I've been writing lately about our Evidence for ESSA web site, due to be launched at the end of February. It will make information on programs meeting ESSA evidence standards easy to access and use. I think it will be a wonderful tool. But today, I want to talk about what educational leaders need to do to make sure that the evidence they get from Evidence for ESSA will actually make a difference for students. Knowing what works is essential, but before searching for proven programs, it is important to know the problems you are trying to solve. The first step in any cycle of instructional improvement is conducting a needs assessment. You can't fix a problem you don't acknowledge and understand. Most implementation models also ask leaders to do a "root cause" analysis in order to understand what causes the problems that need to be solved.
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