Our Work

School Improvement

School Improvement

School Improvement

We take a design-based consulting approach to our school improvement work. At Mi, we don’t have one single strategy for improving districts or schools. We work with the strengths of school leaders and educators to develop an improvement program that the community will support and that will be sustainable long after our partnership ends. We work with states, districts, and schools across the country. For more information on School Improvement Planning, read our Road Map to Developing a School Improvement Plan here.
Design-Based Approach

Design-Based Approach

Our approach builds from of our Theory of Action and includes district and school supports. We don’t approach school improvement with just a single model in mind. Rather, we work with school leaders, educators, community members, parents, and students to develop an approach to school improvement that is responsive to local needs and strengths. Our field-tested approach starts with asking questions to understand context and conditions before building coherence, capacity, and network learning opportunities for our partners. We help our partners establish clear goals and metrics, build internal capacity, and ensure the sustainability of improvement efforts. This approach is outlined in The Turnaround Challenge, which Mass Insight published in 2007 as a call-to-action on the need for intervention in America’s lowest-performing schools.

District and School Supports

We work closely with stakeholders to offer a mix of strategies and supports designed to help schools improve and meet the needs of today’s students:

School Readiness Assessments (SRA) assess a school’s readiness to ensure the success of all its students. SRAs examine conditions, leadership, instructional focus, the school’s overall performance and effectiveness, and the district’s capacity to support the school and are organized around Mi’s school readiness framework.

School Improvement Planning utilizes the SRA or existing school assessment and diagnostic process to develop an actionable plan for improvement, with a limited number of strategies and goals that address the root causes of low performance. For more information on School Improvement Planning, read our Road Map to Developing a School Improvement Plan here.

School Improvement Redesign is a more extensive planning process that helps a school develop an innovative and unique school design that proposes new structures and programs that best serve the students at the school.

School Leadership Support provides coaching support for principals and district-level management to help schools and districts support school leadership teams responsible for improvement plan implementation.

Instructional Focus Training helps teachers work together to constantly improve and refine standards-based instructional practice so that students can engage in deep learning tasks by developing and supporting professional learning communities, the use of common planning time, and the effective use of assessment data to inform instruction and build collective responsibility for student learning.

Performance Management ensures that schools are living their plans, making adjustments, and monitoring progress as they go along. We help schools and districts set up and sustain processes that focus on two key questions: Are we doing what we said we would do in our plan? Is it making a difference?

District Diagnostics assess a district’s current capacity to effectively support school improvement and sustain growth in student outcomes and provide district leadership with a manageable set of action-oriented and high-yield recommendations to promote organizational excellence.

Central Office Reorganization Planning distills and refines data collected from the District Diagnostic to recommend structural and organizational changes necessary to support the needs of low-performing schools. The planning is design-based and presented in a manner specific to the complexity of the needs, context, and policies of unique school districts.

Partnership Zones are performance-based partnerships creating scalable strategies for turning around low-performing schools. Zones transform governance and management structures within districts to create streamlined, adaptable organizations that manage, support, and lead schools based on identified needs.

Networks facilitate strong professional relationships and encourage participants to share best practices that facilitate innovation. Our current Gateway to College Success Network is working with educators to significantly improve teaching and learning at the middle and high school levels so that more students are prepared for the rigors of college work.

School Improvement Results

Aurora, Colorado

Mi has been in partnership with Aurora Public Schools (APS) since 2015. Our key work there has involved the design, implementation, and support of a zone of the district’s lowest-performing schools; this included leading a process that leveraged the state’s innovation act to secure the necessary conditions for improvement at each school. APS and the five participating schools have achieved a number of successful results related to the development of the first ACTION Zone in the district. Behavioral referrals decreased by as much as 39% and out-of-school suspensions decreased by as much as 49%. Both secondary schools successfully decreased drop-out rates, with Aurora Central High School reducing the rate by half. Aurora Central High School, which was the lowest performing high school in the state at the start of our partnership and in its final year on the state accountability clock, improved by a full level in the accountability system and avoided state takeover.

Providence, Rhode Island

In Providence, Rhode Island, Mass Insight conducted a three-year capacity-building project where it 1) improved the process for monitoring schools to better align state requirements with district supports; 2) led the development of the Office of Transformation and Innovation, which supports schools turning themselves around and incubating new schools; and 3) analyzed central office supports to schools, culminating in a report to the City of Providence about the need to transform the central office.

Evansville, Indiana

In Evansville, Indiana, where Mass Insight has been working since 2012, the school system experienced the largest gains in the state's accountability system and is now the highest-performing large, urban school district in the state, and the number of failing schools has decreased by approximately 50 percent.

Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

According to the 2014-2015 District Report Card issued by The Louisiana Department of Education, the number of failing schools in Jefferson Parish, where Mass Insight began working in 2012, decreased by more than half–from 50 to 22–since 2011. The district rating also improved from a “D” to a “B.”

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