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Great Lakes East
Comprehensive Center

Record of Services

Winter 2008

INDIANA

State Manager: Jayne Sowers

How are SEAs assisting their school districts in improving student achievement? In Indiana, the SEA—with the assistance of Great Lakes East—provided support during the past few months in two areas: (1) designing the English/language arts curriculum and (2) improving the district improvement plans.

Supporting Districts in Need of Improvement: Curriculum Design. As described in the previous Fall 2007 e-newsletter, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) Division of Compensatory Education/Title I selected the NCLB sanction of designing a new curriculum with corresponding professional development for those districts in corrective action (Year 3 of "in improvement" status). The process of designing a new curriculum that is aligned with the standards as well as aligned within grade levels and across grade levels is a complex task requiring several years to complete.

To support its districts in corrective action, IDOE—with assistance from Great Lakes East—sponsored a three-day workshop on mapping and aligning the curriculum on October 8, 2007. More than 230 district and school staff members attended a one-day introductory workshop in Indianapolis. A two-day workshop followed October 9–10 with 200 participants learning how to implement the process of mapping and aligning the curriculum in their districts.

Using the ideas of Fenwick W. English and the model developed by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, participants learned that the first step is to create different levels of teams (e.g., grade, school, district) with specific roles to organize and communicate the curriculum initiative to all staff. In addition, at this time, software systems for mapping need to be reviewed. Once one is selected, teachers receive training on how to use it. Then, the "mapping" begins. Each teacher develops "diary maps," recording the concepts, skills, formative assessments, and corresponding state standards that he or she taught that week or month. Through a process lasting several months, teachers learn how to share their diary maps with one another in collaborative teams in order to increase the clarity and conciseness of their entries. Months later, teachers meet in groups to begin creating a "consensus map"—the content, skills, assessments, timelines, and their corresponding state standards that represent the districts' agreed-upon teaching and learning content and skills for students and teachers.

In Indiana, districts in corrective action status are to complete their consensus maps within two years; however, agreements of "what to teach" and "when to teach it" will begin to emerge even during the early stages of diary mapping. Although the "how to teach it" remains the prerogative of individual teachers, the sharing of instructional practices is a natural extension of sharing diary maps. These agreements and discussions lead to improved consistency within and across grade levels and higher expectations from one grade to the next, thus, potentially increasing student achievement. As the districts continue their quest to design curricula, their stories will be presented in future newsletters.

Supporting Districts in Need of Improvement: Beyond District Improvement Plans. According to NCLB nonregulatory guidelines, all districts in need of improvement are required to submit improvement plans. During their initial meetings with IDOE in February 2007, newly identified districts received assistance in disaggregating the data for their student groups not making adequate yearly progress (AYP) and in the initial development of their improvement plans. As IDOE's Title I and Great Lakes East staff reviewed the submitted plans in summer 2007, it became evident that districts needed more information about how to measure the effectiveness of their implemented practices and processes.

In response, IDOE's Title I and Great Lakes East sponsored the "Beyond District Improvement Plans" workshop on November 16 with 160 district teachers and administrators in attendance. In the opening session, the districts reviewed writing SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals and learned about appropriate ways to measure whether those goals were met. They received assistance in editing their plans in terms of measuring effectiveness and attended two additional sessions: (1) "Planning Professional Development for Teachers of English Language Learners" provided by Olga Tuchman, education consultant at IDOE's Division of Language Minority and Migrant Programs and (2) "Planning Professional Development for Teachers of Students with Disabilities" presented by Sharon Knoth, assistant director of IDOE's Division of Exceptional Learners.

MICHIGAN

State Manager: Gary Appel

Statewide System of Support. Great Lakes East is assisting MDE's Office of School Improvement as it seeks to understand the impact of Michigan's statewide system of support and works to refine and improve the system. During meetings in November and December, plans began to emerge to conduct a program assessment through surveys, site visits, and interviews. The assessments will focus on key elements of the system including coaches, principals who have participated in the Principals' Fellowship, mentors, and auditors. Great Lakes East assisted MDE's partner—the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators—to create a report in December for MDE on approaches used by other states to support districts with schools in corrective action.

Increasing Teacher Quality. The work in the area of the State Professional Learning Strategic Plan has been two-fold and continues to focus on individual professional development plans (IPDPs) and a professional development review system for schools and districts. In late October, the stakeholder group's structures and processes committee met and continued drafting the IPDP process. In December, the committee met with the stakeholder group's field test and evaluation committee to present the IPDP template and coplan the field test of the IPDP process. Regional focus groups of teachers, mentors, and principals were conducted in January to seek input from the field on the process. The data from those focus groups will be used to finalize the IPDP process for the spring field test in schools.

In addition to the IPDP work, Great Lakes East continued working with the Office of Professional Preparation and Licensing staff members and other stakeholders on developing a professional development review system for districts, schools, and individuals to assess the quality of their professional development as they work to support teacher learning and the IPDP. In October and November meetings, the core team revised standards for professional development for all three levels as they worked to embed MDE's vision and standards for professional development. The Michigan Staff Development Council in partnership with MDE is leading the effort. Core team members represent the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Districts. Plans to pilot the review system in the spring are under way.

