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Utilizing Integrated Resources to Implement the School and District Improvement Cycle and Supports

Allison Layland And Julie Corbett


With the passing of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) roles in the school improvement process shifted, with the state education agency (SEA) and the local education agency (LEA) taking a more pronounced role over that of the federal government. SEAs have more flexibility and decision-making authority to determine how to identify and support schools and districts that need improvement. LEAs have a greater role in supporting schools identified as in need of significant improvement (Comprehensive or Targeted Support and Intervention, or CSI and TSI schools, respectively) and are required to develop and implement comprehensive support and improvement plans for CSI schools (§1111(d)(1)(B) of ESSA). Now more than ever, LEAs need support taking on their new roles in significantly improving outcomes for all students.


Improving school performance is largely a process of reducing the gap between actual practice and the most effective practice. In other words, change in practice is the core driver of school improvement. This is true for an SEA and LEA as much as a school, or even an individual. Improvement is a process of knowing what is working and what needs to change, developing a sound plan, including more effective practices in the plan, implementing the plan, and using data to make timely adjustments to improve outcomes. Recently, several sound resources were created by three organizations to help SEAs, LEAs and schools improve. It is critical to integrate these resources to support improvement efforts with a focus on effective practice, responsive supports, and performance in a systemic way. Although the focus of this document is on school improvement, the approach is to improve the system that includes the SEA, LEA,and school, and the improvement processes generally apply to all three levels.

The BSCP Center is funded by a cooperative agreement (#S283B120042) between the U.S. Department of Education and Edvance Research, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Westat. The findings and opinions expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the U.S. Department of Education.

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