School Improvement External Team Visit

A+External Team Visit:  Every five years all schools in Nebraska go through a “School Improvement External Team Visit” conducted by the Department of Education.  On November 19-20 a team of three came to Hay Springs and conducted their visit.

The purpose of the External Visitation is to assist the school in selecting or fulfilling school improvement goals and plans by adding an outside, objective view of the school improvement procedures.  The visit also is meant to increase the depth of understanding for moving forward to achieve school improvement goals.  The team directs the school by way of commending them on their accomplishments and recommending tasks that will enhance or improve the school’s improvement process.

The team’s focus was on gathering evidence.  They toured the school, interviewed students, staff, parents, and community, visited classrooms, and examined the schools test results and academic progress.  At the conclusion of their visit they held an exit conference to review their findings.  The school district also received a written document of findings.

The Visiting Team’s Commendations:

1.  Stakeholders Commitment to the School:  All stakeholders are committed to the success of the school.  The school showed very supportive and quality staff, administration, students, parents, and community.  All stakeholders were aware of the academic and monetary situations the school was dealing with. They noted that the commitment for change and school improvement was highly evident.

2.  Commitment to Academics:  The Visiting Team noted that the school’s curriculum is embedded within the school district.  Staff was committed to the school’s academic goals.  All staff attends common trainings to ensure fidelity of instruction.  Many remediation programs and rules were implemented to ensure student learning.  The Visiting team noted the jump from the PLAS list (persistently lowest achieving school’s list) to the 35th in reading shows great academic success.

The Visiting Team’s Recommendations:

1.  Enhance Technology Integration within Classroom Instruction:  The team noted that Hay Springs had abundant technology that was being used by instructional staff and students.  They encouraged continued training for staff and students.

2.  Complete a Professional Development Plan Tied to School Improvement.  The Visiting Team noted that our professional development opportunities are tied to school improvement.   They suggested we put the plan it writing.  The plan should also incorporate the training of new staff that are added to the district.

3.  Include Writing Goals/Strategies Within the School Improvement Plan:  Writing was our lowest area in the most recent testing.  The Visiting Team suggested we include writing as one our district goals and develop professional development to address this goal. The district has begun working on this area.

The External Visiting Team praised Hay Springs Public Schools for the accomplishments and improvements that were made from the visit five years ago.  If you would like additional information stop by the office and we will share more details of the final report.

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