California Institute for School Improvement (CISI)

California Institute for School Improvement

A program of the Center for Applied Policy (CAP-Ed) in Education at UC Davis.


The California Institute for School Improvement (CISI) is a membership organization that provides education leaders at the school and district level with the accurate, unbiased, up-to-date policy and research information impacting the day-to-day work of schools. CISI is committed to eliminating inequities in schooling and to providing learning opportunities for diverse learners. CISI supports superintendents, principals, and curriculum and instructional leaders through monthly policy and research resource digests, annual workshops, and more. Currently, CISI provides member services to many school districts and county offices across California through monthly e-bulletins and workshops in the spring and fall.


About CISI

The California Institute for School Improvement (CISI) is a membership organization created to support district and county instructional leaders. Over 140 school districts and county offices of education are currently CISI members.


Membership Information

Benefits of CISI Membership

  • Regular updates through the CISI E-Bulletins apprising members of ongoing policy developments, compiling education resources, and synthesizing relevant research.
  • Free admission for three individuals to the CISI Workshops, which provide an overview of important policy changes. Plus, discounted rates for individuals beyond the first three attendees.
  • Annual resource guide containing an overview of policy development and research in education in California.
  • Discounted workshops in the spring that address the new budget, latest legislation, and previews of what is most important for the coming year.

Resources & E-Bulletins

CISI provides E-Bulletins as a service to members by email. Here you find archived E-Bulletins in addition to topically searchable resources on the following topics:

District Leadership: LCFF, LCAP, Budget, & API

Curriculum & Instruction: Common Core, Teaching, School Climate

Assessment: Smarter Balanced Assessment & Other Testing

Legislation & Policy: Politics, SBE, Legislation Analysis

Research in Brief: Curated research briefs and summaries


Study: Too Many Structured Activities May Hinder Children’s Executive Functioning

Research in Brief

(Education Week)

A recent report in the journal Frontiers in Psychology  found “that the kids who spent more time in less-structured activities had more highly-developed self-directed executive function.” However, the children who spent more time in structured activity showed a decrease in ability to set goals, make decisions and self-regulation. 


Cops and No Counselors

Research in Brief

According to a new nationwide report by the ACLU on the presence of police and mental health services in schools, “400,000 K-12 students in California attend a school that has a police officer but not a counselor.”


Book Resources

Research in Brief

Bryk, Anthony S. Organizing Schools for Improvement : Lessons from Chicago. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2010. Print.

Campbell, Davis W., and Michael Fullan. The Governance Core : School Boards, Superintendents, and Schools Working Together. Corwin Press. 2019.

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