside of Chapter 12 Non-compliance
           Matrix included in the comprehensive site visit report. The district must complete
           corrective actions according to the timeline noted. DE follow-up will be conducted to
           verify resolution of all noted non-compliance issues.

           The report reflects consensus of the following team members:

           Department of Education Representatives:
           Barbara Byrd,      School improvement Consultant
           Marian McQuaid     Special Education Cadre
           Colleen Hunt       Bureau Chief, Community Colleges
           Dianne Moore       Early Childhood Consultant

           Area Education Agency Representatives:
           Cindy Unger        Loess Hills AEA Math Consultant
           Kim Wise           Loess Hills AEA Science Consultant

           Local Education Agency Representatives:
           Brett Gibbs        Superintendent, Audubon CSD
           JoAnne Morenz      Principal and Curriculum Director, Villisca CSD

                            Grimes State Office Building - 400 E 14th St - Des Moines IA 50319-0146
                                          PHONE (515) 281-5294 FAX (515) 242-5988
                       Helping Communities Meet the Learning Needs of All Their Children and Adults
Other Representatives:
Josh Rasmussen      Iowa State University Practicum, Student, Atlantic CSD
Alicia Beckendorf   Practicum Student

It is our hope this report will provide guidance to enhance student achievement in the
district and support continuing conversations among staff and community members
about the local education system, how and what students are learning, and how more
students can learn at higher levels.

As part of the district continuous improvement process, the district must review its
current CSIP and provide revisions as needed. Revisions should be based on district
needs assessments (including the attached report), student achievement data,
stakeholder input, and established priorities. Recertification of the CSIP must be
completed by September 15th, 2010. Directions for revision and submission of the CSIP
can be found at:

Feedback based on the district’s visit experience to inform the DE’s efforts to
continuously improve the site visit process would be appreciated. A short online survey
has been developed at the following site:
It will take approximately ten minutes to complete. Responses are confidential and
shared only in aggregate form with members of the DE School Improvement Team.

The visiting team again extends its gratitude to you and the Griswold staff and patrons in
preparing for and showing courtesy during the visit. Thank you for your time and


School Improvement Consultant
Bureau of Accreditation and Improvement Services
Iowa Department of Education

Del Hoover, Deputy Administrator
Bureau of Accreditation and Improvement Services
Iowa Department of Education

cc:            Site Visit Team Members
               School Board President
               Iowa Department of Education Official File
               AEA Office
  Comprehensive Site Visit
Iowa Department of Education

Griswold Community School District

           Team Findings
         February 23-25, 2010

        Iowa Department of Education
         Grimes State Office Building
               400 E. 14th St
        Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146

                             Vision, Mission, and Goals

In an improving district/school, the vision, mission, and goals are clearly communicated
in the school and community. Stakeholders understand and share a commitment to the
district/school expectations, goals, priorities, assessment procedures, and accountability.
The vision guides allocations of time and resources. Evidence includes, but is not
limited to, the following:
     Clearly articulated mission is established collaboratively with stakeholder groups
     representing the diversity of the community.
     Vision, mission, and goals are communicated throughout the system and community.
     The vision and mission of the district/school guide teaching and learning.
     Every five years, the comprehensive needs assessment process, with input from
     stakeholders, is used to review and revise the beliefs, mission, and/or vision; major
     educational needs; and student learning goals.
     Academic and academic-related data are analyzed and used to determine prioritized
     Goals guide assessment of student achievement, district/school effectiveness, and
     the allocation of time and resources.
     The vision, mission, and goals support values of respecting and valuing diversity.

Noted Strengths:

1. Griswold Community School District (CSD) has a clearly articulated vision and
   mission to guide educational practices. These guiding statements were created
   several years ago and are regularly reviewed for continued relevance. These
   statements reflect the valued partnerships between the school and families. Multiple
   interview groups referenced the TOPSS acronym (Transferable life skills,
   Opportunities, Progressiveness, Sense of Community, Success for all) and provided
   examples on how the mission guides decisions made on a daily basis. District long
   range goals emphasize the importance of preparing all K-12 students for success
   beyond high school.

