Report of the Quality Assurance Review Team for Indian River Charter High School 6055 College Lane Vero Beach, Florida, United States 32966

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1 Report of the Quality Assurance Review Team for Indian River Charter High School 6055 College Lane Vero Beach, Florida, United States Ms Cynthia A Trevino-Aversa, Director Review Dates: 03/10/ /11/2011 North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) are accreditation divisions of AdvancED

2 Quality Assurance Review Report Contents About AdvancED and NCA CASI/SACS CASI 3 Introduction to the Quality Assurance Review 4 Summary of Findings 5 Commendations 5 Required Actions 6 Next Steps 8 Review of AdvancED Standards for Quality Schools 10 Standard 1 Vision and Purpose 10 Standard 2 Governance and Leadership 11 Standard 3 Teaching and Learning 12 Standard 4 Documenting and Using Results 13 Standard 5 Resource and Support Systems 14 Standard 6 Stakeholder Communications and Relationships 15 Standard 7 Commitment to Continuous Improvement 16 Conclusion 18 Appendix 19 Quality Assurance Review Team Members 19 AdvancED Standards for Quality Schools 19 Indian River Charter High School AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 2 of 19 Indian River Charter High School AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 2 of 19

3 About AdvancED and NCA CASI/SACS CASI Background Founded in 1895, the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) accredit public and private schools and districts in 30 states, the Navajo Nation, Latin America, and the Department of Defense Schools worldwide In April 2006, the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), and National Study of School Evaluation (NSSE) came together to form one strong unified organization dedicated to education quality That unified organization, known as AdvancED, creates the world's largest education community, representing 27,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in 65 countries worldwide and educating 15 million students NCA CASI and SACS CASI serve as accreditation divisions of AdvancED Through AdvancED, NCA CASI and SACS CASI have defined shared, research-based accreditation standards that cross state, regional, and national boundaries Accompanying these standards is a unified accreditation process designed to help schools continuously improve The Accreditation Process To earn and maintain accreditation from NCA CASI or SACS CASI, schools must: 1) Meet the AdvancED Standards and Policies for Quality Schools Schools demonstrate adherence to the AdvancED standards and policies which describe the quality practices and conditions that research and best practice indicate are necessary for schools to achieve quality student performance and organizational effectiveness 2) Engage in continuous improvement Schools implement a continuous improvement process that articulates the vision and purpose the school is pursuing (vision); maintains a rich and current description of students, their performance, school effectiveness, and the school community (profile); employs goals and interventions to improve student performance (plan); and documents and uses the results to inform what happens next (results) 3) Demonstrate quality assurance through internal and external review Schools engage in a planned process of ongoing internal review and self-assessment In addition, schools host an external Quality Assurance Review Team once every five years The team evaluates the school's adherence to the AdvancED quality standards, assesses the efficacy of the school's improvement process and methods for quality assurance, and provides commendations and required actions to help the school improve The team provides an oral exit report to the school and a written report detailing the team's required actions The school acts on the team's required actions and submits a progress report following the review NCA CASI and SACS CASI accreditation engages the entire school community in a continuous process of selfevaluation and improvement The overall aim is to help schools be the best they can be on behalf of the students they serve AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 3 of 19

