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District Assistance Survey Introduction

The DAS is one of four self assessment tools developed by the California Department of Education (CDE). All four tools – the DAS, the Academic Program Survey (APS), the English Learner Subgroup Self Assessment (ELSSA), and the Inventory of Services and Supports (ISS) for Students with Disabilities – are based upon the nine Essential Program Components (EPCs) for Instructional Success and provide different perspectives on building a coherent instructional system for all students.

Purpose of the DAS

Underperforming schools and districts need policy and programmatic clarity and coherence to effectively address their students’ diverse needs. The DAS is designed to guide local educational agencies (LEAs) and their technical assistance providers in assessing the nature and alignment of district operations and the district’s capacity to support a rigorous and multi-tiered instructional system at all schools and for all students. The DAS is organized around seven broad areas of district work codified in California Education Code (EC) Section 52059(e)(1).

  1. Governance
  2. Alignment of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessments to State Standards
  3. Fiscal Operations
  4. Parent and Community Involvement
  5. Human Resources
  6. Data Systems/Data Analysis/Ongoing Monitoring
  7. Professional Development

Assumptions Behind the DAS

Embedded in the DAS are several basic assumptions about what makes a district effective. These assumptions include the following district-level components:

Also embedded in the DAS are assumptions about what comprises a strong instructional program and what expectations districts should have for all teachers and site administrators.

LEAs advance this effort through the judicious allocation of general and categorical funds, for instance, to ensure that resources are allocated first to the lowest performing schools and to schools with low-achieving subgroups.

Administration of the DAS

Prior to a discussion on the DAS, it is recommended that the district conduct the APS at designated school sites to determine the level of implementation of each of the nine EPCs. The district-level ELSSA and the Inventory of Services and Supports (ISS) for Students with Disabilities will also enrich district discussions on the level and quality of services provided to ELs and SWDs and on the progress of these students in meeting achievement goals.

The standards for district work focus on broad district structures and support systems. In the DAS, each standard is accompanied by a “full implementation” statement to assist in gauging its level of implementation. Unlike the APS, which ascribes four distinct levels of implementation to each standard, the DAS examines each standard along a broad continuum and includes three levels of implementation: full, partial (defined as “in progress”), and minimal. Users are asked to read the full implementation statements that accompany each standard and make a judgment as to the level at which the LEA implements the standard.  

When completing the DAS, all key stakeholders need to be included. These include the district superintendent, district administrators, site principals, teacher leaders, representatives of the teachers’ association, parents, and community members.

Limitations on Use of the DAS

The data derived from the DAS are intended to be used as a catalyst for conversations about district and school improvement and accelerated student academic achievement. The survey may be limited by the experience or knowledge of stakeholders using the tool as well as the validity of the data.

Questions:   District Innovation & Improvement Office | 916-319-0836
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