2. In order to better serve all children residing within district boundaries, Griswold
   recently hired a Home School Coordinator. This position supports efforts of home
   schooling families and appears to have strengthened a partnership with the home
   school community, including increasing educational resources for home schooled

Recommendations for Improvement:

3. Interviewees indicated data review and analysis is an important part of decisions
   made in the district. It was unclear to the visiting team if there was a consistent
   protocol for student achievement data analysis or instructional actions taken as a

   result of these data reviews. The district is encouraged to continue to use
   Assessment Solutions as they identify key questions such as the following to ask
   each time data analysis is undertaken:
          What do we want the students to know and do?
          Do these data tell us if students are meeting these expectations?
          What actions will we take as a result of this data analysis?
          What are the implications for instruction in our classrooms?

4. The district might consider creating an electronic survey to use for needs
   assessment. This tool could be sent to board and SIAC members, parents, faculty
   and staff, students, and other local stakeholders and would inform strategic planning
   efforts as the CSIP is rewritten after the visit. It might also be made available on the
   district website. The intent of this survey could be to gather input as the district
   prepares to review and update the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan after
   the site visit. Patrons who do not have internet access could request paper copies to
   complete in order to have input on this survey.

5. As the vision, mission, and goals of the district are reviewed and possibly revised,
   the district is encouraged to include them in all handbooks, on the website, and to
   post them in prominent places throughout the district. This will keep them visible to
   students, staff, and visitors as a concrete reminder.


In an improving district/school, leaders communicate a shared sense of purpose and
understanding of the district/school’s values. Leaders have a visible presence, provide
resources and ensure two-way communication between the educational system and
stakeholders. Leaders provide encouragement, recognition, and support for improving
student learning and staff performance. Leadership is committed, persistent, proactive,
and distributed throughout the system. Evidence includes, but is not limited to, the
     Policies and procedures are established to effectively support district/school
     The school board and district/school administrators implement an evaluation system
     that provides for the professional growth of all personnel.
     Policies and practices are implemented to reduce and eliminate discrimination and
     harassment and to reflect, respect, and celebrate diversity.
     The role and responsibility of administrative leaders is supported, respected, and
     A clearly defined system and expectations are established for the collection,
     analysis, and use of data regarding student achievement and progress with the
     Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP).
     The capacity of staff, students, and parents to contribute and lead is built and

   Opportunities for participation are provided for input, feedback, and ownership for
   student and system success among staff, students, parents, and community.
   Equity in access to learning opportunities and compliance with local, state, and
   federal legislation is ensured.
   Leaders at all levels understand and manage the change process.

Noted Strengths:

6. The Griswold School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) is conscientious in
   carrying out the duties required for the group in Iowa Code. 281—IAC12.8(1)(a)(2).
   Membership of this committee represents a wide cross section of the constituents.
   SIAC members also incorporate the duties of other district committees, e.g. the
   Career and Technical Education Advisory. Interviews and documentation indicate the
   SIAC has provided input on other district educational topics as well. This group has
   met several times this school year, even though code requires only one annual
   meeting. It was noted that after the site visit, the committee plans to revisit the vision,
   mission, and goal statements to determine if they should be updated to reflect
   current thinking. The SIAC provides authentic, relevant input to the board and
   leadership of the district.

7. Leadership is committed, persistent, proactive, and distributed throughout the
   system. Griswold’s administrative team provides collaborative, shared leadership
   and disseminates information about issues as needed. They support teachers in
   developing leadership skills and in sharing responsibilities. Teachers serve on
   committees, lead professional development, mentor new teachers, lead student
   clubs and groups, and are visible in the community. Further evidence was supplied
   by the K-12 teachers and learning support staff who were allowed to be leaders in
   the area of professional development. Multiple stakeholders reported feeling as
   though they shared ownership of practices leading to student success.

8. It was noted that the Griswold board of education serves an important role in district
   leadership as they interact with the leadership team in addressing district concerns
   and priorities. The group participates in professional development opportunities
   through Iowa Association of School Boards (IASB), and keeps informed of legislative
   and local issues. They have an annual retreat to review progress toward goals and to
   set new board goals for the upcoming school year. It was noted that they strive to
   ensure a quality education for all Griswold students.

