Document Type

Doctor of Education Capstone

Original Publication Date



Hopewell City Public Schools


Hopewell, VA

Date of Submission

May 2022


Hopewell City Public Schools (HCPS) began the 2021-2022 academic year with an innovative year-round balanced calendar that redistributes the 180 days of instruction and adds six enrichment weeks to increase student engagement, achievement and well-being. The purpose of this capstone project was to support the school system’s need for evaluation to ensure continual improvement and sustainable success.

Using improvement science concepts and tools, the team developed a theory of change and comprehensive evaluation plan of this balanced calendar initiative. The scope of work addressed three primary questions:

  1. What are the essential components of a quality comprehensive evaluation plan for the HCPS balanced calendar initiative?

  2. How can the balanced calendar evaluation plan drive improvement within the division?

  3. How can HCPS use the evaluation plan to strengthen support for the balanced calendar initiative in the larger community?

The mixed-methods approach analyzed both qualitative and quantitative data through: document analysis of school district resources, secondary analysis of survey data collected by a prior capstone team, and interviews and focus groups.

Multiple findings emerged. The evaluation plan should focus on student engagement, student well-being, student achievement, teacher engagement, and quality of instruction. To drive improvement in the district, the plan needs to inform how the district can leverage existing strengths while also addressing emerging challenges. Finally, the evaluation plan can strengthen support in the larger community by illuminating goals, inputs and outcomes.

The Capstone includes seven key recommendations and a detailed Evaluation Plan and Toolkit for HCPS (included as Appendix H.)


© The Authors