A System of Best Practices: Introduction

Classrooms are complex environments. Could they be anything else when the bodies that fill them come with their own histories, needs, strengths, preferences, and interests? It’s no wonder that improving academic achievement for any student would be just as complex a process, just as multi-faceted a consideration, as the environments in which learning occurs.

The posts in this series, “A System of Best Practices,” focus on the four key areas of: (1) substantive learning goals, (2) effective assessment practices, (3) proactive and intentional planning, and (4) safe and supportive learning environments. The purpose of this series of posts is to provide a big-picture look at how all the facets of best practices come together in a systematic way. The series is not meant to be a comprehensive look at all possible best practices; rather it is meant to provide teachers with a useful picture of each area of best practice, a rationale for its importance in supporting student achievement, and practical first steps for how to begin work in these areas.

The posts in this series will address (1) the kinds of learning goals that provide a foundation for planning for learning that is substantive and meaningful, (2) the types of assessments that provide valid and reliable measures of student needs and strengths relative to goals, (3) the ways in which these components contribute to providing all students with access to powerful and meaningful learning experiences, and (4) the importance of attending to specific aspects of the class learning environment. Each main section includes a rationale for all four components, describes how they work together to support student learning, illustrates examples of how these things look in action, and provides sample tools and resources that can be explored for further growth in these areas.

Suggested uses for this series of posts are:

  • Companion resources for professional development;
  • Tools for teachers to self-evaluate, plan, and explore areas of self-identified needs;
  • An ongoing reference for professional growth; and
  • A basis for common language and a holistic vision for professional growth.


Read more about A System of Best Practices:


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