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Continuous Improvement: Improving Schools and School Systems

We need to do something differently to achieve our goal of cutting Wisconsin's persistent achievement gaps in half.

Systematically supporting each other makes big goals possible

Graphic of children on top of a shape like a step pyramid

We can multiply the impact of each other's improvement efforts by functioning as a coherent educational system.

For this, we need a common understanding of what that means, and each player's role. Following is how we envision that.

Students
pyramid graphic with students highlighted

Each student gets the support they need, when they need it, to thrive.

 

Educators in Schools
pyramid graphic with top layer under 3 students highlighted

In their work with students, educators in schools:

  • use culturally responsive, evidence-based practices that empower each student to learn;
  • empower families to collaborate with schools to support students' learning;
  • collaborate to build and strengthen an equitable multi-level system of supports.

Professionals who interact primarily with students can expect and request, from building-level leadership:

  • a strong shared vision of an equitable multi-level system of supports (MLSS);
  • shared leadership to build and strengthen the MLSS;
  • training and preparation to address the needs of all students for whom they are responsible;
  • equitable allocation of human and material resources to meet the needs of each student;
  • accessible, effective systems to support evidence-based practices, collaboration, family and community engagement, strategic use of data, and continuous improvement.
School Building Level
pyramid graphic with second level from top highlighted. Students stand on the top.

School level leaders, in working with educators:

  • commit to building and strengthening an equitable multi-level system of supports (MLSS);
  • employ a systemic approach and an effective continuous improvement process;
  • implement evidence-based practices/systems;
  • ensure a positive climate;
  • empower educators, families, and communities to meet each student’s learning needs;
  • build the will, fill, and skill in all staff to ensure educational equity.

Principals and other school building leaders can expect and request, from the district level:

  • a strong shared vision of educational equity;
  • shared leadership and collaboration;
  • allocation of human and material resources to meet each school's unique needs and ensure equity;
  • evidence-based systems/processes that support strategic use of data and that empower schools to build and strengthen their MLSS;
  • access to additional supports in the statewide system.
Local Education Agency
pyramid graphic with third level from top highlighted. Students stand on the top.

In working with their schools, district leaders:

  • access supports from regional level, from the TA Network of Support, and other sources to empower schools' equity/improvement work;
  • lead collaborative efforts, alongside family and community stakeholders, to define how the local education system should function;
  • set district-wide goals for equity;
  • empower each school to build a multi-level system of supports (MLSS) that meets each student’s learning needs;
  • allocate human and material resources that support equity needs/goals and improvement plans;
  • use a collaborative, systemic approach;
  • employ an effective continuous improvement process;
  • implement evidence-based practices/systems/services/supports.

Superintendents/other district leaders, and analogous leaders in charter/choice governing bodies can expect and request, from the regional level of the system:

  • strong shared vision of educational equity;
  • commitment to providing the supports necessary to close equity gaps;
  • shared leadership and collaboration;
  • evidence-based systems and processes;
  • professional development and other supports aligned to district needs and the statewide vision;
Regional Agency
pyramid graphic with fourth level from top highlighted. Students stand on the top.

In their work with districts, regional agencies:

  • provide a strong, shared vision of educational equity;
  • commit to providing the supports necessary to close equity gaps;
  • respond to districts' needs related to their continuous improvement efforts to close equity gaps;
  • use a collaborative, systemic approach;
  • employ an effective continuous improvement process and other evidence-based practices and systems;
  • provide high-quality professional development and other supports that are aligned to statewide and district goals for educational equity.

Regional agencies can expect and request, from the state:

  • strong shared vision of educational equity;
  • commitment to providing the supports necessary to close equity gaps;
  • a systemic approach to equity across the state and a vision of the statewide system and its roles;
  • shared leadership in connecting state support to efforts across the state;
  • funding to support key services;
  • effective systems and tools for continuous improvement, educator effectiveness, and strategic disaggregation and analysis of data.
State Education Agency
pyramid graphic with fifth level from top highlighted. Students stand on the top.

The state education agency, in working with regional agencies:

  • prioritizes educational equity and provides a strong shared vision;
  • sets and communicates measurable targets;
  • commits to providing the supports necessary to close equity gaps;
  • aligns material and human resources with equity goals, providing funding for key services;
  • leads collaborative efforts to define how the state education system should function;
  • employs an effective continuous improvement process;
  • implements evidence-based practices/systems/programs/services/supports that empower the other roles in the system;
  • monitors data and identifies schools and districts where extra support is needed, in accordance with state and federal laws.

Access Supports

Resources for Continuous Improvement

graphic of cycle including four stages: PLAN, DO, Check, and ACT. An arrow coming from the top leading into the cycle is labeled, "Readiness." In the center of the cycle is an icon and the word, "Collaboration."

As step-by-step guidance, we created a Timeline of Recommended Actions for Improving Achievement and Closing Gaps.

We're also providing other tools to help put all the pieces of continuous improvement together and support your progress. Check out our draft rubric for effective continuous improvement and diagram of the continuous improvement process

Come back soon for a link to a new spot on the WISELearn portal where you can dive deeper into the improvement process.

Statewide Collaboration

We're happy to be working closely with the statewide Technical Assistance Network for Improvement and other partners across the state to connect resources and supports for continuous improvement and align them to school and district needs. 

Some of our key partners, in the TA Network and beyond, include:

  • Cooperative Educational Service Areas (CESAs)
  • Wisconsin Response to Intervention (RtI) Center
  • Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators (WASDA)
  • Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network
  • Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA)