Publication Year: 2017

Understanding Principal Retention and Mobility in Washington State

Published January 2017

The work of a school principal is complex and multi-faceted. Expectations for the role are steadily rising, and questions have surfaced regarding the capacity of principals to meet all of these expectations. In recent years, Washington state has engaged in numerous instructional improvement and accountability initiatives, including revisions to the way in which educators are evaluated. A sizable portion of the workload associated with these initiatives rest on the shoulders of school principals and assistant principals. A recent study noted that principals work an average of 59 hours per week (Lavigne, Shakman, Zweig, & Zeller, 2016).  Little systematic and statewide knowledge exists about the nature of the school administrator workforce and the career patterns of principals in Washington state. This study aims to provide insight into the demographics of principals and assistant principals, their retention, mobility, and career patterns, and the equity issues associated with differences across schools in Washington state.

 

Publication Year: 2010

Central Office Transformation for District-wide Teaching and Learning Improvement

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Meredith I. Honig, Michael A. Copland, Lydia Rainey, Juli Anna Lorton, & Morena Newton, with the assistance of Elizabeth Matson, Lisa Pappas, & Bethany Rogers, April 2010.
Published January 2010

Learning-focused Leadership and Leadership Support: Meaning and Practice in Urban Systems

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Michael S. Knapp, Michael A. Copland, Meredith I. Honig, Margaret L. Plecki, and Bradley S. Portin, August 2010.
Published January 2010

<p>This report synthesizes what has been learned about how leaders in urban systems focus their leadership on the improvement of learning, and what it takes to support their leadership in these settings. The report brings together findings from three sub-study strands, concerned with efforts in seven urban districts to: a) invest staffing and other resources in equitable learning improvement; b) practice learning-focused leadership within the school, in teams of supervisory and nonsupervisory staff; and c) transform the district central office to support the improvement of teaching and learning district-wide.</p>

Publication Year: 2009

How Leaders Invest Staffing Resources for Learning Improvement

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Margaret L. Plecki, Michael S. Knapp, Tino Castaneda, Tom Halverson, Robin LaSota, & Chad Lochmiller, October 2009.
Published January 2009

Leading for Learning Improvement in Urban Schools

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Bradley S. Portin, Michael S. Knapp, Scott Dareff, Sue Feldman, Felice A Russell, Catherine Samuelson & Theresa Ling Yeh, with the assistance of Chrysan Gallucci & Judy Swanson, Oct. 2009.
Published January 2009

Publication Year: 2008

Balancing Direction and Support - Third Year Scale Up of a System-wide Instructional Reform Initiative: A Partnership between the Center for Educational Leadership and Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District (Interim Report #2)

A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci and Judy Swanson, January 2008.
Published January 2008

Undergraduates' Views of K-12 Teaching as a Career Choice

A Report Prepared for The Professional Educator Standards Board by Ana M. Elfers, Margaret L. Plecki, Elise St. John, Rebecca Wedel
Published January 2008

Publication Year: 2007

Architectures for Learning: A Comparative Analysis of Two Urban School Districts

An Occasional Report in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Mary Kay Stein and Cynthia Coburn, January 2007
Published January 2007

Gaining Traction through Professional Coaching: A Partnership between the Center for Educational Leadership and Highline School District (Interim Report #2)

A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci and Elizabeth Boatright, February 2007
Published January 2007

Policy Implementation and Learning: How Organizational and Socio-Cultural Learning Theories Elaborate District Central Office Roles in Complex Educational Improvement Efforts

An Occasional Paper in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Meredith Honig, January 2007.
Published January 2007

Using Sociocultural Theory to Link Individual and Organizational Learning Processes: The Case of Highline School District's Instructional Improvement Reform

An Occasional Report in collaboration with The Spencer Foundation by Chrysan Gallucci, January 2007.
Published January 2007

Publication Year: 2006

Aiming High: Leadership for District-wide Instructional Improvement. A Partnership between the Center for Educational Leadership and Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District (Interim Report #1)

A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci and Judy Swanson, October 2006
Published January 2006

Allocating Resources and Creating Incentives to Improve Teaching and Learning

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Margaret L. Plecki, Christopher R. Alejano, Michael S. Knapp, and Chad Lochmiller October 2006.
Published January 2006

This report reviews research, practice, and theory related to resource allocation and its relationship to teaching and learning. The report describes the state of the field, discussing a range of practices, both current and emerging, while framing the central challenges facing leaders who make resource decisions at the state, district, and school levels. The report links the allocation of resources to the exercise of learning-focused leadership.

