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Great Lakes East
Comprehensive Center

Indiana Record of Services

Spring 2010

State Manager: Frank De Rosa

State System of Support

District Improvement.
Four years ago, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) reviewed the curriculum of districts in corrective action and quickly determined that the districts did not have curricula; instead, textbooks or a list of standards to be covered during a set time window were viewed as the curricula. IDOE determined that one of the requirements—to “institute and fully implement a new curriculum”—would be the most appropriate requirement of its local education agencies (LEAs) in corrective action (Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2006, p. 49). During the four years, it has proven to be a lengthy and difficult task for districts to conduct curriculum mapping as a means for creating a new curriculum.

With this result in mind, IDOE has determined that it will unpack the English language arts and mathematics state standards to determine appropriate learning progressions. Districts and schools then will be able to use this initial level of mapping to further identify the tasks underlying the standards for their specific students. They also can align their resources and assessments to these learning targets. IDOE Director of Curriculum and Instruction Schauna Findlay, Ph.D., is working alongside Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center staff Member Jayne Sowers, Ed.D. They are planning a summer academy to conduct the curriculum mapping on July 12–16, 2010. Participants have been selected from schools, districts, and universities. Professional development for teachers and administrators regarding the curriculum mapping process will occur throughout the 2011–12 school year.

As part of IDOE’s plan of support to its districts not making annual measurable achievement objectives, Great Lakes East has continued to provide internal professional development sessions for IDOE English language learning staff. A recent session held on March 24, 2010, had several objectives: (1) understand the key components of Response to Instruction (RTI), (2) reach consensus about RTI application to English language learners (ELLs) and their teachers, (3) develop content topics for teachers with ELLs in their classrooms, and (4) determine delivery methods of the professional development. Content topics included first and second language acquisition, levels of English proficiency, appropriate choice of instructional materials, differentiated instructional strategies, and collaboration between classroom teachers and ELL teachers. Discussions will continue in order to plan professional development, possibly at the regional level of the state and with the inclusion of the RTI initiative.

School Improvement. On December 3, 2009, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that the Title I School Improvement Grants (1003g) would be available to turn around the nation’s lowest performing schools (U.S. Department of Education, 2009, December 3):

As a country, we all need to get into the turnaround business. Today we are providing $3.5 billion and four models that have proven results so that school districts, unions, charter operators, universities and the business community can come together to turn around our nation's lowest performing schools.
In response to Duncan’s charge, IDOE sought Great Lakes East’s assistance in developing the state’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) application, a template for district applications, and scoring rubrics for reviewing completed applications. Indiana was among the initial six states that received the U.S. Department of Education’s approval of its SIG application in March 2010. The SIG monies have the potential to allow districts to create substantial changes in school governance; hire, evaluate, and retain teachers; provide professional development focused on curriculum and instruction; extend the school day/year; and hold high expectations for all. Following the approval, IDOE developed a webinar to aid districts in understanding the application processes and the four types of school improvement models or interventions: turnaround, transformation, restart, and school closure.

In their applications, districts were required to use student and indicator data to determine the appropriate improvement model for their schools, describe their capacity to implement the model, indicate their commitment to develop and implement all of the model’s components (e.g., replace the principal, provide high-quality, job-embedded professional development), submit a feasible and appropriate budget, and develop appropriate goals with a timeline. Given these specific requirements, reviewers of the grants needed specific and well-articulated rubrics to enable consistent scoring, which was a task led by Great Lakes East. These rubrics were developed, introduced, and practiced through an IDOE and Great Lakes East coconducted training of the reviewers on April 30, 2010.


Response to Instruction (RTI). IDOE’s new RTI initiative continues with the introduction of a new guidance document and pilot program. In IDOE’s letter to pilot schools, Alyson Luther, RTI coordinator at IDOE, describes the Response to Instruction (RtI) Guidance Document as

… a cohesive, unifying instructional model for all learners centered on scientifically based research. It is not a program or curriculum, nor is it an approach that will fade as a new fad emerges. It is a research-driven framework, created in part with experts from the National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) and Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, for developing effective instruction for all students in Indiana.
Select districts from across the state have been invited to participate in a professional development institute, July 22–23, 2010, in Indianapolis. The institute is being designed by IDOE with support from Great Lakes East and NCRTI. The institute and yearlong pilot program will “provide a structure to support efforts to differentiate instruction appropriately across all content areas and for all Indiana learners,” as stated in the aforementioned IDOE letter to pilot schools. Efforts to achieve Indiana’s vision for RTI are focused on six major components: Indiana’s context of RTI, instruction, implementation, assessment, leadership, and commitment.

