The School Improvement KnowledgeBase

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires states, districts, and schools receiving federal funds to improve the academic achievement of all the students they serve, and close the achievement gap between and among particular racial and ethnic groups of these students identified in the law.

The School Improvement KnowledgeBase is an information resource aimed at helping states, districts, and schools receiving Title I funds to fulfill the Act's requirements and improve their students' academic achievement. The KnowledgeBase is a broad-based outline of key ideas and resources to guide state, district, or school leaders in achieving the goals of NCLB.

Element 1: Understand the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act

Purpose: Element 1 explains the major provisions of the NCLB Act. In doing so, it explores NCLB goals, what "in need of improvement" means, public school choice and supplemental services, corrective action and restructuring, scientifically based research, parent, family and community involvement, and teacher and paraprofessional requirements. The impact of these topics is addressed within the activities below at the state, district, and school levels.

Activity 1: Major Provisions of NCLB

Activity 2: NCLB Provisions at the State Level

Activity 3: NCLB Provisions at the District and School Levels

Task 5: Develop Vision and Mission Statements

Guideline: A mission statement answers the question, "Why does this organization exist?" A vision statement presents a picture of an organization's future. It is important that improvement team members understand the mission and vision to create a roadmap for improvement effectively.

Creating A Vision

The School Improvement in Maryland website addresses the importance of creating a shared vision to accomplish school improvement. This website may be useful to any group creating a shared vision.

Developing and Communicating A Vision

This Community Toolbox website provides information on developing a vision and communicating it to others.

Holding a Shared Vision Steady

This Michigan Department of Education newsletter decribes a process for creating a shared school vision. Though the process focuses on a schoolwide vision, it can be adapted to a project-related vision to implement other instructional tools.

Vision as the Compass

This link is to Chapter 1 Vision as the Compass of the New Principal's Fieldbook. This chapter discusses "Vision Defined," "Multiple Visions," "Creating a Personal Leadership Vision," and "Creating a Shared Vision."

Element 2: Organize for Action

Purpose: Prior to initiating a school improvement effort, the school's principal must organize for action. Key activities include the following:

  • organizing and orienting the school improvement team,
  • acquiring technical assistance, and
  • developing and executing a communications strategy.
Element 2 outlines the steps in creating a roadmap for the planning effort.

Activity 1: Organize the School Improvement Team

Activity 2: Orient the Improvement Team

Activity 3: Acquire Technical Assistance

Activity 4: Develop a Communications Strategy Around School Improvement

Activity 5: Execute the Communications Strategy

Element 3: Understand Your School - Gather, Review, and Report the Data

Purpose: Assessing the school's current status regarding student academic performance, staffing, operations, and organization is an essential prerequisite to developing the school improvement plan. Element 3 outlines the tasks involved in creating such a school profile.

Activity 1: Get Organized for Data Collection

Activity 2: Review and Analyze Collected Data

Element 4: Develop the Plan

Purpose: Under NCLB, a school identified as "in need of improvement" is required to produce a school improvement plan. The school improvement plan communicates the improvement strategies and goals to school staff members and other relevant constituent groups. Element 4 outlines suggested tasks associated with creating the school improvement plan.

Activity 1: Identify Broad Areas in Need of Improvement

Activity 2: Identify Resources Required to Accomplish Goals

Activity 3: Formulate the Plan (Commit the Plan to Paper)

Element 5: Implement and Monitor the Plan

Purpose: Improvement is achieved through the effective implementation of chosen strategies. To assure successful implementation of the school improvement plan, the principal and school improvement team should monitor the progress continuously. Element 5 outlines suggested steps for managing implementation of the school improvement plan.

Activity 1: Manage Plan Implementation

Activity 2: Monitor and Evaluate Plan Outcomes