Because the quality of teaching is the most important school-based factor for student learning, a focus on instruction is pivotal for successfully turning around failing schools and districts. These school systems need to abandon instructional practices that are not working, usher in new approaches that lead to improved instruction, and create conditions that enable and inspire effective teaching that allows students to achieve their full potential.
To help address these gaps, the Center on School Turnaround (CST) designed a project to examine the practices of two districts — both members of the University of Virginia Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education, a CST partner — that are successfully improving instruction within their multiple turnaround schools. Our CST research team conducted a series of interviews, using protocols based on the framework defined in our Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework, to determine how these districts enacted two key instructional transformation practices: (1) diagnosing and responding to student learning needs, and (2) providing rigorous, evidence-based instruction.
This paper presents guidelines and recommendations for states and districts as they seek to improve systems that support instructional practices.