How to Use This Website


This website was adapted from the Improvement Science Handbook, which was developed to support improvement science in New York City Schools. The handbook and this website are both intended for schools looking to embed improvement science as the problem-solving approach in their school. 

The site shares the basics behind each phase of improvement science along with the tools you’ll need to engage your school team through each part of the process. The handbook is intended to support educators who don’t have an improvement science expert working with them. The handbook is freely available to you, and you are welcome to consult it for more detailed explanations of each phase.



If you’re new to improvement science, we recommend using the site as a tutorial. Start by reading the Overview of the 5 Phases to get a feel for the scope of this process and each of the 5 phases. When you’re ready to begin, read Phase 1: Analyzing a Problem and proceed through the pages by using the MOVE ON button.  Improvement science moves through several distinct phases, but the process is not always linear, so feel free to jump around as your learning evolves and sparks new questions.

If you’re familiar with improvement science, here are some quick ways to use the site:

  • Overview of the 5 Phases shares an overview of each phase—use it to jump right into the section or resource you need.
  • Key Terms defines the major concepts and tools involved with improvement science.
  • Tools and Activities has all of the facilitation guides, activities, and graphic organizers for each phase.
  • The FAQ page is helpful for anticipating challenges or answering questions that may arise as you do this work.
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There are five phases explained in this website. Each “phase overview” page focuses on a discrete part of the improvement science process and includes the following information:

  • The basics: Purpose, activities, timing, and people required for each phase.
  • Key terms: Essential terminology of the tools and strategies involved with improvement science.
  • Summary of the concepts: An introduction to the theoretical concepts behind each phase.
  • Overview of the tools: A description, link, and image of the tools or activities involved with each phase.

After your team has completed the work in your phase, move on to:

  • Orientation/self-assessment: Checklists to help you and your team determine where you are in the improvement science process and if you are ready to move on.
  • Coaching steps: A diagram designed to clarify the improvement team leader’s next steps and correlate them with the tools they will use to gain understanding of the improvement science process.

In addition to the information that explains how to engage with each phase, we’ve created a few other pages so you and your team can get the information you need quickly:

  • Key Terms: A compilation of the key terms from each phase organized on one page.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: Common issues that come up during each phase of the improvement science process. (This information does not appear anywhere else on the site, so please take a look!)
  • Tools and Activities: This page has the facilitation guides improvement team leaders will need for their team meetings AND the tools all participants will need to collect information.

    a. Activities: Each is designed to take 45–90 minutes and includes detailed facilitation notes.
    b. Tools: These provide guidance on tasks in the improvement science process that do not require the participation of the whole team. They can be done individually by the improvement team leader or together with team members or other members of the school community.