9. Students also noted opportunities to develop leadership skills. Examples include the
              Student membership on the SIAC (including representatives from each
              high school class)
              Career and Technical Student Organizations
              Leadership roles in extra-curricular activities
              National Honor Society
              I-80 Leadership Team
              Junior Optimist Club (JO)
              Elementary advisory students make announcements
              Student council
              Planet GCS
       Students expressed appreciation for these opportunities, and felt their opinions
       were valued and respected.

10. The district utilizes many avenues of communication in an attempt to keep students,
    teachers, board, parents and community members informed. Methods mentioned in
    interviews included:
                Griswold CSD Website for general and specific information
                Individual teacher websites
                Access to student information via JMC
                Showcase night to highlight the district and student projects
                Technology night at the elementary
                Email and phone calls between staff and parents and/or students
                School alert text or phone messages
                Information in the local newspaper
                Student “planners” for elementary and middle school students
                Radio broadcasts to highlight school activities

Recommendations for Improvement:

11. Although the district utilizes multiple methods of providing information for
    constituents, there are differing perceptions of the effectiveness of communication in
    different interview groups. Parents also expressed a desire to have more information
    regarding all aspects of school life. The district is encouraged to seek input from
    families concerning the most effective and reliable methods of reaching all
    constituents in a timely manner, and seek to expand communication efforts in non-
    traditional ways. In times of economic distress, fewer families may have access to
    internet for receiving information, and it is possible that communication efforts might
    be compromised. Ensuring that all communication is available through multiple
    formats would be beneficial. A computer lab might be made available at regular
    times for community members to use. (Before sporting events, or one evening per
    week, and perhaps at the local library) Personal phone calls and distributing paper
    copies of district documents at local businesses might be considered. Periodic
    instruction on accessing electronic information sources such as JMC and the website
    would provide additional support for families.

                            Collaborative Relationships

In an improving district/school, stakeholders understand and support the mission and
goals of the district/school and have meaningful roles in the decision-making process.
Collaboration results from a culture of participation, responsibility, and ownership among
stakeholders from diverse community groups. Educators in the system develop and
nurture a professional culture and collaborative relationships marked by mutual respect
and trust inside and outside of the organization. The system works together with balance
between district direction and school autonomy. Evidence includes, but is not limited to,
the following:
    Instructional staff is provided opportunities for interaction to focus on professional
    Instructional staff constructively analyzes and critiques practices and procedures
    including content, instruction, and assessment.
    Instructional staff follows established procedures to resolve professional conflicts,
    solve problems, share information about students, and communicate student
    information to parents.
    Processes and procedures that invite and respect stakeholder input, support, and
    interaction are implemented by the district/school.
    Parents are involved as partners in the educational process.
    Positive alliances among school staff, students, parents, and diverse community
    groups are created and nurtured.

Noted Strengths:

12. Multiple groups reported strong collaborative relationships between general
    education teachers, special education teachers, and instructional support staff.
    These relationships promote a bridge of communication resulting in better meeting
    the needs of all students.

13. Griswold CSD has many collaborative relationships throughout the communities
    served by the district. Examples mentioned in interviews included the following:
           Optimist Club
           KOAK-KCSI radio station
           Local business representation on the SIAC
           Iowa Western Community College
           Local newspaper (Griswold American) coverage of school events
           County Extension
           Child Psychology/Kidz club
           Booster clubs for arts and athletics
           Partnerships with cities to collaborate on maintenance , technology, heavy
           equipment, and other resources
           Cass County Memorial Hospital for Medical health sciences support
    These collaborations promote the involvement of school and community members.

14. The Career and Technical Education instructors/programs participate in the Perkins
    Area 13 regional advisory board as well as maintaining their own local advisory
    committee. Local Career and Technical Advisory Committee members have
    opportunities to examine data generated regarding students and the Career and
    Technical programs in order to assist in program evaluation for the four Career and
    Technical Education programs. The local advisory committee will be working on
    approving technical skill assessments for the Career and Technical Education
    programs at a future committee meeting.

15. The Career and Technical Education instructors collaborate with the general
    education teachers to ensure the integration of academics into their curriculum.
    Examples include the Science and Agriculture instructors teaching similar topics at
    the same time and the Spanish and Business (computer) teacher collaborating on
    brochures that are in Spanish. The Career and Technical Education instructors
    integrate academics such as math and science into their curriculum. Examples
    include balance and rations as well as genetics in Agriculture and Medical Health
    utilizes medical mathematics. The Family and Consumer Sciences program utilizes
    the current events class topics in their class as well.

