The Center for School Improvement Education, Human Development, and the Workforce

Education, Human Development, and the Workforce
Illinois State Board of Education
The Center for School Improvement
NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED WORK: ORIGINAL
Submitted:
Submitted To:
July 13, 2012
Illinois State Board of Education
Fiscal and Procurement Division W-380
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777-001
This proposal includes proprietary and business confidential data and shall not be disclosed outside the Client and shall not be
duplicated, used, or disclosed-—in whole or in part—for any purpose other than to evaluate this proposal. However, if a contract
is awarded to this offer or as a result of—or in connection with—the submission of these data, the Client shall have the right to
duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent provided in the resulting contract. This restriction does not limit the Client’s
right to use the information contained in these data if they are obtained from another source without restriction. Notice of
Trademark: “American Institutes for Research” and “AIR” are registered trademarks. All other brand, product, or company
names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
American Institutes for Research
1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200, Naperville, IL 60563 | 630.649.6500 | TTY 877.334.3499 | www.air.org
The Center for School Improvement
Illinois State Board of Education
July 13, 2012
Authorized Official
Thomas Jesulaitis, Chief Contracts Officer
American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 202-403-5031
Fax: 202-403-5020
Email: [email protected]
FEIN:
_____________________________________
Thomas Jesulaitis
1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200
Naperville, IL 60563-1486
www.air.org
Copyright © 2012 American Institutes for Research. All rights reserved.
2445_07/12
July 13, 2012
Sheri Sullivan
State Purchasing Officer
Fiscal and Procurement Division W-380
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777-001
RE: The Center for School Improvement
Dear Ms. Sullivan:
American Institutes for Research (AIR) is pleased to submit its proposal for The Center for School
Improvement to the Illinois State Board of Education.
Founded in 1946, AIR is one of the largest not-for-profit behavioral and social science research
organizations in the world. We are committed to empowering communities and institutions with
innovative solutions to the most critical challenges in education, health, workforce productivity, and
international development. With 1,700 global employees, AIR’s foundation is in education research.
We currently stand as a national leader in teaching and learning improvement, providing the research,
assessment, evaluation, and technical assistance to ensure that all students—particularly those facing
historical disadvantages—have access to a high-quality, effective education. Our federal tax identification
number is 250965219. The federal tax identification numbers for our subcontractors are as follows:
Academic Development Institute Inc.:
Corbett Education Consulting:
Enclosed please find one original and seven copies of the narrative and cost proposals, one copy of the
certifications and assurances, one copy of the Utilization Plan (Attachment 4), and one redacted version
of the narrative and cost proposals, as requested. Also enclosed are two copies each of the narrative and
cost proposals on CD in Microsoft Word and PDF formats. Please direct contractual questions about this
proposal to Nilva da Silva, Contracts Officer, at
202-403-5086 or [email protected] For technical questions, please contact Dawn Dolby, senior technical
assistance consultant, at 630-649-6549 or [email protected]
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Gina Burkhardt
Executive Vice President
1120 EAST DIEHL ROAD, SUITE 200, NAPERVILLE, IL 60563 | TEL 630 649 6500 | TTY 1 877 334 3499 | FAX 630 649 6700 | WEBSITE WWW.AIR.ORG
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Contents
Page
Cover Page
B. Executive Summary ....................................................................................................................1
C. Work Plan and Timelines ..........................................................................................................10
D. Contractor’s Qualifications .....................................................................................................129
E. Exceptions to the RFSP ...........................................................................................................147
References ....................................................................................................................................149
Appendixes
Appendix A. Resumes ............................................................................................................A1
Appendix B. Letters of Support .............................................................................................. B1
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Submitted July 13, 2012
B. Executive Summary
American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Academic Development Institute (ADI) are
eager to partner with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in its mission to improve
outcomes for students across the state. We share the vision of a strong statewide system of
support (SSOS) that builds the capacity of districts and schools in each region of the state. AIR
and ADI are joining forces to provide objective, experienced, and expert direction to The Center
for School Improvement (The Center). Both organizations have deep history and experience
successfully collaborating with regions, districts, and schools in Illinois. We bring our practice in
managing large, complex centers, our on-the-ground experience in district and school
improvement, and our network of nationally renowned researchers in this area to create a best-inclass Center for School Improvement.
Our Approach
We know from the research that what happens in the classroom and school has the
greatest impact on student achievement. The job of The Center is to impact districts to improve
overall achievement in the school. The bulk of The Center’s resources will be targeted to staff
directly supporting the districts and schools. We will provide this staff with the best available
research, tools, and delivery mechanisms to support the work. We propose to organize The
Center into three spheres of activity: (1) a research council to ensure the rigor of the work, (2) a
design team focused on the design, implementation, and assessment of The Center functions, and
(3) a delivery team to manage and deliver the services to districts and schools (see Figure 1).
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Figure 1. Center Spheres of Activity
Delivery Team
The
Center
Research
Council
Design
Team
Research Council
Although Illinois has a wealth of local expertise in school improvement, there is a benefit
and a need for maintaining a national perspective on the most current research on school
improvement and the Eight Essential Elements of Effective Education. In support of the design
and delivery teams, AIR and ADI will collaborate with national leaders in these areas. We will
create a research council that will advise and guide the design of the systems of support, the
training, and the products and tools. Quarterly Research & Design (R&D) Forums will bring
together national experts with the design team to ensure that Illinois is implementing the best
available research and practices.
Design Team
In addition to our experience supporting and building the capacity of statewide systems
of support, AIR and ADI have the knowledge, skills, and experience to impact teaching and
learning at the local level. We know how to improve and turn around schools. We know the
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supports and resources that are needed for this critical work. ADI is a leading national
organization in the design and assessment of SSOS. We also are experts in school improvement
and each of the Eight Essential Elements of Effective Education. AIR has led substantial
improvement efforts leading to direct improvements in district and school outcomes, including
dramatic increases in student achievement. The design team will consist of key AIR and ADI
personnel with expertise and experience in large-scale SSOS and intervention and will focus on
the design, development, implementation, and ongoing improvement of The Center.
Delivery Team
The delivery team will directly manage operations of The Center and supervise its
personnel in regional offices. The central staff will be housed in a location agreeable to ISBE,
most likely either in Springfield, Chicago, Naperville, or some combination of those locations.
Both AIR and ADI have the experience to run complex and comprehensive centers that build the
capacity of statewide systems. Although we have worked with ISBE in supporting state capacity
through The Center for Innovation & Improvement, the National High School Center, the
National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, and Great Lakes West Comprehensive
Center, we are not directly involved in the current statewide system of support structures. This
situation affords us the independence and objectivity to be a critical partner and friend for ISBE
in this endeavor. Our approach to large-scale project management has proven successful and is
assisted by our ability to communicate with diverse stakeholder groups through traditional and
technology-based tools. The proposed delivery team follows the guidelines laid out in ISBE’s
vision of The Center but also includes a communications officer to help establish clear
communication processes and messages.
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Work Plan
Beginning with the initial audit, our joint expertise and experience is evident. ADI’s
Evaluating and Improving the SEA Differentiated System of Recognition, Accountability, and
Support (SRAS) Evaluation Rubric will provide a framework and specific indicators for the audit
of the SSOS. We will utilize AIR’s co-interpretationSM process, which serves to engage all
relevant stakeholders, including SSOS partner organizations, and ensures they are meaningfully
engaged with the audit data and with each other so that consensus is built around priority
improvement needs. SSOS leaders and partners leave the co-interpretation with an individual and
collective commitment to act on a concise set of key findings. This approach will create an
objective, transparent vision of the direction for The Center and become a foundation for our
planning process and for the work moving forward.
Creating a shared vision for The Center will be a critical focus for Year 1. AIR and ADI
are committed to further strengthening our long-lasting partnership with ISBE in realizing that
vision. Identifying key Center leadership to guide that vision is one of the first tasks to be
undertaken. Our national network of partners and experts will enable us to bring to The Center a
director and leadership team that share our joint vision and have the capability to enact it.
