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Statewide Support Systems Lessons

**Le Floch, K., Boyle, A., & Bowles Therriault, S. (2008, September). State systems of support under NCLB: Design components and quality considerations (AIR Research Brief). Available at American Institutes for Research website: Research_Brief_II-State_Systems_of_Support_091508_0.pdf

Centered in the context of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandate to support schools identified for improvement, this brief presents data on state systems of support from a national survey of state administrators, identifies key components among state systems of support, and suggests eight research-supported indicators to assess the quality of these supports. Survey findings provide information on the structure of state systems of support, states’ capacity to support school improvement, types of staff members employed by the state for this work, and functions of these staff as it pertains to school improvement facilitation. The suggested indicators to measure quality include four systemic features of support (coherence, comprehensiveness, stability, and responsiveness) as well as elements of the support provided to school-level staff in the context of school needs (intensity, prescriptiveness, fit, and timeliness).

Boyle, A., Carlson Le Floch, K., Bowles Therriault, S., & Holzman, B. (2009). State support for school improvement: School-level perceptions of quality. Available at American Institutes for Research website: Quality_Indicator_Brief_FINAL_0.pdf

The research brief presents a set research-derived indicators for evaluating the quality of external school improvement assistance. The brief goes on to summarize findings from teacher and administrator interviews at low-performing schools in six states about their perception of the quality of assistance they receive according to those indicators. The quality indicators for external school assistance include fit to meet the needs of the school, the intensity of support, responsiveness in terms of feedback mechanisms, stability of the support to sustain intervention, coherence within a system of support, and timeliness in when these supports are administered.  Teacher and administrator responses suggested that all six indicators shape perceptions of quality when it comes to the state support they received.

Knudson, J., Shambaugh, L., & O’Day, J. (2011, February). Beyond the school: Exploring a systemic approach to school turnaround (CA Collaborative on District Reform Policy and Practice Brief). Available at California Collaborative on District Reform website: CA_Collaborative_School_Turnaround_0.pdf

Shifting away from the common inclination to situate causes for and solutions to persistent low performance at the school level, this policy and practice brief draws on the experience of eight California school districts to suggest that any effective approach to school turnaround must be both systemic and customized. By looking at common approaches across all eight districts and by profiling three districts with unique approaches more in-depth, the brief illustrates opportunities where districts can leverage their capacity and resources to effectively promote dramatic growth in struggling schools. Taking these observations into account, the brief presents a set of considerations for how the federal and local government can promote a more systemic and customized approach to intervention in low-performing schools.

California Collaborative on District Reform. (2017). California’s past programs to support school and district improvement: A synthesis of evaluation studies. [Summary document for December 14–15, 2017, meeting of the California Collaborative on District Reform]. Available at default/files/Californias_past_programs_to_support_school_and_district_improvement.pdf 

This document synthesizes the findings from the evaluations of four statewide programs designed to provide support for underperforming schools and districts in California: Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools Program, High Priority Schools Grant Program, School Assistance and Intervention Teams, and District Assistance and Invention Teams. Two charts illustrate the similarities and differences in program features and evaluation results. The first provides programmatic details for each effort, including timeline, school or district selection criteria, state funding for implementation, and additional technical support provided. The second chart summarizes the evaluations of each program, including study design and findings related to student performance outcomes as well as implementation.

**This document is considered a priority reading.