Data-informed Leadership in Education

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Michael S. Knapp, Juli Ann Swinnerton, Michael A. Copland, and Jack Monpas-Huber, October 2006.
Published January 2006

Drawing from empirical studies and the landscape of current practice, this report explores ideas related to how educational leaders access data, the meanings they give to it, and the uses to which they put these data in the varying settings in which leaders seek to improve teaching and learning. Moving away from the potentially appealing rhetoric that data can provide clear, indisputable direction for future action (e.g. data-driven decision making), the notion of data-informed leadership captures the complex and often ambiguous nature of data use in educational settings.

Leadership and Learning

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Michael S. Knapp, Michael A. Copland, Margaret L. Plecki, and Bradley S. Portin, October 2006.
Published January 2006

This report maps out activities and supporting conditions in states, districts, and schools, that enable educational leadership to exert productive influence on learning. The report draws together threads from the research literature and from practical experimentation in a variety of states, districts, and schools, as described in greater detail within six reports that comprise the Improving Leadership for Learning series. From these sources, the report authors offer an overview of the systems of leadership support that guide leaders' efforts to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools across the nation.

Leadership for Transforming High Schools

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Michael A. Copland and Elizabeth Boatright, December 2006.
Published January 2006

This report addresses the complexity of problems associated with traditional comprehensive high schools. It examines why, despite repeated calls for reform, and various efforts aimed at reform, evidence suggests that what transpires for students inside the high school classroom remains relatively impervious to change. A picture of the terrain of leadership activity important for transforming high schools is proposed followed by questions of how the work of leadership might be accomplished.

National Board Certified Teachers in Washington State: Impact on Professional Practice and Leadership Opportunities

A Report prepared for the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession (CSTP) by Hilary Loeb, Ana M. Elfers, Margaret L. Plecki, Brynnen Ford, and Michael S. Knapp, October 2006.
Published January 2006

Purposes, Uses, and Practices of Leadership Assessment in Education

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Bradley S. Portin, Sue Feldman, and Michael S. Knapp, October 2006.
Published January 2006

This report discusses connections between learning-focused school leadership and leadership assessment as it contributes to coherent leadership assessment systems. Drawing upon exemplary research, and through the use of scenarios drawn from common school leadership assessment practices, this report outlines multiple purposes and uses of leadership assessment in national, state and local contexts. The central theme of the report is connecting learning-focused leadership with leadership assessment.

Redefining and Improving School District Governance

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Margaret L. Plecki, Julie McCleery, and Michael S. Knapp, October 2006.
Published January 2006

This paper takes a close look at local school boards-an enduring feature of public education governance. Using published accounts in the research literature, the paper synthesizes the frameworks, beliefs, and activities concerning the roles and responsibilities of the district school board. Using three common critiques of modern school boards as a guide, the paper further identifies the underlying currents of governance reform, conditions that influence governance structure, and the connections between governance and learning-focused leadership.

Redefining Roles, Responsibility, and Authority of School Leaders

A Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation by Bradley S. Portin, Christopher R. Alejano, and Michael S. Knapp, October 2006.
Published January 2006

This report considers school leaders' roles and responsibilities, and the authority they need to pursue an agenda of improving teaching and learning. The report frames what it means to lead schools toward improvements in teaching and learning, who does or can exercise that leadership (including but not limited to the principal), how leaders can be equipped to lead learning communities, what conditions empower leaders to lead in this way, and how such leadership is cultivated in individuals or school communities over time.

