Some of the standards addressed by the Charter School Support Initiative team, using the 9 Standards for School Improvement, deal with effective instruction and using data in order to modify instruction.
Last March the CSSI team did a site visit at The Pinnacle Charter School in Federal Heights. Last night two of us were at The Pinnacle governing board meeting to give them an update on progress made over the last year. The progress has been incredible.
At the beginning of the meeting the board heard reports from staff. A common theme was the challenge to educate students, especially those new to the school, who were multiple grade levels behind and still main the high standards indicative of The Pinnacle. Staff referred to the recent report from the second round of NWEA testing. It was refreshing to hear the governing board discuss instructional successes and challenges with their staff and to note the safe environment that had developed in the last year amongst the staff in order to encourage this type of open discussion. Staff talked about how they'd identified gaps in their curriculum by having vertical team meetings. They had not only identified instructional needs based on various assessment data, they'd discussed it and knew what they needed to do at different grade levels and in different content areas.
A large portion of the credit for this new direction at The Pinnacle comes from their leadership team. This team has drafted an action plan and from all indications, this plan seems to have changed the staff culture at the school. Administrators at The Pinnacle are eager to learn all they can from each other and leaders of other charter schools. They're excited about the purposeful focus on student learning and the progress made by their staff.
School reform takes time and is a lot of work! Most schools consider it a five-year process in order for the reform to be sustainable over time. Clearly The Pinnacle has made remarkable progress and can look forward to a positive impact on student achievement!