Communicating this vision and continually engaging stakeholders will begin with the initial
audit but will be a significant ongoing objective during this first year as The Center gets
underway. Establishing clear communication processes and standard norms for collaboration
between the ISBE Roundtable, ISBE staff, AIR, ADI, and The Center leadership will ensure that
we are all working toward a common vision of The Center and the SSOS.
Coherent and transparent communication of Center goals, activities, and outcomes will
begin in Year 1 and continue throughout the duration of The Center. We have added a
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communication officer position to The Center staffing structure to assist in providing clear
communication to the field. Additional structures to ensure transparent and coherent
communication that will be built during Year 1 are a Web-based communication infrastructure
and Service Scorecard that will interact with the Illinois Interactive Report Card and Rising Star.
The communication infrastructure will allow for sharing of information with through a variety of
Web-based communication mechanisms. These may include a website, online communities of
practice, a Facebook page, podcasts, webinars, and others identified by the field. An information
request form will allow schools and districts to request assistance and information directly from
The Center and provide for two-way communication.
The Service Scorecard serves as a communication tool but also is the information hub for
The Center. It also will be designed to provide transparency and coherence of services to districts
and schools. Building upon the recent joining of the Illinois Interactive Report Card and Rising
Star, the Service Scorecard will provide a snapshot of services being provided to schools and
districts through the various Center functions, including SSOS partners and lead partners for
school turnaround. Creating a transparent way for key support providers and district leadership to
view the outcomes and objectives of each assistance opportunity will facilitate collaboration and
limit redundancy. The three-dimensional picture of implementation plan and progress, support,
and outcomes will create a more coherent picture of the context in which schools and districts are
trying to implement continuous improvement.
The Service Scorecard will provide a basic structure of standard requirements for service
that will be outlined in the first year of The Center. The articulation of standard operating
procedures and requirements will be an additional step in ensuring that The Center provides
coherent support to schools and districts. One such protocol will include the requirement for
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Center and SSOS partners to map their services to the Eight Essential Elements. This articulation
across all forms of support will help to ensure that schools and districts are receiving services in
accordance with ISBE’s vision of effective schools. The articulation of service impact—rather
than just service delivery activities—will be another standard operating procedure. The addition
of expected outcomes and impact will support district and school leaders in evaluating the return
on investment for the services they are receiving, thereby eliminating those that are not working
and maximizing those that are effectively improving teaching and learning.
AIR, ADI, and our research partners know what it takes to effectively implement the
Eight Essential Elements. We will bring this knowledge to the forefront in the design of
professional development for districts and schools as well as for Center staff supporting them.
The R&D Forums described earlier will help to ensure that our professional development
approach and content remains current with the best available research and practice. Consultative
skills, change management, and mentoring and coaching also will be foundational elements of
the Center staff training.
We propose a professional development paradigm that uses a targeted approach tiered in
accordance with ISBE’s service delivery model. Figure 2 outlines this approach.
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Figure 2. Professional Development Approach
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Standard practices to guide work with schools and districts will be articulated in a
Turnaround and Improvement Guide, which we will create for ISBE. The Guide will provide a
focus on building the capacity of Center staff and partner organizations with a strong researchbase “how-to” handbook. Building upon the recently released Coaching for Capacity Building
Coaches’ Manual, the Turnaround and Improvement Guide will systemize the implementation
efforts across the state.
AIR is well equipped to hire manage the large numbers of diverse staff and consultants
that will be needed to staff The Center. We have sophisticated human resource systems and
structures that will allow us to efficiently fill positions with strong candidates. Our high
standards and strong reputation will attract strong candidates. We will partner closely with ISBE
and the other members of the SSOS to predict actual staffing needs and match consultants to
districts for optimal results.
Although the effectiveness and impact of the SSOS will be determined by an external
evaluation, AIR and ADI recognize that formative assessment is not just a classroom practice but
one that will help The Center and ISBE reach their implementation goals and build capacity of
the state to support teaching and learning. Our experience with running large comprehensive
centers that include formative evaluation processes will enable us to leverage the internal
evaluation and adjust to the feedback from the field and the changing needs of schools and
districts. Working in close collaboration with ISBE and the ISBE Roundtable, Center leadership
will adjust course and refine the services of The Center to create a national model for SSOS.
AIR and ADI have the knowledge, skills, and experience to achieve this vision of The
Center and the Illinois SSOS. We have demonstrated our ability to partner with ISBE and
support work across the state of Illinois. Although we are familiar with the Illinois SSOS and
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work throughout the state, we bring to The Center objective expertise that is not unduly
influenced by past practices and partnerships. Instead, we bring to Illinois a national network of
researchers and thought leaders on each of the Eight Essential Elements and what it takes to
build a coherent system that will impact outcomes for students.
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C. Work Plan and Timelines
1. Design and Organization of the Statewide System of Support (SSOS)
1.A.Comprehensive Audit
The partnership of AIR and ADI provides a distinct advantage for the assessment of
SSOS and its effectiveness. As leaders in national content centers and regional comprehensive
centers, we have both national and Illinois-specific expertise in the design and implementation of
SSOS. As partners at the district and school levels, we have intimate knowledge about how
support from state and local systems impact schools and their ability to realize continuous
improvement. Our combined knowledge and expertise along with tested tools and processes for
auditing system implementation and effectiveness will provide for a comprehensive audit that
works to build collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders.
Even though the system is in the process of redesign, the audit provides us a critical
opportunity to hear from the field about the strengths and gaps that must be considered in the
system design. The audit also will provide a baseline from which to gauge The Center’s progress
over time.
The audit will include the following phases:
1. Gather information from extant data sources, interviews, and surveys and develop a
background report on the SSOS.
2. Convene a two-day facilitated retreat for state SSOS leaders, partner organizations (i.e.,
Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB), Illinois Principals Association (IPA),
Illinois Resource Center (IRC), Illinois Statewide Technical Assistance Center (ISTAC),
RtI Network, Special Education Cooperatives), Regional Office of Education (ROE)
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leaders, and district representatives to review the background report, assess 52 rubricsbased indicators of an effective SSOS, and make recommendations.
3. Enter the results of the rubrics-based assessment into ADI’s Web-based planning tool to
guide and track improvements in the SSOS over time.
Subsequent follow-up will include these elements:
•
Review/report of key progress indicators quarterly
•
Convene key state education agency (SEA) and SSOS personnel annually to review the
progress and set new directions
ADI’s rubrics-based Evaluating and Improving the SEA Differentiated System of Recognition,
Accountability, and Support (SRAS) Evaluation Rubric (Center on Innovation & Improvement,
2012; see also Hanes, Kerins, Perlman, Redding, & Ross, 2009) will provide a framework and
specific indicators for the audit. This tool has been field-tested in nine states and revised in 2012
to incorporate adaptations from the most recent U.S. Department of Education guidance. Two of
the document’s authors served as reviewers for the U.S. Department of Education for state
flexibility applications. Evaluating and Improving the SEA Differentiated System of Recognition,
Accountability, and Support Evaluation Rubric provides indices for the following: (A) Design
and Evaluation of the SRAS, (B) Resources, (C) Implementation, and (D) Outcomes for Schools
Served by the System of Recognition, Accountability, and Support. These areas, which include
the overall structure, program effectiveness, human capital, and governance of the SSOS, are
further defined in Table 1.
