Transforming Student and Learning Supports

Where's It Happening?

Trailblazing and Pioneer Initiatives

Transforming student and learning supports begins with rethinking how all available learning support resources can be deployed most effectively in addressing barriers to learning and teaching. 

In support of the National Initiative, our Center is compiling information about places across the country where beginnings have been made that have relevance for developing a unified and comprehensive system of learning supports.

Pioneering and trailblazing efforts across the country are increasing clarity about the type of systemic changes that are required to succeed. They represent the most ambitious and comprehensive "out-of-the-box thinking." Such efforts are addressing four key, interacting considerations that must be the focus of new directions thinking. First and foremost, they are concerned with

  1. revisiting school improvement policies to expand them in ways that will end the marginalization of student and learning supports
  2. adopting intervention frameworks that unify and guide development of a comprehensive, equitable, and systemic learning supports component at every school
  3. reframing the infrastructure at school, complex, and district levels to ensure effective leadership, redefine roles and functions, and establish resource oriented mechanisms
  4. developing strategic approaches to enable effective systemic change and replication to scale.

Trailblazing and pioneering efforts provide an intriguing glimpse into the future of student support and offer invaluable lessons learned. Some have taken their first implementation steps; some are in the planning stage.

Besides providing indications of how to proceed, the following demonstrate differences in operationalization of a unified and comprehensive approach to addressing barriers to teaching and learning and re-engaging disconnected students. A few that have started have encountered difficulty generating the type of momentum necessary to produce full blown systemic change, especially when leadership changes undermine sustainability. (Re. minimizing the problem of succession, see Leadership Changes: Minimizing the Downside.). All provide lessons learned.

The material provided here offers a small set of instructive examples. Each month, we are hearing about other places that are moving in new directions. As we learn about these, we reach out for information and to offer support. We look forward to adding more and more useful examples.

Click on the links below for information and resources related to transforming student and learning supports at school, district, & state levels. The trailblazing examples focus on broad-based systemic designs and initiatives; the other examples provide lessons learned from some specific innovations reported in recent years.

Want help in Transforming Student and Learning Supports?

National Initiative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports (includes updates)

State Department Initiatives for a Comprehensive System of Learning Supports

AASA Collaborative Leadership Initiative

For several years, a nationwide initiative by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) in collaboration with our center at UCLA and Scholastic aimed at expanding leaders' knowledge, capacity, and implementation of a comprehensive system of learning supports (see archived report)  and information below related to Gainesville City Schools and Grant Parish.

  • Gainesville (GA) City Schools
  • Grant Parish, LA (in the first phase of development).
  • Grant Policy
  • Brochure
  • Website
  • AASA Update (6/12)

    For examples of an Area Education Agency's work related to Learning Supports and Mental Health in Schools, see                    

  • Great Prairie AEA

  • Muskingum Education Service Center
  • About North Carolina's School Mental Health Initiative

    See examples of Brochures from states and districts

    See the Rebuilding for Learning Online Leadership Institute. This online leadership institute is designed as an introductory resource for learning about the need for student learning supports, the full continuum of essential school-community interventions, and the core principles and tenets of comprehensive learning support systems. It provides a beginning blueprint for district or state reforms. The first of the 6 sessions can be accessed on the Center's website Click Here

    See Scholastic Brochure


    See also the following places that understood the importance of transforming student and learning supports, but did not have the necessary support for systemic change and development.

  • Bloomington (MN) School District
    Powerpoint presentation 2014
    Powerpoint presentation 2015 Website 2016

  • Phoenix Unified High School District (in flux)
    Getting Started
    Crisis Arena Survey
    Update 12/16/14

  • Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada

  • For more resources, go to Some Additional Resoures

  • Examples of Other Places Where Specific Innovations Were Tried, Not Fully Sustained, but Major Lessons Were Learned

    Interested in learning more,
    contact: Linda Taylor at:

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