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Teacher & Leader Effectiveness/Standards & Assessments
SEA Capacity Building
Stakeholder Communications and Engagement
This guidebook provides an introduction to Instructional Improvement Systems (IIS) for State education agency (SEA) managers and program leads. Functional components of a theoretical IIS model are discussed and used as a reference point for the introduction a seven-step planning and implementation cycle designed to guide SEAs in the development of their own models. Experiences and resources from several SEAs are referenced throughout the document to provide real-world examples of best practices in IIS planning and deployment.
Education Architecture Guidebook [PDF, 2.59MB]
Education Enterprise Architecture, or EEA, is a strategic framework that can provide the structure, plan and processes to achieve an education agency's vision and goals by aligning its business and program side with information technology (IT). This guidebook will help the staff members of education agencies gain an understanding of what EEA is and how it can help an agency accomplish its vision and goals. This guidebook describes the components and processes necessary to develop and implement an EEA blueprint, and walks through one example of a segment architecture approach to EEA.
Brief: Education Architecture Guidebook [PDF, 1.9MB]
This two-page document provides a brief introduction to the need and benefits of aligning education reform through an Education Enterprise Architecture. Components and essential elements of Education Enterprise Architecture governance and management are discussed; those interested in additional detail should review the above Education Enterprise Architecture Guidebook.
Using CEDS Align for P-20 Collaboration [PDF, 1MB]
Based on work performed by Reform Support Network (RSN) experts with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI), this document describes the use of the Common Education Data Standards (CEDS) Align tool in the P-20 effort to map data to CEDS elements, the collection of data sources, and the formatting and uploading of materials.
In the fall of 2012, Instructional Improvement System (IIS) Leads of six Race to the Top grantee States participated in a scan of their current efforts and initiatives. Based on the information provided, this publication highlights how IIS systems have been developed and deployed, what functions they support, and why certain functions were selected.
Request for Proposals Evaluation Guide [PDF, 1.56MB]
This publication offers SEAs and LEAs steps for evaluating a Request for Proposal (RFP) that allows input from a wide range of participants and specific subject matter experts, permits flexibility and weighted scoring in appropriate areas and provides an objective and defensible process for determining the vendor finalist.
- Support for Growth: How States Can Improve the Quality of Post-Observation Feedback [PDF 123KB]
The Reform Support Network has published Support for Growth: How States Can Improve the Quality of Post-Observation Feedback, based on recommendations generated during a July 2014 Reform Support Network convening of leaders from nine States. It offers six strategies to accurately assess the performance of teachers and provide them with specific and actionable feedback: (1) teaching principals how to deliver high-quality feedback, (2) monitoring the quality of feedback to teachers, (3) creating networks of districts and providing targeted support, (4) evaluating principals on their ability to deliver high-quality feedback, (5) building capacity at the district level to collect, analyze and respond to data and (6) working with principal preparation programs to produce principal candidates who know how to provide high-quality feedback. The publication summarizes the strategies and offers examples of their implementation in the field.
- Reform Integration Framework Resource Guide Webinar
This webinar introduces the Reform Integration Framework and Resource Guide, a resource co-developed by a number of States in the Reform Support Network. The webinar and its guide offers State and local educational leaders a framework, resources and promising State examples for how to integrate college- and career-ready standards, next generation assessments and updated educator evaluation and support systems from the State or district down to the classroom. The hour-long webinar can be viewed using the link above.
- State Plans to Ensure Equitable Access to Excellent Educators - Guidance and Examples for States [ PDF, 150K]
This publication uses draft equity plans developed by three Reform Support Network pilot States to demonstrate several approaches to the development of State equity plans in response to the Secretary’s Excellent Educators for All initiative. It summarizes how the State education agencies addressed each component of the equity plan and their insights into plan development. The paper concludes with lessons learned throughout the early cohort’s work and recommendations that States might follow to develop their own equity plans. These recommendations are based on the experiences of the pilot States and are not formal guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.
- Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Strategic Options for States to Improve Placement and Movement [PDF, 686 KB]
This brief outlines strategies States and districts can use to address the issue of inequitable access to effective teachers. The Reform Support Network (RSN) identified these strategies during a December 2013 convening of experts from education organizations, research centers on labor economics, corporate human resource departments, the military and the health industry. Audiences can learn more about the causes of inequitable access in the RSN’s companion piece, Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Problem and Root Causes
- Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Problems and Root Causes [PDF, 135K]
This brief explains why inequitable access to effective teachers is a problem in many States and districts and why it can be so hard to bring great teachers to needy students. It is a companion piece to the Reform Support Network brief, Promoting More Equitable Access to Effective Teachers: Strategic Options for States to Improve Placement and Movement, which summarizes the findings from a December 2013 convening of industry experts from education organizations, research centers on labor economics, corporate human resource departments, the military and the health industry.
Reform Integration Framework and Resource Guide [PDF, 1.4M]
The Reform Integration Framework and Resource Guide, co-developed by a number of States in the Reform Support Network, offers State and local education leaders a framework to identify priorities for integrating reforms; more than 50 resources contributed by States, districts and organizations that can be adapted for local use; and spotlights on integration occurring in States with varying contexts including Colorado and Massachusetts.
The RSN designed the Student Learning Objectives (SLO) Toolkit to help States and school districts implement SLOs with the highest degree of quality. This updated version features over 100 State and district resources related to making SLO policy choices, providing SLO tools, selecting or creating assessments and setting targets, communicating with teachers and principals, training district staff and school administers and ensuring continuous improvement. Audiences can access the toolkit in two ways: 1) download a PDF document that contains hyperlinks to State resources and includes an at-a-glance list of resources or 2) browse the SLO Toolkit Online by topic, resource type and State. The RSN has also published a Communications Workbook as a companion to the new SLO Toolkit. The Communications Workbook aims to help States reflect on the quality of their communications content, format and delivery to increase educator understanding of SLO purpose and process.
This publication shares lessons learned and promising practices based on State and school district experiences with teacher compensation reform. In spring 2013, the Tennessee State Board of Education passed a new policy requiring the Tennessee Department of Education to help school districts design new teacher compensation systems, many of which will take effect in school year 2014-2015. To assist Tennessee in its support of local districts transitioning to differentiated pay plans for teachers, the Reform Support Network organized a virtual peer feedback session in June 2013. This report summarizes the advice from experts to Tennessee on topics such as engaging stakeholders, creating bold pay models, developing training sessions and collecting and acting on feedback. The report broadens the Tennessee-specific feedback to make it relevant to States and districts working to better align compensation systems with performance.
Student Learning Objective (SLO) Library
This online tool is a collection of SLOs from around the country that are annotated to suggest changes that could strengthen their quality. States, school districts, colleges, universities and others can use this resource, compiled by the Reform Support Network to prepare teachers and administrators to develop high-quality SLOs or to improve SLOs that they have already developed.
To help States meet the challenges of aligning new standards, including the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), with new evaluation systems, the Reform Support Network (RSN) convened a group of experts to review instructional observation frameworks against CCSS. This paper outlines the group's discussions in the context of four guiding principles that emerged as they considered how to better align instructional observation frameworks and rubrics with CCSS.
This publication outlines steps States can take to strengthen the approval and renewal processes of their principal preparation programs.
This report introduces systems for approving professional development providers as they currently operate in two State education agencies (SEAs) and two professions outside of education. The report introduces the topic and guides readers toward more detailed information.
This publication describes new ways that States redesigning their educator effectiveness systems are measuring growth in student achievement, including value-added models and student learning objectives. The publication concludes with a brief discussion of communicating the results of student growth measures, such as monitoring correlations between student outcomes and teacher evaluation ratings and using data dashboards to track and share evaluation data.
Educator Evaluation Communications Toolkit [PDF, 2.03MB]
This toolkit, developed by the Quality Evaluation Rollout Work Group, contains a set of tools and resources to support States in communicating about educator evaluation systems with key audiences, with a focus on teachers. It includes recommended strategies to help States develop effective messages, provide educators with the information they really want, and communicate about difficult and complex topics such as value-added data.
Making High-Quality Teacher Evaluation Manageable [PDF, 1.5MB]
This publication explores quickly deployable, high-impact tactics that SEAs and LEAs are using to make their evaluation systems more manageable. It also examines the foundation upon which States and school districts must build high-quality, manageable evaluation systems.
This brief describes various approaches to measuring student growth and what research says about the extent to which student growth may be used as a measure of teacher performance.
