Schools That Learn

All the following factors, and more, play a part in what students learn: teachers, administrators, support staff, students themselves, peer groups, parents, community, society, the school's mission, vision and beliefs, aspirations, curriculum content, teaching methods, technology, test content, grouping practices, schedules, time on task, performance evaluation, staff development, and school facilities. In addition, community expectations, financial resources and the trends, forces and influences identified later in this report all play a part. Significant improvement in student learning will emerge only when the most influential elements affecting teaching and learning are identified and addressed.

Because differences in student achievement are attributable, more than we may realize, to the way our schools are designed and operate, the system of teaching and learning must be reexamined --- and redesigned as necessary --- for the mission and vision to be realized. Students learn best in schools where there is a drive for continuous learning and improvement.

Learning Communities

This effort must be supported by opportunities for staff members to learn and work together on a sufficient and sustained basis. Results of the Learning Community Assessment and the My Voice Staff Surveys reported below strongly indicate teachers and administrators need more time to carry out the important work of the school; moreover, student achievement can be predicted to improve when this occurs.


  • communicate personal, building, and district goals develop effective communication within schools involve staff in school wide decisions
  • encourage expression of opinions and concerns


  • improve administrator' skills as coaches, mentors, and leaders replace policies, practices and procedures that aren't working recognize staff who try their best
  • be open to new ideas provide meaningful professional development
  • develop understanding of school's culture


  • plan curriculum
  • collaborate with colleagues
  • assess student learning reflect on the above