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Principals, assistant principals, and instructional leadership teams

A comprehensive system of leadership coaching for and among school-based administrators is in place, connected to cycles of inquiry and regular review of data on progress and outcomes.

The instructional leadership team (ILT) is deeply knowledgeable about and accountable for guiding schoolwide instructional improvement.

The ILT clearly communicates implementation expectations to staff and guides and monitors implementation.

Extensive, research-informed adult learning is embedded in the regular school schedule.

The ILT leads strategic staffing efforts (identifying experts in content, pedagogy, and culture/climate).

The ILT advocates for and secures resources aligned to the school’s goals and priorities.

The ILT and teacher teams create a schoolwide learning plan with accompanying action steps.

The ILT models open communication and a culture of learning among all stakeholders (students, teachers, administrators, families, and community partners).

Teachers and staff

A comprehensive system of instructional coaching, staffed by experts in subject matter and pedagogy, is connected to cycles of inquiry and regular review of data on progress and outcomes.

All staff have consistent time for research-based professional learning (planning and reflection, regular practice, deepening content knowledge, collaboration, and mentoring).

There is a comprehensive system of teacher support and evaluation, designed to support continuous improvement in classroom practice and student achievement.

Professional pathways support teachers as leaders within their schools.

Teacher leaders engage in action research and design and lead professional development in their subject areas.

Teacher leaders mentor new teachers.

Teacher leaders engage in intensive external training facilitated by national and international experts.

Teacher leaders regularly review classroom data on progress and outcomes.

Clearly defined pathways exist for teacher leaders to move into specialization, coaching, research, or school and district administration.

Leaders around the school connect enrichment opportunities, such as sports, to learning and use them to motivate students and improve outcomes.


In classrooms

  • Novice teachers have smaller classes and work with trained mentors.
  • Instruction demonstrates awareness of and connection to school events, goals, and activities.
  • Teachers model and facilitate student learning.
  • Teacher co-teach as needed.
  • Teachers model for and observe other teachers to support continuous improvement in teaching.
  • Classrooms are student centered, and students choose meaningful topics for research, discussion, and debate.
  • There are opportunities for student leadership.
  • Students and teachers celebrate learning.

Around the school

  • Positive school climate and culture are evident inside and outside the school.
  • Leadership is distributed among staff and students.
  • Students, families, and community members take ownership of the school’s improvement strategies.
  • The Student Government Association is functioning and active.
  • Learning is celebrated schoolwide.
  • Teacher teams regularly learn, plan, reflect, and solve problems together.
  • The master schedule prioritizes collaborative learning time for teachers.
  • There is a high-functioning ILT that meets at least twice monthly.



District staff support principal professional learning communities that are organized around principals’ needs and facilitated by successful principals.

District staff support schools in examining teacher and school leader growth trajectories through benchmark conferences and the creation and review of student learning objectives.

District staff support mentors for new and aspiring principals.

Instructional leadership executive directors provide tiered support to school leaders based on student and staff needs.

District staff provide accurate and comprehensive data to guide school leaders and support decision making.

District staff provide schools with suggested frameworks for staffing and models for leadership development.

District staff align resources of people, time, and money to prioritize adult and student learning that engages students in a rigorous college-, career-, and community-ready curriculum.

Principals complete an annual survey to provide information about the effectiveness of district office supports.

The CEO meets with student leaders from all schools annually.

The district office staffs schools by creating pipelines for increased responsibilities and placing more senior principals in more challenging schools.

The district office informs practice based on the latest research and guidance from national experts.

The district office establishes a comprehensive system of continuous improvement, adjusting practice based on research, learning from intensive sites, and regular review of data.

District staff engage internal and external experts to gather feedback on leadership implementation priorities.


Families are active and engaged on advisory groups that support school improvement efforts.

Varied opportunities exist for families to participate in schools and provide feedback (e.g., meetings, School Family Councils at each school, parent volunteers, parent centers).

Positive and consistent partnerships with local organizations support instruction, climate, and social-emotional needs of students and staff.

Family members are trained to support and inform school instructional planning and implementation through school-based parent education sessions.


  • Schools monitor and adjust implementation efforts through self-assessment data, student achievement data, and observational data.
  • The district aggregates school-based data regularly to review progress in implementation and to adjust as needed.
  • High-functioning ILTS lead comprehensive instructional improvement work in each school.
  • District beliefs are evident across the school.
  • Staff retention rates and attendance increase across all levels.
  • Student enrollment increases.
  • Instructional and leadership coaching for students, staff, and leadership is monitored, with check-ins and performance checks occurring during individual development plan conferences.
  • Annual school surveys from students, families, and staff are used to adjust implementation and show increased satisfaction.
  • Development of staff members is included as a component in evaluation of teacher leaders and principal mentors.
  • Teachers and school leaders are held accountable for content and quality of student work portfolios.