Recommendations for Improvement:

16. While multiple groups reported use of collaborative model to serve the special
    education students, some aspects of that model did not appear to be in evidence:
             A set planning time, including grade level team meetings and time for joint
             Co-teaching and consultation training for teachers
             Additional training for para-educators to enhance skills for implementing
             teacher-directed activities
             Flexibility to allow Special education teachers to go into classrooms
             Opportunities to visit other classrooms, perhaps in other districts, where
             collaborative strategies are being implemented
    It is understood that the collaborative model has been impacted by the loss of 1.5
    special education teachers. The district is encouraged, however, to find methods to
    meet the requirements for highly qualified teachers and guarantee educational
    opportunities for special education students.

17. Griswold might benefit from increasing outreach efforts for input from recent
    graduates. The district might consider utilizing a web-based format to survey alumni
    one and five years after graduation. Questions about preparation for post-secondary
    education could be the basis for data to help guide instructional conversations and
    planning for the high school program. In addition, the graduates might agree to serve
    on the SIAC or to be interviewed to give advice to current high school students.

                                 Learning Environment

In an improving district/school, the school environment is conducive to teaching and
learning. The environment is safe, orderly, purposeful, and free from threat of physical,
social, and emotional harm. Teachers are familiar with students’ cultures and know how
to work effectively in a multi-cultural setting. Students are guided to think critically about
learning and have opportunities to apply learning to real world situations. Classrooms
are integrated with diverse learners (i.e., gender, race, special needs, at-risk, gifted).
Evidence includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    Rules and procedures for behavior and consequences are clearly communicated and
    consistently administered.
    School facilities are physically accessible and school routines enhance student
    Materials, resources, technology, programs, and activities reflecting diversity are
    available to all students.
    The district/school provides a clean, inviting, welcoming environment.
    A clearly understood crisis management plan is established, communicated, and
    implemented when necessary.
    Teaching and learning are protected from external disturbances and internal
    The district/school reflects the contributions and perspectives of diverse groups and
    preserves the cultural dignity of staff, students, and parents.

Noted Strengths:

18. Multiple interview groups noted that Griswold CSD offers a positive environment for
    learning. Students, parents, and teachers expressed pride and respect for their
    school and the staff. Parents and students commented on the family atmosphere,
    and shared the belief that the caring and supportive staff is the among the school’s
    strengths. It was noted that people are willing to look “outside the box’ to meet
    needs of students. An example mentioned in interviews was the plan in place to ease
    the transition of students from the two elementary centers into the middle school.
    Field trips for students from both locations allow interaction of students. Students
    communicate through Skype, and participate in Optimist Club activities. There is
    also an orientation for students before the 6th grade school year begins.

19. Messages posted throughout hallways and in classrooms encourage a positive
    learning environment, and provide “food for thought” to encourage students to strive
    for their best. Messages referencing Tiger Traits were noted on posters observed by
    team members. These reinforce the concept that all students are expected to
    succeed and they realize staff and families will work together with them as they strive
    for excellence.

20. Interviewees noted examples of innovative student technology use in some
    classrooms. Students in elementary created a podcast for use at the local historical
    museum. They utilize Skype to talk to experts and alumni around the world. (A
    discussion with a rocket scientist about force in motion, a meteorologist in Fargo, and
    alumni serving in the military. During interviews individuals spoke of students using
    blogs, creating presentations, and multi-media technology such as Audacity, Movie
    Maker, Inspiration, and Promethean Boards

21. Students, teachers and parents reported confidence in the safe and secure
    environment provided by Griswold CSD. Middle and High Students noted they feel
    safe in school, understand classroom and school expectations, and trust teachers.
    They are aware of bullying and harassment policies and feel comfortable
    approaching staff. They are confident that if a situation arises, it will be taken care of
    effectively. The district has had assemblies about bullying and talks about specific
    procedures for dealing with harassment issues in advisory groups.

