School Improvement

Great learning conditions don’t happen by accident

Ideal conditions for teaching and learning do not happen by accident

School improvement is not something that can be left to luck, chance, or a one-size-fits-all checklist. Creating equitable, high-performing schools requires an intentional, evidence-based approach, guided by experienced educators.

The 5Essentials: Leading the way with a proven approach

Through an exclusive partnership, our approach to school improvement is grounded in the nationally renowned 5Essentials® Framework from UChicago Impact®. The 5Essentials Survey is a research-based diagnostic assessment that provides insights into schools’ organizational strengths and areas of opportunity across the five essential factors for school improvement: Ambitious Instruction, Effective Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Supportive Environment, and Involved Families.

Research shows schools that are strong on at least three of the five essentials are 10 times more likely to show substantial gains in student learning.


Purpose-built and personalized

Begin with a detailed NWEA Needs Assessment and the 5Essentials Survey to develop a plan tailored to your needs and goals.

Supercharge school leadership with personalized coaching

Aligned with needs uncovered by the NWEA Needs Assessment and the 5Essentials Survey, school leaders receive shoulder-to-shoulder personalized coaching, systems advising, and professional learning from NWEA coaches—enhancing their ability to serve as agents of change who develop and implement sustainable structures and behaviors critical to student growth.

Practical and relevant

Educators will complete professional learning sessions with action plans and practical strategies they can immediately implement to improve teaching and learning.

Ready where you are

Engage with learning that meets you wherever you are on your path to improving school systems and practices.

How we organize schools is critical for student achievement. Improving schools entails coherent, orchestrated action across all five essential supports. Put simply, there is no one silver bullet.

Anthony Bryk, Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago

Plan elements

Support at every level and every step of the way


Our research-backed assessment process pinpoints strengths and identifies key areas of opportunity.


We equip educators with the tools and training they need to facilitate and sustain improvement.

Coaching and
impacts reports

Get shoulder-to-shoulder support and ongoing progress monitoring from your dedicated NWEA school improvement coach.


We partner with you to develop systems, routines, and processes to support your school improvement goals.

Ready to learn more?

Connect with a school improvement specialist.

Meet the NWEA School Improvement leadership coaches

Heather Davis Schmidt, EdD

Consultant, School Improvement and Professional Learning

Mesha Greene

School Improvement Coach, Professional Learning

Elise M. Guest, EdD

Consultant, School Improvement and Professional Learning

Chris Hardin, EdD

School Improvement Coach, Professional Learning

Nicole Sherrin Kessler

Consultant, School Improvement and Professional Learning

Robert Thornell, EdD

Author, School Improvement Coach, and Professional Learning Facilitator

Jamie Valenzuela-Mumau, EdD

Consultant, School Improvement and Professional Learning

Maria Wallevand

School Improvement Coach, Professional Learning

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