The Pedagogy of Third-Party Support for Instructional Improvement: A Partnership between CEL and Highline School District (Interim Report #1)

A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci, Beth Boatright, Dan Lysne, Juli Swinnerton, January 2006
Published January 2006

Publication Year: 2004

Making Subject Matter Part of the Equation: The Intersection of Policy and Content

An Occasional Paper by Pam Grossman, Susan S. Stodolsky, and Michael S. Knapp, December 2004.
Published January 2004

This conceptual paper offers a framework for understanding how educational policy is related to subject matter. Drawing on literature concerning instructional policymaking and the cultures that surround teaching in different subject areas, the paper distinguishes and illustrates three types of policy, that ignore, target, or differentiate among subject matter areas, respectively. The paper then demonstrates, for each type, how subject matter acts as a crucial context for policy implementation and effects, affecting the policy's impact in often unintended ways. Typically ignored by policy research, these dynamics have special importance for the analysis of reform policies, as well as for the making of policies aimed at teaching and learning.

The Relation Between State and District Literacy Standards: Issues of Alignment, Influence, and Utility

A Research Report by Elizabeth Dutro and Sheila W. Valencia, January 2004.
Published January 2004
Abstract:

<p>At the core of standards-based reform are content standards—statements about what students should know and be able to do. Although it is state standards that are the focus of much public attention and consume substantial resources, many local school districts have developed their own content standards in the major subject areas. However, we know very little about the role state standards have played in local standards efforts. In this article we report on a study of the relationship between state and local content standards in reading in four states and districts. Through interviews with key personnel in each state and district and analyses of state and local content standards in reading, we explored the alignment between state and district content standards, the path of influence between the two, and the role of high-stakes tests in state and districts reform efforts. Our findings suggest that alignment had multiple meanings and that state standards had differential utility to districts, ranging from helpful to benign to nuisance. This wide variability was influenced by the nature of the standards themselves, the state vision of alignment and local control, districts' own engagement and commitment to professional development, and student performance on high-stakes tests. We explore implications for the future of content standards as the cornerstone of standards-based reform and argue that states must promote district ownership and expand accountability if state content standards are to have any relevance for local efforts to reform teaching and learning.</p>

This Research Report explores how state content standards in reading affect local content standards. The study, undertaken in four states, shows that under the guise of alignment between state and local standards, there is considerable variability, and that the usefulness of the state's efforts to promote local standards-based reform in this areas of the curriculum depends on various attributes of the state policy, the characteristic relationship between state and local level, and local engagement in professional development.

Publication Year: 2003

Building Instructional Quality and Coherence in San Diego City Schools: System Struggle, Professional Change

Policy Brief 9, September 2003.
Published January 2003

Building Instructional Quality: Inside-Out and Outside-In Perspectives on San Diego's School Reform

A Research Report by Linda Darling-Hammond, Amy M. Hightower, Jennifer L. Husbands, Jeannette R. LaFors, Viki M. Young, and Carl Christopher, September 2003.
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>During the 1990s, a new policy hypothesis—that focusing on the quality of teaching would provide a high-leverage means for improving student achievement—began to gain currency. This study of San Diego, California's highly focused reform initiative to improve the quality of teaching examines an effort to act on this hypothesis. Based on interview, observation, survey, and record data collected at the state, district, and school levels over a five-year time period, the study offers a look at how one large, urban district developed an aggressive set of policies to improve instruction. The research examines how the district consolidated and redirected resources, redesigned the district office as well as work in schools, and mediated and leveraged state policy to further its reform agenda. Among key reform strategies were:</p> <ul><li>An overhaul of recruitment, hiring, placement, and evaluation to recruit and retain high-quality teachers and principals in the district, while weeding out weak staff members;</li> <li>A massive investment in intensive professional development, including institutes, workshops and on-site coaching in every school, focused initially on developing teachers' and principals' expertise in literacy instruction, and later branching out into mathematics, science, and other subjects;</li> <li>A redesign of administration, replacing area superintendents with Instructional Leaders working closely with principals on improving the quality of teaching in each building and charging principals with focused evaluation and support of instruction;</li> <li>A major reallocation of resources to downsize the central office, consolidate fragmented programs and pots of money, and focus resources on classroom work;</li> <li>A much more centralized approach to providing curriculum and teaching guidance based on research on learning and teaching, including the development of special courses and district-wide strategies for literacy development as well as aspects of mathematics and science instruction;</li> <li>An effort to develop a culture and shared expertise to enable professional accountability and to redefine the state's accountability processes to support instruction without punishing students.</li> </ul> <p>The study documents substantial gains in student achievement and transformations of teaching practices, especially in San Diego's elementary and middle schools, over a five year period, in association with these policies. Schools and students that benefited most from the changes were often those that were previously lowest-achieving. However, schools that were most bureaucratically organized with the fewest opportunities for collaboration among faculty had more difficulty using new resources to transform instruction. The study also documents the difficulties of managing the politics and implementation of a coherent approach to change in a large district with an established culture of decentralization located in a state with a piecemeal, sometimes conflicting, menu of reforms. Looking at the process of school change from both the 'outside in' and the 'inside out,' the study details how the district and individual schools initiated, coped with, and transformed the many competing policies in the school environment. Finally, we document the district's more difficult process of seeking to improve high schools and its new round of reforms, just launched as the research was ending, to rethink the organization and design of the urban high school as a means of transforming the quality of teaching and learning within.</p> <p>The research ends with evidence of substantial transformation in the culture, organization, instruction, and outcomes of San Diego's schools but also with the changing of many members of the leadership team. The future will reveal whether the reforms with be sustained in the long run and whether San Diego's bet on professional learning—enforced from the top down as a key lever for change—will ultimately strengthen the teaching and learning capacities of local schools from the inside out.</p>