4 Introduction to the Quality Assurance Review Purpose The purpose of the Quality Assurance Review is to: Evaluate the school's adherence to the AdvancED quality standards and policies Assess the efficacy of the school's improvement process and methods for quality assurance Identify commendations and required actions to improve the school Make an accreditation recommendation for review by the national AdvancED Accreditation Commission A key aim of the Quality Assurance Review is to verify that the school is operating with institutional integrity - that it is fulfilling its vision and mission for its students School Preparation To prepare for the Quality Assurance Review, the school community engages in an in-depth self assessment of each of the seven AdvancED standards The school identifies and describes the evidence that demonstrates that it is meeting each standard Through this internal review, the school examines how its systems and processes contribute to student performance and school effectiveness Summary of Team Activities The Quality Assurance Review Team is led by an AdvancED certified team chair and comprised of professionals from outside the school The team reviews the findings of the school's internal self-assessment, conducts interviews with representative groups of stakeholders, reviews student performance data and other documentation provided by the school, and observes practices and daily operations The team engages in professional deliberations to reach consensus on the school's adherence to the standards for accreditation The team provides an oral exit report and prepares a written Quality Assurance Review Team Report designed to help the school improve The Quality Assurance Review Team Report Following the visit, the review team completes the Quality Assurance Review report After review by a nationally-trained reader, the report is submitted to the school The report contains commendations and required actions for improvement Using the Report - Responding to the Required Actions The school uses the report to guide its improvement efforts The school is held accountable for addressing the required actions identified in the report The NCA CASI/SACS CASI State Office is available to assist schools in addressing the required actions At prescribed intervals, the school must submit a progress report detailing the actions and progress the school has made on the team's required actions The report is reviewed at the state and national level to ensure the school is addressing the required actions Accreditation Recommendation The Quality Assurance Review Team uses the findings from the onsite visit to make an accreditation recommendation that is reviewed at the state level and by the national AdvancED Accreditation Commission Accreditation is granted by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission and communicated to the school following action from the commission AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 4 of 19

5 Summary of Findings A Quality Assurance Review Team representing the SACS CASI Florida State Office (SACS-CASI-FL), a division of AdvancED, visited the Indian River Charter High School in Vero Beach, Florida, United States on 03/10/ /11/2011 During the visit, members of the Quality Assurance Review Team interviewed 3 members of the administrative team, 11 students, 11 parents, and 20 teachers In addition, 7 Support Staff, 3 Charter Board Members and 1 School Board Member were interviewed The team also reviewed documents, student performance data, and other artifacts provided by the school Specifically, the team examined the school's systems and processes in relation to the seven AdvancED standards: Vision and Purpose Governance and Leadership Teaching and Learning Documenting and Using Results Resource and Support Systems Stakeholder Communications and Relationships Commitment to Continuous Improvement The AdvancED standards focus on systems within a school and systematic methods of attaining high student performance and organizational effectiveness The power of the standards lies in the connections and linkages between and among the standards The Quality Assurance Review Team used the AdvancED standards to guide its review of the school, looking not only for adherence to individual standards, but also for how the school functions as a whole and embodies the practices and characteristics of a quality school Through its examination of the school's adherence to the standards, the Quality Assurance Review Team identified the following commendations and required actions Commendations The Quality Assurance Review Team commends the school for the following strengths and accomplishments While additional strengths are noted in the detailed review of each standard that appears later in this report, the commendations listed below are the strengths that the team believes are most deserving of being highlighted A school-wide thematic curriculum is in place which intertwines historical aspects, performing arts, and core academic courses, creating numerous cross-curricular opportunities of learning The whole school undergoes a theme focus per quarter, which creates cross-curricular involvement among the core and elective courses For example, the freshmen will focus on ancient history in their study, the sophomores on renaissance period, the juniors on classical time frame, and the seniors on modern era Quality school indicators include the utilization of instructional strategies that are innovative, demonstrating an appreciation of diversity and higher-order thinking opportunities A strong, sustaining collaborative partnership with its major stakeholder, Indian River State College, AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 5 of 19

