The research-base for the PAR process consists of five major themes that guide the review of school data, general observations, interviews, and group sessions conducted during the on-site visit. These themes reflect the school reform literature and the proven policies and practices found in successful schools through out the nation.
Theme 1: District and school philosophy, values, and a spirit of school improvement
The district and school staff, business and organization partners, and community stakeholders work collaboratively to support a clear philosophy, mission, goals, and set of values.
- 1.1. The district and school has a written statement of beliefs and mission that supports a learning philosophy for all students and a collaborative approach to involving all stakeholders in the community.
- 1.2. The school has an active school improvement council or committee(s) with diverse representatives from the school and community organizations.
- 1.3. The district and school has clearly defined policies and procedures, particularly attendance, truancy, retention, and discipline, to address the diverse needs of all students.
- 1.4. The school provides resources and financial support for continuous school improvement activities directed to obtaining improved student achievements.
Theme 2: Leadership, staff resources, and professional development opportunities
The school leadership, in collaboration with staff and other community stakeholders, provides direction for increasing student achievement through continuous school improvement including opportunities for professional development for all staff.
- 2.1. The school leadership provides vision and direction to school staff, parents, and community groups to support student learning and involvement in the community.
- 2.2. The school leadership provides for a qualified and competent staff with adequate resources and support services to enhance learning for all students.
- 2.3. The school leadership provides a broad-based staff including teachers, librarians, counselors, psychologists, social workers, media specialists, health-related staff, teacher aides, and other staff necessary to promote student learning.
- 2.4. The district and school provide adequate time and resources for professional and personal growth opportunities directed to improving student learning.
Theme 3: Curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessment
Curriculum guides, support materials, instructional strategies, and assessment procedures and activities are aligned to support student learning.
- 3.1. The curriculum and instructional strategies are aligned with state frameworks and standards, the goals of the school, and student learning.
- 3.2. The curriculum provides opportunities for learning outside the school by using resources within the local community and beyond.
- 3.3. The curriculum provides opportunities for students to use the newest technologies and higher-order thinking skills in their learning process.
- 3.4. The school provides for a comprehensive and continuous assessment of student learning that provides for curriculum modifications and changes in the instructional strategies needed for some students.
Theme 4: School, family, and community support structure for learning
The district and school have a comprehensive school and community-based support structure related to student learning for all students and their families.
- 4.1. The school provides a student-centered guidance program for all students that addresses learning and health related issues and includes family or personal counseling, referrals, or recommendations for case management assistance by social service agencies.
- 4.2. The school policies and practices provide an adult advisor and/or assistance team to support those students in greatest need of academic assistance.
- 4.3. Opportunities for learning in school-based activities include students access to participation in extracurricular programs.
- 4.4. The school encourages and provides varied opportunities for family and parental participation in all aspects of school activities and in the student learning and assessment process.
- 4.5. Community partnership involvement is encouraged in decision making, school improvement, and providing opportunities for student workplace experiences.
Theme 5: Adequate facilities, current technologies, and safe and orderly environments
School facilities, including the availability and use of the latest learning technologies, are adequate and located on a campus that is safe and managed as a caring and violence-free environment.
- 5.1. The school campus and facilities provide a healthy learning environment and are conducive to teaching and student learning.
- 5.2. The facilities are adequate to include varied instructional strategies including the use of technologies such as the Internet.
- 5.3. School policies and discipline procedures reflect the philosophy of the school and the importance of maintaining a safe and orderly environment along with respect for students.
- 5.4. The community views the school campus and facilities as assets and as a center for learning for both the students and the community at-large.