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Comprehensive planning is the first of the Illinois State Board of Education's eight essential elements for effective education and comprises the district's contribution to district  and school continuous improvement. The school district bears responsibility for school improvement and can play a critical role in improving leadership, indicating models that support improvement, and establishing a common language and practice for critical improvement data use. Districts that function at a high level, with a clear vision and district-wide goals, provide more effective support for the needs of their individ​ual schools and their own improvement. Well-functioning districts can lead to high-performing schools. This annotated bibliography includes articles t​hat highlight the district's unique role and contribution to school improvement according to the categories of:

  • Leadership and comprehensive planning
  • Models that support comprehensive planning
  • Data use and comprehensive planning.

Leadership and Comprehensive Planning

District-level leadership is key to setting the example, enhancing the culture, and delivering effective support for improvement. District-level leadership can emerge as a critical partner with schools to make the improvement of teaching and student learning a reality.

Bowers, A. J. (2008). Promoting excellence: Good to Great, NYC's District 2, and the case of a high-performing school district. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 7, 154–177.

Bowers draws similarities between a high performance district (New York City's District 2) and the book, Good to Great (Collins, 2001), which looked at leadership and effectiveness in the corporate world, to inform a study of the characteristics of a high-performing district. The findings of similarities included focusing resources on system-wide goals. The study concentrated on five main issues:

  • Creating boundaries but allowing for innovation
  • Creating an organizational focus
  • Hiring and training teachers
  • Channeling funds to district priorities
  • Committing to success while acknowledging challenges

The study included classroom observations, interviews, and document reviews. Bowers concludes that school districts, much like for-profit organizations, must focus on "creating an overall system that integrates form and function while channeling the efforts of employees toward a common goal" (p. 160).

Clifford, M., Hansen, U. J., & Wraight, S. (2012, April). A practical guide to designing comprehensive principal evaluation systems. Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.

The guide is organized in three sections: Research and policy context, state accountability and district responsibility, and development and implementation of principal evaluation systems. It supports the idea that the building principal influences school conditions, teacher quality, and instructional quality. Federal policies and initiatives (such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Race to the Top) have suggested that states revamp their principal evaluation systems and base retention and compensation on these evaluations. In many states, the district is called upon to create its own evaluation system within guidelines provided by the state. Several examples are given.

Epstein, J. L., Galindo, C. L., & Sheldon, S. B. (2011, February). Levels of leadership: Effects of district and school leaders on the quality of school programs of family and community involvement. Educational Administration Quarterly, 47(3), 462–495.

This study compared organizational and sociocultural learning theories to test which method had the greatest affect in districts and schools. The study measured:

  • District assistance to schools
  • Establishing leadership
  • Organizing teamwork
  • Writing plans
  • Evaluating progress

From the perspective of the sociocultural learning theory, the study found that a principal's support for partnerships and a superintendent's support for and assistance in developing partnerships greatly affects the involvement of families in their children's education. In the context of the organizational learning theory, the study concluded that a district's leadership in establishing partnerships, collecting data, and evaluating programs of family involvement has a greatest affect.

Floden, R. E., & Goertz, M. E. (1995, September). Capacity building in systemic reform. Phi Delta Kappan, 77(1), 19–22.

The authors sought to clarify the meaning of "building capacity" in the context of district-level systemic reform. Organizational capacity, they contended, must include building the capacity of individual teachers as well as schools and districts. Floden and Goertz drew upon information gathered from interviews of teachers, administrators, state-level personnel, and school board members conducted in three states. Their intent was to establish a framework for professional development designed to support building organizational capacity.

Forner, M., Bierlein-Palmer, L., & Reeves, P. (2012). Leadership practices of effective rural superintendents: Connections to Waters and Marzano's leadership correlates. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 27(8). Retrieved from http://jrre.​psu.edu/articles/27-8.pdf

This multi-case study of the leadership practices of seven rural superintendents linked the leadership practices of effective superintendents (Waters & Marzano, 2006) to the unique context of rural school districts. Positing the unique situation of rural districts, the study sought to discover additional traits necessary for rural leadership success in the context of specific rural challenges that include poverty and economic loss, the many responsibilities incorporated into expectation of rural superintendents, and the unique visibility of rural superintendents.