22. Non-instructional support staff reported pride in their contributions to a positive
    learning environment. Support staff believe they have a serious responsibility for a
    safe, clean, healthy environment. Support staff reported their annual evaluations
    offer time to review goals and improve their performance as they self-reflect and set
    new goals for the coming year. They reported contributions including the following:
             Keeping facilities clean and inviting
             Greeting students as they enter busses and providing a welcoming
             environment as the first staff members students encounter upon arriving at

23. Interviewees mentioned the value of outside supports for the learning environment.
    For example, they value a school resource officer, grief counselors, home school
    assistance coordinator, local libraries and church leaders.

24. The visiting team recognizes pride in the tradition of utilizing technology at Griswold
    CSD. Multiple groups mentioned being on the “cutting edge” as students have had
    access to computers and use technology to enhance classroom experiences and
    learning. The district recently held a technology showcase which featured “mini
    lessons” presented by staff and students to small groups, including parents and
    community, in the use of new technology. Things mentioned included pod casts,
    blogs, and showcases of technology use in classes.

Recommendations for Improvement:

25. It was noted that there is limited diversity within Griswold CSD. In order to better
    prepare students for post-secondary realities of studying, living and working in a
    diverse, often global society, the district is encouraged to examine current practice
    and to find additional, natural curricular connections that can increase cultural
    competency in students. These steps might be helpful in this effort:
        Conduct a staff inventory/survey to discover current curricular connections being
        Assess district training needs in the area of diversity and cultural competency.
        Continue field trips and opportunities to interact with other cultures
       Utilize AEA consultants to deliver training on poverty (socioeconomic diversity)
       and increasing parental involvement for low SES students
       GLBT training, and cultural awareness
       Access resources from area colleges or local residents engaged in global

26. Parents expressed some concern about maintaining a safe environment. For
    example, technology used in bus and parking lot surveillance may need updated,
    and staff may need to be reminded to have all visitors and parents register when
    entering the buildings. Reminders about guest badges could be posted for visitors in
    all buildings and enforced consistently for all visitors. Signage might be adjusted to
    be more visible and attract the attention of people entering the buildings.

27. Several interview groups mentioned Tiger Traits, a character-building program
    implemented several years ago. This program provides a common vocabulary and
    expectations for behavior of students. It was noted that perhaps the program has
    become less effective, and might be reviewed and revitalized. A suggestion would be
    to include parents, staff, and students in suggesting updated strategies for
    introducing and emphasizing the Tiger Traits concepts. A review of Positive Behavior
    Supports or Character Counts and a crosswalk with Tiger Traits might help guide this

                             Curriculum and Instruction

In an improving district/school, curriculum challenges each student to excel, reflects a
commitment to equity, and demonstrates an appreciation of diversity. There is an
emphasis on principles of high quality instruction, clear expectations for what is taught,
and high expectations for student achievement. Educators have a common
understanding of quality teaching and learning. Instruction is designed to accommodate
a wide range of learners within the classroom. Teachers have knowledge and skills
need to effectively implement characteristics of effective instruction. The staff accepts
responsibility for the students’ learning of the essential curriculum (e.g., Iowa Core
Curriculum). Instructional time is allocated to support student learning. Evidence
includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    Educators implement effective instructional practices for each and every student.
    School and classroom tasks and activities are inherently engaging, relevant, and
    lead to applying knowledge to authentic tasks.
    Content, instruction, assessments, and policy are aligned.
    A shared vision of effective instruction is held by all instructional staff.
    Curriculum and instruction reflect contributions from diverse racial, ethnic, and
    personal backgrounds.
    Students are provided opportunity and time to learn.
    Teachers are provided with an instructional framework that employs research-based
    strategies for use with diverse learner characteristics.
    Instructional decisions utilize a process of collecting, analyzing, and summarizing

Noted Strengths:

28. Following the site visit, the district will engage in review of curriculum for alignment
    with the Iowa Core Curriculum (ICC). This curriculum will address core content in
    grades K-12, and will include 21st Century skills. Staff members are attending
    training through the AEA, and are instrumental in the development of an
    implementation plan. Students were aware of the ICC and were told it would impact
    them and their education. Additional study of Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW),
    Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) and Differentiated Instruction (DI) were noted as
    supports for local curriculum.

