Closing Gaps by Addressing the Needs of Underserved Schools
Underserved schools often have fewer resources and less capacity to rigorously implement improvement strategies. As a result, the districts and schools that most need support programs are often least likely to adopt and implement them successfully—a phenomenon that we call the “needs paradox.”
This paradox is amplified when states or districts overlook underserved schools for district or state-wide improvement initiatives because of their perceived lack of “readiness.”
To address the needs paradox, we created the READI Framework. Instead of viewing readiness as a mechanism to sort schools out of programs, the framework helps states and districts flip their focus and define readiness by assessing how well the improvement program is designed to target the specific needs of underserved schools.
The READI Framework guides states and districts through five key barriers to consider as they design programs and related supports for success in the highest need schools. These design considerations help education leaders tailor programs to surface and accommodate the unique characteristics of underserved schools and have the potential to positively impact achievement gaps.