Continuous Improvement Process

Deer Isle-Stonington High School is committed to a process of continuous improvement of student learning.  Processes of data analysis, goal setting, action, and evaluation are deeply embedded in the professional culture of the school and guide all of the work done at the high school.  Regardless of the setting or group, all continuous improvement at DISHS is ultimately intended to allow us to achieve the expectations for student learning stated in the CSD#13 Mission and VIsion Statements, the Deer Isle-Stonington High School School-Wide Expectations, the Maine Learning Results, and the Common Core State Standards.

Examples of continuous improvement processes at DISHS include:

Annual "Taking Stock."  At the end of school each year, the entire DISHS faculty meets to review progress in achieving school improvement goals set at the beginning of the year.  At the annual Taking Stock session, the staff also reviews, analyzes data related to the achievement of the School-Wide Social and Civic expectations.  These discussions are the starting point for an annual review of our School Improvement Action Plan.  At the Taking Stock session, faculty identify areas for improvement in the coming year which the Leadership Team further considers at its annual retreat.  During the summer Leadership Team retreat, a draft School Improvement Action Plan is created for the upcoming year which is then presented to the faculty for feedback and ratification in the fall.  The School Improvement Action Plan identifies the improvement goals and benchmarks for the coming year as well as specific action steps to achieve those goals and means by which to measure successful achievement.  It is this School Improvement Action Plan that then serves as the foundation for the next school year's Taking Stock session.

Annual Review of School-Wide Expectations and Rubrics.  Each spring, the professional staff of DISHS reviews and revises the School-Wide Expectations (SWE's) and accompanying rubrics.  This process begins at the Leadership Team, which gathers feedback on the SWE's and rubrics throughout the year and identifies areas for possible revision.  This list is then discussed at PLC meetings, where additional feedback about the SWE's and rubrics is gathered and added to the list of possible revisions.  The Leadership Team prioritizes the list of possible revisions and then the entire professional staff makes revisions to the SWE's and rubrics by consensus at the May workshop day.  The changes to the SWE's and rubrics are implemented the following school year. 

Professional Learning Communities.  Professional Learning Communities (PLC's) are characterized by collaboration, an action orientation, and a focus on results.  At Deer Isle-Stonington High School, PLC's focus on developing high quality assessments of student learning and sharing instructional practices that will improve the teaching of all staff members.  Teachers develop Graduation Portfolio Tasks (SWE Tasks) which they bring to the PLC for critique and approval.  Once the PLC approves the SWE Task it goes to the principal for approval.  If either the PLC or principal does not approve a task, feedback for improvement is given to the teacher, who revises the task and re-submits it to either the PLC or principal.  Once the SWE Task is approved and assigned in class, the teacher brings samples of student work back to the PLC for common scoring.  The common scoring process not only calibrates teacher interpretations of the SWE rubrics, it allows the teacher and the PLC to see if the SWE rubrics and specific SWE Task is eliciting the quality of student work expected.  If not, either the SWE rubric or task is revised and the process begins again.

Student Assistance Team.  The Student Assistance Team reviews the grades, attendance, and discipline record of each student at each reporting period (progress reports and report cards).  Students who are identified as begin "at-risk" using DISHS's Pyramid of Interventions are provided with timely and targeted support.  Throughout the next four weeks, progress is monitored to determine if the student's performance is improving.  If it is not, the SAT meets again and determines a new intervention plan for the student until the students demonstrates improving and satisfactory performance.

Curriculum Review.  Curriculum Review is a formalized process to ensure that our Program of Studies and Master Schedule is constantly reviewed and revised to provide the best educational opportunities to our students.  Curriculum Review involves each “department” meeting with the Principal and Director of Student Services to discuss the department's current course offerings, review relevant data about the effectiveness of the offerings, as well as possible changes for the coming year: new courses to be offered, courses to be dropped, significant changes in the way current courses are taught, etc.  The goal is to ensure that course offerings align with the mission & vision statements and strategic plan.  Curriculum review precedes the budget development process so that curricular and programmatic objectives drive the budget and not the other way around.  The following is a rough timeline for the development of the next year's master schedule:
November Curriculum Review
December Departments Submit Budget Requests
January Departments Revise Program of Studies
February Finalize Program of Studies
March-April Students Register for Courses
May Student Services Builds Master Schedule
June Master Schedule Finalized & Distributed

iWalkthrough.  Deer Isle-Stonington High School participates in the Great School's Partnership iWalkthrough instructional observation protocol.  This protocol allows the school to collect data related to the instructional practices of teachers, instructional patterns across the school, and the instructional experiences of students.  The data points are also correlated with instructional practices that have been identified in research as highly effective.  Data is collected on a weekly basis by the Principal and twice per year every teacher participates in a "Snapshot of Instruction" during which all teachers do iWalkthrough observations across the school.  After each snapshot, the staff analyzes and reflects on the data and has used it to set improvement goals.

Discipline, Withdrawal, and Failure Reports.  At the end of each school year, the Principal collects and analyzes data on student discipline reports (focusing on suspensions and expulsions), student withdrawal from school, and course failures.  The data and analysis are reported to both the School Committee and the staff and inform school planning efforts, especially the development of the School Improvement Action Plan for the coming year.

Dropout Prevention Committee.  Annually, the Student Assistance Team convenes as the CSD #13 Dropout Prevention Committee (DPC).  The DPC is an official standing committee of the Deer Isle-Stonington School Committee which has been authorized by Maine statute to regularly review and analyze student withdrawal data within CSD #13 as well as to make recommendations to the School Committee to reduce to the number and rate of dropouts.  The DPC reports out on an annual basis to the School Committee, with a focus on recommendations for reducing the district's dropout rate.

Endicott Survey Results.  DISHS was required to complete the Endicott Survey as part of its self-study during the reaccreditation process.  The survey asks students, staff, parents, and school board members about 100 questions each related to the seven standards for accreditation.  DISHS first administered the survey in May 2008.  After the initial survey, DISHS identified about 20 questions that it wanted to ask each year to annually track progress.  These targeted questions have been re-administered each year and the results are analyzed and discussed as part of the school's annual "Taking Stock" session.  See the latest results of the 2011 Endicott IV Survey.