29. Career and Technical Education instructors as well as members of the Career and
    Technical Education Advisory Committee indicated that the four Griswold Career and
    Technical Education programs (Family and Consumer Sciences, Agriculture,
    Business, and Medical Health) are making progress in ensuring that their programs
    are aligned into Programs of Study with the community college. The drawing boards
    accompanying these programs are nearing completion, which is ahead of the state
    goal of having 75% of their programs incorporated into Programs of Study by June
    30 2013.

30. Career and Technical Education instructors and high school students indicated that
    the Career and Technical Education students have opportunities to be involved in
    Career and Technical Student Organizations such as FCCLA, FFA, and HOSA.
    These organizations provide leadership opportunities for all participating students. In
    addition, students have an opportunity to assess their academic and technical skills
    in local, state, and national competitions. 90% of HS students participate in CTE

31. Parents expressed their appreciation for opportunities students have to participate in
    concurrent enrollment opportunities allowing students to earn college credit while still
    in high school. It was reported it is possible for students to earn up to 23 college
    credits onsite during their high school years.

Recommendations for Improvement:

32. Interviews with staff emphasized the importance of summative data points in gauging
    student achievement. (i.e. ITBS/ITEDs) However, the district is encouraged to
    further their instructional decision-making by the use of formative assessments to
    guide daily instruction. Formative assessment, often referred to as “assessment for
    learning”, gives insight into individual students’ progression in learning content,
    concepts, or skills, and informs instructional decisions for teachers. Formative
    assessment is important part of Authentic Intellectual Work and of the Iowa Core

33. As the district engages in implementation of the Iowa Core Curriculum, the district is
    encouraged to review the five Characteristics of Effective Instruction and define how
    current implementation plan will drive changes in classroom instruction.
        Teaching for Understanding
        Assessment for learning
        Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum
        Teaching for learner differences.
        Student centered classrooms

   Current district and building professional development initiatives support these
   concepts, which should be an important consideration in the implementation plans.
   Some tools to utilize can be found at the Department of Education website

34. Research indicates that students achieve at higher levels in integrated instructional
    settings. The visiting team sensed in some instances ability grouping guides
    placement of students for coursework. This could have an impact on expectations
    for student performance, which in turn affects achievement. The visiting team
    suggests reviewing these practices and implications for student placement.

35. As instructional strategies and programs are selected, ensure they are chosen to
    meet needs supported by data analysis, align with stated goals and are reflected in
    building, district, and personal professional development plans. In addition, ensure
    that implementation is consistent district-wide, and fidelity to the designated
    professional development models is monitored. A review of the Iowa Professional
    Development Model should also be included in discussions.

                             Professional Development

In an improving district/school, staff is qualified for assignments and engages in ongoing
learning opportunities to improve effectiveness. Student achievement and other sources
of data are used to set goals for professional development. The district provides
professional learning opportunities that include theory, demonstration, practice, and
coaching. Evidence includes, but is not limited to, the following:
    Professional development focus is determined through the analysis of student
    achievement and performance data.
    Professional development is focused and based on research-based strategies.
    Professional development sessions build on one another, are distributed throughout
    the school year, and are sustained over time.
    Time is provided for teachers to collaborate and apply new content and pedagogical
    An established system provides support to monitor and evaluate implementation of
    professional development and its impact on student learning.
    Formative student data and teacher implementation data are used to adjust
    professional development and guide instructional decisions.
    All school staff members, instructional and non-instructional, are provided
    professional development to support job roles and functions.
    Professional development activities contribute to the capacity of all school staff to
    develop cultural competence and to reflect and respect diversity in classroom and
    work environments.

Noted Strengths:

36. Teachers reported that they are supported in attending workshops and professional
    development opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills. There is an expectation
    that teachers will return to share new learning with others on staff and train them in
    new instructional practices.

37. The district is supportive of professional development for instructional staff as
    evidenced by the early dismissals scheduled every week. Administrators and
    teachers indicated that these early dismissals have been beneficial. Teachers stay
    one hour after contracted time for two sessions which are dedicated to current
    professional development initiatives. One early dismissal is for individual teacher
    work, and the fourth is an early dismissal for teachers to make up the two hours from
    previous early dismissal days.