The IDOE and Great Lakes East RTI team leads include Lee Ann Kwiatkowski (director of differentiated learning at IDOE), Alyson Luther, Bruce Passman (technical assistance liaison at NCRTI), Stacy Rush (senior research analyst at the American Institutes for Research), Sandra Gutierrez (research associate at the Center for Applied Linguistics), Jayne Sowers, and Frank De Rosa (Indiana state manager at Great Lakes East).

College and Career Preparation. As a new goal of its technical assistance activities in Indiana, Great Lakes East is working together with IDOE in the area of college and career preparation. The goal is to assist IDOE to develop and implement a plan to improve student achievement in mathematics through expanded and strengthened instruction and support in Career and Technical Education (CTE)/College and Career Preparation and through increased use of effective technology in mathematics instruction. Specific initiatives include (1) Math-in-CTE, an instructional program in which high school CTE and mathematics teachers partner to provide aligned instruction and assessment, (2) technology preparation instruction funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act funds, and (3) the increased use of technology in instruction, Grades 6–9.

Great Lakes East has partnered with IDOE’s College and Career Preparation and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to strengthen and expand its Math-in-CTE program in Indiana schools. Math-in-CTE was developed by the National Research Center on Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE). In July 2010, NRCCTE will conduct a one-week training session for as many as 120 Indiana high school teachers. Teachers from the career pathways of health science, automotive, building trades, and agriculture will partner with mathematics teachers to plan aligned lessons and assessments. These teachers will meet again for five days over the 2010–11 school year to assess progress and modify their plans. Great Lakes East assisted IDOE in assembling a Math-in-CTE steering team and in the development and implementation of a program evaluation and review plan. Math-in-CTE was introduced to Indiana teachers in summer 2009. IDOE’s hope is that the program will double in size this year and will continue to grow and improve in the years to come. “NRCCTE’s Math-in-CTE program is an example of a strong, evidence-based program that can help CTE students (and non-CTE students) improve math performance in the classroom and on state assessments. Great Lakes East’s support in expanding this program across the state is a significant plus for us,” said Matt Fleck, director of College and Career Preparation and a member of Indiana’s Math-in-CTE steering team (personal communication, May 12, 2010). Other team members include Davis Moore (career preparation specialist at CTE), Andrea Maurer (program director at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development), Doug Walker (RMC Research Corporation), and Frank De Rosa.

Another initiative under the college and career preparation goal targets Indiana’s technology grants. IDOE has requested the assistance of Great Lakes East in identifying the winners of the 2010–11 Carl D. Perkins IV Tech Prep grants. The grant announcement, application, and selection process is a new responsibility of IDOE’s division of College and Career Preparation, and the staff strive to meet their responsibilities with efficiency, integrity, and fidelity. They received more than 170 applications in five new and continuing categories: New Tech Prep Planning (non-Project Lead the Way), Continuation Tech Prep (non-Project Lead the Way), New Project Lead the Way Pre-Engineering, Continuation Project Lead the Way Pre-Engineering, and Continuation Project Lead the Way Biomedical Sciences). As indicated in the grant application instructions, the selection team is looking for applicants that can accomplish the following:
  • Support the implementation of state-approved career pathways leading to dual credits, a technical certificate, certificate, or apprenticeship program 
  • Positively and significantly impact the Perkins Student Performance Indicators 
  • Include multiple schools or programs 
  • Fuel the academic achievement and career preparation of Indiana students 
The IDOE and Great Lakes East team collaborated to design and implement a process to identify the grant recipients, including creating the sequence of events, designing and testing the scoring rubric, and evaluating the applications. As Matt Fleck stated, “Great Lakes East’s support and guidance has been extremely helpful to our team, especially as we developed the grant application rubric and evaluation process. It’s invaluable for us to have access to the wisdom of how this process has been done well in other regions and what pitfalls to avoid” (personal communication, May 12, 2010). Other members of the team include Julie Yeater, assistant director of Career and Technical Education, and a Great Lakes East team consisting of Tori Cirks, Doug Walker, and Frank De Rosa.

