Transforming Student and Learning Supports

Lessons Learned from

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. (See the National Initiative for Transforming Student and Learning Supports.)

Pioneering and trailblazing efforts across the country helped clarity the type of systemic changes that are required to succeed. They pursued ambitious and comprehensive "out-of-the-box thinking." Such efforts addressed four key, interacting considerations that must be the focus of new directions thinking. First and foremost, this involved

  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 have provided an intriguing glimpse into the future of student support. The material provided below offers invaluable examples and lessons learned that will aid those ready to move forward.

Want to help Transform Student and Learning Supports?

    See Call to Action

    Want assistance in Transforming Student and Learning Supports?

      To support the efforts of those developing a unified, comprehensive, and equitable system of learning supports, the Center offers free mentoring, coaching, and technical assistance by email and phone with teams that are moving this work forward. All this is done at no cost to those who are pioneering the work. Those making such systemic changes have found it particularly helpful when we work with them in preparing a design document and strategic plan for the work in ways that integrate the transformation into district and school strategic plans and implementation. See info

From the Evidence Exchange Network for Mental Health and Addictions (EENet) -- The Comprehensive System of Learning Supports
Note: EENet is a knowledge exchange network that helps create and share evidence to build a better mental health and substance use system in Ontario, Canada. Located in the Provincial System Support Program (PSSP) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH),

Examples of Scholastic, Inc.'s Adoption of Our Work
Also see Scholastic's series on learning supports exploring how districts and schools can support students who face barriers to learning,significant%20wins%20in%20reducing%20learning%20barriers.%20Our%20Approach

Click on the links below for additional 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.


For a discussion of lessons learned, see Processes and Lessons Learned in Facilitating Systemic Transformation


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.

Note that, in all instances, leadership changes undermined scale-up and sustainability. (Re. minimizing the problem of succession, see Leadership Changes: Minimizing the Downside.).

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).

  • ***************************************
    See examples of Brochures from states and districts

      About the Rebuilding for Learning Online Leadership Institute

    This institute was developed as part of the Center's collaboration with Scholastic. This online leadership institute was 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 provided a beginning blueprint for district or state reforms. The first of the 6 sessions can be accessed on the Center's website Click Here