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Central Office Transformation for Equitable Teaching & Learning

Self-Study Guide 1.0

April 2024
central office equitable teaching
  • Author(s)
  • Meredith I. Honig and Lydia R. Rainey
  • Publisher(s)
  • District Leadership Design Lab, University of Washington
Page Count 73 pages


How we did this

This guide grew out of research from the University of Washington’s District Leadership Design Lab (DL2), which is some of the main empirical scholarship in the field on the relationship between central office work and equitable teaching and learning. The findings are also supported by related research in the learning and organizational sciences.

This self-study guide aims to deepen your understanding of how your school district central office can become a powerful force for equitable teaching and learning. The interactive toolkit is designed for individuals and groups who want to strengthen their positive impact on students in ways that are research-based and forward-thinking. In it, you will find some of the latest research to use in making significant changes that can help reimagine the role of the central office.

Central offices were set up over a century ago to handle business and regulatory functions. Today’s schools require a fundamentally new approach, due to larger schools and classes, as well as changing demographics. This guide will lead you through exercises to rethink the role of your district central office and, most importantly, help to reimagine its role in meeting the diverse needs of all students. The self-study guide will help sharpen your vision of your own work and deepen your understanding of changes in other parts of the central office that may have implications for their own operations.

Who should use this guide? Individual central office leaders and staff, superintendent’s cabinets, leaders and staff involved with teaching and learning, human resources professionals, principal supervision staff, and operations staff. 

Key Takeaways

The self-study guide can be used as a stand-alone resource or as a companion to the book “From Tinkering to Transformation: How School District Central Offices Drive Equitable Teaching and Learning.” In this guide, you will:

  • EXPLORE the research-based ideas individually 
  • EXTEND your thinking and plans by taking a deeper dive into the research 
  • ENGAGE with a broader team
  • REFLECT on your learning and identify next steps 


How to Use This Guide
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