The authors delineate seven effective rural leadership practices: (1) establishes goals/expectations and drives reforms; (2) builds support for reform through direct, personal conversations with staff and school board; (3-a) constructive confrontation: provides intervention strategies for struggling students; (3-b) constructive confrontation: provides intervention strategies for struggling teachers; (4) removes low-performing teachers or principals; (5) leverages close working relationships with building principals; (6) takes a firm line in union contract negotiations , and (7) re-aligns financial commitments to match district priorities.

In addition, the authors establish three effective rural leadership priorities to ensure that: all students can and will achieve academic success, a high-quality teacher will be maintained in each classroom, and resources will be created. The study includes direct quotations from superintendent interviews.

Fullan, M., Cuttress, C., & Kilcher, A. (2005). Eight forces for leaders of change: Presence of the core concepts does not guarantee success, but their absence ensures failure. Journal of Staff Development, 26(4), 54–58.

This summary of Fullan's approach presents eight drivers for organizational change in education. The eight drivers are:

  1. Engaging people's moral purposes
  2. Building capacity
  3. Understanding the change process
  4. Developing cultures for learning
  5. Developing cultures for evaluation
  6. Focusing on leadership for change
  7. Fostering coherence-making
  8. Cultivating tri-level development, including:
    a.  What has to happen at the school and community levels?
    b.  What has to happen at the district level?
    c.  What has to happen at the state level?

Fullan is among the most highly regarded researchers on systemic, continuous improvement and change in an educational context.

Honig, M. I. (2012). District central office leadership as teaching: How central office administrators support principals' development as instructional leaders. Educational Administration Quarterly, 48(4), 733–734.

This survey study of three districts (Atlanta, Georgia, Oakland, California, and New York City) identifies specific practices of central office administrators that assist principals as instructional leaders and that affirm the role of central office staff to do so. The review included interviews, observations, and document reviews. Honig found there is a need for sustained, job-embedded supports, rather than one-event, episodic professional development, along with continued support from the district. Without continued support, many efforts dwindled or failed. The author proposes a framework built around "assistance relationships" that focus on those specific activities that are of value to both central office staff and building principals. In the study, district office personnel were assigned to work one-on-one with principals to strengthen their instructional leadership capacity. Honig suggests that elevating district support for principals' instructional leadership to executive level leadership is a promising practice.

Leithwood, K. & Jantzi, D. (2008, October). Linking leadership to student learning: The contributions of leader efficacy. Educational Administration Quarterly, 44(4), 496–528.

This study addresses the connection between school leader efficacy and its indirect influence upon student achievement. The study methodology linked survey results from 96 principals and 2,764 teachers and student achievement data in language and mathematics over a three-year period. The study analyzed the relationship between the perception of self-confidence and personal and collective efficacy, and the relationship between efficacy and student learning. One of the four questions stipulated by the study related to the role of district and leader efficacy: To what extent do district leadership and district organizational conditions influence school leader efficacy? The answer: Greatly, although the effects of district leadership are largely indirect, helping to create conditions that are viewed by school leaders as enhancing their own work. Districts increase school leader efficacy more by building collaborative cultures and the structures that nourish them than by setting direction or fueling inspiration.

The study also examined the link between self and collective efficacy beliefs of school leaders and student achievement. It suggests that there may be a correlation and that the link, as studied, is promising but not yet shown to be strong.

Louis, K. S., Wahlstrom, K. L., Michilin, M., Gordon, M., Thomas, E., Leithwood, K., et al. (2010). Learning from leadership: Investigating the links to improved student learning (Wallace Foundation Study). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement. Retrieved from http://www.cehd.umn.edu/carei.

This five-year study linking leadership with student learning examines the indirect but critical role that leadership plays in student learning. The study sample included 180 schools in 43 districts across nine states. The authors contend that "The effects of school leadership directly influence teachers, schools, and classrooms, and so indirectly influence student learning" (p.5). This is one of the major studies focusing on the importance of context as a critical factor in leadership success. In this way, the study emphasizes conditions that can take place in any context and that have a positive effect on student learning.

The authors claim that leadership is second only to classroom instruction among all school-related factors that contribute to what students learn at school. The executive summary of the work relates that, while difficult to grasp and catalog, effective district leadership depends upon the following conditions:

  • Expectations (and accountability)—School improvement plans are only as effective as the accountability measures that are developed and implemented in conjunction with them.
  • Efficacy—The belief in one's own and one's colleagues' ability to act effectively and overcome obstacles is critical to move from the desire to change to the necessary changes in behavior that improvement requires.
  • Engagement—To improve student learning, effective leaders make connections within and from outside the district and school context.

