Posted: Tue, 02/19/2019 - 3:14pm Updated: Wed, 08/14/2019 - 11:30am

Jump-Starting Instructional Transformation for Rapid School Improvement:
A Guide for Principals

Background on this Tool

Leading the change for rapid improvement in a school can be a daunting task. At the heart of school improvement is transforming instruction. Changes in instruction require thoughtful, persistent, and systematic approaches led by the principal and a team of teachers. Jump-Starting Instructional Transformation for Rapid School Improvement, A Guide for Principals provides a comprehensive roadmap for developing and implementing a plan to strengthen instruction across a school. This guide also has an extensive number of templates that can be adopted or adapted to help a school leader and her/his team of teachers complete the action steps outlined in this tool.

This tool is organized by four key action steps:

  1. Establish practice-focused collaboration
  2. Map the instructional system
  3. See through the students’ eyes
  4. Set the course for change

This tool provides detailed, step-by-step guidance to help a school leader and her/his team of teachers successfully complete each of these four action steps.

Guidance on How to Leverage this Tool

The timeline for each of the early action phases provides detailed examples and explanations of how to implement the suggestions, as well as examining practical examples that can be utilized directly from the appendices provided within the document. These early action phases are critical components in the effective transformation of instructional practices used within the classroom. They will provide the building principal with a concrete and systematic method to strengthen the instructional system of the building quickly, as well as long term. This tool is also unique in that it guides principals through a rigorous process of identifying key elements for improvement, and it allows for strategies to be implemented within a 90-day span.

This tool lays out a detailed set of action steps designed to be completed over the course of three months. A school leader should only use this tool if they are committed to fully engaging in the following action steps with a team of teachers for that duration of time.

  1. Establish a practice-focused collaboration by forming an action team of teachers to (1) closely examine how the school leader spends their professional day to free up more time to focus on instruction and (2) identify one instructional practice to work with the entire teaching faculty to enhance.
  2. Map the school’s instructional system by closely examining and describing how each facet of instruction plays out in the school.
  3. See instruction and learning through the students’ eyes to detect learning obstacles that need to be removed and identify learning opportunities to add or expand.
  4. Set the course for change by drawing on the key lessons learned during the previous three action steps, establishing and prioritizing strategies for improving instruction.

Getting Started with Jump-Starting Instructional Transformation for Rapid School Improvement, A Guide for Principals

Prior to implementing this tool for instructional transformation, the school leader must reflect on their strengths and areas of growth, particularly in terms of their professional relationship with their teachers. Some examples of reflection questions could include:

  1. What is the quality of my principal-teacher relationships?
  2. How much trust do I have in my teachers to evaluate my effectiveness as a leader?

After self-reflection, a principal can move forward with the first action step in this tool, “Establish a Practice-Focused Collaboration,” to begin the process of strengthening instruction across the school.


Redding, Sam. (2018). “Jump-Starting Instructional Transformation for Rapid School Improvement, A Guide for Principals.” Center on School Turnaround, WestEd. For more information, visit this webpage.