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Setting the Goals

During this phase of the CIP, you’ll use your profile data to set priorities and determine goals for improving student performance. Before you set your goals, it may be helpful for you to review Nebraska history and policy related to equity and diversity in public education (see Step 1).

Guiding Questions

As you set your priorities and goals, you will address each of these questions.

  • Do our goals and strategies address equitable outcomes across student subgroups?
  • Do our goals and strategies address a decrease in disproportional treatment of students?
  • Do our goals and strategies address personal beliefs and school culture?

Resources for setting priorities and goals:

See the Resource section of this guide for a variety of information and tools that might help you set goals. The following resources  will be most useful to you during this phase.

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Leadership
  • Research and Theory

Step 1: Understand State History and Policy

Nebraska, over the years, has through statue and Rule demonstrated an ongoing commitment for providing equitable opportunities for all students. Several statutes reference equity/diversity concerns. These include: 79-2, 114-123 Equal Opportunity in Education and 79-719-723 Multicultural education. More recently 79-1013 Poverty Plans and 79-1014 Limited English Proficient Plan provide state financial assistance to school districts providing services to students in poverty and/or students who are Limited English Proficient. In 2012, Rule 15 Regulations and Procedures for the Education of Students with Limited English Proficiency in Public Schools was approved, with an effective date of the 2012-13 school year. Rule 10 Regulations and Procedures for the Accreditation of Schools provides the specific requirements on mulcultural education including violation provisions.

Step 2: Prioritize Areas of Need

When you created your profile, you analyzed and interpreted data to identify strengths and challenges as they relate to student equity and diversity.  Now you’ll now work with your staff and other stakeholders to determine how to prioritize the many challenges you identified. For example:

Your third grade reading is below expectations and the disaggregated data show that students from low-socioeconomic families (those who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch) are the lowest performing group. You might consider this fact both a challenge to achieving overall high student performance in reading and a challenge to ensuring that all students enjoy an equal opportunity to learn to read.

Of course, strengths shouldn’t be overlooked. Strengths are resources that can leverage change in school practices and culture. To identify both the challenges and strengths of your school or district, use the Emerging Goals worksheet below. Two examples are provided. A copy of the Emerging Goals worksheet can be found in Appendix G.

Emerging Goals Worksheet

Profile data

Is it a strength?

Is it a challenge?

Why is this important?

On a scale from 1-5 (1 highest, 5 lowest) how important is it?

Reading performance of 3rd grade low-SES below proficient




Performance of any sub-group affects performance of our overall school.

Our 3rd grade students who are not low-SES are proficient on NeSA reading.



20% of Hispanic students participate in the student leadership club




Many of our Hispanic students also are from low-SES families.

We want all students to participate in the student leadership club. We need to look at how many students from all subgroups are participating in the club.


















Step 3: Determine Improvement Goals

The question to be answered in this step is, “What goals do we want to select?” Keep these points in mind as you set goals.

  • Goals should be concrete. This means that it is important that they are clear and well understood by all stakeholders.
  • Goals should be actionable. Educators, staff, and other stakeholders should be able to take specific actions toward achieving the goals.
  • Goals should be measurable. You must be able to identify and measure the results of working toward the goals.

Goals that relate to student equity in performance also should be based on your school or district values and beliefs. If you do not have a vision and set of mission statements related to equity and diversity, it might be helpful to create them now. The vision and mission statements can help focus your overall improvement plan, and you can then develop specific strategies in response to the vision and mission statements. See Appendix H for an equity and diversity policy example, Appendix I for a vision and mission statement example, and Appendix J for high school strategy examples.

Step 4: Identify Improvement Strategies

The question to answer in this phase is, “What strategies have research and practice shown to be effective in achieving equity and diversity in student performance?” For example,

The following strategies might be useful to address our goal to increase the reading proficiency of our low-SES third graders:

  • The principal will set up a system to monitor progress toward increasing the percentage of third grade, low-socioeconomic students who meet performance expectations in reading.
  • Third-grade teachers will collaboratively develop formative reading assessments to guide reading instruction.
  • First-, second-, and third-grade teachers will form a professional learning community to identify and share teaching strategies that respond to the assessed reading needs of the third grade, low-socioeconomic target group.

Use the worksheet in Appendix K titled Researching School Improvement Strategies to record each improvement goal and summarize research and practice relevant to that goal.

Step 5: Summarize Goals and Strategies

Use the chart below to summarize your improvement goals and strategies for achieving the goals.




Effective strategies

Places where these strategies have been effective


Our recommendation


















Updated April 19, 2018 10:57am