The C-Change Framework serves as the primary focus for school growth and student achievement within the RCPS Comprehensive Plan. The following graphic and accompanying explanation describe the interconnectivity among the school division, schools, and classrooms within this model. The vehicle for implementation of the model within the schools is the RCPS Strategic Planning Process.
The C-Change Framework describes the types of deeper learning experiences that should be readily evident in every classroom, in every school within the school division. Every RCPS student deserves the opportunity to learn from educators who are committed to preparing, planning, creating, implementing, and evaluating for these outcomes. The C-Change Framework also articulates five essential components and conditions that must be nurtured and developed in order for the outcomes to become reality in each classroom: Balance, School and Classroom Climate, Professional Growth, Support Tools and Services, and Learning Culture.
The C-Change Framework is effective and meaningful in promoting consistent, sustained improvement only to the extent that it leads to change in schools, cohorts of teachers and staff, and individual classrooms. RCPS believes that reform relies on the work done individually and collaboratively by teachers, staff, and leaders in each school to put into practice the ideals of the C-Change Framework through goals adopted at the school and classroom level. Individual teachers and staff understand the nature of classrooms that focus on deeper learning and accept responsibility for the professional growth needed to make it happen. Teachers and staff then join together within professional learning communities (PLC) to develop common goals and plans and mutually support their implementation within the PLC. The collective work of teachers within PLCs serves as the primary conduit of change implementation required by the overall School Strategic Plan which is developed through the continuous assessment of needs within the school in alignment with the C-Change Framework. The Strategic Planning Process represents the cycle of continuous improvement expected at each school and is an internal and external means of accountability to stakeholders, including accountability within the Roanoke County Strategic Planning process.
RCPS is a system of individual schools and central departments aligned to a common vision and mission. Just as individual schools are accountable to stakeholders for continuous improvement, so, too, is RCPS accountable to stakeholders as a school division. Each RCPS department develops standards of excellence and short-term goals in support of the learning focus of the school division and the individual schools. These standards and goals include every aspect of the operation of the school system including instruction, nutrition, human resources, facilities, technology, student services, administration, and finance. Performance goals and evidence of achievement are reported regularly to the School Board, the Virginia Department of Education, and other accrediting agencies, and are made public to RCPS stakeholders through various media.
 See DuFour and Fullan (2013) to learn more about the importance of PLCs and how to use them to change and sustain school learning culture.
School divisions and local schools are required by the Code of Virginia to adopt comprehensive, long-range plans for continuous growth and improvement. In RCPS, the Comprehensive Plan and its various components described within this document are designed to meet the state requirement. At the school level, the School Strategic Plan serves as the required blueprint for long-range continuous improvement. The School Strategic Plan and the district Comprehensive Plan, however, also serve a second purpose. The continuous cycle of study, implementation, and evaluation of these plans provide evidence to our stakeholders and outside accrediting agencies of our purposeful planning, data-based decision making, and accountability for student achievement and organizational effectiveness. This process of internal and external accountability is known as the RCPS Strategic Planning Process.
Although the School Strategic Plan for each school aligns with the overall goals of the school division as articulated by the C-Change Framework, the RCPS Strategic Planning Process is designed to allow for a degree of differentiation among the 27 schools within RCPS. Since evidence collected at each school is likely to reveal strengths and concerns particular to that school, each school’ strategic plan goals should reflect priority areas for growth to be addressed by the plan until sustainability is reached in the priority area or new evidence suggests the need to change priorities.
The integrity and credibility of RCPS Strategic Planning Process is maintained internally at each school though shared responsibility for the evidence-based identification of priorities, the development and implementation of action plans, the evaluation of progress, and ongoing revisions to the plan. The Strategic Planning Process is guided by engaged school leaders, but is only effective in realizing growth to the extent that stakeholders are meaningfully involved and the focus of change remains on individual classrooms within learning communities of professionals working collaboratively. The strategic plan for each school is a more than a document that is created but only reviewed every three years, it provides much of the day-to-day, purposeful focus for identified areas of growth. As such, the School Strategic Plan goals should be reviewed and revised at least annually based on evidence collected as measures of ongoing progress.
The integrity and credibility of RCPS Strategic Planning Process is also maintained though a review process that is external to each school. Each year, school leadership works with a liaison from central administration to review the planning and implementation process that the school has followed during the school year, as well as progress the school has made toward achievement of the chosen goals. The role of the liaison is to serve as a catalyst for reflection and a resource for suggestions and support. In the third year of the school improvement cycle, the principal of the school should schedule dates for a visit from a review team that is external to the school, but comprised of a principal and staff member from designated schools as well as the central administration liaison. The purpose of the visit is to allow the visiting team to meet with school leadership and stakeholder representatives to review the school’s data, goals, and improvement process. Empirical and anecdotal evidence of progress toward meeting the chosen goals should be presented along with plans for future direction. The review team will be especially interested in observing a clear alignment of school goals with the Digital C-Change Framework, what data were used to identify priorities, how the staff was organized to implement the School Strategic Plan, and how the School Strategic Plan resulted in change within individual classrooms to produce student achievement. The review team will provide feedback, including commendations and recommendations for strengthening the school continuous improvement process.