Knowledge Center | Tools

The work of district and school improvement is hard work. Ensuring equitable learning experiences for all children today requires changes of a magnitude we have not faced in education. Strategies, structures, processes, protocols, and other tools can support these changes by, among other things, involving all stakeholders, creating a collaborative process, encouraging self-reflection, and increasing efficiency.

The Center has developed a number of tools to meet a myriad of needs of a district. They are shared here in a manner that invites you to utilize them in your improvement efforts. In selecting tools, we encourage you to review the brief description and make sure there is a good match between the tool and your needs.

Social Justice & Equity – Tools & Resources

The COVID-19 Crisis – Resources for Leaders


Moving to Distance Learning: Early Issues and Learnings from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Richard Lemons, Executive Director of the Partners for Educational Leadership, shares what he and the Partners team are learning from district leaders across Connecticut and the entire United States as school systems pivot from face-to-face, classroom-embedded instruction to distance learning.

Case Studies

Professional Learning Tools

Professionals Learn Best When

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A Quick Protocol for Learning by Doing

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Professional Learning Debrief Protocol

Because of commitment to continuous improvement, we developed this instrument for use at the close of any professional development session. It reminds us of the principles of adult learning and forces us to take a hard look at the intended goals of the session and our progress toward meeting these goals. We believe we all can improve our practice through self-reflection, both individually and as well as with our partners.

Who would use this?

Any school or district leader could use this tool as a way to assess their practice, determine the impact of a professional learning session and ascertain next steps.

Coaching Tools

A Basic Scaffold for Coaching

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Feedback and Challenging Conversations

Holding conversations that one or both parties think are going to be difficult is a major challenge—one we know tends to be avoided. Some conversations are always going to be stressful, but it helps to have some ways to think about them, and plan for them, in advance

Who would use this?

Any school or district leader could use this tool

I Am Shakespeare Facilitation Guide

The Center has designed a guide to assist educators in the facilitation of meaningful dialogue around specific themes that emerge in the documentary film, I Am Shakespeare, the Henry Green Story. We believe that the use of an artistic medium is a powerful way to invite alternative perspectives into dialogue that may otherwise be dominated by unchallenged mental models. This is particularly relevant when the dialogue is constructed around sensitive or challenging content, such as race, poverty, and politics.

Who would use this?

Any school or district leader could use this guide to facilitate conversations with faculty about structural discrimination, poverty, portrait of a graduate, gun violence and restorative justice to name some of the dominate themes in the film. This guide would also be a powerful tool to use with high school students to discuss the themes mentioned above.

Download the I Am Shakespeare Facilitation Guide

Strategic Planning Tools

Systemic Execution of Strategies Self-Assessment Tool

Research from business, organizational development, and education has shined light on the practices of organizations effective at executing their improvement strategies.  These bodies of research, while sometimes using different vocabulary, point to a similar set of organizational practices that characterize and predict organizational effectiveness.  Below are organizational practices that, when done in concert and as a part of coherent leadership practice, explain those organizations that are effective at implementing improvement strategies well and with an impact on the desired outcomes.

Who would use this?

Any district looking to examine the improvement practices they have adopted could use this tool to self- assess for effectiveness. The results would then inform future planning. The aspects of execution described below are aligned and complementary to the features of a coherent and high-capacity district described by LEAD Connecticut.

Systemic Execution of Strategies Self-Assessment Tool

Systemic Execution of Strategies Self-Assessment Tool – Team Scoring Template

Pre-Mortem Protocol

Developing strategy is an integral role of school leaders. The Pre-Mortem process will increase the likelihood for success of the strategy by assisting the creation team in determining the potential weaknesses in the plan prior to its’ implementation. A small team examines the plan and gives feedback to the plan designers in order to strengthen the plan.

Who would use this?

Any school or district leader could use this tool as a way to assess their proposed plan either prior to implementation or mid-way through the process to determine how the plan is working.

Pre-Mortem Protocol

Instructional Rounds Tools

Instructional Rounds Planning Tool

We believe the practice of instructional rounds can serve to develop a shared understanding of quality instruction and support school and district improvement efforts. Rounds is a highly-structured, protocol-driven process focused on an area of concern in the instructional core.  This tool addresses the technical aspects of a rounds school visit and can help in the planning process.

Who would use this?

Any school or district leader could use this tool as a reference for the process of planning for an instructional rounds school visit.

Instructional Rounds Planning Tool

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LEAD Connecticut

LEAD CT Resources and Tools

LEAD Connecticut was a collaboration among several Connecticut and national
organizations committed to help Connecticut school and district leaders reach
new levels of success in improving student learning. Sponsored by the Connecticut
State Department of Education, LEAD Connecticut programs focused upon the
identification, preparation, and induction of leaders who had the capacity to make
significant change for the benefit of the students, families, and educators in
Connecticut’s schools.

Turnaround Principal Competencies

Superintendent Leadership Framework

Coaching Develpmental Continuum_PRINCIPAL-VERSION

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