The third area of this collaborative work is focusing on the increased use of technology in instruction, Grades 6–9. IDOE’s goal to develop and implement a plan to improve student achievement in mathematics is consistent with its plan to “create and promote a statewide culture of academic excellence, in which … 90% of students pass both Math and English/Language Arts sections of ISTEP+ and End-of-Course Assessments” (Indiana Department of Education—Supporting Student Success, 2009, p. 1). In pursuit of these goals, IDOE and Great Lakes East are partnering to identify participating districts, implement, and appraise technology-based instructional models. Great Lakes East provided assistance in the design of the request for applications, scoring rubric, and identification of pilot districts. Planning and implementation of pilot program appraisal will take place in late summer and fall 2010. IDOE’s Secondary Mathematics Consultant Zach Foughty recently commented:

“As we move forward … we are excited about the potential for schools to integrate technology into their daily mathematics instruction, which we believe will assist the students in understanding mathematical concepts. The curricular materials chosen by districts provide teachers with on-going support, innovative instructional methods, high-quality formative assessments, and tools for increasing student motivation. By implementing these programs, 35 schools across the state will provide nearly 13,000 students with increased access to high-quality instruction in mathematics” (personal communication, May 13, 2010).
Working on this team with Foughty are Trice Black, elementary mathematics specialist at IDOE; Lisa Palacios, senior program associate, and Brenna O-Brien, research associate, both from Learning Point Associates; and Frank De Rosa.

Common Core State Standards Initiative. As this issue of the e-newsletter indicates, the Common Core State Standards initiative is creating a stir across the country. IDOE has committed to implementing the common core, and as a first step, will study the results of the common core’s alignment to Indiana state standards through the use of the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum. The results from the alignment process should be available in fall 2010 from an external agency and will indicate the similarities, gaps, and redundancies between the state standards and the common core standards. This information will allow the IDOE and Great Lakes East team to create improved alignment between the curriculum, instruction, and assessments, which will be shared across the state through professional development. In addition, curriculum maps will be created to show teachers how to transition from the current Indiana Standards to the Common Core State Standards.


Indiana Department of Education—Supporting Student Success. (2009). The vision, the plan. Retrieved May 25, 2010, from http://www.doe.in.gov/actionplan/docs/idoe_vision_plan.pdf 
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. (2006). LEA and school improvement:
Non-regulatory guidance (Rev. ed.). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved May 25, 2010, from http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/schoolimprovementguid.pdf  

U.S. Department of Education. (2009, December 3). Applications now available for $3.5 billion in Title I School Improvement grants to turn around nation’s lowest achieving public schools [Press release]. Retrieved May 11, 2010, from http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2009/12/12032009a.html

Michigan Record of Services

Spring 2010

State Manager: Gary Appel

Teacher Quality

State Individual Professional Development Plans. The Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, with support from the American Institutes for Research, is assisting the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) in conducting a field study of the individual professional development plan in three regions that reflect the demographic differences among districts in Michigan. The field study began in September 2009 and is scheduled to conclude in June 2010. All participating principals, mentors, and beginning teachers complete quarterly Zoomerang surveys, indicating their perceptions about the value and ease of using the individual professional development plan tools. Phone interviews are being conducted with a sample of participants during May and June. A sample of completed individual professional development plans or sections of these plans also will be analyzed to inform future revisions. The individual professional development plan then will be revised based on analysis of all the data and will be made available statewide for the 2010–11 school year.

In addition to working with the individual professional development plan team, Great Lakes East is supporting MDE in its effort to support the work of a cross-functional team at MDE to review and revise professional development policy and guidelines. This spring, MDE further charted the course for a more coherent professional development system in their Race to The Top proposal. As a part of the reform agenda, the cross-functional team will do the following: (1) convene and support working groups that will design professional development for diverse purposes, (2) use grants to incentivize and guide the creation of high-quality professional development programs focused on the key needs of teachers, students, and leaders, and (3) support statewide compliance with federal grants and legislation as well as statewide mandates. At the next meeting of the cross-functional team on June 7, 2010, Great Lakes East will share the results of a review of professional development policies that includes Michigan’s current policy and guidelines, their proposed system, and effective policy and practices in other states. Great Lakes East also will facilitate the work of the team as they assess the implications of the review for MDE, begin work with stakeholders to further develop components of the system, and determine ways in which high-quality professional development can be embedded throughout the system.