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Table 1. Audit Rubric Components
Part
Components
Part A: Design and Evaluation of
the SRAS
1. SRAS design and differentiation
2. Supports and interventions for all students and subgroups
3. SRAS evaluation design
Part B: Resources
4. District and school staff needs
5. Funding of improvement efforts
6. Data analysis and use
7. Support teams and school improvement consultants
8. External partners and providers
Part C: Implementation
Part D: Outcomes for Schools
Served by the System of
Recognition, Accountability, and
Support
9. Removal of barriers to change and innovation
10. Incentives for change
11. SRAS Communications
12. Technical assistance
13. Dissemination of knowledge
14. Monitoring, program audits, and diagnostic site reviews
15. Outcomes/results
Included in the new rubric for each indicator are opportunities to evaluate the priority
status and to identify a quick success for each indicator. As a foundation for the audit process,
SRAS rubrics will be used to accomplish the following: (1) evaluate the current capacity and
effectiveness of the SSOS, (2) establish priorities and develop plans for improvement, (3) serve
as a premeasure and postmeasure for determining changes in SSOS capacity and effectiveness
over time, (4) guide the direction of professional development and process tools for The Center,
and (5) determine the technical assistance that AIR and ADI might provide to assist the SEA.
Data Collection
The SSOS framework indicators along with specific research questions on the Eight
Essential Elements of Effective Education will provide the foundation for data collection and
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analysis protocols. AIR has deep experience in protocol development and has conducted similar
audits in more than 50 districts and states over the past six years.
At the state level, interviews will be conducted and extant data reviewed. Key state
administrators and policymakers as well as SSOS partners will be interviewed to learn how the
SSOS functions and to assess its effectiveness amidst state and local contexts.
At the local (district) level, data collection will be tiered. A sample of five to six districts
including Chicago Public Schools—representing different geographic areas, size, and
performance—will be selected to understand supports, contextual conditions, local
implementation, and results in more depth. In these districts, data collection will include
interviews, extant data, and surveys. In other districts, only surveys will be administered. These
will be developed to align with the topics covered in district interviews. We propose to conduct
this work in four to six districts selected with ISBE.
State-Level Interviews. We will interview up to 10 key state administrators and
policymakers. State-level officials with whom we will conduct interviews are those most directly
responsible for state systems of support. In addition, we will interview other state-level actors as
appropriate, including members of the state board of education and key legislators.
District-Level Interviews. In the sample districts, we will conduct interviews with two or
three key staff who are responsible for working with low-performing schools. Depending on the
district administrative structure, the interviewed staff might include the superintendent, an
assistant or deputy superintendent who is most engaged with school improvement, a district
curriculum coordinator, district staff responsible for special education and English as a second
language programming, a data management specialist, a district union representative, and a
technology coordinator. The interviews will address improvement efforts, the state role in the
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district, the effectiveness of the state role, contextual conditions that facilitate or impede district
and school improvement, unaddressed needs, and perceptions on district successes and remaining
challenges as outlined in the SRAS rubric.
Extant Data. In addition to interview data, we will examine extant data, including statelevel documents that outline policies for low-performing schools, conceptual frameworks for
systems of support, organization charts, and documents provided to the federal government in
compliance with the current authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and
in the flexibility application. In the sample districts, we will examine school improvement plans
and potentially other documentation related to the specific supports that the district is receiving
from the SSOS. This extant data analysis will provide us with a deeper understanding of the progress
made in developing systems for assistance and accountability. We will utilize rubrics aligned with
the overall framework and implement a structured, multireviewer protocol to ensure accuracy.
SSOS Partner Level
Illinois has developed key partnerships in implementing the SSOS. Organizations
including the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Principals Association, Illinois
Resource Center, ISTAC, RtI Network, Special Education Coopoerative, and the Regional
Offices of Education are primary dissemination and technical assistance providers in the state.
SSOS Partner Interviews. We will interview two key administrator leaders in the SSOS
partner organizations and will supplement these interviews with extant data. Among the topics
addressed will be partner roles and how those roles are coordinated. (Other topics will be
consistent with those described in Table 1, which precedes this discussion on data collection.)
Extant Data. In addition to interview data, we also will examine extant data, including
technical assistance plan agreements with districts and schools and sample assistance materials,
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to gain a better understanding on how support from the SSOS providers is leveraged and
implemented at the local level.
Survey. To capture the perspective of Illinois districts, we propose to administer a survey,
aligned to the SRAS rubric, to two groups of stakeholders: SSOS partners and a representative
sample of district personnel who are working closely with the SSOS to improve local schools. Each
survey will cover the topics listed in Table 1 (i.e., the table on topics covered in the audit) and the
Eight Essential Elements, with an emphasis on communication and dissemination, and will be
tailored to the respondent roles (i.e., whether the respondent is a partner or a district staff member).
AIR proposes that all partners and districts with whom the SSOS is providing intensive support be
represented in this component of the audit. The survey will be in an online format. AIR will apply its
usual and highly effective safeguards for confidentiality in its data management approach, its analyses,
and its approach to reporting.
Co-Interpretation of SSOS
AIR understands that a shared definition of success and collective support for defined
outcomes are crucial ingredients for improving outcomes for students and garnering support for
change initiatives. In his seminal book Leading in a Culture of Change, Michael Fullan (2001)
wrote that knowledge building and coherence making are inherently social processes; building
the commitment of stakeholders to engage in the change process demands collective
participation in making meaning of data. Our co-interpretation process ensures that all relevant
stakeholders are meaningfully engaged with the audit data and with each other so that consensus
is built around priority improvement needs. SSOS leaders and partners leave the cointerpretation with an individual and collective commitment to act on a concise set of key
findings. The importance of this first step for implementing lasting changes cannot be overstated.
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The AIR co-interpretation process is a two-day facilitated retreat for state SSOS leaders,
partner organizations (i.e., IASB, IPA, IRC, ISTAC, RtI Network, Special Education
Cooperatives), ROE leaders, and district representatives. In small groups, participants will read
the reports from data collected and identify the findings they believe are most critical for the
SSOS. Through a facilitated process, these individuals will develop and then prioritize key
findings in their own words. These key findings objectively describe areas in which the SSOS is
strong and areas that should be targeted for strategic improvement. The findings fuel the
summary report that AIR creates and the improvement that The Center will address in its SSOS
accountability and support processes. In addition, the co-interpretation process is modeled as a
tool that partner organizations can use to effectively interpret the data provided in this audit in
setting support and improvement and monitoring progress toward those goals.
The Co-Interpretation Process
At the co-interpretation, participants will work through the following process:
•
Assign initial table groups (to create diversity of role and perspective).
•
Review the process and the data to be used.
•
Analyze collaboratively and generate findings for each data set. Participants will work as
groups, with one to two data sets per group.
•
Align the findings to targeted areas of investigation (i.e., aligned to the SRAS Parts A–D).
•
Reconfigure groups. Each new group is assigned one or two of the SRAS rubric areas
Parts A–D.
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•
Triangulate findings from different data sets to generate key findings related to Parts A–
D that point out the system’s strengths as well as areas to target for improvement by
determining the indicators’ Priority/Opportunity Index defined in the SRAS rubric.
•
Discuss and validate key findings as a whole group.
•
Build consensus and prioritize the key findings as whole group.
By using the Priority/Opportunity Index as part of the co-interpretation review,
participants will evaluate the priority status and opportunity for quick success for each indicator
by determining on a scale from 1 to 3 whether the indicator is of low, medium, or high priority.
Based on the data, they will then determine on a scale from 1 to 3 whether the activity required
changes in current policy and budget conditions, whether it could be accomplished within current
policy and budget conditions, or whether it would be relatively easy to address. Indicators
scoring “3” on the priority scale (high priority) and “3” on the opportunity scale (easy to address)
have an index score of “9” and are candidates for a “quick win.” This process builds momentum
for making choices when The Center commences its planning process.
Momentum also is built throughout the co-interpretation process, with the key outcome
of stakeholders in the SSOS reaching consensus around a prioritized set of improvement needs
for schools, districts, and students in Illinois. This approach demands collective participation in
making meaning of data and results in a shared understanding of the needs and objectives. Our
co-interpretation process ensures that all relevant stakeholders are meaningfully engaged with
the audit data, the indicators by which we will measure progress, and with each other so that
consensus is built around priority improvement needs. Participants leave the co-interpretation
with an individual and collective commitment to act on a concise set of key findings.
