Defining and Organizing for School Autonomy

July 2013

In a portfolio strategy, schools need to be free to pursue distinctive approaches to instruction and student services. That means they should not be forced by district policies to make the same uses of time, money, staff, instructional methods, technology, facilities, professional development resources, or outside partnerships as other schools.

Under a portfolio strategy, accountability balances autonomy. Because schools can control their climate and instructional program, they can be held accountable for whether students learn. The district’s primary role is performance assessment and portfolio management.

This brief explains how portfolio districts define basic and advanced autonomies and the process for granting autonomy to schools.

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