What does it take to improve a school? What kinds of programs, systems, and people need to be in place for educational outcomes to improve overall? As reported in Common Strategies for Uncommon Achievement: How Districts Enable and Support High-Performing Schools, these and other questions continue to vex policymakers who—along with researchers, reformers, and advocates—pore over data and case studies looking for tools to transform schools into places where all students achieve.
Sadly, there is no silver bullet. But there are features and structures of schools that have shown improvement that can help educational leaders see a path forward.
One way to consider how to design plans for school improvement is to start with the success stories—focusing on how educators brought about positive change. This report intends to do just that by considering the performance of districts and schools of an entire state—in this case, North Carolina—focusing on some of those that improved and then teasing out the approaches that leaders in these districts used to foster success.