Standard 2: The school operates under governance and leadership that promote and support administration of the school.
At Simons Middle School, our school council and administration ensure we are in compliance with all policies at local, state, and federal levels. To promote and support the administration at our school, our SBDM meetings are run per open meeting laws and have a designated time at which the public may choose to address the council with concerns. Additionally, our school committees bring policies that may need revision to the attention of the council and any policy changes must be read twice before approval.
The policies and practices at SMS support our school's purpose and direction. Our governing body policies, procedures, and practices are evidence of effective operation of our school. Most our policies and practices promote effective instruction and assessment that produce equitable and challenging learning experiences for all students. There are also policies and practices regarding professional growth of all staff, as well as those that govern the oversight of fiscal management.
The governing body at Simons Middle School ensures that its decisions and actions are in accordance with defined roles and responsibilities, are ethical, and free of conflict of interest. Evidence of these decisions and actions can be found in governing body policies on roles and responsibilities, conflict of interest, and governing body code of ethics. To ensure that the school’s purpose and direction is communicated and carried out, all members participate in professional development regarding the roles and responsibilities of the governing body and its individual members. This is an affirmation which ensures that all policies, procedures, laws, and regulations are followed.
Our governing body generally protects, supports, and respects the autonomy of school leadership to accomplish goals for improvement in student learning and instruction and to manage day-to-day operations of the school. Simons Middle School has a school improvement plan developed by school leadership through committees. The governing body maintains a clear distinction between its roles and responsibilities and those of school leadership.
At SMS, all leaders, faculty, and staff align their decisions and actions toward continuous improvement to achieve the school's purpose. All students are held to high standards in all courses of study. Ninety-five percent of our parents surveyed believe that Simons Middle School has high expectations for students in all classes, and ninety-five percent of students surveyed believe their principal and their teachers have high expectations of them. All leaders and staff are collectively accountable for student learning. Eighty-nine percent of the staff feel that Simons Middle School leaders expect staff members to hold all students to high academic standards. School leaders support innovation, collaboration, shared leadership and professional growth. The culture is characterized by collaboration and a sense of community.
Eighty percent of our faculty and staff agree that leadership engages all stakeholders effectively in support of the school's purpose and direction. Leaders sometimes communicate effectively with stakeholder groups, provide opportunities for stakeholders to shape decisions, solicit feedback from stakeholders, work collaboratively on school improvement efforts, and provide some leadership roles for stakeholders. Ninety percent of parents surveyed agree that our school communicates effectively about the school's goals and activities while eighty-two percent of parents surveyed agree that our school provides opportunities for stakeholders to be involved in the school. During parent meetings at the beginning of each school year, parents receive an overview of the state academic content standards, academic achievement standards, and assessments. Despite our efforts to make these meetings meaningful and relevant to parents and community members, we still believe this is an area of growth for us.
Our school administration is currently working with the Youth Service Center Coordinator to develop new plans to get parents and community members more heavily involved in school programs. Simons Middle School offers an Open House where parents are given the opportunity to meet their child's teachers and learn about individual class assessments and what their role will be in helping their child to succeed. Teachers are also educated through professional development, PLCs, and faculty meetings in understanding the importance of parental involvement and in realizing that parents are our partners. Stakeholders are involved in the school improvement plan. While all parents were given the opportunity to review the plan and offer their input before the plan was approved, school leaders' efforts resulted in some stakeholder participation and engagement in the school. Seventy-eight percent of the staff believes that our school's leaders provide opportunities for stakeholders to be involved in the school.
Leadership and staff supervision and evaluation processes result in improved professional practice and student success. The focus of the criteria and processes of supervision and evaluation is improving professional practice and improving student success. There are professional development offerings and plans tied specifically to the results from supervision and evaluation. Each weekly faculty meetings begin with a demonstration of two new research- based, highly effective instructional strategies that can be used in any content area. The effective implementation of such strategies are discussed during weekly content professional learning communities.
Supervision and evaluation processes are regularly implemented. In addition to the district certified evaluation process, school administrators provide teachers with weekly data on classroom learning environments through use of the ELEOT observation tool. The results of the supervision and evaluation processes are used to monitor and effectively adjust professional practice and improve student learning.