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Best Practices

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Resource Title 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 more than 80 research reports and articles, the authors identify recommended policies and practices, accompanied by citations. Thirteen interrelated themes are identified and organized according to four categories:

  • Effective leadership (Focus on all students learning; dynamic and shared leadership; sustained improvement efforts over time)
  • Quality teaching and learning (High expectations and accountability for administrators, teachers and other staff; coordinated and aligned curriculum and assessment; coordinated and embedded professional development; quality classroom instruction)
  • Support for systemwide improvement (Effective use of data; strategic allocation of resources; policy and program coherence)
  • Clear and collaborative relationships (Professional culture and collaborative relationships; clear understanding of school and district roles and responsibilities; interpreting and managing the external environment)

Questions for reflection are provided for each of the themes to help promote discussions and aid in assessment. The conceptual framework schematic on page 10 of the report depicts the inter-relationships of the themes and a more detailed overview of the themes is provided on page 56.

Resource Area(s)
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
Parent and Community Involvement
Data Systems and Achievement Monitoring
Professional Development
Culture and Professional Relationships
Type of Resource
Research Findings
Best Practices
Format PDF document
Related Service(s)
Building Leadership
Supporting Curriculum, Instruction and Intervention