Action Guide: Characteristics of High-Performing Schools

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k12 characteristics of high performing schools

High-performing schools see groups of stakeholders engaged in various forms of collaboration, including principals and other school leaders involving staff in school governance; teachers and other instructional staff forming communities of practice to strengthen student learning; and principals, other school leaders, and staff partnering with families, public agencies, businesses, and other community members to expand supports and services.

Internally, collaboration among principals, other school leaders, and staff, in particular, proves most effective when educators collectively develop curricula, discuss their instructional practice, observe each other at work, share their knowledge and expertise, and celebrate each other’s successes. In fact, research finds that when educators regularly collaborate in meaningful ways:

  • Schools make more informed decisions and implement policies and practices more effectively;
  • Schools build additional internal capacity for teaching and learning;
  • Teachers experience a greater sense of self-efficacy and higher levels of job satisfaction;
  • Teachers, especially new hires, leave the profession at lower rates; and
  • Student achievement increases.

Check out our Action Guide: Characteristics of High-Performing Schools for key strategies principals and other school leaders can use to establish trusting relationships among staff and develop the structures needed for professional collaboration to succeed.

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