ERIC Number: ED483805
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Oct
Characteristics of Improved School Districts: Themes from Research.
Shannon, G. Sue; Bylsma, Pete
Washington State Department of Education
To provide a better understanding of improved school districts and their characteristics and actions, the Research and Evaluation Office at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction collected and analyzed more than 80 research reports and articles. The studies shed light on the relationship between school district policy, programs, and practices and the improvement of student learning. The studies focused primarily on districts that have shown improvement at the elementary level, and all the schools in the districts may not be high performing. In most districts, secondary schools (especially high schools) continue to present challenges. Moreover, these reports provide examples of school districts that are making substantial progress in improving student learning at one point in time. Because school districts are complex systems within the contexts of states and communities, the strategies discussed in these studies may not be applicable in other settings. Therefore, they should not be considered prescriptions to follow but rather ideas to consider. The themes discussed in this document are defined using the concepts that emerged from the studies. Each theme is discussed using relevant details from selected studies that develop and help explain the concepts. Reflective questions are provided to assist district stakeholders in analyzing their own organizations. Each section concludes with a list of sources cited in the discussion. The chapters of this report are organized by category and briefly explain each of the themes found in the research literature. Chapter Two examines the three Effective Leadership themes. Chapter Three examines the four Quality Teaching and Learning themes. Chapter Four examines the three Support for Systemwide Improvement themes. Chapter Five examines the remaining three themes in the Clear and Collaborative Relationships category. Chapter Six provides a summary and discusses implications for educators. The bibliography following Chapter 6 lists all the studies examined when preparing this document. Appendix A provides more information about the methodology. Appendix B shows a matrix for both the core and confirming studies. Appendix C provides an annotated bibliography of 10 studies we selected to help introduce readers to the various themes found among improved school districts.
Descriptors: Board of Education Policy, School Districts, Instructional Leadership, Educational Improvement, Educational Quality, Faculty Development, Student Evaluation, Curriculum, Teaching Methods, Educational Cooperation
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Old Capitol Building, P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200. Tel: 888-595-3276 (Toll Free).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Olympia, Washington.
IES Cited: ED508343