Bank Street Education Center Releases Framework Tool to Help Support School System Change at Scale

This Summer, Bank Street Education Center School System Partnerships & Programs released the “District-Wide Instructional Initiative Framework” tool to help educators and school leaders successfully implement comprehensive district reform at scale.

Grounded in research and over three years of observation during close collaboration with school districts across the country creating, strengthening, and monitoring improved instructional practice across school systems, the new tool outlines the fundamental components necessary to strategically plan supports that aid districts in producing positive change teaching and learning across schools. The elements that make up the framework are grounded in Bank Street’s commitment to strengths-based, learner-centered, and equitable education practices that help both adults and children thrive in school settings.

“Through our deep partnerships with schools and districts, we have learned that effective schools align their culture, structures, and instructional work. The District-Wide Instructional Framework allows leaders to see the importance of this coherence in their vision for instructional change at scale and, we hope, inspires them to take action that simplifies their efforts while simultaneously creating a greater impact,” said Emily Sharrock, Deputy Executive Director for Strategy & Systems at the Bank Street Education Center. “We are excited to compile our learnings and provide leaders, administrators, and educators with access to information that can help them successfully improve their school communities.”

The District-Wide Instructional Framework, which is accessible via eBook, positions schools at the center of change and empowers teachers to translate a collaborative instructional vision into concrete classroom results. The Framework identifies four key components that support this important work:

  • Leadership vision and commitment. Successful change starts with research and district- and school-level data to inform a vision for instructional improvement. Policies, resources, and support are thoughtfully aligned and endorsed at all levels.
  • Change management structures. Successful districts empower teachers and school leaders to envision and implement instructional change. Clear project planning, feedback loops, and opportunities for reflection support strategic change.
  • Intentional adult learning experiences. Successful school districts carefully craft learning experiences for adults with a focus on content and skill development. Developmental goals, strategic objectives, and reflective supervision help ensure strong learning outcomes.
  • Evidence-based and student-focused decision making. Successful school districts build a common language and use data to inform and describe instructional practice and student learning.

“The Framework is unique because it reflects an understanding of adult development. Learning requires purposeful experiences in which learners are able to negotiate meaning by reflecting, exploring, and building on what they have learned with others. That involves creating space for professional learning, for teachers to talk, and to have honest, constructive conversations across the learning community,” said Tracy Fray-Oliver, Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Implementation at the Bank Street Education Center.

By incorporating the framework into its work with schools and communities across the country, Bank Street Education Center School System Partnerships & Programs has served 6,800 educators to help create meaningful change at scale. The Center provides strategic guidance, implementation services, and professional development customized to meet the unique needs of each program partner. Inside the eBook are examples of how the DII has been used to serve all these purposes.

“Through our partnership, I recognized the importance of working with schools and teachers in helping them create connections between their instructional decisions and student learning,” said one school district leader.

“When you marry a coherent vision of the instructional core with thoughtful processes of stakeholder engagement and change management anchored in both how adults learn best and authentic evidence of student learning, the impact is much greater. Shared understandings and focused collaboration through the system ground the instructional improvement work with teacher teams and school leaders, the very people who must ultimately make change happen,” said Doug Knecht, Executive Director of the Bank Street Education Center.

Click here to explore the District-Wide Instructional Framework eBook. To learn more about the Bank Street Education Center School System Partnerships & Programs, click here or contact Doug Knecht at dknecht@bankstreet.edu.