A high reliability school, by definition, monitors the effectiveness of critical factors within the system and immediately takes action to contain the negative effect of any errors that occur.
A Handbook for High Reliability Schools
Cedar Rapids Community School District implements Dr. Robert Marzano, et al.’s research of High Reliability Schools as a district and school improvement framework. The framework consists of five levels of operation:
Level 1—Safe and Collaborative Culture
We aim to “not leave the culture up to chance or happenstance. Rather, leaders in an HRS strive to ensure the organization fosters shared beliefs, behaviors, and norm to at least three areas: (1) safety, (2) support, and (3) collaboration,” (Marzano, Leading a High Reliability School)
Level 2—Effective Teaching in Every Classroom
We aspire to “guarantee that quality teaching occurs in every classroom” by “developing and maintaining effective instruction in every classroom.” (Marzano, A Handbook for High Reliability Schools: The Next Steps to School Reform)
Level 3—Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
We ensure that a guaranteed (what is taught) and viable (timeline for teaching) curriculum is focused on enhancing student learning, meaning “no matter who teaches a specific course or specific content at a certain grade level in a school, students should have the same opportunity to learn the same content.” (Marzano, Leading a High Reliability School)
Level 4—Standards-Based Learning
We are creating a “reporting system [that] identifies specific subject and grade-level topics as well as each student’s status on those topics” (Marzano, A Handbook for High Reliability Schools: The Next Steps to School Reform), meaning we communicate clearly what a student knows, understands, and is able to do in relation to the critical content of the course or class.
Level 5—Competency-Based Education
In the future, we hope to “address the extent to which a school matriculates students based on their demonstrated competence rather than the amount of time they have spent learning.” (Marzano, A Handbook for High Reliability Schools: The Next Steps to School Reform)
Currently, CRCSD is focusing on Levels 1-3 as a school improvement framework. We our proud of all our schools and their implementation, especially those who are certified in various levels.