The Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office (GVSU CSO) constantly uses comprehensive data and evaluations to improve authorizer effectiveness. The GVSU CSO implements a diverse range of systems that monitor internal growth as well as the growth of the schools it serves. The evaluations allow the GVSU CSO to identify strong practices already in place and areas of needed improvement. The diverse assortment of feedback allows the authorizer to quickly and effectively strategize, take action, and best serve its stakeholders.
The GVSU CSO uses various evaluation systems to guide organizational, individual, and charter school improvement. All work of authorizer personnel is aligned with the authorizer’s strategic plan. All authorizer personnel complete individual annual evaluations for personal growth and assessment. School evaluation is determined through multiple assessment measures related to academic performance, governance, and compliance. These measures are stated in the standards of the contract between the school and the authorizer.
The GVSU CSO excels at measuring academic improvement related to the schools it serves by periodically collecting trend and comparison data related to standardized testing and growth testing. The GVSU CSO extracts data from State of Michigan databases and its own internal data share-house system, MI-School.net. The GVSU CSO also collects data through the Northwest Evaluation Assessment’s Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) test. The state databases allow the authorizer to evaluate multiple academic areas including graduation trends, test score trends, and how schools compare to others in the surrounding area. The NWEA MAP data shows a school’s overall fall-to-spring academic growth as well as grade level growth. After gathering and analyzing this data, the authorizer clearly identifies schools in need of additional support and implements an appropriate improvement plan.
Additionally, the GVSU CSO initiates growth by gathering data related to the programs and professional development it offers. Exit surveys regarding presenters and content are collected from participants. Survey responses directly determine what participants enjoyed and what could be improved. Similar surveys and feedback opportunities are given to those who attend authorizer student programs including campus visits, summer enrichment camp, and ArtPrize Education Days. The collected data helps the GVSU CSO provide professional development and programs that best serve the participants.
In an effort to further improve the effectiveness of the GVSU CSO, the staff is exploring the use of EdLabs as another way to collect data. At its full potential, EdLabs will provide reliable evidence to help the GVSU CSO make decisions that will increase internal growth and achievement within its charter schools.
The GVSU CSO relays achievement and goals to its stakeholders through many avenues. The authorizer’s leadership gives detailed reports to university leadership multiple times each month. The authorizer uses compiled data reports to communicate school performance to stakeholders. The GVSU CSO understands the importance of transparency and accountability and makes these data reports available to the public. Public stakeholders also receive information about the authorizer through digital media, advertising, social media, and authorizer reports focused on achievement.