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Posted: September 18, 2017

Pinterest and the 90-Day Plan

Supt. Reedy explains how schools are setting up plans for improvement.

Do you Pinterest? If not, you probably know someone who does. 

As I was preparing to write this week’s message on the 90-Day Plan, I thought I’d see what others have written on the topic. What I didn’t expect was to find so many “pins” (or posts) on Pinterest. (For those of you who don’t know, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where you can discover and save ideas. Check it out when you have some spare time – but I warn you, it can be addictive!)

There were pins on 90-day plans for losing weight, 90-day plans for getting fit (even bikini ready!), 90-day plans for transitioning into a new job, 90-day plans for managing projects, 90-day plans for improving your life!

What these plans all have in common are concrete, achievable goals with measures of success in a practical amount of time.

One of the pins that caught my eye stated, “A goal without a plan is simply a wish.” I like that; it reminded me of what we're doing in Albuquerque Public Schools.

We all want our students to do well in school, to graduate from high school, to flourish in post-secondary education and careers. We want them to have happy, rewarding lives. But we know that just wishing for student success won’t make it happen. We need a plan. A plan that is practical and measurable. A plan that is based on statistics and facts, not conjecture. A plan that can be revisited often – like maybe every 90 days – to re-evaluate, update and revise based on measurable outcomes.   

And that’s just what we’re doing. This school year, all of our schools will develop their own 90-Day Plan. If yours hasn’t yet, it will. Training is happening as we speak. These plans are required by the state, replacing the WEB-EPPS (Education Plan for Student Success), which up until this year was used by schools to track and evaluate improvement plans.

Each school’s 90-Day Plan is personal and specific to the needs of its students. The process starts with a core team that analyzes data like test scores, demographics, and proficiency and attendance rates, then uses that data to establish student achievement goals. 

With input from department and grade-level Professional Learning Communities as well as the school’s Instructional Council, “problems of practice” are identified and strategies for addressing those problems are developed and put into place. Expected outcomes are determined and results are measured to see if those outcomes have been met.  

Grant Middle School has been using this process effectively for the past few years. So effectively, in fact, that they improved two letter grades from an F to a C this year! (Congratulations Team Grant!) You can read more about how they did this in the article posted to the APS website title, “Grant’s Geeking Out on Data, and It’s Paying Off.

Your school’s statistics will look different from Grant’s, as will your problems of practice, strategies and measures. But whatever your goals, I wish you great success. No, I take that back. There’s no need to wish because you’ll have a plan.