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Statewide Plan for Improvement
The completion of the SSOS audit is a necessary first step for The Center, followed by a
data-based plan for action. The prioritization that results from the co-interpretation process will
directly lead into creating a statewide plan for improvement of the SSOS. This plan includes not
only the work of The Center but also potential changes to other aspects of the system such as the
services of SSOS partners. It is important to note that the plan is built from the ground up and
includes not only new initiatives but potentially a narrowing and refocusing of work currently
underway. Center staff, in collaboration with ISBE, will determine the objectives and priorities
for improvement as well as determine critical timeline benchmarks and outcomes. They will
work with the necessary stakeholders to implement the critical changes.
1.B. Performance Management System
An essential component of The Center will be a performance management system that
provides frequent formative and summative reports to Center stakeholders on services and their
effectiveness. The performance management system must be user friendly and capable of
collecting, storing, and producing data in an efficient way. The system also must generate
appropriately designed reports on demand.
The performance management system proposed for The Center will be a Web-based
system, that is designed to support Center staff in learning about their own performance,
assessing the quality, relevance and results of supports and services, setting goals and strategic
directions, making midcourse corrections, and supporting innovation and practice that will better
serve districts and schools. Ideally, this would link with the Illinois Interactive Report Card
(IIRC) and Rising Star as one, cohesive platform. Harvey Smith, director of the IIRC, has agreed
to work with us on the design, development, and integration of the system. We anticipate that
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when fully developed, the performance management system will be used by stakeholders at the
school, district, regional, and SSOS level.
A Service Scorecard will connect Center and SSOS partner organization services to the
performance management system and will include reporting features that aggregate and display
with descriptive and summative data (including charts and graphs) for each school and district:
•
The kind, intensity, duration, points of contact
•
Essential Elements addressed
•
Rising Star indicators addressed
•
Feedback metrics (i.e., quality, relevance and utility of professional development and
technical assistance).
These data will be further aggregated for each Regional Center, SSOS service provider, and for
the state.
The Service Scorecard can be accessed at any time, showing the relevant data for a given
school or district. Although some data elements will be entered annually (categorical data and
achievement data), other elements will be entered on an ongoing basis, with quarterly milestones.
For example, postevent surveys for PD will be entered upon event completion, and data will be
reviewed by the Center leadership and design team on a quarterly basis.
The system also will be accessed by ISBE and the internal and external evaluators. We
anticipate that ISBE may also want to utilize reports from this system for other initiatives, and
we will collaborate with ISBE to support those needs.
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Service Logs
Rhim, Hassel, and Redding (2008) explain that the services of the SSSOS vary according
to kind, intensity, duration, and point of contact. ISBE expects the SSOS to focus its services on
the Eight Essential Elements of Effective Education and to differentiate support across four tiers
of school-level need. The Web-based Communications Infrastructure will include a Services Log
in which each SSOS service provider will document services provided to districts and schools,
including the following fields of information:
•
Name of SSOS service provider(s)
•
Date(s) of service provided
•
On-site (state location) or via telephone
•
Beginning and end time of service provided
•
District or school receiving services
•
Direct points of contact (e.g., School Board, Superintendent, District Administrators,
Principal, Leadership Team, School Administration, Teachers, Support Staff)
•
Number of people directly receiving services
•
Kind of service (e.g., consultation, training, coaching, webinar, document review)
•
Essential Elements focused on
•
Rising Star Categories, Sections, Indicators focused on
•
Description of services provided
•
Outcomes and comments
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With each delivery of services (other than routine telephone or e-mail), the recipient
district or school will receive an e-mail requesting the completion of a brief feedback survey to
determine the following:
•
Quality of the service provided
•
Usefulness of the service provided
•
Outcomes and comments
Performance Management Work Plan
Although the IT infrastructure is critical, we also need to ensure that data are entered with
fidelity and are utilized with frequency. Team meetings will be based on and structured using
reports generated from the system. Staff performance reviews will incorporate data from the
system. If staff are not using the system, their performance review will be impacted.
Performance Management Work Plan
Although we have outlined our general thinking previously, we propose engaging with
ISBE in a collaborative discussion to finalize the approach. We will come to collective
agreement on the following key questions:
1. What questions do ISBE and The Center want answered and when? Likely the questions
will change as supports and services are developed. Priority questions may differ among
schools and districts that are in different implementation years as focus or priority
schools or high-priority districts. Determining the questions and the sequence with which
those questions will be prioritized will have to be aligned with The Center’s theory of action
and emergent needs that have been identified through The Center’s supports and services.
2. What indicators should be included?
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3. What data sources are essential to determine whether indicators are met at a specific
level?
4. When are reports needed to inform Center decisions related to services and supports?
5. How will the performance management system be maintained? The maintenance of the
system will require entering data in a timely manner, ongoing technical assistance and
troubleshooting, and making regular improvements to and enhancements of the system.
After fundamental decisions have been made, the initial phase of developing the performance
management system will begin. The system will be created and undergo an initial test to make
sure it functions properly. Development will include incorporation of the indicators so that each
indicator’s relationship to the appropriate Essential Element is established.
The performance management system must be piloted before it is launched in the state.
AIR has evaluated numerous projects where premature launching of data management systems
has permanently damaged the credibility of the system among intended users, with only a few of
those intended users eventually becoming aware that initial glitches have been worked out. We
propose a tiered launch. First, there should be a test phase with only Center staff and a few select
partners. Then, there should be a pilot in one area, with different intended users (e.g., district
personnel, school personnel, regional personnel, and SSOS providers) participating in the pilot.
We propose a train-the-trainer model at the regional level.
At this point, the performance management system will be piloted in a region. The
regional trainers will be provided a training agenda by AIR, which they may use and modify to
suit local conditions. The AIR internal evaluator (see Section 5) will attend select regional
training sessions to learn from trainers and participants how the training might be improved. In
the pilot region, staff with different institutional membership (e.g., SSOS staff, district staff,
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school staff) will begin using the system. After one month, AIR (i.e., the internal evaluator) will
collect feedback from these users to determine what worked, what did not work, and how the
system can be made more user friendly before launching it statewide.
We anticipate the process of developing a performance management system will be
completed in 12 months, with the system fully operational in all regions at that time. An
approximation on how that time will be allocated is presented in Table 2.
Table 2. Tasks for the Performance Management System by Contract Month
Month of
Contract
1
Task
1. Analyzing the current system, related systems, technical requirements, and
access preferences
2–3
2. Participating in a series of meetings with ISBE/Center staff and stakeholders to
make decisions on programmatic needs, such as what data to incorporate, when
data collection should take place, managing data entry, and reporting formats
4–6
3. Creating a performance management system infrastructure that is reliable and
can be enhanced; timeline could be greater depending on the level of
integration with current systems that is required
6–7
4. Creating user manuals
8–9
5. Piloting the performance management system in one region, modifying the
system as indicated by participants in the pilot project
10–11
6. Launching the system statewide, using the pilot resources (manuals, training
agendas) and implementation model (train the trainers) in all other regions
Ongoing
7. Providing ongoing technical support and troubleshooting
2. Coordinating Activities and Resources
2.A. Use of State Accountability System to Provide Differentiated Services and
Resources
AIR and ADI have a deep understanding of Illinois’s current SSOS, the centrality of the
Eight Elements of Effective Schools, and the directions outlined in the Illinois ESEA Flexibility
Waiver. Waiver Principle 2 is specifically focused on the implementation of a holistic and
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comprehensive differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system to better serve the
districts, schools, parents, and students of Illinois.
The foundation for The Center supports to schools and districts will be the movement
toward increased rigor and expectations, building of systemic capacity, and greater supports,
interventions, and recognition design to facilitate improvement. Redding (2012) provides a
conceptual framework for a state system of differentiated recognition, accountability, and
support that is consistent with ISBE’s plan for the Center for School Improvement. Figure 3
shows the relationship between higher accountability expectations and supports/interventions.
