Information for Chairs and Visiting Committee
Chair Tips Here's a thoughtful list of ideas and actions to help
you in your work. This personal list contains more detail than the
checklist found in the manuals.
Topics for chairs and school personnel to discuss prior to the visit -
schedule, parking, hotel, food,
clerical support, meeting guidelines. These are mine; make your
Committee Agreements outlines our commitment to the school. We
ask the school to hold us accountable! This is a personal practice
as chair for me. I find it clears the air of any "got ya" feelings
and opens the dialog early.
a work in progress.
Best Practices for
Visiting Committee members.
a work in progress.
Language for Visiting Committee members writing
analytical/evaluative responses to the school's self-study for the
Prewriting Worksheet based on
indicators and prompts are available on the
These are newer worksheets which include more detailed concepts for
each of the criteria.
50 Ways to
Improve Your Writing Humorous
guide to writing style. Thanks to Jim for this
list of 50 writing tools comes from Roy Peter Clark and is posted at
the Poynter Institute website
for journalists. You might even want to purchase a copy of his book
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer.
If not check out the podcasts that
accompany this. For example:
10. Cut big, then
Prune the big limbs, then shake out the dead leaves.
14. Get the name of the dog.
Dig for the concrete and specific details that appeal
to the senses.
32. Place gold
coins along the path.
Reward the reader with high points, especially in the
and Style Tips Not so humorous guide to writing style.
However, this one is directed particularly at the style errors in
writing for Focus on Learning.
Check out the lists of
verbs to help with
is a help
for new members: good questioning stems, some general
questions for focus groups, and guides for good questioning techniques
- a combination of many resources.
questions promote reflection and the highest level of
thinking. Ask questions directed to process rather than content
to focus on the thinking process which underlie behavior, performance,
decision, or choice.
THINK before you ask the
question. Is it Thoughtful? Is it Helpful? Is is Important? Is it
Necessary? Is it Kind?
listening techniques will encourage more open communication.
Here are a few
tips on observing
while at the
school. A shorthand way of remembering the most important things is
to look for three Cs and a E
-- curriculum content; challenges to students' cognitive abilities;
the classroom and lesson context; and evidence of student engagement.
thanks to the
Spokane School District for this easy memory device.
If you want a
checklist to keep your memory
fresh, here's one that will help you capture much! Download and copy
it as you need.
The suggestion is often made to
leave a handwritten note in each classroom you visit. Should
you adopt this practice, focus on one positive, concrete point that
homes in on one thing you appreciate about how they worked with a
child or the class that day. Find a strength, express your
appreciation for it, and thank the person for letting you visit
their classroom. Remember, you need to be very careful in these
comments so as not to send "false positivies". Consider using one of these stems to begin.
The Visiting committee's Wednesday public
presentation of the report at the end of the visit is the last, best
impression and information for the school. Do it WELL!
Consider using a PowerPoint® presentation to keep it short and on
target. Here are my shells; one for
which could be used with almost any of the partner associations;
and one for
(Don't let that NXPowerpointLite®
fool you. That's an addin to PowerPoint®
that shrinks the size of the file.) The background is easy to change to the
school's colors. We insert photos of students and staff taken while
on campus during the visit and we'll leave a copy with the school so
they may share it with other audiences. The last slide is a thank
you to the school from the VC - a professionally personal ending.
Thanks to an unknown chair for this
suggestion. Depending on the
circumstances (school, time available, mood), I might leave out the
"21st Century Skills" piece.
WASC has its versions
(quite similar but more formal just make sure you get the correct
version) on their website (look in the
have some different questions. Here's information for
WASC website includes some on-line