The study also highlights the importance of district leadership, stating that "district efforts are particularly important insofar as they help to pull the efforts of others together, blending activity and the messages they imply into a coherent narrative and plan for change. Schools may be where the action finally occurs, but the tone and the concrete policies that support effective leadership derive from the central office" (p. 31).

Park, V., & Datnow, A. (2009). Co-constructing distributed leadership: District and school connections in data-driven decision-making. School Leadership & Management, 29(5), 477–494.

This study of four urban school districts examines the relationships among district leadership, continuous improvement, and data-driven decision making. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act (2002) has inserted the priority of data-driven improvement into all levels of education, linking district to school administrations and administrations to teachers. The new competencies of data use and continuous improvement are best mediated by appropriate leadership at the district and school levels. The model of distributed leadership best describes this approach. The study finds that:

  • Data-driven decisions are co-constructed by actors across district and school levels. Leaders set the tone for a positive approach to using data by creating an environment of collaborative investigation, adult learning, and continuous improvement rather than a superficial identification of student or teacher deficits.
  • Leaders distribute certain authority to allow staff to utilize their expertise, giving data relevancy and relying on teachers to develop effective practices, while the district provides accountability, resources, and capacity building.
  • District and school administrations build capacity by modeling and knowledge-brokering among all staff.

Waters, J. T., & Marzano, R. J. (2006). School district leadership that works: The effect of superintendent leadership on student achievement. Denver, CO: Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

This meta-analysis of research on the effect of effective superintendents examined 27 large studies involving, in toto, 2,817 districts and achievement scores of 3.4 million students. Its four major findings are:

  1. District leadership matters: there is a strong correlation between district leadership and student achievement.
  2. Effective superintendents focus their efforts on creating goal-oriented districts through collaborative goal setting, non-negotiable goals for achievement and instruction, clear board alignment and support of district goals, continuous monitoring of achievement and instructional goals, and clearly focusing resources in support of those goals.
  3. Superintendent tenure has a positive correlation to student achievement, observable in tenures as short as two years.
  4. Knowing where to set boundaries and where to give autonomy to building principals makes all the difference.

Whitney, S. D., Maras, M. A., & Schisler, L J. (2012). Resilient schools: Connections between districts and schools. Middle Grades Research Journal, 7(3), 35–50.

This study takes the idea of resiliency and applies it not to an individual, but to an organization such as a district or school. Resilient organizations may be those that "perform above expectations given their high stress and/or high risk environments" (p. 35). Resilient districts exhibit such characteristics as close communication between district staff, administration, and teachers. They also have a tight-knit collaboration within their own staff. The study focused on schools in high-risk situations but interviewed district personnel as well as school personnel to gain the whole story of the schools' success. Risk scores were based on community and school-based variables that would indicate a risk for school failure. Academic success was measured by the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) test and was collected for three years. Nineteen themes emerged from the interviews conducted, including administrative support, professional collaboration, and community support. Some of the themes included were:

  • Administrative Support
  • Professional collaboration
  • High-quality school personnel
  • Academic support programs
  • High staff to student ratio

Models That Support Comprehensive Planning

Improvement in districts and schools can be characterized by various models that have proven successful in comprehensive planning and that can inform the work of others seeking to stimulate and manage the same improvement. The articles that follow present models and strategies that can assist district-level improvement efforts in a variety of circumstances.

Adelman, H. S., & Taylor, L. (2007). Systemic change for school improvement. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 17(1), 55–77.

Adelman and Taylor make the case for systemic change at the district level in order to promote and sustain school improvement. Districts must be prepared to override a school's reluctance to implement new initiatives based on its experience with passing reforms and grants. The authors suggest the development of vision, aims, and rational for interventions and scaling up of efforts. Following the idea of change phases, they discuss creating the right culture for systemic change, ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place, and a process to build the capacity of both district and school personnel to carry out and sustain change. They conclude with specific policy suggestions including:

  • Make federal research on understanding systemic change a priority
  • Require applications for developing interventions to include sustainability plans
  • Funds for school improvement should include training staff and developing change leaders.

Arnold, A., & Flumerfelt, S. (2012). Interlacing mission, strategic planning, and vision to lean: Powerful DNA for change. AASA Journal of Scholarship & Practice, 9(1), 26–47.

