Back to Resource Center

Case Study: A coherent district strategy uniting assessments, instructional materials and professional learning

The District 

Caldwell Parish is a rural school district in northern Louisiana, serving approximately 1,500 students in five schools. In this district, 74 percent of students come from low-income households, and 24 percent are students of color. 

The Challenge 

Caldwell Parish leaders knew they needed a strong, more coherent approach to their strategies for assessment, instructional materials, and professional learning. They partnered with ANet to evaluate and rebuild their assessment strategy, redesign their approach to professional learning, and ensure strong implementation of the curriculum. 

The Results

The Approach 

In ANet’s second year with Caldwell, focusing specifically on the middle grades, the district saw a 13.4 point gain on the LEAP 2025 ELA summative assessment index. Here are a few of the steps we took to help the district drive change and boost student learning. 

Phase 1: Less testing, more instruction 

  • ANet helped Caldwell Parish leaders identify and change a grading policy that drained 20% of teachers’ instructional time and required a testing event every Friday. The six 100-point grades required per quarter had unintentionally reduced student learning time. 
  • Teachers received training on how to embed formative assessments within their curriculum rather than stopping instruction for testing. This shift, alongside changes made to district-required assessments, gave teachers 7.5 more days of instruction per year. 

Phase 2: Evaluate strategies for professional learning and instruction: 

  • Next, Caldwell Parish enlisted ANet’s support in setting a clear vision for instruction and a strategy for professional learning that could be implemented immediately at the middle school level. 
  • As part of this work, the Caldwell team considered how to build skills and knowledge for teachers, school leaders, and district leaders. They also specified the individuals responsible for each element of the plan, such as who would share feedback with teachers. 
  • As a result, Caldwell Parish sharpened their focus and deepened their professional learning time, narrowing their priorities from 10 to 2 and increasing the time spent on curriculum-specific PL from just 3 days to 10. 

Phase 3: Strong implementation 

  • By first improving their assessment and professional learning strategies, Caldwell Parish had built a strong foundation and was ready to focus on curriculum implementation at the middle school. 
  • Teachers had more time to teach with high-quality materials and leaders were focused on developing teachers, rather than splitting their focus among many other initiatives.
  • Now, 100 percent of students in grades 6, 7, and 8 consistently engage with grade-level texts to the level demanded by their high-quality curriculum, and the majority of teachers use the curriculum as intended

About the ANet System Advising Team 

ANet’s System Advising team helps system leaders build capacity, conditions, and coherence to support student achievement. They work with systems to create a strategic vision aligned to their instructional priorities and offer support in making comprehensive decisions on assessment, instructional materials, and professional development for leaders and teachers. To learn more, fill out our contact form. 

Get k12 Education Resources

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to join our community and receive monthly selections of actionable resources, stories of best practices from across our national network of partner schools, districts and CMOs, and invitations to exclusive events. We're glad to be learning together alongside you.