Frequently Asked Questions about School Effectiveness Reviews

  • Why is City Schools conducting SERs?
    The SER contributes to a comprehensive view of a school’s performance by providing more than can be captured through student test scores and other quantitative measures alone. The results also give schools information regarding their strengths and weaknesses. In turn, the information provided can be used to improve student achievement and other outcomes. SERs can also be used by school-based leadership, executive directors, School Support Networks staff and other staff at City Schools' district office for purposes of identifying and sharing effective, sustainable school improvement strategies and ways to allocate resources strategically to further student achievement.

    What does an SER tell me about my school?
    The SER generates rich, qualitative data that, along with other measures, contribute to an analysis of how well schools are meeting the goal of providing high-quality education to students. The SER also provides a snapshot of a school in the areas of instruction, staff recruitment and retention, family and community engagement  and leadership. There are many factors that contribute to student achievement and to a school's effectiveness. Taken together with student achievement data, the SER helps provide a more comprehensive picture of a school’s effectiveness. School staff and communities can use the SER report to make strategic decisions about how to improve teaching and learning to benefit all students.
    How is an SER conducted?
    A team of trained reviewers visits the school to examine documents; interview staff, students, parents and community partners; and visit classrooms. After the site visit, a report is generated that includes ratings for key aspects of the school’s performance in areas outlined in the School Effectiveness Framework. The framework includes elements from the instructional framework and the school leadership framework.
    How long does an SER last?
    The review team is at the school for 2.5 days. A final written report is provided to the school leadership approximately 8 to 10 weeks following the site visit.
    Who is on the review team?
    The SER review team is made up of three to five staff members from City Schools district office, including two from the SER team in the Achievement and Accountability Office. The review team can also include members from School Support Networks, Academics and New Initiatives.
    How are parents/guardians involved in the review process?
    During the site visit, the review team meets with a focus group of six to eight parents or guardians for approximately an hour to ask about their experiences at the school. Parents participate anonymously — their comments are not attributed to them by name in any documentation or in the SER report. Parents/guardians interested in participating in the SER focus group should contact their school leader.

    What is included in the SER report?
    The report opens with an introduction to the SER and school background, followed by a summary of how the school performed in the four areas identified in the School Effectiveness Framework. Following the summary, the evidence observed for each area is described. This evidence is the basis for the ratings in the report. An appendix includes a summary of the classroom observation data and brief descriptions of the backgrounds of review team members.
    How is the report created and shared?
    The SER team develops a report based on its findings during the school visit. The report includes a performance-level rating for each key action ("highly effective," "effective," "developing" or "not effective"), as well as evidence to support those ratings. The school leader receives a draft of the report to review, and he or she is responsible for making factual corrections to the document within one week and for sharing general comments for inclusion in the report's appendix. Staff from the district Achievement and Accountability Office share the final report with the school leadership team, and it is also made available to district executive directors of principal support and School Support Network staff, along with others who provide support to the school. The final report is publicly available on this website and is linked to the school's own website.