School Self-Study and Rating Rubric

Is Your School a School to Watch?
If you’re not certain, or you know you don’t meet the application's minimum requirements, you can still benefit from the Schools to Watch™–Taking Center Stage program. In addition to viewing the profiles of the STW-TCS model middle schools, you can use the School Self-Study and Rating Rubric Tool (PDF) – to gain valuable insight into the perceptions of your faculty, the strengths and weaknesses of your programs, and your school's facilities, safety, vision, support, and outreach.

Read further to learn more about how the Schools to Watch™-Taking Center Stage School Self-Study and Rating Rubric was developed, then download a copy to use at your school site.

What Makes a High-Performing Middle-Grades School?
In the mid-1990’s, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform translated their beliefs about the characteristics of a high performing middle-grades school into a set of evaluation criteria. The purpose of the criteria was to provide guidance to classroom teachers, administrators, parents and community members as they evaluate school programs to determine the need for further school improvement.

Criteria for Assessing a Middle Grades School
There are 37 specific criteria identified in the School Self-Study and Rating Rubric. These criteria are divided into four sections - academic excellence, developmental responsiveness, social equity, and organizational structures and processes. Each section is complementary to, and interdependent with, the others. Though each section of the criteria is presented separately, a high-performing middle-grades school would find it difficult to succeed without significant success in each of the four areas. In California, the 37 criteria in the School Self-Rating have been modified slightly to reflect the 16 recommendations found in the California middle-grades reform document, Taking Center Stage (California Department of Education, 2001).

Using the School Self-Study and Rating Rubric at Your School Site
The Self-Rating is an easy tool to use with an entire school faculty, small groups or individuals. For best results, involve the entire staff. Devote a portion of faculty meetings to discussion of the criteria and how your school rates. In addition, you may choose to have your school site council, PTA or others complete the self-assessment.

Results of the self-assessment can be used to redirect efforts by school site councils, boards of education, community service groups and others interested in school improvement. Results can also be used in developing school improvement plans and in seeking grant funds to support school improvement and assessing the success of those improvements.

Any way you look at it, the California Schools to Watch-Taking Center Stage School Self-Rating is a powerful tool for schools, districts and communities. Download the PDF version of the School Self-Study and Rating Rubric.

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