This research report looks at the aggressive set of policies San Diego City School District used to improve instruction. It reveals how San Diego consolidated and redirected resources, redesigned the district office as well as work in schools, and mediated and leveraged state policy to further its reform agenda. The report also documents the difficulties of managing the politics and implementation of a coherent approach to change in a large district with an established culture of decentralization located in a state with a piecemeal, sometimes conflicting, menu of reforms.

Leading for Learning Sourcebook: Concepts and Examples

A CTP Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation, February 2003.
Published January 2003

This 112-page report is the document on which the 32-page summary was based. It discusses ideas in greater depth and offers more examples of the ideas at work.

Leading for Learning: Reflective Tools for School and District Leaders

A CTP Research Report in collaboration with The Wallace Foundation, February 2003.
Published January 2003

A 32-page, research-based report that addresses links between leadership and learning. Three learning agendas are discussed and five ways to address those agendas are detailed.

Organizing schools for student and teacher learning: An examination of resource allocation choices in reforming schools

Published January 2003

<p>In Plecki, M.L. &amp; Monk, D.H. (Eds.) School Finance and Teacher Quality: Exploring the Connections. The 2003 Yearbook of the American Education Finance Association. Larchmont, NJ: Eye on Education</p>

Reforming Districts: How Districts Support School Reform

A Research Report by Milbrey McLaughlin and Joan Talbert, September 2003.
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>School districts have participated in multiple rounds of education reform activity in the past few decades, yet few have made headway on system-wide school improvement. This paper addresses the questions of whether districts matter for school reform progress and what successful reforming districts do to achieve system change and to navigate the pitfalls associated with system change efforts. Using multi-level survey data and four-year case studies of three reforming California districts, the paper offers new evidence of district effects on school reform progress and improved student outcomes and develops a picture of a reforming district.</p> <p>The reforming districts featured in this analysis offer instructive exception to conventional wisdom—or myths—about district reform. One myth predicts that teachers and principals will resist a strong district role. Yet, our research provides evidence that a weak central office in fact limits schools' reform progress, while a strong district role is effective and welcomed when it uses a strategic conception of responsibilities and leadership between system levels. A second myth about district reform holds that turnover or personnel churn will derail efforts to establish and sustain a consistent reform agenda. While this statement is true in many instances, in two districts studied, turnover in top leadership positions did not trigger significant change in district priorities or norms because planning processes and inclusive communication strategies over time had embedded them in district culture. A third myth asserts that local politics will defeat a serious reform agenda; yet, leaders in each reforming district articulated unambiguous goals and priorities and, with strong board support developed over many years, were able to navigate local political waters and protect a strong district role.</p> <p>Each of the reforming districts studied was a self-conscious learning organization, investing in system-wide learning—in the central office, in schools, in cross-school teacher networks, and in units such as the business office that typically are excluded from professional development focused on instruction. This research suggests that taking the district system as the unit of change is essential to advancing equitable and sustainable reform.</p>

By detailing the experiences of three reforming California districts, this research report offers new evidence of district effects on school reform progress and improved student outcomes. The case studies offer instructive exception to conventional wisdom-or myths-about district reform. Among the refuted myths: teachers and principals resist a strong district role; turnover derails efforts to establish and sustain a consistent reform agenda; and local politics will defeat any serious reform agenda.

