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Best Practices

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Resource Title 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 district engagement is essential for school reform efforts; and central office administrators and staff need to be united around a shared vision of improving education for all students. Specifically:

  • A weak central office limits schools’ reform progress; a strong district role is effective and welcomed when it uses a strategic conception of responsibilities and leadership between system levels
  • Planning processes and inclusive communication strategies that are embedded in district culture will reduce potential adverse effects of staff turnover on reform efforts
  • Effective leaders clearly articulate goals and priorities and strive towards strong board support

The author notes that successful reforming districts:

  • Take a system approach to reform
  • Have a coherent focus on teaching and learning
  • Utilize data-based inquiry and establish accountability throughout the system
  • Have a central office that is a learning community and invest in true systemwide learning, including departments that typically are excluded from professional development focused on instruction
  • Support professional learning and instructional improvement

Resource Area(s)
Culture and Professional Relationships
Type of Resource
Research Findings
Best Practices
Format PDF document
Related Service(s)