State Teacher Preparation System Revision. Great Lakes East and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality have been working with MDE and the Professional Standards Commission for Teachers (PSCT) to design a Michigan Framework for Excellence in Teacher Preparation. A work team from PSCT is describing the task and gathering information from the larger committee regarding teacher preparation beliefs and assumptions. During the PSCT meeting on March 11, 2010, draft assumptions about teacher preparation were discussed and feedback was sought. The team created a matrix to map the overlapping policies and procedures that serve as guidance for teachers. This document, “Professional Preparation Continuum,” will be introduced to other teacher preparation initiative teams for feedback and alignment. The next steps for the work team are to write introductory content for the policies and procedures to allow various audiences to understand their use and articulate the means by which teacher preparation programs demonstrate effectiveness in accordance with the assumptions of high-quality teachers’ preparation and the Professional Standards for Michigan Teachers.

Concurrently, Great Lakes East has been supporting the MDE Office of Professional Preparation Services’ efforts to design a three-tier licensure system in Michigan. MDE brought together a committee of stakeholders, including staff from the two teachers unions in Michigan, institutes of higher education, and districts to develop a set of guidelines for each of the three tiers: Provisional, Professional, and Masters-Level. Preliminary discussions have a beginning teacher enter the field with a Provisional Certificate. During a teacher’s first four years, he or she will be required to complete an individual professional development plan and some university coursework. Advancement to the second tier may require the teacher to receive a specific level on his or her evaluation. Additional coursework and State Board Continuing Education credits will be required to renew the Professional Certificate. The current option at the Masters-Level is National Board Certification. The committee is recommending that this be but one option out of several and will discuss what these options might be at the next monthly meeting.

High School

High School Redesign. Technical assistance continues to be provided to MDE to develop a Michigan Framework for Re-Imagining High Schools. After MDE’s High School Unit and High School Core Team members reviewed the principles in Vermont’s High Schools on the Move document for alignment to Michigan’s School Improvement Framework, Great Lakes East facilitated a small core planning group during the months of February through April 2010 to begin the process of reviewing and revising the document for Michigan. The core planning group consisted of Sam Sinicropi, MDE consultant, Office of Education Improvement and Innovation; Diane McMillan, associate director, Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals; Kristine Gullen, high school consultant, Oakland Schools; Doug Walker, senior research associate, RMC Research Corporation; and Bersheril Bailey, senior consultant, Great Lakes East. This preliminary work was prepared to share with a larger stakeholder group at an all-day meeting in April.

On April 12, 2010, representatives from MDE, intermediate school districts, local education agencies, and various professional organizations met to review and recommend additions and revisions to the evolving Michigan high school framework. To initiate and guide the conversation for the day, the meeting began with a live webinar where student representatives from across the state provided their views on reimagining high schools. Following the webinar, facilitators guided participants through a “World Café” process to link and build on previous ideas for recommendations, revisions, and additions to the framework. This valuable input was combined and shared with the High School Core Team on May 19, 2010, where additional input was gathered.

In July 2009, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan issued a challenge to Michigan schools and districts to identify 10–15 students with multiple dropout risk factors and asked them to provide research-based supports and interventions to reduce or eliminate these risk factors. More than 1,100 schools and districts signed on to this challenge. Great Lakes East is facilitating and coordinating a collaborative team to support Flanagan’s Dropout Challenge. The team consists of Jan Ellis, MDE spokesperson, Office of the Superintendent; Leisa Gallagher, codirector of Reaching and Teaching Struggling Learners; Sue Codere, MDE consultant, Office of Education Improvement and Innovation; Myra Munroe, Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA) instructional specialist; Michele Corey, Michigan’s Children; Diane McMillan, associate director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals; Nancy Rotarius, Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth, Sara Wraight, research associate, REL Midwest at Learning Point Associates; and Bersheril Bailey. The team is planning a two-day Dropout Prevention conference/K–12 Summit in southeast Detroit on August 11–12, 2010. Intermediate and local school districts, as well as professional organizations and community partners across the state, will be invited to attend. Dropout Challenge schools and districts will be recognized by Flanagan during an evening reception on August 11. Recently, the state of Oklahoma launched an “ABC 123 Challenge” to schools modeled after Michigan’s Dropout Challenge.

In addition, the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals in partnership with MDE has developed a dropout prevention website entitled Graduation Town. The website houses an online electronic learning community dedicated to support efforts that provide opportunities for all students to graduate from high school career and work ready. Great Lakes East has provided research, resources, and technical assistance to support the development of this website, which will be used by schools, districts, students, parents, and community partners across the state.

