Central Office Transformation for District-Wide Teaching and Learning Improvement

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 Central Office Transformation for District-Wide Teaching and Learning Improvement

The Study of Leadership for Learning Improvement

With support from The Wallace Foundation, a team of researchers from the Center for the Study of Teaching and Policy at the University of Washington has undertaken an investigation of leadership in urban schools and districts that are seeking to improve both learning and leadership. The study explored the following overarching question: What does it take for leaders to promote and support powerful, equitable learning in a school and in the district and state system that serves the school? The study pursued this question through a set of coordinated investigations, each with an intensive qualitative or mixed-methods strategy and with overlapping samples, designed to offer images of what is possible in schools and districts that take learning improvement seriously. Study sites were chosen to reflect a focus on learning and leadership improvement and varying degrees of progress toward improvement goals.

  • School Leadership investigation: The reconfiguration and exercise of leadership within elementary, middle, and high schools to enable more focused support for learning improvement
  • Resource Investment investigation: The investment of staffing and other resources at multiple levels of the system, in alignment with learning improvement goals, to enhance equity and leadership capacity
  • Central Office Transformation investigation: The reinvention of central office work practices and relationships with the schools to better support districtwide improvement of teaching and learning

Separate reports detail the findings of each investigation, and a synthesis report identifies themes connecting the three study strands.

    Learning-focused Leadership and Leadership Support: Meanings and Practice in Urban Systems

    By Michael S. Knapp, Michael A. Copland, Meredith I. Honig, Margaret L. Plecki, and Bradley S. Portin

    Leadership for Learning Improvement in Urban Schools

    By Bradley S. Portin, Michael S. Knapp, Scott Dareff, Sue Feldman, Felice A. Russell, Catherine Samuelson, and Theresa Ling Yeh, with the assistance of Chrysan Gallucci and Judy Swanson

    How Leaders Invest Staffing Resources for Learning Improvement

    By Margaret L. Plecki, Michael S. Knapp, Tino Castañeda, Tom Halverson, Robin LaSota, and Chad Lochmiller

    Central Office Transformation for District-wide Teaching and Learning Improvement

    By Meredith I. Honig, Michael A. Copland, Lydia Rainey, Juli Anna Lorton, and Morena Newton, with the assistance of Elizabeth Matson, Liza Pappas, and Bethany Rogers

This document and the others within the series can be downloaded free of charge from the Center’s Web site,, and also from The Wallace Foundation’s Knowledge Center site,

The development of these reports was supported by a grant from The Wallace Foundation. Opinions represent those of the authors and not necessarily those of the foundation.


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