Standards-Based Reform and Small Schools of Choice: How Reform Theories Converge in Three Urban Middle Schools

A Research Report by Chrysan Gallucci, Michael S. Knapp, Anneke Markholt, and Suzy Ort, July 2003.
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>The convergence of two apparently opposite theories of urban educational reform is analyzed as it occurs in three middle schools in a New York City school district. The first theory, emphasizing small schools of choice, promotes close relationships between students and adults in distinctive school programs. The second—centralized, standards-based instructional improvement—seeks to standardize instruction through demanding curriculum, an emphasis on standard-bearing work, and investment in professional learning. Using in-depth case studies developed over three years, the authors argue that the reform theories complemented one another in this case, but their coexistence varied based on how the schools organized themselves for professional learning, knowing their students well, and taking joint responsibility for learning outcomes. The sophistication and flexibility of the district's policies facilitated the convergence process. The authors conclude that, although tension producing, the first set of reform ideas can create the conditions in which rich and complex versions of standards-based practice can develop.</p>

This report examines the ways two seemingly opposite theories of educational reform converge in three New York City middle schools. Using in-depth case studies, the authors look at what happened when a theory of centralized, standards-based instructional improvement was introduced into these schools on top of an existing theory that emphasized small schools, distinctive programs, and close relationships among students and adults. The result, a surprise to some, is that the two theories can coexist, even complement each other, but not without some tension.

Theorizing About Responses to Reform: The Role of Communities of Practice

An Occasional Paper by Chrysan Gallucci, May 2003
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>This paper evaluates the usefulness of a sociocultural approach for analyzing teachers' responses to the professional learning demands of standards-based reform policies. A policy-oriented case study of the practice of six elementary teachers who worked in two high poverty schools in a demographically changing district in the state of Washington is summarized. Key findings of that study conclude that communities of teaching practice are sites for teacher learning and are mediators of teachers' responses to standards-based reform. Characteristics of the communities of practice, including their relative strength and openness (to learning), influence the degree to which teachers work out negotiated and thoughtful responses to policy demands. The present paper discusses the efficacy of Wenger's (1998) theory of learning for the study of policy to practice connections.</p>

This paper offers a summary of a policy-oriented case study that examined the practice of six elementary teachers and, more significantly, evaluates the value of a sociocultural approach for analyzing teachers' responses to the professional learning demands of standards-based reform policies.

Triage or Tapestry? Teacher Unions' Work Toward Improving Teacher Quality in an Era of Systemic Reform

A Research Report by Nina Bascia, June 2003
Published January 2003
Abstract:

<p>his report looks at and identifies emerging trends in the roles that teacher unions play in educational reform and improving the quality of teaching. A description of the efforts of six teacher unions to improve teacher quality within the context of the current systemic reform movement shows a range and depth of union initiatives beyond what is commonly known in policy research. The report highlights organizational strengths of teacher unions, the unique contributions they make to teacher quality, and some of the challenges they face. Two broad conceptions of systemic reform in support of improving teaching quality—triage and tapestry—are presented and contrasted. When educational improvement is understood as a tapestry of efforts that requires multiple initiatives in many arenas by many reform players, unions appear to perform several important and unique functions toward improving teacher quality.</p>

By examining the work of six teacher unions, this report considers the contributions that teacher unions make toward improving the quality of teaching in today's context of systemic reform.

Understanding Reading Test Failure: Challenges for State and District Policy

Policy Brief 8, July 2003
Published January 2003

Publication Year: 2002

District policy and beginning teachers

Published January 2002

ERS Spectrum: Journal of School Research and Information, 20,12-22.

San Diego City Schools: Comprehensive Reform Strategies at Work

Policy Brief 5, February 2002
Published January 2002

San Diego's Big Boom: District Bureaucracy Supports Culture of Learning

A Research Report by Amy M. Hightower, January 2002.
Published January 2002
Abstract:

<p>This paper contributes to an emerging body of literature on school districts as active partners in education reform. Using qualitative methods, it details the first three years of a major districtwide initiative in San Diego City Schools as reformers sought to orient central office bureaucracy around an instructional agenda. This paper both describes the major thrusts of the reform, including reactions of participants, and wrestles with the notion that large-scale, systemic change in an entrenched urban district may require strong, even bureaucratic, methods to transition the system into supporting a culture focused on instruction.</p>

This research report chronicles three years of reform by San Diego City Schools and explores what it means to radically refocus a large urban district on instructional improvement.

