This paper describes the evolution of attempts to build coherence and capacity in an Ontario school district, focusing on the development of literacy strategies in all of the district’s elementary and secondary schools. In reviewing case studies in four elementary schools, the authors have identified three key elements (instruction, curriculum, and assessment) as the key dimensions which have the greatest influence on student achievement. The authors of this paper present a new construct, pedagogical synergy, in which those three elements are combined. Improvements can occur at both the district and school levels when there are horizontal and reciprocal strategies for building capacity and increasing coherence. It is the mutual support between district and schools that provides the power in this new concept.