What makes a good school?

Chances are, if you ask ten different people what makes a good school, you’ll get ten different answers. Over the years, we’ve had people tell us things like ” A good school is one which has the best teachers” or “A good school is where the kids are happiest” or even, “A good school is where the child gets good marks”. And to all of this we say ” yes, and a good school also one that is sustainable, provides the teacher ample opportunities for growth, evolves to meet the changing needs of the times, and produces leaders and thinkers, not just knowledgeable children”.

Of course, any chain of schools worth its salt measures their schools on these parameters, and probably many more as well. However, what wanted was a holistic measure – one that took all these parameters into account, in the right weightages, and then helped us identify the next actions for each school as well. On the other hand, we wanted measures that were actionable (almost piecemeal), and not a large, grand statement that we couldn’t really relate to on the ground. Almost like our child development rubric!

Our biggest problem was how to go about implementing a process of constant evaluation, and thus evolution. We were clear that this couldn’t be an autocratic process of – let’s define a good school and then ask our schools to just transform into a good school, overnight!

And as usual, we started at the beginning. A completely cross functional team of talent managers, school leaders, teachers and academics staff sat together to define ‘Good’ schools. It was a very exciting journey, and at the end of it, we had our first draft of the ‘School Rubric’.

Over the last 2 months, we have implemented the tool. It helps us measure each of our schools on 5 key parameters –
1. Learning
2. Staff
3. Parent (engagement & involvement)
4. Operations
5. Economics

How this works is that each of these key parameters are broken down into specific, measurable sub-parameters. Each of the sub-parameters are both ‘Real’ and “Relevant’. For example, the ‘Learning’ parameter consists of specific,measurable and actionable sub-parameters such as : ‘Learning happens in an environment of well-being, security and positivity in the classroom’. How this would then be measured are by evidences and observations like – the children are smiling and happy, the children trust the maushis and feel comfortable in their company etc.

You can see that the result of this type of evaluation is direct and actionable, making the building of a great school a series of small actions and not an overwhelming and un-relatable concept.

So here’s what we believe are the benefits of this sort of bottom-up approach.

1. Real action. Nothing is obscure. Eg: If your children aren’t smiling, then you need to a take a harder look at your learning environment.

2. Co-created almost always means comprehensive.

3. It takes personalization to the next level. Think about it, each school is now able to create their own path to mastery!

We hope to roll out the rubric to all our schools by November. And as expected, as we implement, we learn, and we adapt. So keep watching this space for more on our school rubric!