A District Transitions Planning Guide

Who Should Use This Guide? This transition planning guide helps district leaders work with district and school teams to develop a data-informed back-to-school transition plan that supports the engagement of students and families who lost out on significant learning opportunities due to Covid-19. The plan will also address longstanding disparities in access to educational resources. 

Planning for the fall and subsequently a year-long transition is an opportunity to use the current situation to build back better.

Why A District Approach: Covid-19 not only laid bare existing inequities for marginalized students and families, it further exposed the frailty of the systems that need to be in place to support positive conditions of learning for all students in every school, so that students are more likely to attend or participate. In order for schools to successfully navigate the transition back to school, they need consistent and aligned district-level policies, practices and support. The 2020-21 transition back to school will require more attention to districtwide infrastructures that make sure schools are equipped to take a trauma-informed and restorative approach to meet the needs of students and families.

More than ever before, in order to enable equitable outcomes, district leaders will need to: advocate for additional funding; prioritize and allocate their resources differently; streamline and align district initiatives; utilize new data metrics; engage students, families, school staff and the community as problem-solving partners; disseminate best practices and make sure a system of tiered supports is available for every school.

How Should This Guide Be Used? This guide offers a process for using our Five Ingredients of Systemic Change to take stock of your situation and create a tailored plan that builds on the strengths and realities in your community. We recommend the following steps.

Four Transition Steps
  • Convene A Transition Team This can be an existing, new or a reconfigured team. It should be cross-functional, bringing together district leaders from departments that often work in silos. It should represent all segments of your school community – parent leaders, early childhood providers, health providers and community partners – and reflect your school’s demographics. Be sure the team includes educators with expertise in special education services, English Language Learners and general education.

  • Review the Five Ingredients Of Systemic Change Ask team members to review the description of the key ingredients so they understand how each needs to be adapted during the Covid-19 era. Click on the key ingredients below to learn more.

    1. Capacity building
    2. Actionable data
    3. Positive engagement
    4. Strategic partnerships
    5. Shared accountability
  • Complete the District Transition Planning Worksheet To assist administrators responding to the often overwhelming challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we developed a Transition Planning Worksheet. This worksheet can be used to address urgent issues and other factors that need to be considered as you revise, adapt and develop a plan for the fall semester and a year-long transition plan. Review the results as a team. It's not meant to be an in-depth analysis of a district’s system.

    For a more intensive analysis, consider piloting the District Transition Attendance Analysis Tool (DTAAT). Used together, the guide and the DTAAT enable your team to set priorities based upon an analysis of your particular strengths, realities and challenges. 

  • Communicate Your Plans with Your School Community Share your capacity building priorities and activities with the entire school community so everyone can understand how the school is responding to current realities and learn how they can participate. See this resource page for tips.