Comprehensive School Reform Program

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Publications and Tools
State and District Resources
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Implementation Resources
Sustainability Resources
Evaluation Resources
Information about Models
Related Sites

Publications and Tools

Comprehensive School Reform and Student Achievement: A Meta-Analysis -- This report is available from the Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed At Risk (CRESPAR) technical publications web page. In this meta-analysis, Dr. Borman and his team review the research on the achievement effects of the nationally disseminated and externally developed school improvement programs known as "whole-school" or "comprehensive" reforms. In addition to reviewing the overall achievement effects of comprehensive school reform (CSR), they study the specific effects of 29 of the most widely implemented models. They also assess how various CSR components, contextual factors, and methodological factors associated with the studies mediate the effects of CSR. A 2-page synthesis of this meta-analysis is published in the National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform, February 2003 Issue Brief.

Comprehensive School Reform Program Symposia Summary, Spring 2002

Database of CSR Schools -- The Department maintains a searchable database of schools receiving CSR subgrants. This database, which is updated daily, provides school-level information on CSR subgrants.

Step-by-Step -- The National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform presents a suggested progression for the reform process. Whether you are just beginning to think about change or your school's reform efforts are well underway, Step-by-Step provides tools to assist you during this process.

State and District Resources

Comprehensive School Reform: Five Lessons from the Field -- Available from the Education Commission of the States (ECS) Education Issues web page. (Go to "All Issues," select "Comprehensive School Reform" from the drop-down list, then choose the "Go to Issue" button to access the publication.) This publication discusses the role of state departments of education in sustaining CSR. ECS points out that states should:

  1. recognize that the neediest schools may require extra assistance before they can succeed with CSR
  2. help schools find models that will meet their needs
  3. create stability in schools regarding reform efforts even when administrators in schools change

Making Good Choices: A Guide for Schools and Districts 2002 -- The North Central Regional Educational Laboratory presents this second that includes changes to the CSR program brought about by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Making Good Choices: Districts Take the Lead -- Prepared by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, this document serves as a guide for district involvement in the comprehensive school reform process. The components of effective district participation in the reform process are identified, specific action steps to be taken to accomplish these components are discussed, and tools are resources to facilitate these steps are provided.

Planning Resources

The National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform has developed a "CSR Practitioner's Guide to Scientifically Based Research," which includes a compilation of resources on scientifically based research, organized around the Comprehensive School Reform Program's 11 components. NCCSR has also developed an explanatory and instructional workshop on identifying research-based solutions for school improvement. Further information about the workshop is available at:

Unlocking the Nine Components -- The National Clearinghouse for Comprehensive School Reform provides dozens of online resources on the nine components to help educators create effective schoolwide improvement plans.

Pathways to School Improvement is a web site from North Central Regional Educational Laboratory designed primarily to help school improvement teams as they progress through the phases of the school improvement cycle.

School Self-Evaluation Tool -- The School Self-Evaluation tool, developed by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL) allows schools to assess themselves through four categories: 1) Learning and teaching, 2) Governance and management, 3) School improvement and professional development, and 4) Parent and community involvement. This self-evaluation tool is available on the NCREL Evaluation Tools web page.

School CSR Self-Assessment Tool and Assessment of School Readiness are forms developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) to assist schools assess their needs related to the eleven components in the comprehensive school reform legislation. These links are to the pages on which the forms are located.

Implementation Resources

Comprehensive School Reform: Research-Based Strategies to Achieve High Standards May 2000 -- This guidebook from the Region XI Northern California Comprehensive Assistance Center is designed to help schools with successful implementation of comprehensive, schoolwide reform. The guide offers step-by-step explanations and practical tools for school reform processes and approaches.

Schoolwide Programs -- This Department of Education publication discusses how schools can use funds and resources from Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as reauthorized by the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994, as well as other Federal education programs, to upgrade the school's entire educational program and raise academic achievement for all of its students.

