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High Reliability Schools


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

Albert Lea Area Schools implements Dr. Robert Marzano's research of High Reliability Schools as a district and school improvement framework. The framework consists of five levels of operation:

  1. Level 1—Safe and Collaborative Culture
    1. 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)
  2. Level 2—Effective Teaching in Every Classroom
    1. 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)
  3. Level 3—Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
    1. 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)
  4. Level 4—Standards-Based Learning
    1. 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.
  5. Level 5—Competency-Based Education
    1. 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, all Albert Lea Area Schools are Level One Certified and we look forward to working toward higher levels.