6 exists with the school Located within walking distance from each other, Indian River Charter High School and Indian River State College (IRSC) provide students with numerous opportunities to obtain associate degrees by/prior to graduation Many of the core academic classes are readily available to the high school students on the IRSC campus through dual enrollment programs Schools can expect higher student learning when, collectively, all stakeholders impact the desired results of the school There is a focus on developing the whole student through researched-based concepts along with a home base system which addresses individual student needs and guidance Indian River Charter High School offers courses such as "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens" and the "Seven Pillars of Character Counts" Students were observed participating in these courses, which build on character-building and critical-thinking The QAR Team observed home base rooms made up of students with teacher and parent mentors, where everything from attendance issues to grades to counseling sessions were being discussed on a regular basis In order to foster a culture of improvement, learning communities continuously enhance individual student effectiveness through inquiry, practice, and peer reflection, providing feedback and guidance which are essential in helping students obtain real-world knowledge and skills There is an emphasis on ethnic diversity, incorporating the varied histories, cultures, and music into the school's curriculum Music composition, dance performances, and languages are celebrated at Indian River Charter High School This was evident during the dinner show presented to the QAR Team on the first evening of the visit and was noted through campus and classroom observations, along with the numerous art displays on the walls A school that engages in a variety of cultural events and offers the recognition of global differences to its students is one that fosters a professional learning community Students are offered a variety of choices within the curriculum, over and above the core academic courses, designed to fit their interests Indian River Charter High School focuses on performing arts and its golf maintenance electives, which attract those students who have a penchant in these areas A quality school is successful when it implements a curriculum that is based on clear expectations for student learning, providing opportunities for all students to acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes in a variety of areas Required Actions AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 6 of 19

7 In addition to the commendations, the Quality Assurance Review Team identified the following required actions for improvement The team focused its required actions on those areas that, if addressed, will have the greatest impact on improving student performance and overall school effectiveness The school will be held accountable for addressing each of the required actions noted in this section Following this review, the school will be asked to submit a progress report on these required actions Develop identifiable and quantifiable short-term and long-term learning goals Indian River Charter High School Although it was evident that teachers regularly met to review events surrounding the thematic curriculum and the academic disciplines, there were no referencing or reports made on achievable learning goals Artifacts cited numerous standardized tests (Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading, SAT, PSAT, and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) had been utilized, but the QAR Team could not find any documentation or evidence of analysis of these results When a school utilizes a comprehensive assessment system to determine expectations for student learning, it leads to clearly defined performance measures, resulting in continuous improvement efforts Document and maintain evidence of using data to drive the whole school's instruction through regularly scheduled progress monitoring The QAR Team could not find any documentation or evidence of analysis of student academic performance results, regularly reviewed by all stakeholders Comparison and trend data of student performances demonstrate verifiable growth and school effectiveness Assure that a team made up of all stakeholders (administration, teachers, parents, students, business partners, and community members) review the School Improvement Plan, Strategy Plan, or Charter School Report, etc once the goals have been formulated Meetings among the teachers and the charter board members were reported to the QAR Team, but there was no evidence of an improvement team representative of all stakeholders meeting on a regular basis to review the school's goals and objectives During the interview process, many stakeholders were not aware of instructional strategies that implemented the core curriculum to pre-determined goals A quality school utilizes a comprehensive assessment system that includes monitoring and oversight by all stakeholders in understanding student performance, school effectiveness, and the results of improvement efforts Explore security measures which will prevent uninvited outsiders from entering the campus While the school prides itself on its open campus where students are free to come and go, the QAR Team noted that this practice could also permit uninvited strangers to easily come onto the grounds with a bare minimum surveillance in place Quality schools maintain the site and facilities to provide an environment that is safe and orderly for all occupants AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 7 of 19