This is a case study of a single district and its year-long implementation of the Lean leadership principles and tools. Prominent in industry, nonprofit, and public sectors, Lean enhances an organization's ability to implement continuous improvement "organically" by realigning paradigms and refining processes. Lean leadership is described as the engagement of two balanced principles: respect for people and continuous improvement. Through the use of Lean, the district "achieved progress by gauging efforts to align with mission for authenticity, developing plans founded in root cause analysis to promote accountability, and formulating vision by identifying benchmarks for the future" (p. 26).

Brazer, D. S., Rich, W., & Ross, S. A. (2010). Collaborative strategic decision making in school districts. Journal of Educational Administration48(2), 196–217.

This case study of three districts examines the manner and consequences of superintendent leadership in facilitating collaborative strategic decisions for district and school improvement. The study finds that collaborative inputs were sought by the superintendents in their strategic planning and that planning outcomes were in agreement with the strategic outcomes favored by the superintendents. The study also noted that although the planning activities were collaborative, collaboration ended at the point of decision and that implementation did not take place in a collaborative fashion and suffered as a result. The authors noted that "What is lost in the retreat from collaborative decision making is a clear understanding of the rationales behind the decisions and a sense of commitment to those decisions. Also lost is the opportunity for meaningful distributed leadership that occurs broadly and deeply throughout school district organizations. Without substantial knowledge, goodwill, and leadership, implementation seems to have been placed at risk in each of the districts"  (p. 215).

Clarke, S., & Wildy, H. (2011, August). Improving the small rural or remote school: The role of the district. Australian Journal of Education, 55(1), 24–36.

This study focuses attention on the professional development that districts provide to support their principals, especially in rural or remote locations. The study identifies actions taken by successful districts to enable leaders to be as effective as possible in rural or remote locations, including the development of principals as instructional leaders and making data-informed decisions.

The study includes a case study of one district comprising several small rural or remote schools. The district was chosen for the case study based on its innovative strategies for working with its schools and leadership.

Evans, L., Thorton, B., & Usinger, J. (2012, June). Theoretical frameworks to guide school improvement. NASSP Bulletin96(2), 154–171.

This overview article introduces the reader to four major theories of organizational change that have emerged in the field of education and that provide frameworks for leaders to adapt to school systems and approaches to improvement and change. The four theories of organizational change surveyed are Deming's continuous improvement model, Argyris and Schön's organizational learning, Senge's learning organization, and appreciative inquiry by David Cooperrider. Implications for education leaders are suggested according to each model. Included references provide an excellent overview of recent education improvement theory.

George, H. P., & Kincaid, D. K. (2008). Building district-level capacity for positive behavior support. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 10(1), 20–32.

George and Kincaid studied the growing use of school-wide positive behavior models being used for school improvement. With increased use of these programs, there is a need for districts to implement district-wide implementation strategies to scale up programs that are effective in their districts and to provide support and training. The authors provide guidance on the "how" of implementing these strategies district-wide including involving school leadership teams, coordination of efforts, funding, support, training, and evaluation.

Honig M. I., & Hatch T. C. (2004). Crafting coherence: How schools strategically manage multiple, external demands. Educational Researcher, 33(16), 16–30.

Schools are bombarded every day with demands from the federal government, state education agencies, school boards, unions, and community stakeholders. The authors contend that districts need to absorb some of the shock of incoming demands while making cohesive and concise filters for the schools to focus on the goal of student learning. They emphasize that creating coherence in the policies and demands being made on the school takes a concerted and team approach between the school and the central office. By setting goals and strategies, districts and schools can meet stakeholder demands and make sense of the policies being imposed.

Kruse, S. D. (2001). Creating communities of reform: Continuous improvement planning teams. Journal of Educational Administration, 39(4), 359–383.

This three-year study of three suburban districts is one of the first efforts to highlight the role of the district in sponsoring continuous improvement in school through direct support of teachers. The study emphasizes development of collaborative structures that will enable teachers to focus upon student learning while engaging in continuous improvement planning. This collaborative structure would bring teachers together to discuss expertise, strengthen a sense of collective responsibility for the learning that happens in the schools, allows professionals to discuss their own practices and how it affects students. Factors that influence learning and community include the development of leadership among and within faculty and a focus on data-driven decision making and conditions that encourage meaningful teacher dialogue on curriculum and instruction.