Alternative High Schools. Great Lakes East continues to facilitate conversations between MDE’s Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability (OEAA) and the Alternative Education Focus Group as MDE works to develop a new policy related to alternative high schools and adequate yearly progress (AYP). OEAA is interested in increasing its capacity to understand the issues, barriers, and concerns of alternative educators in order to ensure that the new policy will support alternative high schools across the state. Office representative Chris Janzer, consultant, attended the Alternative Education Focus Group meeting on May 13, 2010.

To promote school and community partnerships to increase student achievement, Marlana Krolicki, alternative education consultant for Oakland Schools and member of the Alternative Education Focus Group, invited Great Lakes East and MDE to participate in and facilitate discussions during a seminar on May 17, 2010, titled “The ABCs of Dropout Prevention: Strengthening Community and School Partnerships to Increase Graduation and Success in College and Careers.” Participants collaborated and continued to dialogue; explored current data, resources, and policies; developed strategies to increase graduation rates; and expanded community and school partnerships for student success.

To continue these critical efforts, Great Lakes East also is facilitating conversations among MDE, the Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education (MACAE), and members of the Alternative Education Focus Group to plan a professional development opportunity for educators in alternative high schools across the state. The one-day summer institute will be held on June 24, 2010, in Lansing, Michigan. Participants will learn more about dropout prevention, how to support struggling students, and adequate yearly progress (AYP). Great Lakes East will provide technical assistance to MDE consultants Janzer and Sinicropi to prepare presentations that build the capacity of alternative educators that serve struggling students.

Statewide System of Support

Michigan’s Statewide System of Support (SSOS). At the request of MDE and MAISA, Great Lakes East developed an online survey to collect feedback in two areas: (1) team meetings and activities, specifically what works and where modifications might be necessary, and (2) the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the assistance provided by Great Lakes East to the team. The core team members received the survey after the January 14, 2010, meeting. Julia Marchand, evaluation associate at Great Lakes East, provided a report of key findings from the survey. Bersheril Bailey reviewed the survey results with the core team during the March 11, 2010, core team meeting, where the team made suggestions and requests regarding future meetings of the group as well as Great Lakes East support.

On March 4–5, 2010, Great Lakes East invited Sam Redding of the Center on Innovation & Improvement (CII) to Michigan to lead a two-day Statewide System of Support Self-Assessment meeting. CII’s manual Strengthening the Statewide System of Support was used to guide MDE to self-assess its system of support in order to plan for improvement. A Great Lakes East team, consisting of Gary Appel, Bersheril Bailey, Linda McDonald (RMC Research Corporation), and Asta Svedkauskaite, compiled all of the information gathered and provided MDE with a draft summary report and a PowerPoint presentation that highlighted key findings. MDE participants reviewed the draft and provided final input, and Great Lakes East provided MDE with a final report on May 28, 2010, which will inform further redesign of the statewide system of support.

Earlier this spring, MDE’s SSOS Pacesetter Team participated in CII’s Distance Learning #5 on March 24, 2010, along with teams from Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Steve Ross, professor and senior research scientist at Johns Hopkins University, who specializes in educational evaluation, school reform, and educational technology, discussed how to recognize the qualities of an effective evaluation when evaluating the outcomes of SSOS. State teams were asked to think about how to use the information shared within their own SSOS.

Great Lakes East continues to facilitate collaborative meetings with MDE, MAISA, and the Michigan Association of School and Curriculum Development to develop an Emerging Practices website that identifies schools that are “beating the odds.” The website will provide schools and districts across the state with the opportunity to learn about promising practices. To begin this initiative, the Michigan Institute for Educational Management and the Ingham Intermediate School District, along with Scott Buckley of Learning Point Associates, developed draft wireframes of the website for the group to review and consider at a meeting held on April 16, 2010. After reviewing the goals and objectives for the Emerging Practices website and the Teaching for Learning website, which is being developed by MDE’s Curriculum and Instruction, the team determined that the plans for the two websites are similar and that it would be wise to integrate the two websites as opposed to developing two separate ones. Great Lakes East will work with MDE to integrate the work of the department’s two groups as the development of the website continues.