Figure 3. A Balanced SEA Differentiated System of
Recognition, Accountability, and Support
Reprinted with permission from Change Leadership: Innovation in State Education Agencies
(Redding, 2012, p. 23)
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Aspects and Components of the Differentiated System
•
•
Accountability

College-ready and career-ready standards and assessments

Clear expectations for district and school performance

Metrics for identifying districts, schools, and student groups in need of improvement

Methods to evaluate personnel performance
Recognition

•
Recognition for superior progress and results
Support

Diagnostic methods for determining prevalence of effective practice and
differentiating supports
•

Technical supports (consultation, training, coaching)

Implementation of effective practices
Intervention

Change in governance

Change in personnel
This proposal bases its approach to The Center on the three components of the Support aspect
and the two components of the Intervention aspect itemized above, as follows:
•
Diagnostic methods for determining prevalence of effective practice and
differentiating supports
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•
Technical supports (consultation, training, coaching)
•
Implementation of effective practices
•
Change in governance
•
Change in personnel
In the RFP, ISBE laid out the tiered delivery model for districts and schools that should drive the
work of The Center. We will establish budgetary parameters for each category, and we will
implement, monitor, and refine this model on an ongoing basis. As a structure through which
The Center will address these five supports and interventions, the applicants propose a tiered
system consistent with that described in Illinois’s Flexibility Application:
•
Foundational assistance for all districts and schools. The Center will provide
foundational assistance to all schools on the Eight Essential Elements through
dissemination of information, tools, and guidance in accordance with the ISBE
accountability guidelines and professional development through the SSOS. This
assistance, in the form of webinars, practice briefs, tools, and regionally based trainings.
•
District-level intervention for focus schools. The Center will support Focus Schools
through district-level interventions facilitated by district assistance teams (DATs) through
SSOS. This support will include guidance for the district audits, training for faculty on
the Eight Essential Elements, and communities of practice for leaders and teachers. DATs
will provide most of this assistance and work with the district to plan progress monitoring
activities.
•
Turnaround intervention for districts with priority schools. The Center will hire,
train, and supervise turnaround specialist and rapid response teams (RRTs) to work with
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districts that have priority schools. Through a turnaround academy for district and school
leaders and training for teachers on the Eight Essential Elements, district capacity
building will focus specifically on turnaround and transformation plans that respond to
the comprehensive audit. RRTs will assist lead partners and districts in coordinating roles
and responsibilities and progress benchmarks.
•
District accountability oversight for high-priority districts. The Center’s district
accountability and oversight unit will focus and coordinate state takeovers within its
high-priority districts, including appointing the lead partner and a liaison to provide
intense oversight and support to district leadership.
Although the tiered approach is useful in defining the categories of schools and districts placed
in the tiers and the general thrust of the interventions and supports, The Center will apply
diagnostics to determine the most efficient and effective supports and interventions for each
district and school within a tier. This differentiated services approach will ensure that The
Center’s resources are targeted to areas of district and school operations and professional
practice that most need improvement.
A core set of diagnostic tools, resources, and trainings will be created for each of the
elements. Where appropriate, materials and approaches provided at the foundation level will be
modified and utilized (differentiated) by DATs and RRTs for focus and priority schools, in part
in response to the diagnostic audits. These foundational materials and services also could be
made available to the broader SSOS partners to facilitate widespread implementation. Topics
specific to high-priority and focus schools such as school turnaround also will have a core set of
materials and approaches. For the high-priority districts, Center staff from the DAO office will
work directly with the individual districts to negotiate roles between lead partner, superintendent,
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and the DAO. The DAO office will provide authoritative guidance on roles and expectations and
will report to ISBE on progress.
Finally, based on the results of the initial audit, we may recommend implementing
additional systemic components that enhance these supports, such as the following, for example:
•
Peer-based networks, teaming together districts and schools with similar challenges
•
Formalized recognition and sharing of successes with like schools
Each year, as schools and districts are identified, we will need to determine the appropriate
services for those schools and districts. The Center will conduct a diagnostic review, including
analysis of student outcome data as well as indicators of operational effectiveness and indicators
of effective professional practice. Supports and interventions will be planned and delivered based
on the diagnostic review.
We will work closely with ISBE to ensure that our sequencing of interventions over time
aligns with the overall accountability system and provides targeted support to move schools and
districts towards five-star ratings. Given the unique performance targets set for each
school/district, we also will work to outline parameters that offer structure but also flexibility to
address specific district needs.
2.B. Integrate Improvement Initiatives Into the SSOS
The Center will develop an Aligned Inventory of Support and Intervention Services that
connects the categories and indicators of the diagnostic review with services designed to address
them. These services may be provided by The Center or by the various ISBE-approved partners
in the SSOS. Service plans for districts and schools will draw from the approved inventory to
construct supports and interventions appropriate to the needs of the district or school, as
determined by the diagnostic review.
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The complexity of the system necessitates multiple mechanisms for systemic alignment.
SSOS partners will be active participants in a variety of Center activities geared toward building
coherence. These include the following:
•
Initial audit
•
Annual planning meetings
•
Service scorecard reporting
•
Standard operating procedures and expectations
•
R&D Forums
Initial Audit
The initial audit of the Illinois SSOS, as described in Section 1.A., will provide the first
step in integrating the various improvement initiatives across the state. The SRAS rubric
described in the SSOS audit and related findings from the SSOS audit will provide coherent
focus across the various improvement initiatives so that all districts, schools, and support
providers in the statewide system have a standard set of purposes toward which they are
working. As an assessment of the statewide system, the audit also will provide valuable
information regarding the overlap of services provided and any gaps in services that would be
beneficial to building district and school capacity.
One outcome of the SSOS audit will be an Aligned Inventory of Support and Intervention
Services categories, including the Eight Essential Elements and related Rising Star categories,
sections, and indicators as well as student outcome data. Service providers will provide the
timeline, outputs, expected outcomes, and cost of each aligned support or intervention. The
service provider also will provide the district and school contexts (e.g., demographics) in which
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the support or intervention has been successful. This inventory of support and intervention across
initiatives will outline common language and a support profile that will assist schools and
districts in prioritizing support across assistance areas. Table 3 is a sample crosswalk that will
illustrate the services of key initiatives and TA supports as they intersect with the targeted
assistance delivery model.
Table 3. Aligned Inventory of Support and Intervention Services
Improvement
Initiative/TA Support
Essential
Element
Foundational
RtI Network
PD or TA
focus
area?
How are services differentiated for targeted assistance?
Focused
Priority
High
Priority
ISTAC
IRC
IPA
IASB
Learning Technology
Centers
Special Education
Cooperatives
Coordinators of
Interventions
Regional Offices of
Education
This inventory also provides a starting place for the requirements for all technical
assistance and support providers to map their services back to the Eight Essential Elements for
Education as outlined by ISBE and The Center. Included in The Center will be to move technical
assistance initiatives from measuring their implementation by types and numbers of service
delivered to measurements of impact and outcomes for schools and districts they are supporting.
The standardization of reports on outcomes will allow schools and district to more effectively
assess the success of their initiatives, the effectiveness of the supports they are receiving, and the
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prioritize initiatives for continued improvement. The indicators included in Rising Star as part of
the reporting process for service providers also will allow districts and schools to focus the
support they are receiving in alignment with their school and district improvement plans. TA
support providers become part of that plan and contributors to reaching the outcomes designed
by the school.
Annual Planning Meetings
Following the audit, and then annually each subsequent year, The Center will bring
together the key stakeholders involved in the initial SSOS audit to review data, assess progress,
and determine and share priorities and plans for the next year.