8 Review of AdvancED Standards for Quality Schools: The team reviewed the school's adherence to each of the AdvancED standards The findings from this review are provided in the next section of this report Next Steps The school should: Review and discuss the findings from this report with all stakeholders Ensure that plans are in place to embed and sustain the strengths noted in the commendations section to maximize their impact on the school Develop action plans to address the required actions made by the team Include methods for monitoring progress toward the required actions Use the report to guide and strengthen the school's efforts to improve student performance and school effectiveness Following the Quality Assurance Review, submit the Accreditation Progress Report detailing progress made toward addressing the required actions The report will be reviewed at the state and national level to ensure that significant progress is being made toward the required actions Lack of progress can result in a change in accreditation status Continue to meet the AdvancED accreditation standards, submit required reports, engage in continuous improvement, and document results Resources AdvancED offers a range of resources to support your school as it acts on the findings in this report The AdvancED Resource Network, available at wwwadvanc-edorg/resourcenetwork, provides an online network of peer-to-peer practices, best practices, and resources and tools designed to help schools with their improvement efforts Available any where, any time, the network can be queried for information on a variety of school improvement subjects The AdvancED Research and Development division provides research, handbooks, and tools to assist schools with continuous improvement In addition, your state office provides hands-on professional development and ongoing technical assistance Contact your state office for more information on the range of resources available to you Celebrating Accreditation Following the visit, the Quality Assurance Review Team submits an accreditation recommendation to AdvancED for state review and for action at the national level by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, which confers accreditation and communicates it to the school Upon receiving its accreditation, the school should celebrate its achievement with the school community The SACS-CASI-FL accreditation seals are available at wwwadvancedorg/communicationskit for accredited schools and districts to post on their website and to use in school communications Flags, door decals, diploma seals, and lapel pins are also available and can be ordered from the website to help you share your accomplishment with your community AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 8 of 19

9 Summary The accreditation process engages the school in an ongoing journey of continuous improvement The next steps in this journey are to build on the strengths and address the required actions noted in this report Doing so will enable the school to advance in its quest for excellence and deepen the fulfillment of its mission for all students AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 9 of 19

10 Review of AdvancED Standards for Quality Schools The primary requirement for accreditation is that the Indian River Charter High School demonstrates that it meets the seven standards for accreditation The findings of the Quality Assurance Review Team regarding the standards for accreditation are summarized on the following pages Standard 1 Vision and Purpose Standard: The school establishes and communicates a shared purpose and direction for improving the performance of students and the effectiveness of the school Description - The team noted how the school met the intent of the standard based on the preponderance of evidence: Indian River Charter High School has a mission and vision statement that focuses upon developing a "new set of competencies and foundational skills" that are meant to help students enjoy a productive, full, and satisfying life This statement is found on display throughout the school in classes and in the halls It is also printed on the school's newsletter and was easily cited by many stakeholders who were interviewed There is a demonstrated shared purpose of building upon the talents and capabilities of each student This is particularly noted in the outstanding performing arts program If a student is interested in pursing studies that encompass art, music, dance, and theater, the school offers one-on-one guidance through a home base system Stakeholders, which not only include parents and business partners, but also the neighboring Indian River State College, have a strong collaboration to strive toward success for the school They are readily available to lend assistance and support The vision and purpose of the school is communicated and implemented by an active charter board The school profile is established and maintained Because classes are small, every student receives the attention of teachers, staff personnel, and administrators For this reason, the vision and purpose is on the forefront of everyone involved at Indian River Charter High School Strengths - The team noted the following successful practices deserving of recognition: There is a strong sense of commitment among all stakeholders to assure the successful accomplishments of each student's endeavor Recognized as a performing arts school, there is a shared direction toward assisting students in their achievement of the specialized areas The mission statement involves giving students an opportunity to develop a new set of competencies; this is inherent in the performing arts programs and it drives the teaching process Opportunities - The team offers the following opportunities for improvement for consideration by the school: Review identified goals and reformulate them on a regular basis during stakeholder meetings Revise the vision and mission periodically, making sure that it continues to guide the teaching and learning process in all academic courses AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 10 of 19

