View Resource: NSNO School Review Overview 2015-16
The document is a brief, one-page overview of the “school review” process that New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) implements in order to provide formative feedback on school strengths and growth areas, and to define action steps for school improvement. This overview document summarizes the sources of information used in school reviews, participants on the school review team, and primary sources for the NSNO rubric that guides the process. Tools and templates are available for download in the school review folder of the NSNO resource website.
NSNO was a critical partner organization for restarts authorized by the Louisiana RSD in New Orleans. In addition to recruiting, incubating, and providing funding for restart operators, NSNO has provided a range of post-opening support services for restart schools. The school review process is a key part of NSNO support. The school reviews were originally a required element for restart schools to receive NSNO implementation funding. Overtime, school reviews have evolved into a service that NSNO conducts at the request of many schools and CMOs in New Orleans. In addition to NSNO school review documents included in the restart resource database, readers can also peruse the school support resources that NSNO makes publicly available on their website; see: http://www.newschoolsforneworleans.org/for-schools-and-partners/school-resources/.
Outcomes and Lessons Learned: The NSNO school review process is an example of a valuable, post-opening support that can be effectively provided by a local partner organization. It is less appropriate for a restart authorizer since it is designed as a formative assessment, not as a tool to hold schools accountable for performance expectations.
NSNO leaders indicate that the school review process has been a valuable tool for determining if restart turnaround efforts are on track and to provide actionable feedback on areas of improvement and support for the restart school. In year 1 of the school turnaround, NSNO is particularly focused on Climate and Leadership rubrics to determine if leader and leadership team can transform the school environment.
A 2013 CREDO study about the early progress of i3 funded school restarts in New Orleans identified several insights about the school review process. “Evidence from school level personnel suggest that NSNO’s feedback is well regarded, with many praising NSNO for the quality of their reviews and identifying specific issues for which NSNO’s feedback was valuable.” The report suggests that the capacity to conduct reviews “could be transferred to CMOs, increasing their ability to conduct their own high quality school reviews in the future.” CREDO report available at: https://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/NSNOYear2Report.pdf.