Service Scorecard
Coordinating among the various support providers work in a district and individual
school adds a layer of complexity for school management that may deter cohesive efforts toward
improvement. Along with the service provider profiles, AIR, ADI, and the Illinois Interactive
Report Card team will construct a Service Scorecard that will overlay the school-level and
district-level reports for the Illinois Interactive Report Card. This scorecard will allow support
providers a picture of all the support services working in a district or school, the Essential
Elements that are the focus of their support, and the Rising Star indicators that show the ongoing
work of the district or school team in addressing the Eight Essential Elements of an effective
school or district. For districts and schools, this scorecard provides a snapshot of the variety of
supports they are receiving, illustrates overlaps by Essential Element, and highlights indicators
for improvement that might be missing in their support services. A scorecard of this type would
allow districts and schools to align support initiatives, prioritize efforts, and eliminate
redundancies.
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Standard Operating Procedures
Standard practices to guide work with schools and districts will be articulated in a
Turnaround and Improvement Guide, which we will create specifically for ISBE. This guide will
provide a focus on building the capacity of Center staff and partner organizations with a strong
research base for the work of the DATs, RRTs, and the turnaround specialists. It will serve as a
“how-to” handbook for any incoming DAT members and turnaround specialists and will
systemize the implementation efforts across the state. It also can be used as a standard practice
guide for our partner organizations. Building upon the recently released Coaching for Capacity
Building Coaches’ Manual, the Turnaround and Improvement Guide also will include a
summary of aligned research and literature on school and district improvement and district
capacity building resources, organized according to the Eight Essential Elements. The
Turnaround and Improvement Guide will be a Web-accessible tool that provides PDF and Word
versions of applicable research and tools. This guide will provide a record of both the work of
Center staff and the improvement process and may be used by districts and the regional offices to
embed some of these promising practices into their systems. It will be a living document and will
incorporate new tools or resources as they are created or revised by the DATs, the RRTs, and the
turnaround specialists.
Research and Design Forums
Three to four times each year, R&D Forums will be hosted by The Center. These forums
will provide an opportunity for the support providers to learn about emerging research and
practice in the field of school improvement, turnaround, and the Eight Essential Elements.
Support providers also will be asked to contribute to these R&D Forums through presentation of
their work, their alignment to the Eight Essential Elements, and the outcomes they are seeing in
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their partner schools and districts. These learning opportunities will broaden knowledge of the
work of various providers and serve to facilitate collaboration among providers in their partner
schools and districts. The products of the forum will be disseminated throughout the SSOS and
provide guidance for professional development, tool refinement, and policy information.
2.C. Communication Infrastructure
The Communications Infrastructure will provide a means for The Center to provide
information to the following: (1) all SSOS personnel, (2) SSOS personnel within a region, (3)
specifically designated SSOS personnel, (4) all districts, (5) specifically designated districts, (6)
all schools, and (7) specifically designated schools. Information will include announcements of
the posting of new resources on The Center website, memoranda, notice of changes, reminders
of due dates, and so on. Further, the Communication Infrastructure Web system will include a
calendar of SSOS-related events and due dates.
The Communications Infrastructure will enable each regional office to provide
information to the following: (1) all SSOS personnel in the region, (2) specifically designated
personnel in the region, (3) all districts in the region, (4) specifically designated personnel in the
region, (5) all schools in the region, and (6) specifically designated personnel in the region.
Regional offices and SRAS personnel also will submit required documents to the delivery team
via the system.
Section 2.B. describes several tools and structures intended to support cohesive support
services to schools. In addition, these tools and processes are part of the infrastructure that will
support systemic communication. Evaluating and Improving the SEA Differentiated System of
Recognition, Accountability, and Support (Center for Innovation & Improvement, 2012; see also
Hanes et al., 2009) includes four indicators relative to communication in the SSOS.
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•
Data collection. There are written procedures to collect documentation of SSOS work
with schools and districts (e.g., evidence of interventions, training, coaching).
•
Communication within SSOS. There are written policies and procedures for
communication among those who provide support such as SEA employees, regional
offices, universities, and other members of the SSOS.
•
Communication with districts and schools. There are written policies and procedures
for communication among the SEA/SSSOS and districts/schools.
•
Dissemination of information. The SEA has policies and procedures for making
products and resources available to help districts and schools with school improvement
(e.g., manuals on curriculum alignment, instructional improvement, and parental
involvement). These products may be available from multiple sources.
AIR and ADI propose communication structures for The Center that are focused on creating
coherent and systemic communication and that reflect innovative and efficient practices based on
how people receive and share information today. In addition to the five channels identified in
Section 2.B., The Center also will implement the following:
•
Communication officer. Develop a position description and requirements for a
communications officer, and employ a person who meets the position’s description and
requirements. The communications officer will be a member of the management and
delivery teams and will coordinate communication within the SSOS and among the SSOS
and the districts and schools.
•
Web-based communication infrastructure. Based on input from the audit, we envision
implementing a variety of Web-based communication mechanisms. These may include a
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website, the Service Scorecard, online communities of practice, a Facebook page,
podcasts, webinars, and others identified by the field.
•
Information request form. A form for requesting support or information will be
included in the Service Scorecard system. The communication officer will receive the
requests and channel them to the appropriate management and delivery team member for
response. The system will include a reporting feature to aggregate and summarize the
topics requested so that The Center can detect areas in which information can be provided
or clarified for all SSOS personnel, districts, and schools.
3. Professional Development
3.A. Professional Development Tools and Resources
As national leaders in both research and practice, AIR and ADI have an established
network of experts from across the country that we will leverage on behalf of Illinois. This
network, when added to AIR and ADI’s own organizational expertise, brings to The Center the
most current research and knowledge about high-quality implementation across the Eight
Essential Elements, school turnaround, continuous improvement, social and emotional learning,
school climate, continuous improvement, and the best practices in teaching and learning. It also
includes people who have done the implementation of research successfully.
Such breadth of expertise is further defined in Section 6 of this RFP. Our national leaders
will provide guidance and content support to Center leadership and participate in Center
professional learning events. Combining the best available researchers and practitioners from
across the country, with content-knowledgeable staff from ADI and AIR, and the belief that
professional development (PD) is linked to continuous learning, must be job-embedded, and
must be differentiated for individual needs will create a solid foundation to build capacity within
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The Center and across Illinois.
Delivery Methods
Our vision for the PD model is a fluid one—utilizing a blend of mixed mediums to
deliver timely and relevant services to the field. Although face-to-face and job-embedded
methods are ideal, we have experienced success blending these with webinars, expert chat
sessions, and small professional learning communities where districts with similar problems
gather to collectively problem-solve. As Generation X and Y staff grow into leadership
positions, they will expect real-time, round-the-clock access to the supports they need. Our goal
is to build an infrastructure to grow such a system over time.
District-Based and School-Based PD Approach
PD will consist of the following: (1) strong training and ongoing PD for SSOS personnel
to equip them to deliver high-quality services; (2) services for districts and schools that is
differentiated by the following: (a) type of PD (direct training, coaching, webinar, Web-based
course module, community of practice); (b) category of district or school (foundational, focus,
priority); and (c) focus topic (Eight Essential Elements, turnaround, change leadership). PD of
districts and schools will be considered part of The Center’s and partners’ Aligned Inventory of
Supports and Interventions and will be targeted to the needs of the district or school as
determined by the Diagnostic Review. Details regarding the professional learning of Center staff,
specifically field staff responsible for the direct support of schools, is outlined in Section 3.B. of
this proposal. Figure 4 shows the relationship between the tiered levels of support, the focus
areas, and delivery modes for this PD approach.
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Figure 4. Professional Development Approach
The first step for the design team in the establishment of tools and resources for schools
across the Eight Essential Elements and their corresponding indicators of effective practice will
be to establish key priorities in each area. Based on the needs assessment, the state’s waiver
application, Race to the Top specifications, and other federal, state, and regional priorities,
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targeted areas for supports within the Eight Essential Elements will be identified. These topics
will receive higher prioritization for development and dissemination.
Parallel to the establishment of priority areas will be the articulation of standards of
practice for PD tools and resources led by the unit managers. These standardization requirements
will be based on the standards for professional learning as outlined by Learning Forward (2011).