Comprehensive School Reform Demonstration (CSRD) Program Early Implementation Report 2000 -- The Planning and Evaluation Service released a report on the first year of the CSRD program presenting baseline data on the first year of federal, state, district, and school implementation of the CSRD program.
[downloadable files] MS WORD (600K) | PDF (344K)

CSRD in the Field: Final Update 2000-- This report, which is the final installment of the CSRD in the Field report on initial implementation, offers observations and examples drawn from site visits about how schools and districts are dealing with implementation challenges.

Profiles of Early Implementation 1998 -- This brief, which profiles six states in the early implementation of CSRD, shows the important role states can play in supporting local schools and districts prepare for comprehensive school improvement and how states are integrating comprehensive reform with their own standards-based school improvement and accountability efforts.

Sustainability Resources

Sustaining CSR - Bookmark Electronic Newsletter -- This January 2001 issue of Bookmark helps schools and districts that are now receiving funds for CSR federal programs. After all of the planning, collaborating, training and implementing, a key concern for schools and districts has to be how to sustain the CSR effort. This issue provides resources, articles, and questions from the field to help address this concern.

Planning for the Succession of Leadership - Bookmark Electronic Newsletter -- This August 2002 issue features an article by Hugh Burkett, project manager, and Fran Walter, education specialist, both with the federal Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) program of the U.S. Department of Education, called "Sustaining School Improvement: Planning for the Succession of Leadership." They describe two key strategies to sustain reform in schools experiencing changes in leadership: 1) reduce attrition rates, and 2) prepare for transitions that are unavoidable.

A CSR Agenda: Emerging Themes for Research, Policy, and Practice - Issue Brief -- This January 2001 Issue Brief (available from the Comprehensive School Reform Clearinghouse Issue Briefs web page) reveals compelling findings about what research tells about implementing and sustaining CSR. The most relevant article begins on page 6.

Sustaining Your Reform - Benchmarks Quarterly Newsletter -- This Summer 2002 issue of Benchmarks (available from the Comprehensive School Reform Clearinghouse Benchmarks web page) briefly outlines the common themes found in the research of Dr. Jeanne Rose Century and Abigail Jurist Levy, researchers for the Center for Science Education (CSE). They sought to answer the question, "How do schools and districts ensure that the programs they are implementing will last?"

Evaluation Resources

Evaluating Whole-School Reform Efforts: A Guide for District and School Staff -- Developed by North West Regional Educational Laboratory's Comprehensive Center, Region X, this guidebook provides helpful hints for district and school staff who are involved in evaluating whole-school reform efforts such as Title I schoolwide programs and Comprehensive School Reform programs. It provides guideposts for district and school staff to consider in choosing an evaluation approach to provide valid and useful information for accountability and program improvement.

Information about Models

Catalog of School Reform Models This catalog from the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory and the Education Commission of the States includes descriptions of over 45 models and direct links to the model developers' sites. Each entry analyzes the model's general approach, results with students, implementation assistance, and costs, among other elements. A table accompanying each entry summarizes this information in a concise format. Demographic data and contact information for at least four sample sites are also included. PLEASE NOTE that use of CSRD funds by schools is *not* limited to models in this catalog, nor does inclusion in the catalog mean a model is approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools are encouraged to seek information from other sources, including model developers and schools already familiar with particular models.

Related Sites

The Center for School Reform and Improvement provides the most recent research and evaluation of reform, designs, models, and strategies.

The Regional Educational Laboratories, funded by the Department of Education, are highly involved in the effort to assist states, local districts, and schools in making informed choices in comprehensive school reform. In addition to regional assistance, many of the Labs maintain CSR related web sites.

The Education Commission of the States has multiple products designed to support comprehensive school reform.

The fifteen Comprehensive Regional Assistance Centers, funded by the Department of Education, are part of a national network of organizations providing technical assistance and information nationwide. The CCs focus on two priorities, as required by ESEA: assisting Title I school-wide programs and helping local education agencies (and schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs) that have the highest percentages or numbers of children in poverty.

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Last Modified: 01/25/2008