Lane, R. J., Bishop, H. L., & Wilson-Jones, L. (2005). Creating an effective strategic plan for the school district. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 32(3), 197–204.

The study begins with a quote from Bryson (1995) defining strategic planning as "fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, what it does and why it does it."[1] School districts face changes in policy, mandates, and funding structures and are pressed to create plans in order to facilitate the changing landscape. The study gives a conceptual model for strategic planning and identifies stakeholders and communication procedures.

Murphy, J. (2009). Turning around failing schools: Policy insights from the corporate, government, and non-profit sectors. Educational Policy23(6), 796–830

This study mines the research literature of turnaround in the corporate, nonprofit, and public sectors to suggest policy directions to turn around failing schools. The methodology suggests that lessons from organizational turnaround in other contexts will provide valuable insights for the management of educational change. The author notes that "there is no shortage of ideas being promulgated to turn around failing schools. Nearly all of these solutions leap from problems (i.e., failure) to solutions with remarkable little analysis of the variables and conditions in the school-failure algorithm" (p. 797). The findings highlight the fundamental importance of leadership, efficiency, focus and context in school turnaround. Murphy suggests that in the literature discussing school turnaround, there is a clear tendency to ignore the critical role that the unique context of each school plays, in which strategies are employed for successful turnaround.

Murphy, J. (2010). Nine lessons for turning around failing schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 91(8), 93–97.

The author has conducted extensive research on turnaround lessons drawn from the corporate, public, and nonprofit sectors to discover if, when, and how these lessons can assist in school turnaround. This brief article synthesizes Murphy's research into nine tenets, including:

  1. Not all failing schools are worth saving.
  2. Focus on leadership. "The research on organizational recovery outside of education emphasizes three things about leadership:
    • It is critically important.
    • In almost all cases, current leaders need to be replaced.
    • Replacement leaders with industry (that is, education) expertise are likely to be more successful than those without such expertise" (p.94)
  3. Act quickly.
  4. Diagnose before selecting remedies.
  5. Emphasize efficiency first.
  6. Centralize operations.
  7. Recognize the limitation of structural moves.
  8. Focus on "Core Lines of Work"; i.e., concentrate on basic strengths and key issues necessary to rebuild the organization.
  9. Create hope through vision.

Supovitz. J. A. (2008). Melding internal and external support for school improvement: How the district role changes when working closely with external instructional support providers. Peabody Journal of Education83(3), 459-478.

This article identifies the three-fold role of districts that are in constant tension: (1) authority in holding schools accountable for activities and performance, (2) support of instruction and learning, and (3) brokerage between schools and external support. The author then addresses this tension as it relates external support partnerships with districts for instructional improvement. He provides an overview of district-provider partnership research and includes a case study of a district-provider partnership and its implications for district performance of its three-fold role. Supovitz advocates for more sophisticated partnerships in support of instructional improvement that requires "districts to reconsider their roles both with schools and external providers and adjust the traditional lines of authority and support within the district context" (p. 494).

The literature review highlights Supovitz's previous work on the district's role in instructional improvement, highlighting the constellation of instructional support functions that districts can provide: Coordinator of curriculum and instructional materials; professional development provider; monitor of program implementation; organizer and deliverer of student performance results and other data to inform instructional and strategic decision making; searcher for ideas, high-quality materials, programs, and practices to bring into the system; facilitator of networks between schools as a mechanism for spreading and sharing knowledge; and coherer of programs and resources.

Supovitz, J. A., & Weathers, J. (2004). Dashboard lights: Monitoring implementation of district instructional reform strategies. Philadelphia: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania.

Supovitz and Weathers tackle the issue of a district's lack of sufficient and timely information about its schools and teachers that prevents it from providing effective intervention and support. Scanty information can lead to inaccurate district decisions regarding causes of failure or outcomes of interventions. In order to strategically plan, districts need to be able to collect and manage timely and accurate information to inform decisions. For purposes of this study, Supovitz and Weathers studied Duval County district—the strategies, expectations, and interventions the district has in place for its schools; how well expectations are carried out at the school level; and how the district collects information to evaluate and adjust course when needed. The district and its schools use a "snapshot system" in which the superintendent and school leadership teams meet to develop topics that will be candidates for snapshots. Topics are closely tied to the district's vision and goals. A rubric is developed so that both school and district know what is expected. Site visitors (a cadre of principals and district administrators) are trained on the rubric before conducting a visit. Information from the site visit is then entered into a website from which the district can aggregate the data to develop an overall view of district schools and how well they are implementing the focus topics.

