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Reallocating Resources for School Improvement

Reallocating Resources for School Improvement is a practical guide designed to provide support for school leaders. Learning Point Associates understands that school leaders are being asked to use limited resources to improve student achievement. The purpose of this guide is to help you use your resources as efficiently as possible. Under No Child Left Behind, school districts have increased flexibility to transfer funds to target areas of need at the school site. This guide can help you take advantage of this flexibility to ensure that your existing resources are aligned with the goals of your school improvement plan.

Kathleen Ware opens the guide with a description of the current context in which reallocating resources has become an essential practice and an important component of school improvement planning. She examines the context for resource allocation, outlines guiding principles from which to make resource allocation decisions, and allays fears that people have about the allocation process. Ware's guiding principles for allocating resources include:

  • Use staff efficiently and be consistent with the priorities in the school improvement plan.

  • Consider time as the most expensive resource.

  • Use community resources when possible.

  • Devote resources to the prevention of academic problems, rather than to remediation.

  • Organize instructional time to support the school's instructional focus.

  • Incorporate time for professional development and teacher collaboration into the daily life of the school.

In addition to providing this context, the guide combines practical tools, advice, and resources, with concrete examples from practitioners who have successfully reallocated resources at their school site. To help school leaders improve the alignment of their resources with their school improvement goals, Learning Point Associates has created this flexible and interactive series of tools. The tools will help you to analyze your use of available resources, to develop detailed descriptions of current allocations of staff, time, money and professional development activities, and to restructure these resources to more effectively align with school improvement goals.

School leaders may use the guide in a variety of ways and with several different audiences. Educators may choose to complete all of the activities or only those that are appropriate to their site-specific context. Further, this guide may be used to facilitate a needs assessment or to design site-specific professional development programs that will allow school leaders to target limited resources to practices that will improve student achievement.

One final note, this tool focuses on the critically important task of analyzing and reallocating school resources, however it is obvious that district resources (including money and personnel) can also play an important role in improving a school's performance. Reallocating resources at the district level encourages district leaders to evaluate whether resources are being spent to effectively support school and district goals. By so doing, districts will show their dedication to improving the learning of all students and be well positioned as leaders of change when encouraging schools to undertake this important and difficult task (Source: A Better Return on Investment, NCREL, 2000; District Leaders Guide to Reallocating Resources, NWREL, 2001).