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Community-Based School Reform Model

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The San Diego Unified School District is committed to a community-based school reform model to elevate all schools within the district to higher levels of student achievement.
The San Diego Unified School Reform Model prioritizes the development of a core set of foundational skills at each level that prepare students for success in their educational careers
This model empowers teachers, students, and parents within a cluster community to improve student achievement. The premise of the community-based model is that true school reform can only be successful if built on a solid foundation across grade levels and collaboration between schools and through active parent engagement in the learning process.

To implement the Board adopted Vision 2020 for Educational Excellence, this reform model will incorporate learning resources from national and global knowledge bases to deliver a balance of both academic and social learning. This approach will help students gain the academic confidence to take ownership for their education and put them on the path to lifelong success. The neighborhood schools cluster model will coordinate the efforts of all schools to work with students at each grade level to achieve success.

A Pre-K to Grade 12 Model for Building Academic and Social Skills

The San Diego Unified School Reform Model prioritizes the development of a core set of foundational skills at each level that prepare students for success in their educational careers. This model includes a complete integration of academic and behavioral supports through the use of “Response to Instruction and Intervention” (RTI²) which provide students with the skills needed for success.

The San Diego Unified School Reform Model seeks the integration of academic standards within and between grade levels. While articulation of students grade to grade is an important goal, the reform model emphasizes that students must master the skills and personal qualities necessary to be successful at the next level.

To support the success of this approach, RTI² strategies such as technology will be used to enhance and streamline student instruction and to support the teacher in the classrooms. Over the next five years, the District’s i21 technology program will transform classrooms with digital tools designed to create an engaging and personalized learning environment.

Academic success will be strengthened though the implementation of A-G course work for all students, a strong biliteracy program and special programs to increase the graduation rate.

Critical Thinking and Academic Confidence

The District’s model takes a new approach to reform by increasing the focus on teaching students critical thinking skills that will benefit students in future college studies. The District will continue to teach core content standards that are needed for success on high stakes tests, but students will also learn how to develop critical thinking skills necessary to understand and apply what they have learned. With this broader focus, students will learn how to transfer their knowledge to apply in new situations as they prepare for success in the future.

Teachers Working Together

The San Diego Unified School Reform Model encourages teachers to be leaders in grade level and school wide Professional Learning Communities and to participate in Instructional Leadership Teams (ILT’s).

These professional learning communities allow teachers work together to engage in collaborative discussion to set rigorous standards and develop common assessments that measure student progress. Teachers will be involved in continuous opportunities for collaboration and assessment that is part of an ongoing cycle of continuous improvement.

Data Driven Instruction

The Reform Model makes constant use of student achievement results to inform teachers how best to refine and improve student learning on a daily basis. Within professional learning communities, teachers and administrators continuously review results. Teachers assess their instructional practice and modify their daily lessons when needed.

The district will continue to improve and enhance data management systems that assist teachers in ongoing analysis of student data. Through the consistent use of the DataDirector student achievement database, teachers will have access to individual student data on which to base their decisions on instructional strategies and refinements. This analysis is critical to increasing student achievement and closing the achievement gap

Parent Engagement to Support Student Learning

Parent engagement and active involvement in our schools and parental support of the learning process, both at school and at home, is critical to increasing overall student achievement.

The San Diego Unified School Reform Model encourages teachers to be leaders in grade level and school wide professional learning communities.

The District is committed to providing our communities with welcoming, family friendly schools and supporting parents in actively participating in their child’s learning at every grade. To accomplish this goal, the District will continue to offer parent engagement and learning programs to help parents develop the skills they need to work effectively with their children on the learning process in the home environment.

Effective Collaboration for Success

The San Diego Unified School Reform Model will ensure collaboration at all schools, between teachers, parents and the community. Within school clusters, a renewed focus on collaboration will ensure that elementary, middle and high schools actively work together on common instruction and standards, from Pre-K through Post-12.

The Superintendent and other district leaders will provide continuous support and guidance in establishing common core standards while allowing flexibility and maintaining accountability.

Student Responsibility

Student responsibility and confidence is as important as learning content and developing transferrable skills. As students progress to higher grades they take more responsibility for their learning, they will grow in their understanding of content, begin to set personal educational goals and will increasingly seek out independent learning opportunities in projects, internships and group study.

This model encourages teachers to give increasing responsibility to students as they progress on the learning pathway. As students discover their areas of interest, they develop the independent study skills that will prepare them for college or career.

Best Practices

In schools that are improving, common threads have been identified that the District will seek to replicate with the reform model.

  • Strong principal leadership and support

  • Focused and frequent collaboration

  • Consistency of rules, expectations, and instruction

  • High expectations

  • Strong and effective organizational structures

  • Consistent and fair student management

  • A positive, highly visible staff

  • Use of assessment data via DataDirector

  • Strong sense of ownership

  • Family engagement

  • Community engagement


The San Diego Unified School Reform Model incorporates research-based teaching strategies with the goal of increasing student achievement. This model recognizes that collaboration and the distribution of leadership to all stake holders is necessary.

This community-based school reform model maintains a laser-like focus on student achievement, and is sustained through a collaborative process. As a result of these efforts the District expects all students will become fully prepared for lifelong success.

Community Bassed School Reform Model Graphic