School Improvement

We believe that school improvement requires a comprehensive approach to address the entire system. Our specialists build the capacity of district and school leaders to develop, implement, and evaluate improvement efforts, including school transformation and turnaround. The goal is to achieve gains in teaching and learning that are significant and sustainable.

Success Story

“The third-grade team engages in ongoing data analysis of teacher instruction and student performance to determine student learning goals. These learning goals are revisited and revised based on student performance, and interventions for student learning are put in place accordingly.” — Shirnetha Stinson, Clinton Elementary Assistant Principal and Instructional Facilitator

High-Flying Leaders and Teachers

Clinton Elementary, South Carolina
SEDL’s 2-year partnership to implement professional learning teams in Lancaster County School District, South Carolina, paid off for Clinton Elementary. English-language arts and math scores are up, and the school’s third-grade team received an award for excellence. Read more

See a video of Clinton Elementary using SEDL's Professional Teaching and Learning Cycle.

Significant Work

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): The SECC provides professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support low-performing districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals. Work varies by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): The TXCC provides professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support low-performing districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals.

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest: The REL Southwest assists the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in using data and research evidence to address high-priority education needs in the region. The project addresses school improvement through several of its research alliances. For example, the Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance seeks to use data and research evidence to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of educator effectiveness initiatives and policies across the REL Southwest region, with an initial focus on Texas. The New Mexico Achievement Gap Research Alliance seeks to use data and evidence to identify and understand factors that facilitate or impede progress in reducing achievement gaps among subpopulations of K–12 students in New Mexico. 

Center for High-Performing Schools
: Through this Center, SEDL builds the capacity of district and school leaders to plan, implement, evaluate, and sustain improvement efforts, including initiatives.

  • Fort Worth Independent School District: In Texas, SEDL has been providing training and support for the implementation of professional learning communities in Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD). Center staff provided ongoing training for district network leaders, network specialists, principals, teacher leaders and curriculum staff in using PLCs as a continuous improvement approach. Staff have also provided training and coaching at 12 schools in FWISD to support the implementation of PLCs at these schools.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover SEDL Insights, Vol. 2, No. 3: Implementing Effective Professional Learning Communities
“Professional learning communities,” the name given to teachers’ collaborative professional learning—or PLCs, as they are often called—has become so overused that we often don’t think about the term’s meaning. Only when teachers reflect on their instructional practice, consider the impact instruction has on students, and implement insights gained from a meeting to improve their teaching performance, can this process be called a professional learning community. This issue of SEDL Insights explores ways that education leaders can guide their staff in the implementation of effective PLCs.

Image of publication cover Transforming Low-Performing Rural Schools: Texas Comprehensive Center Briefing Paper, Number 10
This brief examines how rural districts and schools can integrate the unique attributes and resources found in rural communities into improvement efforts to promote the transformation of low-performing schools.

Image of publication cover SECC Information Request: Sustaining Statewide School Improvement Initiatives
This report discusses strategies and practices for sustaining statewide school improvement initiatives.

Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 4, Number 3: Turning Around Low-Performing Schools
This issue of the Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin summarizes some of the best practices in turning around schools and provide readers with references and resources to gain a deeper knowledge of the literature on turning around low-performing schools and strategies to help state departments and districts in their attempt to reform challenging schools.
Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 5, Number 2: Increasing High School Graduation Rates and Improving College Enrollment for High-Need Students
This edition of the Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin highlights data on high school graduation rates.
Image of publication cover Getting Serious About the System: A Fieldbook for District and School Leaders
This fieldbook shows how to avoid a haphazard approach to school improvement by focusing on all aspects of the system and on specific issues that have the most impact upon student achievement. This multidimensional process also entails increasing the competencies of everyone involved and implementing solutions districtwide.

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