2015-2016 Continuous Improvement Report

Continuous Improvement Prepares GUHSD for Success
Continuous Improvement Report

December 2015 – No progressive organization can be successful without continuously looking for ways to improve – and the Glendale Union High School District embraces this idea.

This concept and how its put into practice at GUHSD was the focus of the annual Continuous Improvement Report, which was presented on Dec. 2. The report was compiled and presented by the school principals and students from each school.

“Continuous improvement is a strategic process regularly put into practice at GUHSD to help us objectively analyze programs and practices and to make changes that are strategic and grounded in research,” said Thunderbird Principal Jeannie Paparella.

The Continuous Improvement Report reflects on the school year and is based on factual information and data that helps keep curriculum and instruction centered on the needs of the students, Paparella said.

“By evaluating where we are, we are able to identify current gaps and develop a plan for improvement that we then implement and monitor,” she said. “GUHSD is a self-renewing organization, constantly growing and changing to address new needs. This commitment is reflected in the ongoing data collection and analysis of student progress and success on state and national exams, as well as all district assessments.”

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Analyzing data helps ensure students are prepared to be college and career ready after high school. Incorporating STEM into courses, providing effective teaching methods, digital literacy, interventions and college and career exploration and planning along with goal-setting, are ways teachers and staff are helping students to be successful.

One approach to helping students achieve has been to implement effective teaching strategies for all teachers so that there would be common practice from classroom to classroom as students travel to different subjects throughout the day, said Independence Principal Rob Ambrose.

This practice allows students to make connections with the process for effective learning.

Research tells us that engaged students achieve at higher levels. To help students excel and continuously improve, practices are in place that help teachers move away from a teacher-centered classroom that is lecture-based with less student involvement and fewer student-driven activities, to one that incorporates collaborative learning and holds students accountable for their own involvement in their deeper understanding of content material.

Students at the Continuous Improvement Report shared how a text-based learning approach has assisted their literacy skills. Students guided participants at each table to “attack the text,” an exercise that helps students quickly pull the most valuable information from the text they are reading. Its helping all students to become more literate.

Students also shared how different support systems at the schools are helping them to stay focused and motivated to be successful in school. Whether a student is struggling in their courses or needs to be challenged, GUHSD teachers are prepared to meet them where they are and then help them cross the threshold to excellence.

These changes are making a difference. More students are involved in extracurricular activities, volunteering in the community and excelling in academics.

The number of students taking advanced placement courses continues to increase each year, along with the graduation rate. In Arizona, the current five-year graduation rate is 80 percent. In the Glendale Union High School District, the rate is 92 percent – 12 percent higher than the state average.

Across the nine high schools, nearly 400 clubs are offered to students. Their diversity ranges from course-related and academic clubs to service, leadership and special interests, Parsons said. Collectively, GUHSD students have volunteered their time and performed more than 67,000 hours of community service.

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