11 Finding: Indian River Charter High School has earned the overall assessment level of "Operational" and has met this standard for accreditation Standard 2 Governance and Leadership Standard: The school provides governance and leadership that promote student performance and school effectiveness Description - The team noted how the school met the intent of the standard based on the preponderance of evidence: The school's leadership promotes student performance through the establishment of policies and procedures Administrators are recognized as the spearhead of the school who assure that this charter school is in compliance with district requirements, local, state, and federal laws Under the direction of the administrators, an established learning community is evident Teachers who are designated as team leaders meet within their academic disciplines to review the thematic curriculum In the past year, this charter school began a student government elective process where students were able to serve as leaders among their peers Record keeping of each teacher's professional development credits has been delegated to a faculty member who assures that professional growth is taking place among the faculty and staff Numerous curricular and extracurricular activities are managed through the office of administration and delegated to identified teacher coaches The school promotes student responsibility and self-discipline by giving students a schedule that is similar to what college students have They are free to attend classes and leave the campus at will, but are held accountable for their studies There is a culture of responsibility, as stakeholders are given meaningful roles in the decision-making process The charter school board members are actively involved in the school's direction Indian River State College is located just steps away from Indian River Charter High School's main campus The high dual enrollment of the students enable many of them to obtain their associate degrees before actually graduating from the high school Strengths - The team noted the following successful practices deserving of recognition: The school plays a very active role within the community through the direction of its administration team The school's director is acknowledged and recognized as the administrative head of the school Local, state, federal, and district compliance is overseen by the administration team Student government positions have been created in the past year and students take an active part in learning civic responsibilities A faculty member holds the responsibility of maintaining the professional development records of the teachers, assuring professional growth is taking place among the faculty and staff Opportunities - The team offers the following opportunities for improvement for consideration by the school: Employ a system that consists of analysis and review of school effectiveness Assure that all stakeholders are made aware of verifiable and measurable school effectiveness AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 11 of 19

12 Finding: Indian River Charter High School has earned the overall assessment level of "Operational" and has met this standard for accreditation Standard 3 Teaching and Learning Standard: The school provides research-based curriculum and instructional methods that facilitate achievement for all students Description - The team noted how the school met the intent of the standard based on the preponderance of evidence: Indian River Charter High school is a small campus with an open-door policy and an open campus High school students are treated as college students with the freedom to come and go within the structure of their class schedule There is minimal supervision of students, in that they are given similar behavioral expectations that college students are given A home base system is in place, where students are grouped and assigned a teacher and a parent mentor for one-on-one guidance on academic achievements, career interests, and mentors Teachers reported that they are free to develop ideas and to go to administration, where a quick response to their ideas occurs One-third of the students are in dual enrollment with the neighboring college, Indian River State College Many students are able to obtain associate degrees before graduating from the high school A thematic curriculum, which encompasses the historical stages found in art---such as ancient, renaissance, classical, and modernism---drives the instructional strategies and blends the core academics with the performing arts program of the school Math classes review tempos and beats from the historical stages Language arts classes feature writers during those periods, also This elicits a unified and clearlydefined expectation to student learning Students are challenged to excel Critical-thinking projects can be found in their Owner-Builder course, which is a virtual program where students choose a plot of land, evaluate their community, and design a home within that community Students are also required to learn the Covey's Seven Habits of an Effective Teen in addition to the Seven Pillars of Character Building There is also a commitment toward an appreciation of diversity High expectations should be set for academic excellence and rigor in the core curriculum with a focus on the core academic curriculum areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies Teacher, student, and parent interviews indicate that the curriculum emphasized character development and home base curriculum Though commendable, as to the result of level of student investment and respect, equal efforts should be given to students passing the AP (Advanced Placement) exam and achieving well on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) The use of science labs and/or simulative labs is recommended to be used on an on-going basis Online access to attendance and grades can be ascertained by parents and students via the school district's esembler system The school reports that there has been a 95% parental usage of this system, which also serves as a communications venue for teachers to parents The QAR Team did not find evidence of using formative assessment data and feedback to students to AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 12 of 19

