1. A broadly shared mission, vision and goals founded on ambitious images of the educated person

  • System-wide focus on achievement (raising the bar, closing the gap, and nurturing student achievement and well-being) to support district-wide improvement efforts in the context of the values held by the community served
  • Mission, vision and goals developed transparently through a strategic planning process and brought alive and sustained through consistent use as decision-making tools and beacons for the future

2. A coherent instructional guidance system

  • Curriculum standards and frameworks, instructional practices, professional development emphases and assessment tools focused on achieving the district’s mission, vision and goals
  • Collaboration across the system for school improvement purposes, consistency and coherence in priorities and expectations and focused support by system leaders for improvement work in schools
  • School staffs encouraged to be innovative in their efforts to improve practices and to use focused instruction 1 to ensure their improvement efforts are addressing the needs of individual students
  • Differentiated support to schools in response to variability in student performance

3. Deliberate and consistent use of multiple sources of evidence to inform decisions

  • Effective use of existing research to guide policymaking and planning
  • Careful reading of relevant research evidence as the starting point for decisions about what to do to improve student performance
  • Careful use of multiple sources of data about both achievement and improvement strategies for diagnosing weaknesses, setting targets, and monitoring progress
  • Collaborative cultures nourished by networks to stimulate learning of new forms of instructions and support for staff members during implementation

4. Learning-oriented organizational improvement processes

  • Coherent approach to improvement based on a small number of key improvement goals consistently pursued over a sustained time period
  • Integration of new initiatives into existing routines and practices ensuring continuity and extension of core values
  • Professional learning communities and networks within and across schools and with other districts to share, assess, and refine improvement efforts and to provide job-embedded, strategically directed professional learning

5. Job- embedded professional development for all members of the organization

  • Professional learning aligned with board and school improvement initiatives differentiated to meet needs of schools, leaders and teachers and aimed at transferring learning into practice
  • Job-embedded professional learning for supervisory officers, principals, and teachers through authentic engagement in solving school and district improvement problems (problems of practice)
  • Close monitoring of progress and staff held accountable for applying their learning

6. Budgets, structures, time and personnel policies/procedures aligned with the district's mission, vision and goals

  • Allocation of resources aligned with district focus on improving instruction and student achievement
  • Resources used to help close achievement gaps by ensuring that struggling students have better access to supports (financial resources, high quality teachers and successful peer models)

7. A comprehensive approach to leadership development

  • School leader development used as a high leverage strategy due to its potential to influence large numbers of teachers
  • Well-developed and implemented performance appraisal procedures for school leaders and regular feedback to principals about their leadership practices and improvement efforts
  • Creation of large pools of well-qualified potential school and system leaders and on-the-job support for them once in leadership roles
  • Orderly leadership succession and placement of leaders in schools based primarily on the needs or challenges faced by schools
  • Priority focus on developing subsets of the personal leadership resources and leadership practices based on local circumstances at particular times

8. A policy-oriented board of trustee practice

  • Board of trustees focused on strategic planning and ensuring district mission and vision for student achievement and well-being drive the district’s improvement efforts
  • Board of trustees help to create productive relationships in an engaging, supportive climate of excellence
  • Board of trustees holds the director accountable for improving teaching and learning in the system
  • Board members respect decisions reached by the board as a whole

9. Productive working relationships with staff and stakeholders

  • Regular communication through the system nurtured by structures that encourage strong relationships and collaborative work based on a shared vision for student learning and well-being among staff, principals, system leaders, parents, community groups, trustees and ministry