Last month, we explored the benefits of becoming a School to Watch. And, if you’re in the same boat as the rest of us, you’re currently preparing a launch a new school year and summer is behind you.
Do you know what that means? It’s time to begin the application process to become one of Colorado’s Schools to Watch! While it is a simple process, it contains several components that must be done in a timely manner.
First, get familiar with the CAMLE website. There, you’ll see deadlines, the organization for the application document and important contact information. Our state director, Katie, is a tremendous resource if you have questions.
The application process includes three steps: the application document, a staff self-study, and a school visit. These happen in order, with the school visit taking place last to verify practices that are in place. The application is due November 17, so get started right away!
The application document is broken into five sections: Self-Study Rubric, Descriptive Information, Narrative, Recent Changes, and Assurances. In order to complete them, you’ll want to be sure to have a team from your school to give feedback and ideas and you’ll need to schedule blocks of time to write the application sections and have staff complete the self-study. Finally, you want to keep the documents organized. Each section of the application is a separate document that compiles data and information. Together, they’ll all be submitted to the State Director.
Within each section, you’ll share information about your school that helps the board see why your school is a School to Watch. Below will help you make sure you have the right information on hand to have a successful work session:
Descriptive Information: This includes demographic information about your student and students. This includes ethnicity, disaggregated data, and state achievement data over the last three years.
Narrative: This section is broken into two parts: School information and plans for the future. The first part is an opportunity to narratively describe how your school exemplifies each of the four domains of The National Forum (which we’ll explore in next month’s blog post). The second part focuses on what your school plans to do next to continue addressing action items and achieving desired outcomes.
Recent Changes: In this section, you summarize any changes that have taken place at your school in the last year. This could be staffing attrition or turnover, and changes in the leadership.
Assurances: This section requires signatures from you, your supervisor, and your superintendent (or other governing body).
Self-Study Rubric: And, this last component may be listed last but is important to consider first. Throughout the application period, every staff member should complete a rating rubric of current practices at your school. You can access this rubric and get the school-specific link set up by requesting access to the State Director. Share the link with staff at the beginning of your application writing process and give them a deadline. Once everyone has completed it, you’ll receive a report back that you submit with your Schools to Watch application.
Once all of these sections have been completed, you package them up in an email to our State Director, Katie Gustafson. Think of it this way -- the application is the school’s turn to document all of the evidence to show why it is a Schools to Watch.
Be on the lookout for next month’s article, which will review the four criteria of The National Forum. To learn more about The National Forum, visit their website: https://www.middlegradesforum.org/. To learn more about CAMLE and membership offerings, visit their website: https://camle.wildapricot.org/Join-us.
Ryan Masciotra is a principal at Corwin International Magnet School in Pueblo, CO - which has been a Colorado School to Watch since 2013 (2013, 2019, 2023). CIMS is a grades 4-8 International Baccalaureate World School and was established in 2008.