December 22, 2022 — Important Dates, January through June (email)
December 22, 2022 — SSoS Calendar — January–June (word doc)
December 14, 2022 — School Year 2022-23 Progress Monitoring Update (email)
October 18, 2022 — SSoS District Communication
September 30, 2022 — District Communication After 2022 Accountability Data Release
May 18, 2022 — Spring 2022 Update on Plan Submission Requirements
March 6, 2020 — Narrated Overview on the Sustainable Improvement Process
Content coming soon.
June 9, 2022 — District Prioritization Submission Webinar Slides and Recording
District Prioritization Submission Guidance
District Prioritization Submission Template
Guidance is being updated for 2022-2023 to align with the Coherence Guidebook. Stay tuned for more information.
The goals and benchmarks portion of your written submission essentially provides all involved stakeholders with a roadmap for the year that describes the set of key benchmarks and outcomes that link the key strategies in your plan to your longer term strategic objectives and goals. Well-developed goals and benchmarks help to communicate expectations and provide a common understanding of where and how the school will focus its time and resources. Stakeholders should be able to gain a solid understanding of the school's vision for the future and priorities just by knowing what targets your school is aiming to meet.
Your school's monitoring process will be anchored in the benchmarks that outline important outcomes the school plans to reach and are agreed upon and set in advance of the start of implementation. Frequent monitoring of progress towards interim benchmarks and goals can help your school identify successful progress, highlight areas that need more attention, determine what additional support and assistance is required, and inform mid-course corrections as needed. For more guidance on setting up and implementing an effective system to monitor progress, refer to the "Monitor Progress" section of this guidance.
As much as possible, benchmarks should focus more on evidence of change and outcomes (e.g., how a training has changed instructional practice and improved student performance) rather than implementation outputs (e.g., the percent of teachers trained).
Benchmarks are a critical part of the turnaround plan, providing clarity and specificity about whether observable adult actions lead to improved teaching and learning. They can sometimes be hard to articulate. However, the time it takes to refine these benchmarks can pay off during implementation. Precisely articulated interim benchmarks and goals can help the school maintain focus on key aspects of the work, and can help communicate the urgency, alignment, and coherence of everyone's efforts.
The framework in the table below provides suggestions on setting quality goals and benchmarks to support monitoring implementation progress, and determine if their work is having the intended effects. Together annual goals and interim benchmarks help schools and districts answer the questions: what changed, for whom, by how much, and when as a result of the actions we took?
Just as schools are encouraged to select a few high leverage strategies, schools are also encouraged to identify just a few key interim benchmarks to focus on throughout the year. The school should ensure that the data generated to measure each benchmark truly adds value to the school's work, and is worth the effort needed to collect it, as well as the time needed to reflect on it and act on what is learned. Ideally, the evidence for each benchmark will be generated as part of the regular work of educators. If the benchmark requires a new form of evidence that has not previously been collected, it should be clear how the addition of that evidence will help contribute to the types of changes the school is seeking in skills, practices, mindsets, and discourse.
One strategy for identifying the highest-leverage benchmarks and goals is to revisit the themes your team heard from stakeholders and the data you used for your root cause analysis of assets and challenges. Consider which data points provided the greatest insights. It may be that these data points could provide a baseline and inform targets the school plans to reach as a result of implementing the sustainable improvement plan.
As you select your benchmarks consider the following questions:
Benchmarks should build on and reinforce each other, and represent a coherent set of metrics that will help the school monitor progress and impact. Setting goals and benchmarks is an iterative process that is refined as the school continues with the cycle of planning, implementing, reflecting, and revising their work. Each year, in the spring, schools need to assess overall progress on benchmarks and reset them for the following year. Interim benchmarks become more refined and nuanced as the school implements strategies at greater levels of fidelity and quality, and as the school becomes more savvy in the use of data to inform schoolwide work.
In addition to setting goals and interim benchmarks to measure impact, it is crucial that schools map out the timelines for implementation of specific strategies throughout the year. Essentially, timelines are process benchmarks that address the following questions:
Timelines should be directly linked to the strategic objectives and initiatives articulated in the plan. Taking the time to map out timelines, benchmarks and goals at the outset can give the school a better idea of the scope of work ahead.
Schools have the option of using a format of their choosing to articulate their strategies, timelines, interim benchmarks, and annual goals. If your school would like an action or logic model template to customize for their own context, we offer these samples below.
SRG Implementation Timeline and Benchmarks Workbook
AIP Action Planning Template
School ESL Action Plan Sample
SfSS Action Planning Template
SSoS Action Plan Template
As a result of reflecting on implementation data towards the end of each academic year, schools will need to reset interim benchmarks and goals for the coming year. In addition to the guidance above for setting strong benchmarks, questions to consider are:
Examples of some of the resources and protocols that SSoS Regional Assistance Teams frequently use with districts and schools they support appear in the Additional Resources at the end of this section.
Required Written Submission
Provide a listing of all strategies that includes:
Update the Goals & Benchmarks by providing a listing of strategies for the coming year that includes:
While not required, these resources may be helpful as you engage in this stage of the sustainable improvement planning process:
Sample Interim Benchmarks
Sample Measureable Annual Goals
Early Warning Indicator System: These resources can help a school or district use the Massachusetts Early Warning Indicator System (EWIS) and local data to identify, diagnose, support, and monitor student progress in grades 1–12. Resources include data available via Edwin Analytics, an Implementation Guide, and a monitoring tool to track student risk and progress throughout the year as part of a data-driven cycle of inquiry.
Last Updated: December 23, 2022
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