“We Shake Hands at the Door”: How a Focus on Relationships Is Driving Improvement in Chula Vista
WestEd, the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence, and the California Department of Education are partnering in an effort to identify exemplary districts across California that can serve as models for other California school districts.
For the initial phase of this descriptive study, quantitative methods were used to identify districts that are serving a high proportion of students of color and low-income students and that, in particular, have demonstrated consistent improvement in suspension rates for students with disabilities.
Consistently strong student performance, ongoing improvement, and innovative practices have earned San Diego’s Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD) recognition from the California Department of Education and from a range of policy and research organizations.
This paper describes some of the ways in which the district has been so effective in improving student outcomes and examines several key strategies that have contributed to CVESD’s success.
Key finding: As the research team conducted site visits and interviews with district leaders, principals, and teachers, it became clear that CVESD’s intentional, deep, and sustained commitment to building positive relationships across the district is the driving force behind improvement efforts.
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