English Language Learners. Multiple initiatives to build MDE’s capacity related to English language learners (ELLs) continue through the ongoing collaboration between MDE and Great Lakes East and its subcontractor, the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). One of the current initiatives—providing Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) training of trainers—has its Cohort 2 training-of-trainers session scheduled for the last week of June 2010. Twenty ELL educators were selected to participate through a statewide application process. Once this session is completed, three regional rollout sessions will take place. Six trainers, two for each region, from the training-of-trainers sessions will cofacilitate with CAL staff to complete the SIOP capacity-building training process. In addition, last year’s session participants will be independently facilitating the implementation of several additional mini-regional SIOP sessions at local sites to further expand the capacity-building goal of the project. Sandy Hagman, representing MDE, continues to be the Michigan-based staff member and ensures that regional and mini-regional logistics are implemented.

In addition, Great Lakes East and CAL assisted MDE in planning and facilitating Michigan’s ELL State Title III Directors’ Conference on April 26, 2010. The opening session, “Using Legal Precedence to Advocate,” was presented by Donald Yarab, team leader at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, Cleveland Office. The luncheon plenary session, “Considerations when Implementing RTI with English Language Learners,” was given by Janette Klingner, Ph.D., professor of education at University of Colorado–Boulder. In addition, 12 concurrent sessions provided Title III directors with updates regarding MDE initiatives and information about ELL special education, ELL teacher preparation, response to intervention (RTI), and English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA).

As an ongoing effort, MDE’s joint ELL Advisory Committee met on April 26–27 to share updates from the representative offices: Office of School Improvement (OSI) and the Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability (OEAA). During the meeting, OEAA facilitated working sessions to solicit input on ELPA’s (the state’s English language assessment) revisions, development, and implementation. Mike Radke, director of the Office of Field Services, whose office will be assuming the responsibility for ELL services this summer, provided an overview of his office’s objectives and plans for the transition.

Lastly, the cross-office ELL core team continued to meet. On May 10, 2010, Phil Chase from OEAA presented to the team an update on the progress of OEAA’s “Beyond the Booklet” project. The project focuses on providing support for teacher training to accompany ELPA. The goal of this project is to showcase Michigan’s best practices for how to use reports for coordinators and administrators. The team discussed the development and implementation of this project and the relevance and implications for ELLs.

Response to Intervention (RTI). The Michigan RTI team continues to develop a statewide framework for RTI, providing guidance and resources for districts and schools. On May 4, 2010, as part of that guidance, Great Lakes East and MDE sponsored a conference, “School Improvement and RTI: One Common Voice—One Plan.” A total of 275 school, district, intermediate service district (ISD), and state leaders attended the event. Darren Woodruff, Ph.D., codirector of the National Center on Response to Intervention, provided the keynote. Seven breakout sessions, themed as “Stories from the Field,” were provided by school and district teams from Michigan and Illinois. Following the conference, on May 10, 2010, the RTI team met to continue work on a Michigan RTI framework document and begin planning regional professional development for districts and ISDs. These regional opportunities will build on the conference theme and focus on braiding RTI and the Michigan School Improvement Framework as well as attending to the “how” of RTI implementation.

OhioRecord of Services

Spring 2010

State Manager: Mark Mitchell

Assessment and Accountability

Credit Flexibility Implementation. The Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center continues to provide significant support for statewide implementation of credit flexibility through its role with the internal credit flexibility work group at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and through collaborative efforts with the IDEA Partnership and the National High School Center (NHSC).

ODE has developed a credit flexibility Web conference series, which follows its recently released guidance as well as connects participants from across Ohio with districts and institutions that have implemented some aspects of credit flexibility. Great Lakes East has provided technical assistance and support for the Web conference series. Following is a list of the Web conferences:

  1. Credit Flex and Highly Qualified Teachers (March 17)
  2. Credit Flex and Gifted and Special Education Students (March 24) 
  3. School Finance and Credit Flexibility (April 9)  
  4. Mastery-Based Assessment Models (April 22) 
  5. Assessment Tips (May 7)  
  6. Teacher-Led Credit Flex Initiatives Using Technology (May 17)  
Each of these Web conferences was facilitated by ODE staff along with people in districts and other institutions who are implementing aspects of credit flexibility. Credit flexibility resources, including audio recordings and transcriptions of the Web conferences, guidance documents, and case studies, can be accessed through ODE’s Ohio’s Credit Flexibility Plan website.