Supporting English Language Learners (ELLs). Great Lakes East continues to work with MDE's Office of School Improvement in refining and beginning the implementation of the state's five-year ELL strategic plan. After receiving additional input from the statewide ELL Advisory Committee in late September, the strategic plan was finalized for implementation. One component of the strategic plan—professional development—seeks to set up regional capacity-building activities. With support from the Center for Applied Linguistics (Great Lakes East subcontractor), MDE is planning to roll out a plan with an initial focus on action research. Another long-term professional development goal is to provide a common framework to disseminate ELL information across the state. Great Lakes East continues to provide support for this larger capacity-building effort.

Special Education. Work continued with MDE's Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services (OSE/EIS) CIMS staff. In November, site visits were completed for the 14 school districts selected based on their 2005–06 data. These visits built on the work conducted by the districts through the self-review process introduced to them last spring as part of MDE's technical assistance plan. Prior to the visits, the site visit team developed a monitoring system, student file review process, and interview protocols. In November, a second group of districts came together for technical assistance and an introduction to the self-review process. Whereas the primary focus of the first round was overrepresentation of racial and ethnic groups in special education, OSE/EIS also was obligated to assess districts with underrepresentation, which resulted in a district telephone interview protocol that examines district identification policies, procedure, and practices.

High School. Great Lakes East continues working with MDE to increase collaboration with intermediate school districts (ISDs) and regional education service agencies (RESAs) across the state to share resources to increase student achievement in high schools. MDE met in late January to bring together ISD and RESA representatives to share the latest information regarding what is being done at the state level to assist high-priority schools. In addition, ISDs and RESAs had the opportunity to collaborate and share information regarding high school redesign and assistance for high-priority schools.

In late October, MDE's Office of Special Education high school transition project coordinator requested research on what other states are doing related to the work of the high school redesign and special education inclusion project. Great Lakes East prepared a report highlighting current research and the experience of other states and shared with the transition project steering committee. Another request was made by the Office of the Superintendent in November for information regarding alternative programs in other states. With assistance from the National High School Center, Great Lakes East provided information to the deputy superintendent.

During November and December, Great Lakes East participated in weekly meetings with MDE representatives and Governor Jennifer Granholm's education policy advisors to discuss high school redesign. The advisors shared questions and concerns from a statewide "listening tour" they conducted to gather information from local education agencies and intermediate school districts across the state. The MDE and Great Lakes East team collaborated to identify ways to assist districts in need of improvement, including what policies and procedures need to be revisited. Also, in January, a member of the Great Lakes East high school team was invited to join a core team formed by State Superintendent Flanagan on a tour of two innovative Renaissance 2010 high schools in Chicago. The team visited Team Englewood and Noble Street College Prep Academy with Governor Granholm.

OHIO

State Manager: Mark Mitchell

Statewide Data System (D3A2). On December 14, the D3A2 Professional Development Committee met for its year-end quarterly meeting. At this meeting, members received an update on the efforts to operationalize D3A2 in districts across Ohio. Mark Mitchell presented a fully functional version of the Ohio Data Primer that includes three of the four modules. The Ohio Data Primer is a Web-based tool organized around modules and presented as a tutorial followed by practice in which users can visually display data in a graphic form and also bring in their own student achievement data. The primer is intended to be used as a data training tool by principals with their staff and also by teachers who are novice data users. There was broad support among the committee members for the launch of the primer with selected districts, with the only significant addition being a short audio introduction to the primer that would be accessed via the Web.

A review of the Professional Development Data Module II also was presented to the committee at the meeting. This module is focused on building understanding of Ohio's testing system. The purpose of this module and the other three modules is to build knowledge about D3A2 and how it can be utilized to improve instruction and develop skills to effectively use a variety of data to improve instructional practice and student performance. Lynn Ochs of the Hamilton County Educational Service Center also presented Module I graphics designed to help users understand what D3A2 is and how it can help schools and districts. Teachers will eventually access these modules through regionally based facilitated professional development sessions and online courses. A link to the primer may be built into one or more modules.

Lastly, a final version of the superintendent and central office staff data tool known as Move Ahead was presented to the committee. This tool includes a performance rubric that district leadership teams can employ to assess district practices in using data for continuous improvement. It also provides structures and guidance for administrators in using other tools like the Decision Framework to conduct root cause analysis, facilitate professional development on the use of data, and communicate with stakeholders and the media about student performance. The Move Ahead tool is strongly aligned with the planning document for Stage 2 of the Ohio Improvement Framework: Developing a Focused Improvement Plan, which offers structures, tools, and processes that enable districts to use data in a more rigorous and focused way to drive improvement.

Redesign of Statewide System of Support (Stage 2: Developing a Focused Improvement Plan). Under the leadership of Sheryl Poggi, a consultant at Great Lakes East, the working group has developed a draft of a focused improvement planning process for districts and buildings to follow. Three documents are being prepared: (1) An extensive facilitator's manual, which will include research and processes that a state support team member or an external facilitator can use in working with a district leadership team; (2) a 10-page expanded checklist that includes some guidance for district leadership teams and questions that guide the process; and (3) a three-page abbreviated checklist. The focused planning process will be piloted in selected districts under the State Personnel Development Grant (See the Ohio highlight article on p. 7).

Emerging Work. The next step in the Stage 2 work is to pilot the improvement planning process with selected districts. Great Lakes East will work with ODE to design the training for state support team members and the first district cohort and participate as part of the training and design team.

Archive

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Record of Services from Fall, 2007

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Record of Services from October, 2006

Record of Services from July, 2006

Record of Services from April, 2006