13 guide improvement or determine intervention needs The school staff has not engaged in data analysis to determine improvement goals The goals in the previous year's School Improvement Plan were not explicit, precisely measurable, or monitored frequently Strengths - The team noted the following successful practices deserving of recognition: Indian River Charter High School Students are actively involved in the learning process; they are given opportunities to explore and apply new approaches of learning Teachers provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills to real world situations, as evidenced in the caliber of performance of students in the Visual and Peforming Arts programs Students not only performed but also composed music The collaboration among the performing departments is to be commended In the production of the Fame musical play, various departments worked together to maximize students' talents and potential Each student is challenged to excel They also reflect a commitment of equity and have developed an appreciation of diversity All students, parents, and staff report that they feel that there is an intimate setting where everyone is nurturing and caring Stakeholders feel that they belong Students are invested and held responsible for their actions Through thematic units of instruction, diverse cultures are explored through readings, music, food, and events This allows students to immerse themselves in the time periods, making instruction relevant to them Opportunities - The team offers the following opportunities for improvement for consideration by the school: Revise the school improvement planning process to develop instructional goals that are based on data analysis which are specific, measurable, and time-bound Intensify focus on the core academic curriculum areas (language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies) to assist students in passing the AP (Advanced Placement) exam and scoring well on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) Implement the use of science labs and/or simulation labs on an on-going basis Finding: Indian River Charter High School has earned the overall assessment level of "Operational" and has met this standard for accreditation Standard 4 Documenting and Using Results Standard: The school enacts a comprehensive assessment system that monitors and documents performance and uses these results to improve student performance and school effectiveness Description - The team noted how the school met the intent of the standard based on the preponderance of evidence: The culture of the school is one of success and building a strong community of support schoolwide During the QAR Team interviews with stakeholders, campus walk-throughs, and classroom observations, it was apparent that focusing on individual students needs and abilities was paramount for the school However, the review of documentation showed minimal hard data to support the high level of academic accomplishments among the students Instead, through the close knit community, constant communication, and home base atmosphere, the administration and staff maintained a mental focus of AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 13 of 19

14 each student, not one based upon hard data obtained from the standardized testing Indian River Charter High School utilizes multiple standard assessments to measure student progress such as FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test), SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), ACT (American College Testing), and FAIR (Florida Assessment for Instruction in Reading) However, a comprehensive system documenting the results of these tests were not found among the artifacts reviewed by the QAR Team Strengths - The team noted the following successful practices deserving of recognition: Indian River Charter High School Staff members are familiar with their students capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses due to the home base system that is in place at the school This is where students are grouped and then provided one-on-one mentoring to help keep them on a positive track while enrolled at the school The district's esembler provides parents with information on their students' grades and attendance, It also serves as a communication tool for the teachers Opportunities - The team offers the following opportunities for improvement for consideration by the school: Maintain written records of student assessment data (both formal and informal) for making decisions for continuous improvement of teaching and learning Establish baseline performance measures and interim data to show trends in monitoring student progress and align individualized instruction as needed Use student assessment data to demonstrate verifiable growth in student performance Provide professional development for staff in the use of data driven instruction to be used in conjunction with the thematic instructional curriculum Develop an assessment system to share data with all stakeholders that is tangible and bias-free Finding: Indian River Charter High School has earned the overall assessment level of "Emerging" and has not met this standard for accreditation Standard 5 Resource and Support Systems Standard: The school has the resources and services necessary to support its vision and purpose and to ensure achievement for all students Description - The team noted how the school met the intent of the standard based on the preponderance of evidence: This school is dedicated to providing the resources and services in order for its students to be successful The administration utilizes the services of a website staffing firm called TeachersTeacherscom Through this service, qualified faculty members are recruited Because of the specialized programs in music and arts, this service has been very useful Payroll and benefit packages are also handled by the firm Teachers and staff are assigned to positions for which they have been prepared, and for which the school has purposed in its vision to support The administration and its governing board meet monthly Staffing needs and decisions are reported An accounting of all funds received and dispersed are disclosed A yearly audit is conducted by a certified firm to insure that fiscal policies are being followed AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 14 of 19

