Empowering educators to make progress on critical

issues that stand in the way of student success.

What is improvement science?

It is a disciplined and structured problem–solving approach wherein teachers identify a problem of practice and meet regularly with their improvement team every 1–2 weeks.

It is based on continuously testing change ideas and using the feedback to improve learning outcomes quickly and efficiently.

It favors learning by doing and trying, and uses the evidence around us to help us enact the changes we wish to see. 

Why should I use improvement science?

It incorporates as many voices as possible to come together, embrace questions, and make informed choices about how to solve problems affecting student achievement.

It is a local approach that harnesses teachers’ problem–solving abilities to better understand specific academic barriers and improve outcomes for their students.

Who should be involved at your school?

Team members will attend meetings, learn the tools, provide input, and test changes with students. 

A designated improvement team leader will keep work moving forward and lead regular meetings.

A coach is recommended and should be well versed in improvement science to help guide your school team. 

Ready to get started?


Read the overview

Learn what you and your team will do during each phase and become familiar with the tools. 

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Jump in to Phase 1


 Start your improvement science project by defining your problem. 


Here for a tool or activity?

The Tools and Activities page has what you’ll need for each part of the process. 


Want to learn more?

Discover what’s available on this site and how to navigate it.
Read an overview of each of the 5 phases of improvement science.

Have questions? Need help?

Read the FAQs to get more information and troubleshoot issues your team may have as you progress through your improvement science project, or search the site by topic.


Contact us 

 For technical support, email continuous.learning@schools.nyc.gov
For questions about Improvement Science, email our team


Email Address

Courtney Smith
Deputy Executive Director, Continuous Learning

Email Address

Julie Leopold
Executive Director, Continuous Learning

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The handbook is a publication of the New York City Department of Education. 

Lead Author: Sam Milder
Contributing Author: Benjamin Lorr
Editors: Courtney Smith, Julie Leopold, and Laurel LeFebvre
Key Contributors: Natalie Pennington, Marilyn Stotts, Lainey Collins, Rhena Jasey, and Alida Maravi
Web Designer: Melissa Cardinali


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