Maximizing resources for equitable outcomes (3)

Maximizing resources for equitable outcomes refers to the school’s use of its central resources—time, money, and staffing—to meet the unique needs of its students. Despite gaps in the funding and resources provided to schools, it is imperative that schools maximize their benefit from the resources they do have. Maximizing resource benefits requires that decisions be made collaboratively by those closest to the learners. Equitable outcomes refers to the concept that the school’s goals should apply to all students, while the means to these goals will vary as those students themselves vary. All students should be prepared to be ready for both postsecondary and career pathways.

Benchmark Descriptors

Transforming: Practice is reflected in equitable student outcomes.

  • The school has the autonomy to set its own calendar. The school schedule and calendar is designed to allow, meet, and respond to student and faculty needs and maximize learning time for students and planning for staff. The school has the ability to change the schedule to meet learning needs, and it has flexible periods that include long blocks of instructional time.
  • The school has substantial professional development time opportunities built into the calendar and at the beginning and end of the school year as well as common planning time throughout the day. Other professional development opportunities built into the school year include CFGs, in-house professional development, and retreat days.
  • The school creates small groups of students to increase personalization so teachers and students know each other well. Students feel intellectually and emotionally supported by members of the school community (staff and students) and teachers know their students’ academic strengths and challenges. These structures may include Small Learning Communities, houses, multi-grade classrooms, and looping.
  • The school creates staffing patterns that reflect students’ needs rather than accepting assigned staff levels based on district formulas or adult needs. The school has the ability to hire staff that fit the needs of the school and to excise staff who do not agree with the philosophy of the school, allowing the school to create a unified community.
  • Ultimate administrative and budget targets should include student loads that promote personalization and a focus on high-quality, relevant instruction. Efforts should be directed toward a goal that no teacher have direct responsibility for more than eighty students in the high school and middle school and no more than twenty in the elementary school.
  • The school has budget autonomy in order to maximize student learning. Without budget autonomy, a school cannot make the staffing and scheduling decisions necessary to carry out its mission.
  • To best maximize the benefit of resources, decisions are made by those closest to the learner. Decision making is inclusive and radically democratic. All school constituencies, including students and parents, are involved in substantive decision making both in the classroom and schoolwide. School decisions are made to support the school’s mission.
  • The school works with the district to ensure the creation of district-wide policies that allow for the flexible use of resources by individual schools. This includes the equitable distribution of resources, such as using a weighted student formula that shares resources to meet the needs of students.

Developing: Practice is reflected in teacher planning and instruction.

  • Students feel they are known well and supported intellectually and emotionally by at least one adult in the school community.
  • Groupings are heterogeneous.
  • Students see a limited number of teachers and staff members, so they are known well by that group of adults.
  • At least some staff reflect the diversity of the student body.
  • The use of teacher professional development for collaboration and common planning is growing.
  • The school is developing an understanding of how best to use its control of staffing, schedule, and budget.

Early: Learning about and planning for the practice has become important to the teaching staff.

  • Some teacher teams are provided with release time, common planning time, or common preps for planning.
  • The school still has little or no control of schedule, staffing, and budget.
  • While the traditional daily schedule and school calendar is still in place, the school is exploring unique features such as extended time or year-round calendars.
  • Some structured attempts at grouping or creating long-term adult contacts may be in place (such as advisory or looping) for some but not all students.


Schedules from Federal Hocking High School, Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, Urban Academy Laboratory High School, and Quest High School .

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