The Race to the Top Reform Support Network (RSN) designed this toolkit to help States and school districts implement student learning objectives (SLOs) with the highest degree of quality. The toolkit contains templates, guidance documents, sample SLOs and other tools, which States and school districts can select or adapt for their own purposes as they implement a system of quality control.
This report summarizes the outcomes of a discussion among a group of State and district officials, teachers and principals, and external experts in educator evaluations and strategic communications who gathered in the District of Columbia to examine early results from evaluation systems in two States.
This brief explores emerging practices for improving communication between teachers and State education agencies on teacher evaluation systems.
This brief profiles how three Race to the Top granteesDelaware, North Carolina and Tennesseedeveloped growth measures for teachers of non-tested grades and subjects.
This publication highlights a series of video clips in which participants in a recent Reform Support Network convening of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness/Standards and Assessment Community of Practice reflect on the work of translating college- and career-ready standards from policy adoption by States to reality in the classroom.
This publication highlights a series of video clips featuring an overview and discussion of the Engaging Educators guide among State and local educational agency leaders from Race to the Top grantee States.
This publication highlights a series of video clips in which LEA level officials from Tennessee to provide their local perspective and views from the ground on the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM), a comprehensive new teacher evaluation system based on multiple measures of teacher performance.
Baltimore's Career Pathways Initiative for Teachers [PDF, 828KB]
This publication describes Baltimore's Model Pathway, the process for becoming a Model Teacher, and lessons the LEA learned from working with teachers and the Baltimore Teacher's Union to negotiate their new differentiated career pathways and compensation.
This publication explores several State and LEA policies designed to synchronize different data sources to support a well-informed teacher evaluation process.
This publication describes the options that State education agencies and/or local educational agencies have when taking into account student growth in non-tested grades and subjects as part of their teacher and principal evaluation systems.
This brief provides a snapshot of the rules for including student achievement data in evaluations of teacher performance in selected Race to the Top grantee States.
This brief provides a snapshot of the rules governing classroom observations used in teacher evaluations in selected Race to the Top grantee States.
This brief summarizes research about the specifications for video libraries in the Requests for Proposals developed by four States: Delaware, Illinois, New York and Rhode Island.
This brief describes the key elements and challenges of SLOs, providing examples of SLOs and links to additional resources.
This paper describes Tennessee's transition to the Teacher Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM) and illustrates implementation challenges and lessons learned.
This guide proposes a framework for engaging teachers in evaluation reforms and proposes new roles that State and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) and State and local union affiliates can play to support their engagement.
This paper examines one key strategy for making school turnaround more effective: community engagement. To explore community engagement in action, the Reform Support Network (RSN) conducted studies between April and August of 2013 of 11 States and districts, urban and rural, engaged in the communities surrounding low-performing schools. The research yielded five primary lessons or takeaways: make engagement a priority and establish an infrastructure, communicate proactively in the community, listen to the community and respond to its feedback, offer meaningful opportunities to participate, and turn community supporters into leaders and advocates.
This publication provides resources for State and local leaders considering strategies to recruit and retain highly effective teachers for low-performing schools. The publication summarizes research and promising practices on recruitment and retention in turnarounds across all sectors, as well as findings on the recruitment and retention of highly effective teachers, with emphasis on actions State leaders can take to find and keep talented educators in low-performing schools.
Identifying Effective Turnaround Teachers
What strategies can local educational agencies and States use to find, screen and hire the teachers who will most likely contribute to turnaround success? This brief reviews one approach districts and principals can take to identify teachers who can help lift low-performing schools.
This publication describes the varying approaches that some Race to the Top States have taken to engage outside experts and providers of specialized services to bring additional capacity and assist with implementing school turnaround models. It also provides examples of safeguards that States are using to maximize the number of available providers while ensuring that they are supplying high-quality services.
The brief describes multiple States' implementation of school turnaround strategies that have been expedited by the unique opportunity provided by the School Improvement Grant (SIG) and Race to the Top programs.
This brief describes Delaware's Partnership Zone (PZ) and the process for implementation. The document provides planning tools and other resources.
This paper provides a snapshot of the work of the 12 Race to the Top grantees (Phases 1 and 2) within state support systems. The highlights were specifically selected to draw out topics and examples that may be of use to others interested in learning from early implementation efforts.