As described in the winter 2010 Great Lakes East e-newsletter, Great Lakes East and NHSC have collaborated on the design of a cross-state process, highlighting common themes and challenges to credit flexibility implementation. The national center’s staff interviewed key state education agency staff in Florida, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Texas and collaborated with Great Lakes East to produce a summary report in April 2010 titled Credit Flexibility Considerations for the Ohio Department of Education. The purpose of the report is to highlight credit flexibility strategies nationally and lessons learned in other states that ODE might benefit from as Ohio supports local implementation of its credit flexibility policy. The state initiatives profiled in the document include Florida Guide to Public High School Graduation, Florida Public Virtual Schools, Massachusetts Extended Learning Time Initiative, Oregon Credit for Proficiency, and Texas Virtual Schools Network.

Great Lakes East continues to work with the IDEA Partnership to help ODE organize communities of practice and provide training to moderators of these communities. Training sessions occurred on April 23 and May 13, 2010; the majority of attendees were from educational service centers (ESCs).

Standards and Assessment (Emerging Work). This emerging work is closely connected to adoption of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics and to adoption of revised Ohio science and social studies state standards. As part of this adoption process, ODE designed a series of meetings to update stakeholders across Ohio and to request feedback that would inform implementation support. Great Lakes East provided logistical support and support for summarizing the feedback gathered from these regional meetings. The first series of meetings occurred on March 22–26 and focused on the Common Core State Standards in ELA and mathematics. These meetings were supported by the following regional providers: Cuyahoga ESC, ESC of Central Ohio, State Support Team Region 15 and OSU Endeavor Center, Hamilton County ESC, and State Support Team Region 1. The regional meetings were led by Sasheen Phillips, literacy director at ODE, and Brad Findell, director of mathematics initiatives at ODE. Staff from Great Lakes East collected feedback from stakeholders, who used a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats (SWOT) analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to implementation of the common core standards. Each piece of feedback was entered into a database and analyzed for themes and patterns that helped to provide some direction for professional development support and planning for implementation.

Another series of meetings on April 26–May 3 introduced science and social studies standards and collected feedback from stakeholders using the same process. These meetings were led by Tom Rutan of ODE and Constance Barsky, science initiatives at ODE. As with the common core state standards meetings, the regional support system provided both help with venues and, in some cases, personnel on-site.

As a result of these common core meetings, Great Lakes East developed a comprehensive summary to be used internally to guide the development of planning and implementation support to the field. A similar summary is being developed based upon themes and patterns that emerge from feedback collected at the regional science and social studies meetings. The Ohio State Board of Education is expected to formally adopt standards for ELA, mathematics, science, and social studies in June 2010.

State Systems of Support

Completion of Processes, Support Structures, and Tools for Stages 3 and 4 of the Ohio Improvement Process. It is no surprise that implementation and monitoring (Stage 3) and evaluation (Stage 4) of the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) are proving to be the most challenging parts of the process, both to design and for district-, building-, and teacher-based teams to fully practice. Systemic implementation of strategies and actions (as defined in district improvement plans and aligned building plans) and systematic monitoring of adult implementation and student progress require changes in adult behavior and practice. Much of the work for Stage 3 has focused on defining the work of teacher-based teams and designing support structures for these teams, primarily through targeted training of internal and external facilitators (ESCs and state support teams [SSTs]).

A teacher-based team training for facilitators was held on April 19, 2010, and included about 300 ESC and SST facilitators along with internal district facilitators. Great Lakes East worked with the facilitator professional development cadre to design this training. Teacher-based teams may be grade-level teams, vertical teams, content-focused teams, or other configurations. The core work of these teams will include using common formative assessments, analyzing student work from these assessments, establishing shared expectations for implementing specific effective changes in classrooms, implementing changes consistently across all classrooms, and collecting and analyzing post-assessment data. To enable this core work to happen across a district requires strong instructional leadership from principals. Although the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council (OLAC) has articulated essential practices for the superintendent and district and building leadership teams, the seminal role of the principal as instructional leader needs to be reinforced. Future work will focus on clarifying the role of the principal and designing training for principals to support this work.

The Stage 4 work includes two aspects: evaluation of the impact of the OIP and process and evaluation of the overall health or effective functioning of the statewide system of support. Evaluation of the impact of the OIP includes a process for using monitoring data from Stage 3 progress indicators along with systemic observations and self-reports from classrooms to measure impact on adult implementation of strategies and actions and student performance. This evaluation process takes place within a two- to three-year timeframe in which the district improvement plan is implemented and includes interim evaluations with opportunities for midcourse corrections by district leadership teams. At the end of the plan-implementation cycle, a summative evaluation also will be conducted, with a report generated by the district. A draft of the evaluation process has been completed by the Stage 4 cadre of the state-level design team (including a Great Lakes East representative) and will go through a series of edits and further drafts before being tested by selected districts.

