External School Reviews

group photo of students holding books

External School Reviews are an opportunity for skilled observers to spend time in classrooms gathering information about the school. We have used these reviews for several years to help us design our overall school improvement strategies.

The External School Review team observes how the school operates, both in classrooms and as an organization, and hears feedback from families, teachers and school leaders in interviews and focus groups. They look for the school’s strengths and challenge areas, and provide a report that school leaders use to plan additional supports, access funding (if applicable), and determine the next steps that would most benefit their students.

What does an External School Review team look for?

During the review team’s one and a half day school visits, they gather information about the school’s quality by spending time in classrooms, talking with teachers, leaders and parents, and examining the school’s organizational structure and documents. The reviewers look for signs of high-quality teaching, engaged communities, professionally-enriched faculty and dynamic leadership.

The review team uses a rubric to guide their observations and structure their feedback in ten key areas.

What will my school do with the results?

The review team provides a report that includes the school’s strengths and challenge areas, designed to help the school with improvement planning. School leaders then meet with the review team to understand the findings in the report and prioritize next steps. The school’s Instructional Superintendent will support the process of reflection and planning, and in some cases, DPS will provide coaching support as well.

The school leader will also share the results of the review at a community meeting, and will lead a discussion about what the next steps will be to continue improving the school.