These tools are designed to help you engage the report, reflect on its findings, and consider what implications they may have for your system. There are several levels of engagement, ranging from structured conversations about the findings (first two tools) to a full-scale systems audit, based on the characteristics of effective schools identified through this research. This page will be updated as new tools become available.

“Tale of Two Belief Systems” Exercise (Added 7/16/2010)
This group exercise is designed to help teams reflect on the culture of their school/district and evaluate it compared to two fictitious schools. Thanks to the participants of the summer 2010 Castleston SDI for their feedback and input! If you would like to use this exercise, please refer to the “A Facilitators Guide to A Tale of Two Beliefs Presentation” for directions.
A Tale of Two Belief Systems Story
A Tale of Two Belief Systems: Power Point
A Facilitators Guide to A Tale of Two Beliefs Presentation
Graphic Organizer: Tale of Two Belief Systems
Continuum Handout
Completed Continuum

Reflecting on Beliefs and Culture: Discussion Guide
This discussion guide is designed to help teachers and staff reflect on their personal attitudes and beliefs in relationship to those identified in the study as common to effective schools. We hope it will spark initial conversations about how we, as an education community, view poverty, its effect on achievement, and our responsibility to improve outcomes for all students.

“Save the Last Word for Me” Protocol
If you are interested in discussing broader findings from the report, several schools have used this protocol to structure small group conversations.

Engaging Stakeholders: Recommendations Matrix [UNDER DEVELOPMENT]
As evidenced by this research, it is important that all stakeholders are involved in the process of school improvement. To this end, the Department is crafting a set of recommendations, based on the study’s eight primary findings, outlining the roles and responsibilities various stakeholders can play (including principals, teachers, superintendents, school board members, parents, the Department of Education, and policymakers). We hope to post a draft version of this tool soon.

Comprehensive Systems Audit [UNDER DEVELOPMENT]
The Vermont Department of Education hopes to develop a comprehensive systems audit tool with the help of a variety of external partners to assist schools and districts identify strengths and challenges in their system, based on the characteristics of effective schools outlined in this research, as well as point to specific areas for improvement. The Department is also interested in creating a broad range of related supports (e.g. professional development for school leaders, school-based coaches, etc.) to assist schools in interpreting the results of a systems audit and in pursuing the implementation of specific improvement strategies. Please stay tuned!