As an educator for more than 30 years, I know that it’s almost impossible to get better without first honestly analyzing where you currently stand. Whether I was in the classroom, at the central office or in urban or rural communities, self-reflection was critical to helping me grow as a professional and – more importantly – setting my students on a pathway to success.

Over the last three years, SCORE has spent many hours learning from those schools and districts in Tennessee that have most dramatically improved student achievement. Based on the work of those schools, as well as what research tells us about what makes schools effective places to teach and learn, we have developed an online self-assessment tool that educators and others can use to focus their work around the four areas that drive student achievement: embracing high standards, cultivating strong district and school leaders, ensuring excellent teaching, and using data to enhance student learning. In my years as an educator, I know that these four things are fundamental in those schools that are successfully preparing their students for the future.

To help you know how your schools are performing in each of these areas, the self-assessment tool contains surveys for superintendents, principals, teachers, parents, and students to help them reflect on how their schools are performing in each of the areas listed above. By including each of those groups in taking the surveys, schools and districts will be able to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie – and where there might be gaps between actions and outcomes.  The tool also contains targeted resources, including video clips, research reports, and artifacts from the SCORE Prize finalists and winners, to help accelerate improvements.

While reflecting is important, it is only as important as what comes next. Below, I’ve listed some suggestions for how you might use the tool to inform your own work:

  • Sharing Results: Take the self-assessment tool as an individual and share the results in your professional learning community, parent-teacher organization, or other club or organization. Highlight common strengths and weaknesses.
  • From Results to Action: Share the results of the assessment with a group of students in your school or district to gather their feedback on ways the school or district might be able to address weaknesses or bolster strengths.
  • Monitoring Progress: Retake the self-assessment tool at the end of the year to highlight progress.

It only takes 15 minutes to use the tool to find out where your school stands. Once you’ve taken the self-assessment, let us know how you’re planning on using the results to support your students on a pathway to college and the workforce.