Skip to Content

Identifying Stakeholders' Responsibilities for Closing Achievement Gaps: District and School Based Strategies

Discussion Guide 3

Closing achievement gaps is complex and challenging. A variety of strategies are needed to address the many factors that contribute to the gaps, only some of which NEA members influence directly.

This guide focuses on district- and school-based strategies for closing achievement gaps. Strategies that focus on out-of-school factors are addressed in Discussion Guide #4, Identifying Stakeholders' Responsibilities for Closing Achievement Gaps.

Many districts and schools have used the six groups of strategies below to make progress in closing achievement gaps. Begin by reviewing the strategies, and then move to the discussion questions that follow.

District- and School-Based Strategies that Can Help Close Achievement Gaps

1. Engage Students' Families

Families play a significant role in ensuring that students are ready to learn and in supporting learning throughout school.
Family support is essential to community support.
Outreach to families is culturally and linguistically sensitive.

2. Intervene Early

Early learning experiences help students enter school ready to learn.
Students gain these experiences at home and in child care, pre-K, and kindergarten programs.
Early screening identifies children needing medical or social services to succeed at school.

3. Target Current Resources, and Seek Adequate Funding

Targeting resources on closing achievement gaps focuses schools' efforts.
Adequate funding supports students with achievement gaps.
Achievement gaps often increase over time at under-funded schools.

District- and School-Based Strategies that Can Help Close Achievement Gaps

4. Provide Comprehensive Support to Students

Social and health services meet student needs that affect learning.
Role models expose students to successful individuals.
Student mentors provide personal support and direction for students.
Peer tutoring provides students with additional instructional support.

5. Build a School Environment that Supports Learning

The school is safe, orderly, focused on academics, and sensitive to students' diversity.
The entire staff shares responsibility for closing achievement gaps.
Extended learning opportunities, such as after-school sessions, are provided.
Test and other performance data help the school identify achievement gaps and close them.
Faculty and staff have time during the school day to plan, participate in professional development, and operate as a professional learning community.

6. Build Classroom Environments that Support Learning

Students have access to qualified teachers.
Teachers provide instruction that results in breadth of learning and depth of understanding.
Instructional time is free of interruptions.
Reduced class size leads to high-quality instruction and individual attention

Discussion Questions

1. Consider the achievement gaps and factors that districts and schools can address. This discussion guide highlights six strategies various districts and schools have used successfully.

  • Will any of these six groups of strategies address the factors we identified as contributing to local achievement gaps in our school?
  • Are there other district- and/or school-related strategies that are needed to address the local achievement gaps and contributing factors that we identified?

2. How would we start to implement some of these strategies? Are some especially important to implement? Should some be implemented before others?

Related Content

» Identifying Achievement Gaps in Your School, District, and Community - Discussion Guide 1.

» Identifying Factors that Contribute to Achievement Gaps - Discussion Guide 2.

» Identifying Stakeholders' Responsibilities for Closing the Achievement Gaps: Stakeholder Actions - Discussion Guide 4.