High-performing districts have “a well-coordinated system that knows how to develop clear goals, assess needs, support educators, evaluate programs, and review and respond to data in a consistent manner,” writes Heather Zavadsky, a former Broad Prize manager and author of Bringing School Reform to Scale, in Education Week.
. . . layering on programs and purchasing tools such as laptops will not automatically result in innovative instruction. Teacher training and ongoing support mechanisms must be factored into the overall plan. Nor will purchasing a data system with all the bells and whistles make a difference if districts do not address trust issues over data use and ensure the information’s usability and accessibility for key stakeholders.
. . . Even if a school has the best teachers available, its students will not move smoothly through a math curriculum that mistakenly omits an important skill like rounding (and if the district lacks sufficient data to discover that omission). Likewise, creating small, 21st-century learning academies that offer cutting-edge subjects like biotechnology will not be an effective improvement strategy if a district continually sends these schools students with subpar reading skills because it lacks appropriate reading interventions.
In short, it takes a system.