School improvement means sustainable change, Florida accountability chief says
As Florida's most struggling schools look for ways to improve their performance, they must seek to put in place initiatives that are both substantive and sustainable, and not simply quick fixes that get short term results.
That's the renewed focus of the state's Differentiated Accountability teams as they head out for this year's instructional reviews and support sessions, state school improvement bureau chief Fred Heid tells the Gradebook.
"We don't want the yo-yo effect," Heid said, noting that effective practices often can come and go with changing school leaders.
District officials must understand and embrace the systems and practices that get put in place at schools working to improve, he continued, so that way if a turnaround principal departs, the successes he or she brought about don't disappear, too.
"The systems have to be embedded and they have to be monitored," Heid said. "The district has to have shared accountability. You can't take a hands-off approach to school reform."
Turnaround principals also must be sure to infuse their work throughout their school, so not everything rests on their shoulders.
"If the fear is that after I leave everything is going to fall apart, you really haven't led," Heid said.
A review team heads to Pasco County's Gulf Highlands Elementary, the county's only F-rated school, next week. Team leaders will be working with the school to ensure deep-seated changes take hold for improved academic results, Heid said.