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Improvement Planning

Improvement planning is an essential component of the school and district improvement process.  Schools and districts should continually reflect on the effectiveness of their initiatives and determine the most appropriate way to proceed based on their current circumstances. 

In New York, any school identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) or Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) will work with stakeholders and use the School Comprehensive Education Plan (SCEP) document to identify its goals for the upcoming school year and plan its activities to achieve those goals.  The SCEPs must be submitted to the district for approval.  In addition, CSI schools will submit their district-approved SCEPs to NYSED for approval as well.  

All Target Districts will undergo a similar process of working with stakeholders to consider existing needs and determine next steps.  Target Districts will outline the goals and next steps for the upcoming school year in their annual District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP), which is submitted to NYSED for approval.

Below you will find additional information concerning the improvement planning process.

Collaborating with Stakeholders

All Target District DCIPs and CSI and TSI SCEPs must be developed with stakeholder participation.

Schools will be required to identify how stakeholders have been consulted as part of the development of the SCEP.  NYSED will reject all CSI SCEPs submitted that do not demonstrate evidence that stakeholders have meaningfully participated in the development of the SCEP.   Please refer to SCEP Requirements for Meaningful Stakeholder Participation for a list of expectations for stakeholder involvement with the school improvement planning process.

Identifying Needs

Identified schools will undergo a Comprehensive Needs Assessment to determine the school’s areas of need and consider the root causes behind these areas of need.  The Comprehensive Needs Assessment process is identified in the New York State Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan and Commissioner’s Regulations as a review of multiple sources of information concerning school data, school practices, and school resources.  Examples of each category include:

Review of Data Review of Practices Review of Resources
  • Teacher Survey Data
  • Student Survey Data
  • Parent Survey Data
  • Formal and Informal Assessment Data
  • Attendance Data
  • Behavior Data
  • Additional school-identified data
  • Final DTSDE report†
  • Social-Emotional Learning Inventory*
  • Family and Community Engagement Inventory*
  • Curriculum and Instruction School Inventory*
  • Final DTSDE report †
  • Systems and Leadership Inventory*

*These documents are typically completed by the school in advance of the school’s DTSDE review. Blank versions of the DTSDE review documents are available here.

†This document is provided by NYSED to the district approximately 6 to 8 weeks following the school’s DTSDE review

While these items above have been developed to assist schools in identifying areas of need, schools are able to use additional documents that they have determined provide relevant feedback concerning the areas of need facing the school.  In addition, schools should consider the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness Framework as a tool to assist in the identification of areas of need.

For more information regarding the Needs Assessment process, visit:

Determining Priorities

Once the school has identified its areas of need and considered the potential root causes(s) that may be responsible, the school should determine what it would like to prioritize in the upcoming year.

All SCEPs will have five goals that schools organize their work toward for the upcoming school year.  For all schools, at least one of the goals must be related to the results from the most recent school survey. 

For the remaining goals, schools can decide to pursue one of two options: 

Option 1: ESSA Indicator option

  • For this option, the school will work toward quantifiable goals connected to the ESSA indicators that the school received a score of “Level 1” for the “all students” subgroup. 

Option 2: Effective Practices Option

  • For this option, the school will work toward school-identified pillars in the DTSDE Framework. 

For more information about these goals, please refer to the SCEP Completion Guide.

Identifying an Evidence-Based Intervention

Evidence-based intervention materials can be found on our Evidence-Based Interventions page.

Improvement Planning Resources

Improvement Planning Resources

NYSED has developed the following resources for teams developing school and district improvement plans:

SCEP Completion Guide
Requirements for Meaningful Stakeholder Participation 
SCEP Review Form This is the form NYSED staff will use when reviewing CSI SCEPs.

In addition, NYSED has developed a series of video tutorials to assist SCEP Development Teams on the different steps involved with developing an SCEP:

  1. Working with Stakeholders to Develop Your School Comprehensive Education Plan
  2. Reviewing Needs and Identifying Root Causes
  3. Selecting an Evidence-Based Intervention
  4. ESSA Indicator Option & Effective Practices Option
  5. Goals and Baseline Data
  6. Developing Actions to Meet Your Goals
  7. Identifying a Mid-Year Benchmark
Submission Requirements and Questions

Submission Requirements

  • All CSI school SCEPs shall be submitted to NYSED at by July 1, 2019.  In addition to the excel template, schools must also submit a scanned version of the cover page with the signatures of those that participated in the development of the SCEP.  NYSED will use the SCEP Review Form (link to attached document) to complete its review of the plan.  CSI schools should self-assess their plans using the SCEP Review Form prior to submitting the SCEP to NYSED.  Extension requests can be made by emailing
  • All TSI school SCEPs shall be submitted to the district for approval.  Districts must keep the approved SCEP on file. 
  • All Target Districts must submit the DCIP Planning Document and DCIP to by July 1, 2019. Extension requests can be made by emailing



SCEP-related questions can be directed to
DCIP-related questions can be directed to