What School Districts Spend on Professional Development

Policy Brief 6, November 2002
Published January 2002

Publication Year: 2001

District Policy and Beginning Teachers: Where the Twain Shall Meet

A Research Report by Pamela Grossman, Sheila Valencia, and Clarissa Thompson, June 2001
Published January 2001
Abstract:

<p>This analysis considers what role district policy environments play in the lives of beginning teachers. As part of a longitudinal study of teacher learning in the language arts, the authors followed 10 teachers from their final year of teacher education into their first three years of teaching. In this paper, they examined the role that policies concerning curriculum, professional development, and mentoring in two reform-active districts played in shaping the experiences and concerns of three first-year language arts teachers. The questions asked in the study locate it at the intersection of two distinct literatures—the literature on beginning teachers and the literature on the relationship of policy and practice. Whereas other studies on beginning teacher concerns have taken a psychological perspective, focusing on the individual teacher as the explanatory factor, this study employs a more sociocultural view, looking at the broader contexts in which individual teachers work. The authors found that the two districts served powerful roles as teacher educators. The tasks the districts assigned the teachers, the resources they provided, the learning environments they created, the assessments they designed and the conversations they provoked proved to be consequential for what the teachers came to learn about language arts teaching and teaching in general.</p>

This Research Report looks at the role that policies concerning curriculum, professional development, and mentoring in two reform-active districts played in shaping the experiences and concerns of three first-year language arts teachers.

Publication Year: 2000

Connecting Districts to the Policy Dialogue: A Review of Literature on the Relationship of Districts with States, Schools, and Communities

A Working Paper by Julie A. Marsh, September 2000.
Published January 2000
Abstract:

<p>The current wave of education reform pays little attention to school districts. State and federal policies have increasingly identified schools as the most important units of change-rendering local districts virtual non-actors in the process of educational improvement (Elmore, 1993, 1997a; Elmore and Burney, 1999; Fullan, forthcoming; Massell and Goertz, 1999; Spillane, 1996). The focus on state-level education standards, curriculum frameworks, assessment, and accountability systems, along with state and federal efforts to serve specific populations through categorical programs, restructure schools, increase site-based decision-making, and introduce greater parental choice exemplify this trend in education policy. To some reformers, school districts are the problem. Critics claim that they have no empirically significant role to play, are inconsistent with sound policy, and are inefficient bureaucratic institutions (Chubb and Moe, 1990; Elmore, 1993, citing Finn, 1991). To other observers, school districts have become overly politicized and unresponsive to public, teacher, and student needs (Hill, 1999). Other policymakers simply view districts as relatively insignificant go-betweens through which policies and funding must pass to reach the more important school-level actors. Finally, some reformers have invented new organizational forms and networks (e.g., New American Schools Development Corporation) that bypass districts in order to directly target resources and support to schools.</p> <p>Despite this trend in policy, an increasing number of studies in the past decade or so have documented the key roles that districts play in supporting improvements in teaching and learning-building a strong case that school districts matter (Spillane, 1996). The following paper examines this emerging body of literature and attempts to answer the following questions:</p> <ul> <li>What roles do school districts play in efforts to improve teaching and learning? How do they affect the implementation of state policies and the enactment of school-level changes?</li> <li>What are the key factors that enable districts to effectively support improvements in teaching and learning?</li> <li>How does community involvement or collaboration contribute to districts' improvement efforts?</li> </ul> <p>In conclusion, this paper will examine several unanswered questions and suggest directions for future research to advance the state of knowledge on school districts.</p>

This Working Paper reviews literature about the key roles that districts play in supporting improvements in teaching and learning, including the district role in implementing state policies and enacting school-level change and what the key factors are that enable districts to effectively support improvements. It also considers how community involvement and collaboration contribute to districts' improvement efforts. The paper suggests directions for future research to advance the state of knowledge on school districts.