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Districts at Work Executive Summary

Eight school systems gaining traction for students by transforming how central office supports schools

The eight school systems we studied wanted the same things for their students as many other school systems—for example, improved early literacy, enhanced social and emotional learning, and more equitable access to rigorous coursework—all in service of preparing every student for college and career, regardless of their race or income. And like many other districts, they set clear strategic priorities.

What sets these eight school systems apart is tht they didn't stop there. Leaders from these districts rolled up their sleeves to carefully and collaboratively construct three other gears that effectively powered their strategic priorities:

  • A clear theory of action that included both school-level changes and central office supports;
  • Tough trade-offs to shift resources; and
  • District process shifts to enable schools to implement the changes
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