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Collaborative School Reviews - Book Cover Look Inside

Collaborative School Reviews

How to Shape Schools From the Inside

By: Beverley Anne Freedman, Raffaella Carmela Di Cecco

Design and lead a rigorous school evaluation process that leverages personnel from within your district to provide both objectivity and nuanced knowledge of your school’s particular situation.
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452242958
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 216
  • Publication date: April 17, 2013

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
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"It is heartening to read about a practical, specific and supportive school review process that begins with true collaboration! Bev Freedman and Raf Di Cecco offer a complete package for educators who crave how to collaboratively guide school improvement from the inside out."
—Lyn Sharratt, Author, Putting FACES on the Data

Say goodbye to top-down evaluations and hello to collaboration and change!

How can you leverage the objectivity of outside evaluators and the knowledge of local educators who understand your school's particular situation to help you drive school improvement? The answer: collaborative schools reviews.

Beverly Freedman and Raf DiCecco show how to design and implement a rigorous and effective school evaluation process, conducted by personnel from within your district in collaboration with your school leadership team. Here you'll find user-friendly guidance for planning and managing every step of the review process, including

  • A research-based case for how collaborative school reviews transform teaching and learning
  • Guidance on ensuring that the review process aligns with the district's mission and goals as well as with the Common Core State Standards
  • Best practices and protocols for creating review teams and conducting onsite classroom observations
  • How-to's for effectively using data to gain a balanced view of school performance
  • A composite case study that brings the collaborative school review process to life

This breakthrough book shows how to bring school and district teams together to shape sustainable, positive change and strengthen student achievement.

Key features

The content of this proposed resource blends research and practice. The aim is a practical how-to resource. Beyond the research, the content is drawn from practical experiences with school reviews in Ontario and other jurisdictions. The chapters are sequential and designed to walk though system-level and school-based staffs through the review process. There are questions strategically placed to encourage self-reflection and analysis. The chapter on classroom observations includes specific look-fors and protocols. The appendices will include templates, web sites, and other ready to use resources.


Beverley Anne Freedman photo

Beverley Anne Freedman

Learn more about Beverley Freedman's PD offerings

Dr. Beverley Freedman is an educational consultant, involved in numerous district and provincial reviews, strategic planning and system improvement. Currently she is supporting districts in their implementation of school reviews using the Ministry’s SEF framework. Additionally, she has led several district-based special education reviews as well as special education reviews for the province. She is working with several independent schools including AHS on school improvement planning. In any one year, as an instructional leadership trainer, she visits hundreds of classrooms in a variety of schools and districts including districts in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. The aim of the learning walks is to develop the instructional lens of administrators so they can gather data and give descriptive feedback to staff to provide within the frame of school improvement.

Dr. Freedman has presented at numerous provincial, national and international research conferences including the International Principals Congress held this August in Toronto. Topics for presentations include equity, differentiation, and gender as a factor in education. She coordinates professional learning for Canada’s Outstanding Principals in collaboration with The Learning Partnership. She was the former Executive Officer for the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat (LNS), retired superintendent and a former provincial school inspector. In 2004 -2006, she was the Leadership Coordinator for the Faculty of Education, York University. She remains an adjunct professor for the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology. Dr. Freedman was on the executive of Ontario’s provincial superintendents’ organization (OPSOA), and in 2001, was named Ontario’s Distinguished Leader by OPSOA. Her doctoral thesis won the Doctoral Dissertation Award from PDK U of T Chapter and she won the Larry Frase award from CMSi in 2007. She is on the board of Scientists in School and Teacher Mentor’s Abroad. She spent a week as a volunteer, training principal in Santo Domingo on behalf of their ministry. Currently she is president of the local PDK-UT chapter.

Raffaella Carmela Di Cecco photo

Raffaella Carmela Di Cecco

Learn more about Raf Di Cecco's PD offerings

Raf Di Cecco, CMC, is a Certified Management Consultant. She is currently president of ARD Consulting Services and Director of the Education and Training Practice of PMC Inc

Raf is also the former Executive Director of the Ontario Royal Commission on Learning where she directed the first review of Ontario’s elementary and secondary education system in 25 years. The commission’s report “For the Love of Learning”, tabled in 1995, established the foundation for Ontario’s current reform agenda. Her work experience includes both the Federal and Provincial governments. She has had assignments in a variety of policy fields and has held a range positions including senior executive positions.

