Case study

Weaving and Stacking

How School Districts Craft Coherence Towards Continuous Improvement
Vicki Park
San Diego State University
Kate Kennedy
University of Southern California
H. Alix Gallagher
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University
Benjamin W. Cottingham
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University
Angela Gong
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University


Using qualitative case study methods, we examine how educators describe continuous improvement and craft coherence for implementation. We find that educators attempted to build system-wide improvement capabilities, taking into consideration theories of action for continuous improvement and managing change given the realities of their local contexts. We identify educators’ orientations for crafting coherence as a mechanism by which they attempt to integrate improvement strategies to their local contexts. Two bridging approaches to crafting coherence were found: weaving and stacking. By using the notion of developing coherence as craft, we extend the field’s understanding of how leaders attempt to create shared meaning and practice throughout educational systems that are complex and dynamic. We discuss the implications for research and practice.

This article was originally published in the Journal of Educational Change.

Suggested citationPark, V., Kennedy, K., Gallagher, H. A., Cottingham, B. W., & Gong, A. (2022, November). Weaving and stacking: How school districts craft coherence towards continuous improvement [Article]. Policy Analysis for California Education.