A District Transitions Planning Guide

Capacity Building

This section describes capacity building, shares an inspiring capacity building story (bright spot) and offers selected resources to support your efforts.

What Is Capacity Building? It means providing professional development to district and school staff and community partners so they have the skills and knowledge they need to take a data-driven, positive, problem-solving and multi-tiered approach to supporting student attendance, participation and engagement. 

During 2020-2021, capacity building requires a leadership team to build the skills that are necessary to manage hybrid learning environments and multiple transitions, promote digital literacy, and ensure professional development is ongoing and responsive to the social-emotional and physical needs of the entire school community. It must also prioritize self-care for staff at the district and school level to support strong performance throughout the school year and to avoid burnout.

Attention to Equity

A commitment to equity within the district’s capacity building efforts requires a year-round integrated professional development plan for all staff, including non-instructional staff, and the allocation of resources to schools with the greatest needs and disproportionality in student outcomes.

Bright Spot
  • Since 2015, Middletown Public Schools in Connecticut has used an attendance team to make sure all stakeholders, including administrators, parents and community partners, understand chronic absenteeism and what they can do to address it.

  • Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools released the first chapter of its Playbook for School Reopening. This chapter, Planning for the Next Normal at School: Keeping students, staff, teachers, and families safe and healthy, offers school and district leaders five practical strategies and steps for improving mental health and well-being in physical and virtual school environments.

  • Teach for America’s Back to School Roadmap merges elements of public education and health. Each category offers basic instructions for district leaders and school-based leaders.

    The following resources can be used by staff on their own, or with students and families.

  • The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has new resources designed for education during the pandemic. This video summarizes CASEL’s new guide for reopening and renewing your school community.

  • The Yale Center for Emotional Attendance RULER program offers guidance about the principles of emotional intelligence for schools, grades Pre-K to 12.

  • Turnaround for Children, Resources For The Three Rs: Relationships, Routines and Resilience