38. When new personnel are brought on staff, they are given a review of current
    professional development efforts going on throughout the district. This practice helps
    integrate new teachers into current professional development efforts and provides a
    basis for them to participate. It was noted that if a potential teaching candidate has
    experience with strategies utilized at Griswold, it might enhance the chances for

Recommendations for Improvement:
39. Differentiation was mentioned as a focus for Professional Development, but there
   was not much discussion of the specifics, or how teachers are utilizing differentiated
   instruction for all students, including at risk and high achieving students. The district
   is encouraged to review Differentiated Instruction philosophy and practice, and set
   expectations for district-wide implementation for use with all students. In addition, a
   review of the Instructional Decision Making model (IDM) will provide strategies to
   determine needs of individual students.

40. Griswold is encouraged to expand data analysis to examine the effect current
    professional development is having on student achievement and building culture.
    Are professional development strategies being implemented with fidelity to the model
    selected? Are teachers utilizing the Iowa Professional Development Model, including
    opportunities for observation, coaching, and feedback? Is there a relationship
    between the frequency of implementation and achievement scores/trend lines? This
    analysis will help make connections between professional development and the
    ultimate goal of increased learning for students. Evaluation of professional
    development effectiveness, the district will be better able to determine strategies
    which reinforce increased student achievement.

41. The district is encouraged to show direct alignment between district, building level,
    and individual professional development plans. Documentation reviewed showed
    calendars and agendas, but not clear focus on building and district level long-range
    goals for utilizing professional development to enhance student achievement.
    Professional development plans at all levels should align and link with the Iowa
    Teaching Standards. The following link to the Workbook for Describing the
    District/Building Professional Development Plans has examples and suggestions for
    this work.

                           Monitoring and Accountability

In an improving district/school, the district/school establishes a comprehensive system
that monitors and documents performance of student progress, curriculum, instruction,
programs, and initiatives. Results from assessments drive the goal setting and decision-
making processes. Leadership supports a system that regularly analyzes student
performance and program effectiveness. Instructional decision-making utilizes a
process of collecting, analyzing, and summarizing data. Evidence includes, but is not
limited to, the following:
     A system for district-wide student assessments, including multiple measures that are
     valid and reliable, is implemented.

   Decision-making for the continuous improvement of instruction and student learning
   using student achievement and teacher implementation data is employed.
   The district’s/school’s cycle of program evaluation as noted in its CSIP is
   Summative evaluation processes are used to determine whether professional
   development has resulted in improved student learning.

Noted Strengths:

42. Griswold students scored above state averages in the following areas on the Iowa
   Tests of Basic Skills and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development.

                                 Griswold          State          AEA
                                                   Averages       Averages

        3rd Grade Reading              90%            76.09%          75.73%
        3 Grade math                   95%            76.16%          72.85%
        3rd Grade Science             87.5%           80.16%          78.11%
        4th Grade Math                84.9%           80.33%          78.31%
        4 Grade Science              83.02%           81.44%          81.71%
        5th Grade Reading            88.37%           79.56%          78.15%
        5th Grade Math               86.04%           79.12%          78.24%
        5th Grade Science            88.37%           81.65%          82.85%
        6 Grade Reading              79.54%           68.89%          68.89%
        6th Grade Math               79.54%            73.9%          72.74%
        6th Grade Science            88.63%           75.24%          76.19%
        7 Grade Reading              82.35%           71.92%          70.37%
        7th Grade Science            86.27%           81.54%          80.23%
        8th Grade reading              84%            73.29%          74.25%
        8th Grade Math                 78%            75.87%          72.35%
        8 Grade Science                86%            82.91%          81.82%
        11th Grade Reading           79.24%           75.78%          73.73%
        11th Grade Math              79.24%           76.64%          72.77%
        11 Grade Science             85.91%           80.27%          77.83%
43. Administrators conduct regular “walk-throughs” to monitor classroom practices and
    implementation of professional development. Feedback from walk-throughs is
    emailed to teachers.

44. Staff is comfortable analyzing and using data and is aware that the data should lead
    to improved student achievement. Assessment Solutions provides multiple types of
    usable data for making program changes and is readily available to staff.

