Diane Massell

Document Type

Policy Brief

Date of this Version



School districts strongly influence the strategic choices that schools make to improve teaching and learning. Districts—composed of local school boards, superintendents, and central office staff—act as gatekeepers for federal and state policy by translating, interpreting, supporting, or blocking actions on their schools’ behalf. In fact, the efforts of districts to build the capacity of students, teachers, and schools are often the major, and sometimes only, source of external assistance that schools receive. In an effort to revisit the often forgotten role of districts in the improvement process, this policy brief explores the promises and challenges of four major capacity-building strategies that CPRE researchers observed in 22 districts in California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas over a two-year period.



Date Posted: 29 June 2015