STEP Framework

STEP includes four phases main phases: Seek, Discover, Confirm, and Share. There are two introductory phases: Pre-Launch and Launch, which set the foundation for successful STEP implementation. In the Pre-Launch phase, you will explore questions about how to determine whether conditions within your school or district are appropriate for piloting STEP. During Launch, you will build structures to enable the initiative’s success. The next four phases contain the transformative project work. By design, STEP is a process that can be iterative or cyclical in nature. It is normal for a team to revisit or cycle through earlier phases. STEP is designed to be tailored to your needs, and the STEP framework provides guideposts to help support your journey.


Participants identify a common challenge to solve. This challenge is large enough to make a difference and small enough for members to make positive changes within a short time period. The team identifies or creates measures that will reliably indicate progress against their challenge. They use these measures to assess the status in their classrooms and determine whether there are positive outliers among them.


The STEP team embarks on a process to discover successful practices within their community that address the identified challenge. To do this, the team uses existing data and gathers new information as needed. Once practices are identified, the team collaboratively engages in cycles of inquiry to discover the specific practices and strategies that may be leading to desired results. They focus on practices that can be tested and confirmed by the broader group.


The team confirms the promise of newly identified practices by testing them and measuring their impact. If a practice brings about demonstrably better outcomes, it is considered a solution. Confirmation may happen in multiple stages, possibly including modifications to the practice(s) and the creation of additional tools to help others.


The team designs a process to share the effective practice with their community. When sharing a solution, they may also share the process they used to confirm the practice’s effectiveness. This transparency demonstrates both the rigor and the practical nature of the STEP process. By introducing these practices to the community and seeking to replicate them across a school or district, STEP has the potential to become a high impact, teacher-driven, sustainable method for promoting better teaching practice.

STEP Road Map

Within each STEP phase, there are key milestones to keep you on course.

Seek Milestones

  • Build a culture of collaborative inquiry
  • Develop a Challenge and Aim Statement grounded in evidence
  • Outline a data and measurement plan
  • Establish baseline student outcomes
  • Document baseline teaching practices and conditions for collaboration

Discover Milestones

  • Identify teachers or classes whose students demonstrate uncommonly strong outcomes related to your Challenge and Aim Statement
  • Develop a Data and Measurement Plan to explore potentially promising practices among identified teachers
  • Collect meaningful data on teaching practices among identified teachers
  • Determine whether and how the data indicate evidence of promising practices
  • Analyze data to identify promising practices to test in the Confirm phase

Confirm Milestones

  • Select multiple student outcome measures to test the promising practices identified in the Discover phase
  • Agree on sound plans and processes to test the promising practices and update the team’s Data and Measurement Plan
  • Implement the promising practices in classrooms and collect data on practices and outcomes
  • Analyze and discuss data throughout the process to determine if there is sufficient evidence of exceptional practice
  • Describe the evidence, essential aspects, and necessary conditions for tested practices in preparation for the Share phase

Share Milestones

  • Synthesize and document the team’s progress toward the Challenge and Aim
  • Implement sound plans and processes to celebrate and share the team’s STEP story and key learnings with the broader school community
  • Engage additional teachers in the STEP process, in particular through exploring and testing practices
  • Codify key learning and resources developed in the Share
  • Return to Confirm, Discover, or start a new STEP cycle

STEP Road Map

Within each STEP phase, there are key milestones to keep you on course.