45. When faced with significant concerns about the fiscal condition of the district, the
    Griswold board and superintendent engaged an outside facilitator lead them through
    a review of school finance and to create processes to address future budgetary
    practices. A protocol was created to be used monthly at board meetings which
    utilizes a review of corresponding monthly budgets from previous years, including the

      perspective of revenues, expenditures, and monthly fund balances. This information
      and protocol has helped the board increase knowledge and to make informed
      budgetary decisions.

46. Although individual student areas of noncompliance were identified during the
    district’s Special Education program procedural compliance review completed last
    fall, evidence has been submitted as of February 2, 2010 that these corrections have
    been made. The DE has also received a copy of the AEA letter stating that the
    district level corrective action plan (CAP) has been fully implemented within the
    required timelines and all requirements have been met.

Recommendations for Improvement:

47.       As resources dwindle and efficiencies are sought, the team suggests a common
          structure and process be put in place to evaluate the effectiveness of all
          programs to determine their impact on student achievement and student
          success. The discussion can determine needs for modifying programs or help to
          determine continuation. Perhaps questions such as the following might help
          provide a structure for the evaluative process:
          What is the intended result of this program/initiative/practice?
          What data should be gathered to provide valid feedback?
          What do data tell us?
          What questions do we have as a result of data analysis?
          What do students and/or teachers need to do differently?
          What are the implications for modifying, continuing or eliminating this
      From these questions, clear, aligned, measurable goals can be established. A
      process and procedure can be planned to follow in monitoring progress (formative)
      and evaluating program impact (summative). Based on results, determine which
      program elements to sustain, which program elements need modification to become
      more effective, and which program elements to abandon or replace. AEA resources
      are available to coordinate assistance with program evaluation.

Griswold Community School District’s Compliance Status in Applicable
Federal Programs:

Title IIA (Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting Fund)

The district has no citations of Title IIA non-compliance identified during this visit.

Title IID (Enhancing Education through Technology, E2T2)

The district does not have one or more of the following: an assessment of students’
technology literacy by the end of the eighth grade.

Title III (English Language Learners)

The district has no citations of Title III non-compliance identified during this visit.

Title IVA (Safe and Drug Free Schools)
The district has no citations of Title IVA (SDFSC) non-compliance identified during this

Title V (Innovative Programs)

The school district has no citations of Title V non-compliance identified during this visit.

Title XC (Education of Homeless Children and Youth)

The district has no citations of Title XC non-compliance identified during this visit.

                                                   Areas of Non-Compliance

The Griswold Community School District shall submit a plan of correction for each non-compliance item listed below to
the Site Visit Team Leader within 45 business days of the receipt of this report. Evidence of corrective action for non-
compliance(s) may be submitted with the plan or at a later date in accordance with the noted timeline. The district may
choose to use the following matrix as a format for the development of an action plan or develop its own.

Chapter 12 Non-              Additional Details                     Plan of Correction                   Timeline for
compliance Issues                                                                                        Completion
DPOL4. How the school
or school district shall
provide opportunities for
local community feedback
on an ongoing basis does
not appear anywhere in
local board policies. 281—
IAC 12.8(1)(b)(1)

HSPH2. The health
program for grades 9-12
does not contain one unit.
281—IAC 12.5(5)(e)

JHP1. The junior high        The district does not
program, grades 7-8, does    offer health in 7th grade.
not include all twelve       (Demonstrate where
curricular areas. 281—IAC    some health content
12.5(4)                      standards noted in
                             281—IAC 12.5(4) and
                             8th grade.)

Chapter 12 Non-              Additional Details             Plan of Correction   Timeline for
compliance Issues                                                                Completion
                             The district does not
                             offer Family and
                             Consumer Science in 8th
                             Demonstrate where
                             some FCS content
                             standards noted in
                             281—IAC 12.5(4) are
                             covered in 8th grade.)

T2D3. The district has not
developed an assessment
method to measure
students’ technological
literacy by the end of 8th
grade. Title IID, NCLBA
Sec. 2402(b)(2)(A)

                              Areas of Non-Compliance Outside of Chapter 12

Outside of Chapter 12   Additional Details                Plan of Correction   Timeline for
Non-compliance                                                                 Completion
None Noted


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