Effective School Improvement Plans, 5 Keys

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  In this Principal Perspectives, we highlight the ideas of Principal Mark French as he discusses 5 Key Components of an Effective School Improvement Plan. He currently serves as the Principal at Gatewood Elementary in the Hopkins Public Schools in Minnesota. He enjoys cooking on weekends, traveling, and reading. Follow on Twitter @PrincipalFrench.”

5 Keys to Effective School Improvement Plans

Effective School Improvement Plans, 5 Keys

Featuring Mark French

When it comes to effective school improvement plans there are several factors to consider. This cannot be one-size fits all answer. It is not able to be pulled from a neatly packed box or explained in a single action or adjective. In order to create a strong course of action and draw out the desired characteristics, you have to dive a little deeper.

Once you have decided to create a strategic plan, you have already met the first and most important element. Without a plan to concentrate your efforts, your success will be nearly impossible to obtain.

Principal Mark French lists 5 key components to effective school improvement plans “Data review; entry point for all stakeholders; reflection; celebration; communication.”  

A2) Data review; entry point for all stakeholders; reflection; celebration; communication. #engagechat https://t.co/bF44HtFUGC

— Mark French (@PrincipalFrench) December 22, 2018

Individually these components are important, but together they work to create an effective plan to improve your school. To better understand each component, we need to take a deeper look.

Data Review

You can obtain this data in a variety of ways; however, some of the most effective sources include student achievement data, classroom walkthrough information, and surveys from parents, students, teachers, and staff.

Entry Point for All Stakeholders

According to research, plans and ideas that are created collaboratively with all stakeholders will be more widely accepted and implemented. When creating your school improvement plan it is important to solicit feedback from teachers, parents, students, administrators, and community leaders.

Communicating the Plan & the Process

Throughout the entire process, excellent communication is key. Should you ignore this component, your entire plan is at risk of crumbling at the core. Communicate with all stakeholders throughout the entire process to not only create an excellent school improvement plan but to also effectively implement and sustain it.


Take the time to celebrate your success along the way. By celebrating your progress, you are paving the path for a strong and withstanding improvement. Students, teachers, and staff alike will thrive as their achievements are celebrated and acknowledged.


After you have successfully and strategically crafted a school improvement plan, you still have the essential job of continuing to monitor its progress. Principal French suggests:

Monitor it against the goals and strategies that were identified. By posing the simple question, We said we were going to do this…are we doing that?” Mark French, 12/21/2018

An effective improvement plan is useless without an equally effective monitoring system put into place. It is important to take the time to pause and determine if your proposed strategies and goals are aligning with the current atmosphere of your school.

Reflection gives you the ability to monitor the progress of your plan and to make adjustments as necessary.

Effective School Improvement Plans in 5 Simple Steps

Why Do You Need A Plan?

It has been said that implementing an effective school improvement plan is the single most important responsibility of school leaders today. It is essential for schools to keep the pace with a world that is readily advancing and evolving at a rapid rate.

Whereas schools of the past were responsible for updating textbooks every few years, schools today are faced with the responsibility of preparing students for a world that moves much more quickly.

Without an effective school improvement plan and monitoring system put into place, your school is at risk of allowing students and their goals to slip through the cracks.

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