Waters, L. B., & Vargo, M. (2008). Lessons learned in systemic district reform: A cross-district analysis from the Comprehensive Aligned Instructional System (CAIS) benchmarking study. San Francisco: Pivot Learning Partners.

The study begins with the premise that districts must both align instructional systems and their support of instruction (financial, human resources, data, and technology.) The authors then focus on exactly how districts do this. Waters and Vargo chose three districts to examine: Montgomery County, Maryland; Elgin U-46, Illinois; and Elk Grove, California. The districts were chosen because they were able to raise the achievement of low-performing schools. The lessons learned from the study include committing to a sustained strategy and using innovative approaches to systems alignment.

Winand, B. L., & Edlefson, C. (2008). Rural community input to school district strategic planning: An action research model using focus groups. Rural Educator, 30(1), 32–38. Retrieved from http://www.ruraleducator.net/archive/30-1/30-1_Winand.pdf

This study explores a specific way that communities can be active voices in strategic district planning. The relationship between a superintendent and district and a rural community is symbiotic: the community grows and thrives when it has a strong, successful school district that can attract families; the school grows and thrives when it has a strong community that can support the district's efforts as well as provide a stable and sufficient tax base. This study uses action research methodology that involves identifying a focus area, collecting data and monitoring and observing the organization, analyzing the information, and developing a plan of action. The researchers chose to use focus groups to collect information and to gauge reactions to specific issues. Findings from the study produced five areas of focus for district planning, all of which were supported by the surrounding community: "(a) a need for change in the state school funding formula, (b) a need for new school facilities at a central location, (c) a desire for adult continuing education, (d) a desire for improved technology for communication with parents and the community, and (3) a desire to see the schools host additional community events" (p.36).  While these may not be the focus of every community and district, the process of gathering community input is content of the article to take away.

Data Use and Comprehensive Planning

Determining which data to collect, review, and analyze is critical to the establishment of common metrics for the improvement of professional practice and student achievement. The following articles highlight how data can be used in the context of district management and oversight of improvement efforts at both district and school levels.

Herman, J. L., Yamashiro, K., Lefkowitz, S., & Trusela, L. A. (2008). Exploring data use and school performance in an urban public school district. (CRESST Report 742). Los Angeles: National Center for Research Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing.

This study examined 13 urban Title I schools and the relationship between data use and school achievement gains. While the review focuses on the school level, there are implications for districts to consider when determining how the district as a whole ensures access to data, provides professional development around the use of data, and structures supports to schools based on data.

The study included reviews of school transformation plans, presentations on school progress, interviews, and surveys. District survey data was related to climate and culture.

Knudson, J., Shambaugh, L., & O'Day, J. (2011). Beyond the school: Exploring a systemic approach to school turnaround. California Collaborative on District Reform Policy and Practice Brief. Retrieved from http://www.cacollaborative.org/

While the urgent need to improve low-performing schools remains, recent efforts have yielded mixed results. This brief studied eight school districts that created their own approaches to improving their low-performing schools. The study revealed two lessons learned:

  • School turnaround requires systemic district approaches.
  • Efforts must be customized to the needs of the individual school.

Districts must change their own cultures in order to affect change in their lowest performing schools. They must also focus on strengthening the skills of the principals serving in those schools. Each school noted in the brief illustrates a specific district strategy being implemented in that school.

The brief also includes a short section on recommendations for the reauthorization of ESEA and the district's role in turnaround efforts.

Wayman, F. C., Cho, V., Jimerson, J. B, & Spikes, D. D. (2012). District-wide effects on data use in the classroom. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 20(25). Retrieved from http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/979

This study reviews three school districts and how they used data to improve classroom practice by examining attitudes about data, leadership in the schools, and methods of storing and retrieving data. The study's goal was to examine how the use of data at the district level affects data use at the school level. Data for the study was collected by telephone and in-person interviews, site visits with focus groups, and an online survey.

The study examined how data was used by central office staff and how it supported building-level educators.

[1] Bryson, J. M. (1995). Strategic planning for public and nonprofit organizations: A guide to strengthening and sustaining organizational achievement. (Rev. ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

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