Division of Intensive Support and Intervention  Logo
Documenting Your Review School Review Rubric
Logistics School Review Team Composition Observing Classes Focus Groups Tips from Review Teams Checklists
Parents and Community Involving Off-Site Stakeholders

Download Tips from Review Teams

Download Tips for Reviewers    Doc 17


Some tips may add more time and work to your process, but they may make School review more meaningful, more efficient, and more impactful in terms of participant buy-in, accurate findings, and moving your school forward so that you can better reach more students.

Tips from Review Teams

Here is a list of helpful tips based on Reflections written by members of Review Teams and principal feedback.


It is our hope that by sharing the feedback provided by participants, that your school can plan a School Review that is meaningful to participants and impactful at your school site.

Tips for Review

Meet as a Review Team prior to Review Day:

  • to train/practice using the rubric
  • to discuss goals for Review Day
  • to review the school plan
  • review the process
  • get buy-in
  • understand what Review Day   is (and is not)
  • discuss findings from last year's review
    • Consider presenting past goals, rubric rankings
    • Present copies of last Review, especially to new team members
  • train non-school-based Review Team members in the process (parents, grandparents, students, community members)


Email Review Team members/school staff before Review Day

  • Pre-Review Reflection --to frame the visit (and potentially shorten the presentation--leaving more time for classroom visits)
  • prepare the whole school in order to get greater buy-in
  • reminders to arrive on-time so that important events happen on time
  • focus areas and questions to guide observations

Involving district representatives

  • Email Pre-Review Reflection at least 3 days prior to Review Day
  • Share your goals for Review Day
  • Send a map and parking information
  • Consider what you most want them to look for--how do you want to use their eyes and fresh perspective?
  • Invite representatives to introduce themselves
  • Summarize what will be covered during the Pre-Review Reflection
  • Include district reps when filling out Review Reflection


Building a Review Team

  • Many Review Team members reflect that they wish more people could have been involved
    • Large groups can be unwieldy--try to strike a balance
    • Think outside-the-box: how might more stakeholders be involved
  • Include students, especially for classroom observations
  • Take time to team build and invest members in the process, ideally before Review Day


Involving Parents

  • Provide translation so all parents may participate in discussion
  • If possible, provide translated forms
  • Train parents prior to Review Day
    • Present goals, write-up, rubric rankings from last year
    • De-mystify the process
  • Involve a variety of parents, beyond parents who are frequently on-campus
  • Invite grandparents


Pre-Review Reflection: Framing Review Day

  • Start with an icebreaker or teambuilder
  • Consider using a protocol to keep discussion focused
  • Be cognizant that teambuilders and ice breakers can run over time if not tightly controlled
  • Be cognizant of time: a Pre-Review Reflection that runs over time may impact other important events during the day
  • Practice with technology set-up
  • Provide plenty of extra copies (make copies days before Review Day)
  • Provide context and purpose for the visit
  • Highlight successes first: build trust and energy for the work participants will do
  • Consider sharing important data and charts on posters, perhaps in a Gallery Walk



  • Pair non-school based Review Team members with school-based members
  • Determine if classroom observations will be "a typical day" or if it will be more focused on types of lessons or categories from the rubric
  • Consider observing other aspects of the school day if it relates to the goals or to better understanding data, i.e. PD, lunch, passing periods, team meetings
  • Consider debriefing between classroom visits:
    • Debrief for 5 minutes before visiting next class
    • Return to common room and post findings after observing 2-3 classes
    • Rank on rubric before moving to next class
  • Consider if Review Team members will observe an entire lesson, or for a shorter time
  • Consider if Review Team members will observe for something specific by observation team
  • Consider if observation teams will have the discretion to stay longer than alloted time
  • Train Review Team members how to collect data, and discuss evidence
    • Transcribe word for word
    • Count occurences
    • Record what the eye sees and the ear hears--instead of impressions or judgements
  • Share Collecting and Analyzing Data/Norms with Review Team
  • Take care not to schedule observations when classes are not there (it seems obvious, but many Reflections indicated that teams had shown up to observe and the classroom was empty)
  • Consider allowing team members from past reviews to visit the same classes to measure growth
  • Consider sending observation teams to observe the same classes to ground the discussion
  • Try not to plan observations on days with special or shortened schedules
  • Consider how teachers will enter classes:  will they need keys? will doors be unlocked or propped?


Focus Groups

  • Consider holding Focus Groups before Review Day and sharing findings, transcripts, or video on Review Day
  • Consider holding teacher Focus Groups during conference time or after school to get more participation
  • Share Guidelines for Conducting a Focus Group and Possible Focus Group Questions with Review Team
  • Consider providing copies of the questions to participants before Focus Groups
  • In a good Focus Group, participants feel safe to speak freely
    • Consider what might inhibit a safe environment
      • Teachers may not speak freely in front of a principal
      • Students may not speak freely in front of a teacher or parent
      • Or they may speak freely if the facilitator can make them feel safe to speak freely
  • Each focus group should have a facilitator and a transcriber
  • Instructional Directors may be good Focus Group facilitators



  • Many Review Reflections mentioned that there was not enough time to de-brief
  • Consider using a protocol for debriefing
  • Set norms. See a list of suggested norms: Collecting and Analyzing Data/Norms
  • Consider debriefing by grade or subject level for reporting out
  • Consider debriefing more frequently for shorter durations of time, for example visit two classes and then everyone debriefs and norms
  • Consider observing one class together (or watching a video of a class) and debriefing together to norm, before starting formal observations (this could also be done ahead of time)
  • Be cognizant of time. Many reviewers reported that they wish they had more time to debrief



  • Reviewers often reflected that they wish that they had been more familiar with the rubric or that time was lost getting acclimated to the rubric
  • Consider familiarizing staff and Review Team with the rubric prior to Review Day
  • The rubric is aligned with the Teaching and Learning Framework
  • Consider practicing rater consensus on or before Review Day



  • Share findings with school community as soon as possible
  • Keep the conversation going, perhaps during PD time or by holding a Town Hall
  • Consider reconvening the Review Team for further discussion or to follow up on the Implementation Plan
  • Consider writing-up the findings/goals and use them at the next Review
  • Consider posting findings and/or goals in a central location and inviting people to post their feedback
    • The same idea could be implemented through email
  • If the school has participated in multiple reviews, compare the outcomes or perhaps chart growth
  • Re-visit recommnedations and commendations later in the year
  • Make the Review relevant to staff and stakeholders