15 The Indian River Charter High School s faculty and students are very proud of their school They are proactive in maintaining and caring for it Every student is required to be actively involved (assigned a job) in keeping the site and the equipment in the school in the best condition possible Regular fire drills and evacuation exercises take place The faculty is committed to the all-around growth and development of their students Their Homebase Program fosters a family atmosphere It provides counseling, tutoring, and mentoring for students Career and educational planning are provided through the Homebase Program and their partnership with Indian River State College Teachers are diligent in their efforts to address and provide support for special needs students They meet, discuss, and plan how to adequately provide the instruction specified in the Individual Educational Plan Financial transactions are monitored and reviewed by the charter school governing board Budgetary resources are managed, in conjunction with the board, by the school's director/principal There is construction going on campus, as the school builds larger classrooms A security person has been hired to patrol the grounds, but there are questions regarding the safety and security of the campus as the frontage and surrounding areas are wide opened to the public street and passing college traffic Strengths - The team noted the following successful practices deserving of recognition: Indian River Charter High School The school provides a safe and supportive atmosphere through its Homebase Program Teachers offer counseling as they keep track of student progress or give tutoring assistance, if there is a need Every child at Indian River Charter High School is assigned a Homebase teacher who stays with him/her the entire four years they are enrolled There is a dynamic vision and fiscal planning which enables the school to fund the exemplary programs The administration keeps the governing charter board informed of the school s needs as they develop The administration continually looks for innovative programs that are fresh, relevant, and effective Opportunities - The team offers the following opportunities for improvement for consideration by the school: Explore other security measures that will prevent uninvited outsiders from entering the campus Finding: Indian River Charter High School has earned the overall assessment level of "Operational" and has met this standard for accreditation Standard 6 Stakeholder Communications and Relationships Standard: The school fosters effective communications and relationships with and among its stakeholders Description - The team noted how the school met the intent of the standard based on the preponderance of evidence: Indian River Charter High School fosters and demonstrates open communication with all stakeholders through its open door and open campus policy The school utilizes surveys with students, parents and the community to ensure they are meeting the needs of all vested groups The required orientation before application gives parents and students an opportunity to make an informed decision about committing to IRCS AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 15 of 19

16 Parents may communicate with staff through the Indian River School District's esembler, as well as check daily on student grades and attendance Ninety-five percent of the parents use esembler There is also an active parent organization with approximately twenty parents who attend on a regular basis The school places advertising and informational articles in local newspapers and on local television and radio stations to keep the surrounding community informed of the successes of the school Students are required to perform community service hours as part of their graduation requirement and the performing arts are often times asked to perform at local events Strengths - The team noted the following successful practices deserving of recognition: IRCS is committed to be available to all stakeholders as needed The fine and performing arts programs spotlight the talents of their students and encourages them to be involved in the community All faculty and staff were involved in the SACS accreditation process Opportunities - The team offers the following opportunities for improvement for consideration by the school: Identify and recruit students to represent more diversity Implement a School Action Committee to assist with the development of the Charter Annual Report (or school improvement plan or school strategy plan, etc), meeting once per month to oversee the report Finding: Indian River Charter High School has earned the overall assessment level of "Operational" and has met this standard for accreditation Standard 7 Commitment to Continuous Improvement Standard: The school establishes, implements, and monitors a continuous process of improvement that focuses on student performance Description - The team noted how the school met the intent of the standard based on the preponderance of evidence: It is evident that Indian River Charter High School is committed to their vision of providing their students with the opportunity to develop a new set of competencies and foundational skills that will help them to enjoy a productive, full, and satisfying life In this endeavor, stakeholders are regularly informed of school events, celebrations, and activities through newsletters, orientations, and through the communications from the home base teachers School personnel are offered some opportunities for professional development provided by the Indian River School District The school could identify, based on the targeted areas for improvement, the professional development needed to support instructional staff members in meeting the goals set to increasing student achievement If such professional development is not offered through the District, administration should provide continuous improvement utilizing in-house professional development Artifacts of continuous surveys were observed by the QAR Team These inform stakeholders of new AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 16 of 19

