Effective District Planning and the Required Local Educational Agency Plan (LEAP): Insights from Successful Districts

By Eric Haas, Heather Mattson, Sharon Tucker

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Description

Standing at the midpoint between schools and state and federal governments, districts have the difficult yet crucial task of implementing state and federal programs and policies – as well as their own existing programs and practices – to improve academic achievement.

This study, produced by the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd, examines the planning and implementation of district improvement efforts in general. It also focuses on the influence of the Local Educational Agency Plan (LEAP) required of all districts receiving funds under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

WestEd researchers looked at successful California school districts and asked two key questions:

  • What are the key elements in districts’ planning and implementation of action and improvement efforts?
  • What role does California’s LEAP play in their own locally developed action and improvement processes and contexts?

Some key findings:

  • Successful improvement planning and implementation efforts were based on an organizational structure with varied levels of flexibility
  • An articulated vision of high-quality teaching and learning guided their efforts
  • Progress was assessed by regularly gathering and analyzing data

The study also analyzes the implications of the research and suggests next steps.

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