Comprehensive Needs Assessment

The Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) provides a framework which:

  • provides districts and schools with a clear view of their strengths, areas for improvement, challenges, and successes;
  • enables a systematic review of practices, processes, and systems within a school district;
  • assists district and school leadership in determining needs, examining their nature and causes, and setting priorities for future action;
  • guides the development of a meaningful district or school plan and suggests benchmarks for evaluation; and
  • most importantly, it is a corner stone of continuous improvement, ensuring the best possible outcomes for all students.

The rubrics and materials that underpin the third party Comprehensive Needs Assessment may be used by any school to strengthen the School Improvement Planning process. The following six dimensions are evaluated during the Comprehensive Needs Assessment Process.

The graphic above consists of a large blue rectangle with white text labeling in each of the four corners. The rectangle is bisected by a large thin white-bordered oval stretching from left to right. Starting with the upper left corner and continuing in clockwise fashion the individual corners are labeled Leadership Capacity, Professional Capacity, Family and Community Support, and Planning and Operational Effectiveness. The oval in the center of the large rectangle includes white text titled Instructional Excellence & Alignment: and includes Part 1: Teaching and Learning and Part II: Support for Student Achievement.

Orientation Resources Before a CNA

Schools that are identified to participate in a Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) receive an overview of the entire CNA process during an orientation conducted by an Instructional Review Coach (IRC). After the CNA, District and Regional Support staff provides training for schools centered on the Comprehensive Needs Assessment report.

Find all Orientation materials to prepare for the CNA on the CNA Orientation for School Leaders Canvas hub.

Training Resources After a CNA & Professional Development

The Assessment and Family and Community Engagement Support Team is committed to carrying out quality Comprehensive Needs Assessments (CNAs) and helping schools identify and develop programs to assist and support family and community engagement. Through customized support, we build the capacity of schools, families, and communities to enhance and support student academic achievement.

We offer professional development centered on Unpacking the CNA, cultural responsiveness, identifying and developing school culture, and effective family, community, and school partnerships. 

Contact Information

For more information about the CNA process or training, please contact Susan Silver, Instructional Review Coach Team Lead at 919-807-3956 or