As researchers, decision-makers, and practitioners focus on continuous improvement in education, local-level change is gaining importance. Yet, many local school improvement efforts fail to be fully implemented. Even those that are fully implemented often fail to sustain improvements because the schools are embedded in systems that face multiple challenges. Can decision-makers and everyone who is responsible for implementing school improvement efforts come together to build a better, more sustainable approach to local improvement? This toolkit attempts to support such coming together by combining a powerful framework for school turnaround with a focus on the human side of change. The toolkit is built on the intersections between Leading by Convening, a blueprint for authentic engagement in school improvement developed by 50 national organizations and adopted by the National Center for Systemic Improvement, and the Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement, a framework developed by the national Center on School Turnaround (CST).
Building the capacity of individuals working in schools, districts, and states to support reform efforts is critical. Also critical to sustainable and systemic school improvement efforts is ensuring that individuals across all levels of the system are engaged in reform. This document focuses on capacity and efforts to engage stakeholders across the system to support rapid improvement. In doing so, this toolkit is intended to support states, districts, and schools in their efforts to improve schools. This toolkit incorporates the Leading by Convening approach as a way to build capacity and engage stakeholders in the implementation of the Center on School Turnaround’s Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement. Readers of this toolkit may use it to build capacity across the domains.