17 improvements needed and areas of strength, based on how implemented strategies are meeting the needs of their student body Across the board, student progress monitoring based upon test data, was not evident to the QAR Team Instead, school improvement efforts stem from subjective observations of the faculty and administration, rather than from documentations, formulation of goals, and data chats Strengths - The team noted the following successful practices deserving of recognition: Indian River Charter High School The school's continuous improvement process includes regular review of the vision and purpose of the school system The school evaluates the effectiveness of the instructional/performing arts programs Opportunities - The team offers the following opportunities for improvement for consideration by the school: Utilize a reporting tool, such as the CSAR (Charter School Accountability Report), to guide continuous improvement and monitor progress toward meeting goals and objectives set before the academic year Using FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) data from the previous year, develop specific strategies and programs to increase learning and to address achievement gaps in each content area Designate a committee representing all stakeholders, including each content area and VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts), to analyze this data to create a working document that becomes the framework of the plan Share the CSAR with all stakeholders for input and feedback on a continuous basis; it should be revisited mid-year to assess the success of the strategies being implemented Based upon the CSAR and on the targeted areas for improvement, identify the professional development needed to support instructional staff members in meeting the goals set to increasing student achievement If such professional development is not offered through the District, administration should provide continuous improvement utilizing in-house professional development Establish a venue for faculty and staff to continue to regularly collaborate at grade level meetings, department meetings, and curriculum meetings Faculty and staff can share information on effective instructional delivery, implementation strategies, and modifications for individual learning needs through Professional Learning Communities (PLC) Establish baseline and interim assessment data in order to carry out data chats with ALL stakeholders to assure communication of continuous improvement Administrative data chats, faculty and staff data chats, and data chats with students will provide ownership and awareness of areas of strengths as well as guide instruction for further improvement in areas deficiencies Finding: Indian River Charter High School has earned the overall assessment level of "Emerging" and has not met this standard for accreditation AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 17 of 19

18 Conclusion The commendations and required actions in this report are designed to focus the school on those areas that will have the greatest impact on student performance and school effectiveness While powerful in potential, the commendations and required actions only have meaning when acted upon by the school The strength of this report lies in the school's commitment to using the findings to continuously improve The key is action The school is encouraged to use the report as a call to action, a tool to sustain momentum in the ongoing process of continuous improvement The team identified required actions for improvement that the school will need to address Following this review, the school will be required to submit a progress report summarizing its progress toward addressing the team's required actions The Quality Assurance Review Team expresses appreciation to the School Administration, members of the professional staff, students, parents and other community representatives for their hospitality throughout the visit The team wishes the school and its students much success in the quest for excellence through SACS-CASI-FL accreditation with AdvancED AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 18 of 19

19 Appendix Quality Assurance Review Team Members Mrs Teri Pinney, CHAIR (Teri Pinney, MBA, GPC) Ms Gyovania Marante, MEMBER (City of Hialeah Educational Academy) Mrs Dianne Rodriguez, MEMBER (Bayside High School) Ms Mechi Anaut-Paget, MEMBER (School for Advanced Studies) Mrs Elizabeth Young, MEMBER AdvancED Standards for Quality Schools The AdvancED Standards for Quality Schools are comprehensive statements of quality practices and conditions that research and best practice indicate are necessary for schools to achieve quality student performance and organizational effectiveness As schools reach higher levels of implementation of the standards, they will have a greater capacity to support ever-increasing student performance and organizational effectiveness Each of the seven standards listed below has corresponding indicators and impact statements which can be accessed at wwwadvanc-edorg Vision and Purpose The school establishes and communicates a shared purpose and direction for improving the performance of students and the effectiveness of the school Governance and Leadership The school provides governance and leadership that promote student performance and school effectiveness Teaching and Learning The school provides research-based curriculum and instructional methods that facilitate achievement for all students Documenting and Using Results The school enacts a comprehensive assessment system that monitors and documents performance and uses these results to improve student performance and school effectiveness Resource and Support Systems The school has the resources and services necessary to support its vision and purpose and to ensure achievement for all students Stakeholder Communications and Relationships The school fosters effective communications and relationships with and among its stakeholders Commitment to Continuous Improvement The school establishes, implements, and monitors a continuous process of improvement that focuses on student performance AdvancED Quality Assurance Review Report Page 19 of 19

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