Raf brings a broad perspective and specialized knowledge and skills. Raf has extensive experience within the education sector and brings a deep understanding of the education sector at the provincial, district and the local level. She brings expertise in the development and management of complex policy and program reform and how these can be implemented at the local level.

Her areas of expertise include organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, change management design and implementation, policy and program evaluation and design, mentoring and coaching, and stakeholder management and engagement.

Her clients include Ontario Ministries including Education, Training Colleges and Universities, Attorney General, Government Services, Culture and Recreation; School Boards including Simcoe DSB, Waterloo Region DSB, Kawartha Pine Ridge DSB, Toronto DSB: Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC); the 23 First Nations of Sioux Lookout; not for profit agencies including The Learning Partnership; and private sector corporations.

She has designed and led the review and evaluation of several key Ontario Ministry of Education initiatives, all involving reviews at the district and school level. Her work with the First Nations of Sioux Lookout involved the establishment of the Kaywiachiin Resource Centre in Sioux Lookout as the education authority for the district.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

About the Authors


     Improving Schools Matter

     Why a Resource on School Reviews?

     What Makes This Approach Different?

     Our Lens is the School

     This is a How-to-Resource

1. Setting the Stage

     Collaborative Schools Reviews: A Path for Improvement

     What is a School Review?

     What Distinguishes Collaborative School Reviews from Other Reviews?

     Achieving Excellence-A Strategic Lens to Contextualize Collaborative School Reviews

     Collaborative School Reivews as Opportunities for Transformational Change

     Our Case Study: The Lone Birch School District

     In Summary

2. Designing Collaborative School Reviews

     Step One: Design Effectively

     Link Collaborative School Reviews to District Vision, Mission and Transformational Agenda

     Collaborative School Review Policy

     Collaborative School Review Design/Process


     Procedures and Protocols

     Structure and Flow for the Review

     Protocols for Classroom Observations

     Expectations and Protocols for the Onsite Classroom Observations

     Possible Questions for Members of the Review Team to Ask Students

     Capacity Building

     Stakeholder Engagement

     Alignment with other Requirements/Processes

     Conceptualizing the Collaborative School Review Process: Lone Birch

     In Summary

3. Planning Commences at the District Level

     Setting the Stage

     System Level Planning Process and Detailed Work Plan

     Capacity Building

     Teams Matter

     Leadership, Coordination, Planning at a System Level to Prepare for the Reviews

     Composition of the External Review Teams

     Developing a Self-Assessment Tool

     Data Plan

     Capacity Building Plan

     Data Management-Creating a Data Tapestry

     Lone Birch's Data Management Plan

     Communication and Engagement

     Communication Plan

     Other Planning Considerations for Lone Birch

     In Summary

4. Planning Continues at the School Level

     Layering the School-based Priorities on the District Priorities

     Pleasant Valley

     Organizing for the Review

     Areas for Focus and Feedback

     Supporting Data


     Meadows Middle School

     Organizing for the Review

     Areas for Focus and Feedback

     Supporting Data


     Harper High School

     Organizing for the Review

     Areas for Focus and Feedback

     Supporting Data


     In Summary

5. The Day of the Review Arrives

     Harper High

     Introduction and Setting the Stage

     Conducting the School Review

     Debriefing and Sharing Findings and Feedback

     Meadows Middle School

     Introduction and Setting the Stage

     Conducting the School Review

     Debriefing and Sharing Findings and Feedback

     Pleasant Valley Public School

     Introduction and Setting the Stage

     Conducting the School Review

     Debriefing and Sharing Findings and Feedback

     In Summary

6. Unpacking the Results: Ensuring Improvement Happens

     Accountability Structure

     Roles and Responsibilities

     Verbal Feedback and Formal Report

     Analysis: Unpacking the Reviews

     Work Plan to Implement Suggested Changes

     Unpacking the Reviews at the Schools

     Pulling Out District Level Trends and Patterns

     A Follow-Up Plan

     Monitoring and Evaluation of Collaborative School Review Process

     In Summary

7. Creating Excellence and Innovation from the Inside Out