(Learning Forward was formerly the National Staff Development Council.) Included in these
requirements will be the intended impact on the indicators for effective implementation.
Guidance for follow-up by district assistance, rapid response teams, and district and school
leadership will outline the needed job-imbedded support for implementation fidelity and monitoring.
These standards of practice will be shared with SSOS partner organizations such as IPA,
ISTAC, RtI Network, and other providers. The intent is to create a standard set of guiding
principles and practices that are to be woven into all the PD supporting schools and districts in
the state. Standard operating practices will serve to tie PD approaches together, articulate
outcomes in a more consistent manner, and provide a framework for leaders to assess the value
that PD brings to their continuous improvement initiatives.
The articulation of these standards of practices for PD as well as guidance for jobembedded follow-up and monitoring will be provided to the SSOS partners with the expectation
that they will become standard practice across the organizations. Although the intellectual
property of these organizations will be maintained, their PD resources and services will be
referenced on the online database to provide a holistic picture of Illinois-specific PD offerings
being provided to schools and districts and include mapping services to the Eight Essential
Elements, strategies for closing achievement gaps, continuous improvement, turnaround,
teaching, and learning. Similarly, vendors external to the SSOS framework (such as lead partners
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and other agencies working with focus and priority schools) will have access to the standard
practices for PD that schools and districts should be able to expect from their services.
The standards of practice for PD also will be outlined for schools and districts through an
addition to AIR’s current publication Guide to Working With External Providers (Hassel &
Steiner, 2010). This guide outlines the processes for vetting external providers and includes
leading indicators to assess the value that these partners bring to school and district PD systems.
The intent is to support districts in determining the return on investment for improving teaching
and learning and outcomes for students, thus enabling them to be smart consumers of services
that align with their improvement needs.
All newly developed and existing tools, support, and other content will be reviewed
according to the standards of practice. The Center’s content-area specialists and the unit
managers for Curriculum & Instruction, Regional Support, and Priority Schools Intervention will
work the AIR and ADI design team to identify exiting content related to the Eight Essential
Elements, with a specific focus on the priority areas. Center staff in these positions will
inventory currently available PD resources and implementation tools from the existing Illinois
SSOS and the national content centers to determine how they map to the Eight Essential
Elements and indicators of practice. They also will review these against the standards to
determine if they need modifications prior to being implemented.
The creation of an online database of these tools and resources will enable the broader
SSOS and district and school leaders to have access to a variety of materials to support their
improvement efforts. In addition, PD resources and tools will be created in accordance with
identified areas of need in the initial audit. Subsequent additions to the database will be created
based on audits of priority schools, changes in state policy and updates to state accountability
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requirements, and need sensing of the various DATs and RRTs. Feedback from Center
communication processes and requests for information and support as outlined in Section 1 of
this proposal will contribute to the prioritization of needed PD and the processes for
dissemination. We will explore strong PD programs and options already in place while
enhancing, refining, and creating other tools and programs.
Content-area specialists will be assigned to support and provide PD to the DATs and
RRTs on specific areas of the Eight Essential Elements. They also will monitor the Service
Scorecard outlined in Section 2 of this proposal to assess areas of specific need related to the
effective school and district. The intent is to quickly identify professional learning needs and
provide timely support for districts and schools. The real time responsiveness will contribute to
creating positive change that will impact student outcomes.
Our aim is to create a dynamic PD system across the SSOS that becomes the leading edge
of school and district improvement and is responsive to the needs of individual schools and
districts. The system will be based on the best current theoretical thinking and research while
also taking into account that the needs in the field may change and adjustments will be needed
made to better serve these schools and districts.
Although the specific topic areas and formats will be determined based on the needs of
school and district staff, some examples of the types and formats of PD that could be provided
are as follows:
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Table 4. Professional Development Topics and Formats
Assistance Areas
Possible PD Topics
Possible PD Formats
Data analysis and how to
Closing achievement gaps differentiate needs and
services
Webinar or data fish bowls
Turning around lowperforming schools
How to establish a
change in culture?
Promising practice profiles
Continuous improvement
How to phase out
additional supports and
partners?
Workshop and tools
(evaluation instrument to
determine effectiveness of
various partners/programs)
How to determine your
school’s PD needs?
Educator quality
How to recruit stronger
teachers?
Workshop
Tools (hiring checklists,
processes, and interview
questions)
Learning environment
Strategies and programs
to better utilize summer
learning time
Promising practice profiles
Teaching and learning
How to create
interdisciplinary lessons
Webinar and tools (lesson
plan template and sample
lesson plans)
3.B. Professional Development for The Center Staff
3.B.1. Customization of Standard PD Components
ADI and AIR believe that effective PD must be both relevant and embedded in everyday
practice. Just as best practice encourages school leaders to embed PD for their teachers in the
classroom, we also must embed PD into the daily work of Center and relevant district staff
members. Although some PD may be generalized, that is, requirements of the federal School
Improvement Grant (SIG) or district improvement strategies, we also will provide differentiated
PD to staff based on their existing skill sets and their role in The Center (i.e., data-based decision
making or leadership coaching strategies). The various modes of PD could include but are not
limited to the following:
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•
Group workshops
•
Group problem solving
•
Peer-to-peer mentoring
•
Creation and provision of tools and instruments
•
Individualized coaching
AIR and ADI place a high value on the quality and effectiveness of the staff who we hire. We are
committed to their professional growth and skill development because these qualities are of
primary importance to our clients, school systems, and, ultimately, the teachers and students of
Illinois. Based on our previous work, we know that implementing such large-scale reform efforts
at the school, district, and state levels requires new skills and a new way of doing things. Our
goal is to support school, district, and state staff as they acquire new skills, new means of
collaboration, and new norms. At the same time, streamlining processes and sharing lessons
learned by Center staff across the state is a crucial piece of The Center’s work.
Standard Components
To be successful as a Center staff member or consultant, staff must be equipped with the
following key standard competencies:
•
Consultative skills
•
Change management practices
•
Research background in each of the Eight Essential Elements
•
Mentoring and coaching
To do this, we propose a variety of activities that include several networking opportunities and
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the creation of an Illinois Turnaround and Improvement Guide, with the understanding that
specific tools and activities will be identified and created in collaboration with ISBE staff.
Because both the structure and the role of The Center are new, and because there have
been several recent changes to the state’s accountability system, we acknowledge that Center
staff will need significant support defining their roles and clarifying how The Center aligns with
both ISBE and the various partners. Illinois specific competencies include the following:
•
Understanding The Center’s role
•
Defining roles, responsibilities, and communication systems
•
Overview of ISBE’s accountability system for schools and districts
•
Building a statewide team
Frequent Networking and Professional Development
Depending on when staff are hired, we anticipate launching a Center two-day retreat with
key staff to begin PD in these areas. In addition, given the nature of field work, we anticipate
identifying regular meeting dates where all staff come together for learning and sharing as well
as staff teams meeting individually for differentiated PD. Ideally, these meetings would occur
monthly. Job-embedded PD is important not only for teacher and for school personnel, but also it
is critical to the work of technical assistance providers working to build the capacity of districts
and schools to implement continuous improvement processes. The job-embedded PD of Center
staff, especially those providing direct support to schools and districts, cannot depend on the
articulation of guidance or initial selection and training of staff. The continuous improvement of
the Center and its services is important to the continued development of the SSOS and the
capacity of the state of Illinois to serve its students, teachers, and communities.
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To accomplish this goal, The Center must create a collaborative sharing environment that
allows DATs, RRTs, turnaround specialists, and the regional offices to build their own capacity
(knowledge, skill, and expertise) to work with focus, priority, and high-priority schools and their
affiliated districts. Frequent and structured networking ensures the overall coherence of the
approaches and strategies used by Center field staff and contribute to the collective capacity of
The Center.
