How can we systemically improve the quality of classroom instruction and the learning and achievement of students? In an era when isolated examples of excellence are not good enough, we need systems that support improvement and excellence for all. This book describes how systems can effectively engage in this complex, challenging, and crucial work. The authors explore three core competencies of high-performing school systems: (1) understanding what the work is?a deep understanding of the core business of facilitating learning, a vision of what that looks like, and an awareness of where the system is in relation to that vision; (2) knowing how to do the work?a theory of action for improving instruction, a focus on key strategies, and effective alignment of resources; and (3) building the individual and organizational ?habits of mind? that foster continuous improvement. Each chapter includes examples that illustrate key concepts in action, questions to spur self-assessment in key areas of competence, and tools and resources for building capacity at different levels and stages of development.