This brief discusses the Massachusetts' Essential Conditions for School Effectiveness. The conditions articulate the key elements of school governance, curriculum, instruction, finance, training and student services.
This document assists States in identifying successful school leaders, providing a list of key actions, a check list for Competencies for Turnaround Success, and links to practical resources.
The goal of this document is to provide a snapshot of some of the publicly available resources describing efforts across Race to the Top States to ensure that turnaround schools have effective leaders.
Sustainability Rubric (Full) [PDF, 967KB]
The Sustainability Rubric is a tool for SEAs to use in assessing the sustainability of any reform initiative (for example, implementing an educator effectiveness system). The rubric introduces a succinct description of the three primary categories of sustainability: system capacity, performance management and context for sustaining reform. The full Rubric covers 20 sustainability elements and moves along a continuum to characterize inadequate to exemplary for each element, providing a set of guiding "look-fors". The Rubric was intentionally designed to be content agnostic, to be utilized within a variety of education reform areas. The design of the Sustainability Rubric allows for later re-testing to determine the SEA's progress along the continuum.
Sustainability Rubric Summary [PDF, 680KB]
The Sustainability Rubric Summary is a condensed version of the full Sustainability Rubric (above). It provides an overview of the rubric's purpose; the categories, elements, and variables of sustainability; and the guiding questions to consider. This brief document is intended to be used for reference throughout your ongoing sustainability work.
Sustainability Self-Assessment Workbook [PDF, 332KB]
The Sustainability Self-Assessment Workbook is designed to be used alongside the Sustainability Rubric (above). It outlines five exercises that will help SEAs to conduct an initial self-assessment of the sustainability of reforms. Additional context for the workbook can be found in the Sustainability Self-Assessment Workbook Exercises 1-3 PowerPoint. Also, as a supplement to the Workbook, the Sustainability Problem of Practice Template can be used for a problem of practice identified in Exercise 5.
The SEA Capacity Building Work Stream hosted a webinar to introduce the Sustainability Description and Rubric for other ED-funded technical assistance centers: Comprehensive Centers, Content Centers, and Regional Resource Centers. As technical assistance providers, we work together to support States in increasing student achievement, closing achievement gaps, implementing programs with fidelity and rigor, and sustaining their educational reforms. This webinar allowed participants to explore the description and the categories of sustainability, the purpose and uses of the rubric, and potential opportunities for use with their States, Districts, and schools.
Sustainability Planning Tool [PDF, 391KB]
This guide can be used to create a plan for sustaining a priority reform. The Sustainability Planning Tool is designed to be used in conjunction with the Sustainability Rubric and Self-Assessment Workbook (above). After a team has used the Self-Assessment Workbook to apply the Sustainability Rubric, the team will be ready to use the Sustainability Planning Tool.
Integrated Messaging Tools
These resources supplement sustainability planning work and focus on developing clear, consistent messaging to support implementation of priority reforms.
- Integrated Messaging and Communications PowerPoint [PDF, 314K]
- From “Inform” to “Inspire”: A Framework for Communications and Engagement [PDF, 322K]
- Integrated Messaging Handout [PDF, 134K]
- Integrated Messaging Template [PDF, 157K]
- Engaging Stakeholders about Progress Template [PDF, 95K]
Capacity Building Tools
These tools are supplemental resources for your sustainability planning work.
- Capacity Building PowerPoint [PDF, 235K]. This presentation provides an overview of what effective capacity building looks like, and steps for shifting system-wide practice at the SEA toward a focus on development.
- Capacity Building Template [PDF, 99K]. This tool provides an overview of the stages of building capacity: desired change, formal learning, practicing and reflecting.
Performance Management Description [PDF, 420KB]
This "Performance Management: Description and Key Elements" document provides a general framework for State education agencies, local educational agencies and partners in the Reform Support Network (RSN) to understand and plan for the important work of performance management.
This publication highlights Rhode Island's EdStat, a system of performance management that has enabled the Rhode Island Department of Education to monitor the progress of its participating LEAs and its own offices on Race to the Top implementation and outcomes.
This publication highlights Rhode Island's Collaborative Learning for Outcomes (CLO), a new progress monitoring process that leads to two-way communication between the State and its 50 participating and two involved local educational agencies.
