On July 21, 2017, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) released a set of 10 principles—from states and for states—to inform the design and management of effective systems to improve or replace low-performing schools and schools with low-performing subgroups of students. The principles are derived from what we know based on current research, evidence, experience, and the input of state leaders, key stakeholders, and other experts. These school improvement principles build off CCSSO’s next-generation state accountability system principles and closely align with its commitments to advancing educational equity.
The goal of the principles is to articulate the core components of any effective school improvement system, not necessarily a common model or theory of action. The particular choices each state makes in applying the principles should align with its particular theory of action and reflect its unique set of conditions. For these principles to be actionable, though, we must have a common understanding of what each principle is (and is not).
Accordingly, CCSSO, with the support of EducationCounsel, is publishing "Deep Dives" into each of the 10 principles. The series begins with this overview or "Roadmap" to implementing the principles along with the first two Deep Dives for Principles #1 and Principle #2. The remaining Deep Dives will be published in the coming months to help inform states’ decision making as they finish designing and begin implementing their school improvement systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
We hope the Deep Dives help states and their partners take action on the principles for the benefit of students enrolled in identified schools. Each Deep Dive is designed to unpack these thematic and cross-cutting principles via six elements listed in the boxes below.
After publishing all of the Deep Dives, we will produce a set of appendices that aggregate some of the elements (e.g., a comprehensive list of relevant resources). Our intention is for these resources to be "living" documents with ongoing updates to reflect new promising practices that emerge from states’ implementation over time.
The remainder of this introductory Roadmap provides (i) a list of the principles, (ii) baseline information about school improvement under ESSA, and (iii) some general suggestions about how states can connect the principles to key, concrete decisions about their systems.
Finally, note that while the principles and the Deep Dives are oriented toward state leaders (particularly state chiefs and their state education agency [SEA] teams), all stakeholders can benefit from these resources. Indeed, the principles must manifest at each level of the system, including school districts and schools. Although SEAs should certainly integrate each principle at the state level (e.g., routines for continuously improving SEA strategies under Principle #9; ongoing state-level stakeholder engagement under Principle #3), they must be equally if not more committed to ensuring the principles "live" throughout the system (e.g., requiring, encouraging, and/or supporting continuous improvement and stakeholder engagement at the district and school levels).