Establish Structures - IU13
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Establish Structures

The first step in establishing structures is to adopt an improvement process or a plan for change.  In Pennsylvania, we have adopted the Cycle of Improvement grounded in our Theory of Action for School Improvement. 

This is an opportunity for the school and the LEA to define the purpose of the improvement process. What does the LEA/school hope to achieve in this process?  What are the points of pride for the school/LEA? Where has the school/LEA experienced challenges?  These questions can be addressed and explored through the continuous improvement process. It can be extremely helpful to have a conversation about these questions within the school team and, if partnering with a CSI or A-TSI school, with the assigned school improvement facilitator (SIF).

It is important for the school team to have a shared understanding of the Cycle of Improvement and Theory of Action. This will ensure a common language and set the tone for the work to begin together as a partnership. Taking the time to explore the school’s/LEA’s points of pride as well as challenges,  will ensure that the work with the school is grounded in the school’s assets and strengths. 


The guiding questions and resources below can support establishing structures that are strategic and impactful:

  • Who will be the point person to manage the logistics of the plan draft process?

    This person will make sure meeting invitations are sent and reserve rooms if needed.

  • What are the necessary permissions and access in the Future Ready Comprehensive Planning Portal (FRCPP)?

    The Comprehensive Planning website offers resources to review how to complete this. 

  • What is the timeline for plan drafting, review, and submission?

    This resource provides one example of how a school might approach the creation of a timeline.

  • Who needs to approve the plan in order for it to be ready for plan submission in the FRCPP?

    This table provides an overview of who must sign each plan type. It is important to ensure that district policies and procedures are followed to include the review and approval of individuals not included in the provided table.

  • What will this review and approval look like?

    The Indicators of Exemplary Planning, which are highlighted within the Plan Guidelines and Process documents (School Planning and Single-Entity/Charter/Cyber-Charter) are a great resource for plan development and review. School teams may also want to review the planning rubric at this link to assist them in their plan development and internal quality review. Another resource that can assist a school in ensuring their plan is aligned and cohesive is a throughline template. This resource provides both a template and a linked example. Finally, this document  provides an overview of the Federal Compliance Requirements for school plans.

  • What aspects of the planning process were most challenging for a school team last year? What aspect of the planning process was most impactful for the school’s team last year?

    A retrospective protocol is a great way to answer these questions.

  • What is the school team hoping to gain from this experience this school year?

    The Hopes and Fears protocol from Data Wise can be utilized as a resource to unpack with the school team.

  • How should a school ensure they have a process to communicate their school improvement plan with the broader school community?

    Bellweather Education Partners have created A School Leader’s Guide to Effective Stakeholder Engagement with an embedded tool for planning and tracking stakeholder engagement, including a communication plan, throughout the improvement process.


Do you have a resource to share that aligns with this part of the planning process that you have found valuable? CLICK HERE to share for possible inclusion on this website.


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