Thursday, February 11, 2010

Statewide Systems of Support Presentation to Senate Education Committee

The State Department of Education has received national recognition for its Statewide System of Support in recent months, Dr. Marybeth Flachbart, Deputy Superintendent of Student Achieve and School Improvement at the Department told members of the Senate Education Committee this afternoon.

No Child Left Behind requires every state to have a statewide system of support that ensures the necessary supports are in place at every level of the educational system so students are getting the help they need to reach their full potential. Several states are now looking to Idaho for its quality and innovative Statewide System of Support, and Idaho will be the subject of a research-based case study.  

Dr. Flachbart presented on Idaho’s Statewide System of Support with Dr. Lisa Kinnaman from Boise State’s Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies.

Idaho’s Statewide System of Support focuses on the instructional core, teachers and students in the presence of content.  Dr. Flachbart told the committee, “You can put the best teachers up against the weakest system, and the system will win every time. So we’re out to change the system.”  This is done through a range of services.

1. Ways to Improve School Effectiveness (WISE Tool)- an online strategic planning tool that allows for input from executive coaches and the State Department of Education.  It also includes professional development and onsite technical assistance.  Currently, 74 districts and 403 schools are registered on the WISE Tool.

2. Idaho Building Capacity Project- provides onsite executive coaching by retired distinguished educators.  There are currently 91 sites across Idaho.

3. Focus Visits- visit to districts by experts who observe instruction in every classroom; collect data during classroom observation; interview 60% of instructional staff; focus groups with students, teachers, parents, and non-instructional staff; and then triangulate data and make recommendations.

4. Idaho Superintendents’ Network- voluntary opportunity for superintendents to come together and discuss their role in improving the quality of instruction.  Currently, there are 30 superintendents participating.

5. Response to Intervention- prevention model that provides immediate intensive intervention for students who show signs of struggling.

6. Lighthouse Project- training for school board trustees that focuses on their role as leaders in the school district.

7. Instructional Leadership Training- webinar series on 9 Characteristics of Highly Effective Schools.

8. Virtual professional development- research-based professional development courses are now offered online via Idaho Digital Learning Academy so all Idaho teachers and administrators have access to the necessary professional development, no matter where they live.

-Camille W.

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