This first brief in a four-part series, outlines the first element of performance management "Clarity of Outcomes and Theory of Action", to examine how Tennessee and Massachusetts are pursuing performance management of their key education reforms by establishing and widely communicating priorities, and setting ambitious, clear and measurable goals and outcomes with aligned strategies and activities.
This second brief in a four-part series, outlines the second element of performance management "Alignment of Resources", to examine how Hawaii and Tennessee are pursuing performance management of their key education reforms by directing or redirecting resources (time, money, technology and people) to priority efforts that produce results and establish clear roles and responsibilities.
This third brief in a four-part series, outlines the third element of performance management "Collection and Use of Data", to examine how Delaware and Hawaii are pursuing performance management of their key education reforms by establishing and implementing routines and processes for collecting, analyzing and monitoring data, including leading and lagging indicators, to inform continuous improvement, provide feedback and make decisions.
This forth brief in a four-part series, outlines the forth element of performance management "Accountability for Results", to examine how Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Tennessee are pursuing performance management of their key education reforms by making decisions to continue, improve or end practices based on data; implementing incentives tied to performance; and engaging and communicating results with internal and external stakeholders.
- Communications and Engagement Assessment Rubric and Facilitator's Guide
The Communications and Engagement Assessment Rubric and accompanying Facilitator’s Guide can help SEAs reflect on and assess their current efforts to reach and engage internal and external stakeholders about key reforms.
- Communications and Engagement Assessment Rubric. The goals of this rubric are to help State education leaders confirm areas of strength and identify areas of need and provide suggested steps for sharpening strategies, building capacity and enhancing reach. The rubric is divided into five sections, representing the five core areas of focus SEAs should consider when assessing communications and engagement efforts: overall strategy, audience segmentation, audience-specific messages and diverse tactics, stakeholder engagement and coalition building, and SEA communications capacity. Each section can be used individually or in tandem, depending on the State’s unique needs.
- State Facilitator’s Guide for the Reform Support Network Communications and Engagement Assessment Rubric. The accompanying facilitator’s guide is a critical resource for State teams to use to do an initial self-assessment using the rubric and to improve their strategy or approach. The guide offers States flexibility in designing a workshop, providing instructions for either a comprehensive two-day workshop or individual sessions to address specific topics covered by the rubric.
Social Media Tip Sheets
The Reform Support Network created social media tip sheets to help State and local education agencies expand their efforts to communicate and engage with key audiences on reform topics via social media.
- Tip Sheet #1: Innovative Engagement [PDF, 767KB]. This tip sheet showcases ways in which States are engaging with audiences in new and innovative ways, including using State chiefs to lead department social media efforts and using new and different social media platforms to reach key audiences including teachers.
- Tip Sheet #2: Building Capacity [PDF, 1.18MB]. This tip sheet showcases ways in which States are building more capacity for social media work, including the Georgia Department of Education's strategy of asking non-communications staff throughout the department to help create compelling content and the Colorado Department of Education's use of social media ambassadors to help spread the word.
- Tip Sheet #3: Driving Success Through Smart Policies [PDF, 488KB]. This tip sheet showcases ways in which States are implementing smart policies, including educating internal audiences on the advantages and disadvantages of social media, identifying dos and don'ts of social media and ensuring policies are firm and enforceable.
- Tip Sheet #4: Measuring Success [PDF, 741KB]. This tip sheet showcases ways States are tracking followers, fans and figures, digging in deeper with micrometrics and building measurement reports to showcase their progress.
Ohio is one of the leading State education agencies embracing and experimenting with social media. This publication details how the Ohio Department of Education used social media, including Twitter and a Wordpress blog, to drive interest and engagement in its 2012 statewide educator conference, Connecting the Dots, and how this strategy resulted in creating a network of educators statewide
This report presents data collected through a questionnaire of State education agencies and local educational agencies on the growing use of social media to reach key stakeholder groups and engage with primary audiences.
This publication describes a framework for thinking about and implementing a comprehensive communications and engagement strategy to support successful implementation of State education reform. The framework encourages States to prioritize audiences, create clear and compelling messages using a variety of tactics, work in coalitions and with partners to expand reach, build staff capacity to do this work, measure effectiveness of strategies, and use data to make any necessary adjustments.
This guide describes emerging social media practices among State education agencies and other governmental organizations and suggests key steps and considerations for those interested in using social media to advance education reform.