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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.

Schools and districts are best positioned for Continuous Improvement when they work with stakeholders to collaboratively develop improvement plans that are rooted in their vision and informed by what they see and hear. More information about the Needs Assessment Process can be found on our Needs Assessment page.

NYSED has developed an improvement planning process for all schools rooted in the concepts of:

  • Envision
  • Analyze
  • Listen
  • Implement

The materials and resources designed by the Department to support these concepts can be found below.

School Comprehensive Education Plan (SCEP)

The School Comprehensive Education Plan (SCEP) is the tool developed by the Department to support schools in planning and organizing their improvement efforts in the upcoming year.  Any school that is supported through the Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) support model, the Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) support model, or the Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) support model will be required to work with stakeholders to develop an SCEP for the upcoming school year.  The Department has organized the work teams will do into six different team activities prior to writing the SCEP:

District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP)

All Target Districts will work with stakeholders to consider existing needs and determine next steps for the upcoming school year.  Prior to writing their plan, Districts complete the DCIP Planning Document, which is the District-level needs assessment.  Similar to the school-level needs assessment, the DCIP Planning Document is organized around NYSED’s core needs assessment concepts: Envision, Analyze, and Listen.  Links to the DCIP Planning Document and the DCIP Template can be found under “Improvement Planning Resources” below.  The final DCIP and DCIP Planning Document are submitted to NYSED for approval.

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

Assembling Your Team

An essential component of improvement planning is creating an inclusive space that allows members of the school and district community to openly share their perspectives and work together to determine ways to promote their shared values.

The guidance document “Assembling Your Team” outlines considerations for schools, along with requirements for schools participating in the CSI, ATSI, and TSI Support Models.   


Schools and districts are best positioned for Continuous Improvement when they have a shared set of values and principles that guide both their long-term vision and day-to-day operations.

The guidance document “Activity 1: ​Envision: Exploring Your Vision, Values, and Aspirations” outlines considerations for schools and provides a sample Envisioning Activity to start the Needs Assessment process.

In addition, after the team has completed the initial Envision activity, along with the Analyze and Listen activities, the team will synthesize this information and envision a path forward for the school through the fifth activity “Activity 5: Envision: Reflect, Synthesize, and Plan."


Teams that understand the current landscape of the school can begin to consider where additional attention and resources may be necessary to support continuous improvement. 

Teams should consider a variety of data sources in advance of writing their plan.  The Department has organized these into two different categories:

Guidance documents and sample activities for each of those categories can be accessed through the links above. 


Any planning process should include listening to the stakeholders that matter most – the students. In recognition of this, NYSED has established Student Interviews as a foundational component to be completed prior to writing an improvement plan. The guidance document, Activity 4: Listen: Student Interviews outlines the variety of ways schools may select to conduct interviews before writing their plan.

Writing Your Plan

After the school has completed the steps above, the school team will write a plan to guide the school for the upcoming year.  The template provided by the Department for schools in the CSI, ATSI, and TSI support models is organized around the following components:

  • 2 to 4 “Commitments” that will guide future efforts.  An ideal Commitment is something that the school team sees as part of a long-range vision for the school.  At least one Commitment must be connected to Teaching and Learning.
  • 1 to 4 Key Strategies per Commitment that identify the means by which the school will advance that Commitment in the upcoming year. Each Key Strategy selected should be grounded in research and represent something that will look different this upcoming year in comparison to previous years.
  • An Implementation Plan for each Key Strategy identifying how the plan for initiating, refining, or expanding the key strategy.
  • Progress Targets for each Commitment that will provide helpful feedback that the school is on-track that the school will work toward. 
Implementation Levers

The Department has identified strategies, systems, and structures that can position a school for success, known as “Implementation Levers.”  There are three different Implementation Levers:

Identifying an Evidence-Based Intervention

As the school team completes its plan, the team will need to identify an evidence-based intervention to that supports one or more of the Commitments identified. Additional materials related to Evidence-based interventions can be found on our Evidence-Based Interventions page.    

Funding the Plan

NYSED provides Title I 1003 School Improvement Grant (SIG) BASIC funding to support the implementation of the DCIP and SCEP.  More information is available on the NYSED SIG funding website.

Using the SCEP Rubric

NYSED has developed an SCEP Rubric for teams to self-assess the initial draft of their plan and identify areas for revision before the plan is finalized. 

The rubric outlines the continuum of different components of the SCEP.  On the far left of the continuum are the minimum NYSED expectations of all SCEPs.  On the far right are characteristics of more nuanced and thoroughly elaborated plan.  All plans will exist somewhere on this continuum. 

Teams/districts should:

  • begin by ensuring their SCEP meets all of the minimum expectations on the left;
  • continue by considering the indicators on the right;
  • consider where their plan may need to be revised to move it from one that meets minimum expectations to one that reflects a deeper level of planning; and
  • record ideas for strengthening their plan in the space in the middle.

All teams will need to review their plan in comparison to the rubric before submitting their plan to their district/SED liaison. 

Submission Requirements

School teams should plan to wrap up their planning process around the start of the summer, to allow time to adequately prepare for the start of the school year, and to ensure the district has time to incorporate the school plans into its district plan and to develop its SIG application to fund the school’s plan.

When the SCEP team is satisfied with the plan, the team should compare the completed plan to the SCEP Rubric to consider where there may be opportunities to strengthen the plan.  After the team has analyzed the completed plan in relation to the SCEP rubric and made any necessary revisions, teams can then coordinate the final plan review process with their district and/or SED.

  • All school teams in the CSI support model should plan on submitting their final plan to their SED liaison by July 15, 2024.  The SED liaison will then arrange to have Pre-SCEP Team Meeting Planning Session 5 with the school. 
  • All school teams in the ATSI and TSI support models should coordinate their plan submission process with their district, who will verify that the plan meets NYSED’s minimum expectations. 
  • Once the SCEP has been finalized, the district will need to ensure that the local Board of Education have approved the plan and that the plan is posted on the district website.
  • All Target Districts are to submit the DCIP Planning Document and DCIP to by July 31, 2024. Extension requests can be made by emailing


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