The statewide system of support—composed of buildings, districts, regional supports, and the state—has a role to play in improving the system of education for all children. How well each of these levels performs their key functions has been described in sets of key indicators of effectiveness:
  • District and building level. Evaluation of the overall health of the statewide system of support is done to assess the degree of implementation of strategies and actions and impact on changes in adult practice and student performance. 
  • Regional level. Evaluation data will be used to assess the effectiveness of support provided by ESCs, SSTs, and vendors and to make needed adjustments. 
  • State level. Evaluation will be used to gauge the overall “health” of the statewide system of support and make needed adjustments.  
These indicators can be measured to a large degree by existing data and monitoring tools. This is the other work of Stage 4 evaluation—to develop a systemic way to evaluate the overall health of the statewide system of support. When fully operational, student results from the state, district, and building level will be used to validate data collected through the statewide system of support evaluation. Both aspects of Stage 4 evaluation should be completed by the end of Year 5 (September 30, 2010) and ready to be tested in districts and buildings.

Building a Sustainable, Statewide Training Model for Regional Providers. Sustainability includes not only a plan for how to ensure that this work continues but also how to ensure that the collective capacity of the system increases. Collective capacity in this context refers to ESC staff and SSTs who are able to provide highly competent, consistent facilitation support to districts and buildings; this capacity building depends upon sustained, high-quality professional development and training. Much of the work of the state-level design team and the cadre structure is now focused on building the collective capacity of the system in Ohio to support the work of improvement.

State-Level Design Team Cadre Work. The work of the state-level design team continues to evolve in response to scale-up, sustainability, and quality assurance challenges associated with broad implementation of OIP. Following is a list of the cadres and a description of their current work:
  • Stage 4 Cadre. This cadre will continue to refine its articulated process for evaluation of impact of OIP on adult implementation and student progress. The statewide facilitator training in September 2010 will offer an opportunity to share this work with facilitators and launch some test districts that are ready for Stage 4. Another aspect of the work will be further work to operationalize the systematic collection of data focused on key indicators for the purpose of evaluating the overall health of the statewide system of support.  
  • Facilitator Competencies Cadre. This cadre will build upon its draft set of facilitator competencies and skills needed by external and internal facilitators of OIP and both broaden and deepen its work in this area. Immediate work will include developing a separate master facilitator competency tool with illustrations of what mastery looks like. Longer term, this cadre will develop an apprenticeship and coaching model to help move facilitators through levels of proficiency. Finally, this group will design professional development and rollout of this competency work through the quad and regional support structure beginning in fall 2010.  
  • Regional Professional Development Parameters and Fidelity Checklist Cadre. This new cadre will identify the parameters required in delivering professional development related to OLAC and OIP for all regions. They also will develop a checklist used by all regions to ensure consistent, accurate, and valid content specific to OLAC and OIP. 
  • Statewide Facilitator Professional Development Cadre. This cadre is charged with the ongoing design of ESC and SST facilitator and internal facilitator training, including agendas, presentations, handouts, evaluations, and any other materials. Two large facilitator trainings are planned for June 2–3, 2010, and the week of September 13.  
  • OIP Facilitator’s Guide and Resource Revision Cadre. This new cadre is charged with reviewing related OIP documents that should be considered for inclusion in a revised (third edition) of the OIP Facilitator’s Guide. Another aspect of this work is the development of a Quick Guide, based upon key portions of the larger Facilitator’s Guide (including the Resources section) to enable easy access and understanding of the process for new external and internal facilitators. 
  • Building-Level Administrator Training Cadre. This new cadre will examine and clarify the critical role of the principal as instructional leader and within the district-, building-, and teacher-based team structure. This group also will be responsible for designing training and needed resources. It is anticipated that building-level administrator training will begin in fall 2010 at the quad and regional levels.


Record of Services from Summer, 2010

Record of Services from Spring, 2010

Record of Services from Winter, 2010

Record of Services from Fall, 2009

Record of Services from Summer, 2009

Record of Services from Spring, 2008

Record of Services from Winter, 2008

Record of Services from Fall, 2007

Record of Services from Spring, 2007

Record of Services from Winter, 2007

Record of Services from October, 2006

Record of Services from July, 2006

Record of Services from April, 2006