One of the first questions we tackled in the DPS School Performance Framework (SPF) committee was to determine who the SPF is for—exactly who is the audience of the SPF?
On the one hand, it’s an accountability tool. The district uses the measures of the SPF to determine which schools are adequately serving students and which schools need more support and even direct intervention. In that view, the primary audience for the SPF is district personnel and principals, who need to review the data and align on a plan to continuously improve the overall performance of a school.
People seem to think that because the SPF is an accountability tool, the school district still needs to be the primary audience, but shouldn’t everyone have access to the same level of information? That’s what makes the most sense to me, because I see the SPF as a measurement tool, not a judgement tool. It’s information – but once you get the information, it’s our job to then start asking questions about how and why students are performing the way they are in a particular school.
On the other hand, because DPS is a family of schools and parents must choose their schools, the SPF is also a family-facing tool. This always seems to be the last thing to be brought up in conversation. Families can see how the school is doing overall. Families in DPS can also see how certain subgroups are served at each school. As the mom of a student with an IEP, it’s super helpful for me to be able to see not just what the overall color rating is for a school, but also how they are specifically serving kids like mine.
The reason this question is important—and one that we kept coming back to because who the SPF is intended to serve will, in turn, tell us what measures and information is most important to be included in that SPF. If the intention is accountability for district personnel familiar with student data, the content and format will and should look different than if the intention is to help an average mom like me find a school that best meets my kids’ needs.
We didn’t necessarily come to a consensus, but I’m curious what you think. Weigh in here and let us know who you think the primary audience for the SPF is.
This blog post is part of a series written by DPS parent, Leilani Siens. You can find the first blog post here. Note: After attending a majority of the SPF Committee meetings, Leilani needed to step down from the committee due to family commitments.