Elaine K. McEwan writes a book about the qualities and unique characteristics of school that help students get the "Best Education Possible". Each chapter offers research-based trait and examines its impact on student achievement. Trait # 3 is Academic Focus.
Academic focus is the most under appreciated and overlooked trait of highly effective schools. Focus is difficult to observe behaviorally, but there is a quick litmus test: Ask the principal, a handful of teachers, and a small group of students to describe their goals for the school year. If all of these individuals aren't working on the same goals, the school lacks focus. Everyone is doing their own thing.
Step 1: Begin With a Compelling Academic Vision in Mind - The vision that a strong instructional leader has for a school is often sketched out for stakeholders (teachers, students, and parents) with a broad brush.
Step 2: Articulate a Meaningful Shared Mission Statement - After a compelling vision has been conceived and explained, the next step is usually the development of a mission statement that spells out more specific terms what the vision will actually look like in the school.
Step 3: Set Goals That Are Measurable and Attainable - These goals are logical action steps that flow from the mission statement but are smaller and more manageable in scope. Everyone should be working with a different set of goals related to their specific set of responsibilities.
Step 4: Ensure a Focus on Student Learning - Focus is the combination of discipline, intensity, concentration, and commitment with which groups or individuals tackle goals related to student learning.