In recent years, rapid school improvement — known most commonly as school turnaround — has emerged as the chief focus of dramatic and systemic efforts aimed at giving students better schools. To assist states, districts, and schools in leading or managing these efforts, in 2017 the Center on School Turnaround at WestEd (CST) developed Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework. That framework identifies four areas of focus that research and experience point to as central to rapid and significant improvement: turnaround leadership, talent development, instructional transformation, and culture shift. Within each domain, the framework also identifies three critical practices for taking action. The intent was to organize and frame the field’s learning about rapid school improvement efforts and how improvement decisions made at any one level could have a lasting impact across all levels of a system comprising the state education agency (SEA), the local education agency (LEA), and the individual school.
This subsequent document, which is intended to facilitate educators’ ability to take and track action within each domain, provides the specificity of indicators for each practice identified in the framework. An indicator of effective practice is what Redding (2013) calls a concrete behavioral expression of a particular professional practice that research has shown to contribute to student learning. The indicators presented in this document are expressed in plain language so school, district, and state teams can identify with greater certainty whether a relevant practice from the four domains is standard and routinely operational or whether more work is needed.