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Best Practices

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Resources for Getting Started

Academic Program Survey

The Academic Program Survey (APS) is designed to help schools analyze the extent to which they are providing a coherent instructional program to support improved student achievement. It is based on the nine Essential Program …

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Building Blocks of Integrated Academic Support

This toolkit provides a variety of practical materials to assist external teams in providing technical assistance and conducting needs assessments of districts. The materials are intended to support improving district organizational …

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California ELA/ELD Resources for Local Planning

In this video, Tom Adams, Deputy Superintendent from the California Department of Education, shares selected State resources that can assist in local planning efforts regarding the implementation of the ELA/ELD Framework.

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California School Boards Association Parent Involvement Policies

This Web site provides a variety of resources, including state and federal requirements and policies for parent and community involvement, a policy brief, sample board policies and administrative regulations, and links to additional …

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District Assistance Survey

The purpose of the District Assistance Survey (DAS) is to help a district analyze its capacity to support a coherent instructional program at all schools and for all students. It is intended to guide a team’s conversation about …

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English Learner Tool Kit

The U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) released joint guidance on January 7, 2015, reminding states, school districts and schools of their …

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Leading for Learning

This document is intended to help district and site administrators enable powerful, equitable learning for all students. The ideas and tools identified are based on research literature, examples of leadership in action, and a case …

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PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships

This guide is intended to empower parents, educators, community members, and students to work together to implement programs, practices, and policies that encourage partnerships between families, schools, and communities to promote …

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Taking Center Stage, Act II

This California Department of Education (CDE) Web portal focuses on middle schools and provides a wide range of extensive resources. Much of the information relates to 12 major recommendations, each of which has its own chapter. As a …

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Advancing Equity through ESSA

This document, developed by the CCSSO, offers a framework to help states use ESSA to close opportunity and achievement gaps. Although the intended audience is state leaders, school districts may find helpful advice for ESSA planning …

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Beyond Islands of Excellence

This document describes a study of five high-poverty districts, including a small rural and large urban district, which demonstrated improved test scores across grades, subjects, and racial/ethnic groups. Seven factors were deemed as …

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California Curriculum Frameworks

This website of the California Department of Education provides access to all of the frameworks adopted by the California State Board of Education (SBE):

  • Career Technical Education
  • Foreign …
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California Department of Education's LCFF Information

This California Department of Education webpage hosts information about the Local Control Funding formula including resources and links to legal, fiscal, and practical resources. This website is updated when new information becomes …

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Center for School Change

The Center for School Change (CSC) website provides links to a variety of resources that support the implementation of change at the school, community, and policy levels to increase student achievement, raise graduation rates, and …

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Characteristics of Improved School Districts

This document identifies commonalities among improved school districts and is intended to help districts review and revise their current policies, programs and practices to improve student learning. Based on a review and analysis of …

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Characteristics of School Districts that Are Exceptionally Effective in Closing the Achievement Gap

This article identifies characteristics of school districts that have been exceptionally successful in closing gaps in achievement among diverse groups of students, including students in challenging circumstances. Evidence for the …

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Characteristics of Successful Districts

The Wisconsin Department of Education's Characteristics of Successful Districts offers a set of rubrics that can help guide districts as they build on their unique strengths and plan improvement efforts. Building …

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Gaining Traction, Gaining Ground

This study, conducted by the Education Trust, describes four high schools that made greater-than-expected academic gains with previously underperforming students. The findings are summarized in the following …

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Hiring External Consultants

This video segment provides a concise guide to hiring external consultants for provider services, including professional development activities. This segment includes nine practical tips for maximizing the efficacy of providers. This …

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Inventory of Services and Support (ISS) for Students with Disabilities

Formerly called the Least Restrictive Environment Survey, this self-assessment tool helps districts examine their policies, procedures, and practices in supporting educational options for students with disabilities. It supports …

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LCFF Funding Snapshot

Search for LCFF funding information for California school districts and charter schools on this website. Colorful reports include fiscal information, unduplicated student count data, and tables and charts displaying LCFF related …

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Leadership for a Complex, Multi-year Districtwide Initiative

Wendy Harris, Director, Sacramento County Office of Education, provides the introduction for this video segment that features two retired North Sacramento School District administrators outlining essential factors for implementing a …

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McREL International, Changing Schools

This website contains free downloadable PDFs on various topics pertaining to Changing Schools. These topics are social emotional learning, school improvement, technology, diverse learners, coaching, student engagement, early …

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National Center on Response to Intervention

This website, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, provides information and access to a wide range of numerous resources to support response to intervention (RtI). The Center defines RtI as integrating assessment and …

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National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition

This Web site of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition provides access to a wide range of research and resources to support education of English Learners (EL). Resources are available in the …

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Principal Coaching as a Districtwide Initiative

Wendy Harris, Director, Sacramento County Office of Education, provides the introduction to this comprehensive presentation focused on the efficacy of a districtwide principal coaching model. John Brewer, a retired administrator from …

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Reforming Districts: How Districts Support School Reform

This document describes data and research findings from two districts in the Bay Area and San Diego City Schools. The author notes that: the central office plays a critical role in what goes on in schools and classrooms; effective …

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School Turnarounds, Actions and Results

This report provides descriptive, real-world vignettes that illustrate actions that successful school leaders have taken to turn around low-performing schools. It identifies and explains the leader actions associated with a …

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Smarter Balanced Digital Library

The Smarter Balanced Assessment System has three components: summative assessments, designed for accountability purposes; interim assessments, designed to support teaching and learning throughout the year; and formative assessment …

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Successful Staffing for Successful Schools: Breaking the Cycle of Failure in Charlotte-Mecklenburg

This 2010 report tells the leadership story of how the new superintendent in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) in North Carolina embarked on a new effort, called Strategic Staffing, to implement a district-wide effort to turn …

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The Hexagon Tool

The Active Implementation Hub website includes the Hexagon Tool which is designed to help states, districts, and schools appropriately select evidence-based instructional, behavioral, and social- emotional innovations and prevention …

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The Local Control Funding Formula - An Essential EdSource Guide

This EdSource publication contains basic LCFF information and provides questions and answers about how the LCFF works in California's school and districts. This guide may be helpful when explaining how the funding formula works …

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The Principal's Role in Successful Schools: Creating a Positive School Culture

The Principal's Role in Successful Schools: Creating a Positive School Culture offers guidance for school leaders regarding the transformating of culture in their schools. This article is from Principal magazine …

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The Three Essentials for Improving Schools

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) conducted a study to determine resulting in a report regarding the three essentials of school improvement. This study examined the role of the district office in providing principals with …

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The Turnaround Challenge

This document includes a section on strategies implemented in schools successfully serving high poverty populations, and recommends that turnaround efforts include these strategies. They are described in the High-Performing …

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Vision, Leadership, and Change

This SEDL website includes links to editions of Issues. . .about Change. This link to Volume 2, Number 3 address the topic Vision, Leadership, and Change

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