- Writing for District Administration, Dearborn Public Schools (MI) Superintendent Glenn M. Maleyko and School Improvement/Leadership Coaching Director Fatme Faraj detail their evidence-based approach to school improvement visits aimed at helping schools raise achievement and outcomes.
- Each building in the 34-school district hosts two such visits a year, with teams representing various stakeholder groups engaging in classroom walkthroughs based on research-based best practices and a district strategic plan. Specific attention is given to student engagement, interactions, question depth and activities' cognitive demands.
- The visits conclude with immediate verbal feedback and a detailed written report delivered within 24 hours of the visit, both of which are intended to fuel continuous improvement in the district.
Teacher evaluation has become a hot topic of debate in recent years as methods based on student assessment performance gained prominence. But relying solely on that sort of format can allow skilled educators who may simply lack necessary coaching or resources to fall through the cracks and be terminated rather than nurtured to their full potential.
Consistently applying an approach like the one described by Maleyko and Faraj can provide administrators a first-hand perspective of what needs educators may have and address them accordingly via targeted professional development or coaching, in addition to showing where any other relevant resources that may be available can be distributed. With teacher shortages becoming increasingly difficult for many states, focusing on helping faculty improve to the best of their ability where possible is likely a more favorable strategy than trying to "fire your way to excellence."