Networking activities, specifically for the DATs and RRTs within the regional support
unit and turnaround specialists within the priority schools intervention unit will provide for the
collective accountability and sharing of lessons learned from the field implementation of SSOS
activities. These activities will include facilitation of monthly network meetings that will
encompass the following objectives:
•
Dissemination of resources from ISBE and The Center
•
Focused training of field staff on technical assistance issues
•
Management and facilitation of knowledge sharing based on progress monitoring of
implementation tools such as Rising Star and the Services Scorecard
•
Sharing of lessons learned among Center field staff and collective problem-solving
•
Assessment of additional PD and direct coaching needs of individual field staff or
specific teams
Each quarter, one meeting will be held via webinar and video conferencing while the other two
meetings will be held in person. At least once each quarter, these meetings will be held in
conjunction with the R&D Forum and focus on the research and best practice aspects of
providing technical assistance support to schools for continuous improvement in the Eight
Essential Elements.
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Standard Practice Guide
Standard practices to guide work with schools and districts will be articulated in a
Turnaround and Improvement Guide. This guide will provide a focus on building the capacity of
Center staff and partner organizations with a strong research base for the work of the DATs,
RRTs and the turnaround specialists. It will serve as a “how-to” handbook for any incoming
DAT members and turnaround specialists and will systemize the implementation efforts across
the state. Building upon the recently released Coaching for Capacity Building Coaches’ Manual,
the Turnaround and Improvement Guide also will include a summary of aligned research and
literature on school and district improvement and district capacity building resources, organized
according to the Eight Essential Elements. Also included in the guide will be tools, resources,
work logs, implementation timelines, and protocols that could assist in implementation. The
Turnaround and Improvement Guide will be a Web-accessible tool that provides PDF and Word
versions of applicable research and tools. This document will provide a record of both the work
of Center staff and the improvement process and may be used by districts and the regional
offices to embed some of these promising practices into their systems. The Guide will be a live
document and will incorporate new tools or resources as they are created or revised by the
DATs, the RRTs, and the turnaround specialists.
Quarterly Research and Design Forums
Although AIR and ADI have strong research and practice expertise, we recognize that
education reform and support for the Eight Essential Elements is an ever-expanding field. To
help Illinois, The Center, and its field staff keep pace with the best available research and
knowledge across the nation, we propose the convening of R&D Forums each quarter. At these
forums, Center field staff will have access to leading researchers and practitioners from across
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the country, including leadership from University of Illinois–Chicago Department of Education,
the Darden–Curry Partnership for Leaders in Education at the University of Virginia,
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Learning Forward, and
others. By bringing the national perspective to local implementers, Illinois will become a
national leader in the effort to implement dramatic improvements in teaching and learning that
impact student outcomes.
The outcomes of the R&D Forums will be used to revise and supplement the Turnaround
and Improvement Guide. As clear deliverables from the meetings, refinements and supplements
to the Guide as well as additional tools for Center staff will represent the needs and lessons
learned in the field. A long-term outcome of the forum will be to build the capacity of Center
staff, the leadership of the SSOS partners, ISBE staff, and district leaders. During the first two
years of the forum, content will be primarily driven by the external research advisory team and
Center leadership. As implementation evolves, DATs, RRTs, and turnaround specialists will take
on increasing responsibility for these events to build leadership and capacity across the state.
SSOS partners also will be asked to regularly participate and present at the forums to help
communicate outcomes of their organizations and bring coherence across service types and
functions. Periodically, district staff will be invited to attend the R&D Forums to ensure the
voice of practitioners is more fully represented and to provide for feedback and additional
coherence for the primary clients of Center activities.
3.B.2. Evaluation of PD
Alongside the personnel practices and evaluation of Center activities described in other
sections of this proposed work plan, The Center director and unit managers will evaluate quality,
relevance, utility/impact of the PD through review of the Service Scorecard (1.B), Rising Star,
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and results of postevent surveys. Postevent surveys and Center staff communication will be
important means of gathering data regarding whether the PD services are effective or if they
need to be tweaked to better meet the needs in the field. We also will monitor online use (screen
hits and downloads) of the Guide and resources available in the online database to track
utilization of the documents. If the schools and districts affiliated with the Center are not using
the tools and resources available to them via the website or in-person meetings, we will further
investigate to find out if (1) the tools and resources are not relevant or are difficult to use, (2) the
tools and resources are not being implemented with fidelity and are therefore a burden or deemed
not helpful, or (3) the school or district administrators lack the desire or will to change systemic
practices.
Center staff, especially field teams, also will engage in a case study review process as
part of their monthly meetings to develop reflection, analysis and problem-solving skills
specifically relevant to the schools and districts they are serving. Part of this practice will include
codifying promising practices occurring in the focus, priority, and high-priority schools. This
process will allow for the showcasing of practices and systems working across schools in Illinois
as well as within ISBE and Center supports. AIR and ADI will work with Center staff to publish
the most promising of these case studies, allowing schools and districts who are defined or
known as “low performing” or “failing” to be pioneers in the development of new practices and
programs or to be at the forefront of successful implementation of research-based strategies.
The Turnaround and Improvement Guide will articulate specific requirements for service
design, including mapping to the Eight Essential Elements and the indicators of implementation
practice. The identification of outcome objectives and impact indicators for each service
provided will be required. This will allow for follow-up by Center staff, including assistant
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directors and division directors, to assess the fidelity of implementation and the continuing
development needs of Center services.
4. Staffing Plan
4.A. Role Descriptions for SSOS Personnel and Teams
Job design is the foundation of effective staffing and in achieving desired outcomes
through the performance of staff. Job design includes not only the development of a role
description and identification of the qualifications and experience to perform in a given role but
also the establishment of behaviors and expectations that will promote collaboration,
accountability, and motivation in the attainment of shared goals. In a networked environment
such as the SSOS, where diverse staff must work together with each other and a variety of
stakeholders toward common goals, how the staff work with others is as important as the
qualifications and experience they bring. AIR will apply its extensive knowledge and experience
with the many facets of comprehensive school and district improvement to work closely with
ISBE not only to develop role descriptions that accurately describe a particular vacancy but also to
promote Center staff ownership of ISBE goals for The Center and shared accountability and
behaviors required for achieving success among and between The Center’s four operational units.
The Center director will play a key role in ensuring that ISBE objectives for The Center
are integrated into all Center activities. The Center director’s job description includes hiring and
managing The Center staff, and such expectations will be set during the recruitment, selection
and on-boarding processes for The Center director role. Starting with the appointment of a
Center director with extensive experience in school and district improvement and management of
a large staff working on targeted interventions, AIR will work closely with ISBE to create role
descriptions for each position identified in the proposed organizational and staffing chart for The
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Center. Initial role descriptions will include those for the operational unit managers and will
incorporate requisite qualifications and experience for the function of each position, as indicated
in Appendix A, based on AIR’s extensive expertise in school and district improvement and the
goals and requirements of ISBE.
In addition to functional qualifications such as formal education, work experience, and
related certifications, AIR will collaborate with the appropriate ISBE staff to ensure full
integration of ISBE operational frameworks into role descriptions. Each center manager and the
chief officer for District Accountability and Oversight, along with the assistant directors for
regional support, will need to demonstrate an understanding of and success with the focus
categories and Eight Essential Elements of the continuous improvement framework, along with
the skills associated with the steps in the service delivery cycle. Role descriptions for operational
unit heads also will include specific management competencies that support staff management
and development as well as coordination of activities with other stakeholders, including
colleagues within The Center, ISBE, the broader SSOS, districts, schools, and communities as
appropriate.
Role descriptions for individual contributors in each of the operational units will focus on
technical qualifications for their given operational area, along with the capacity to implement
interventions through the ISBE continuous improvement framework and service delivery cycle.
Individual contributors also will be responsible for understanding how to coordinate
interventions across operational units and to collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders
extensively. All role descriptions will encourage applications from individuals with backgrounds
that entail working with students with disabilities (SWDs), English language learners (ELLs),
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racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income populations as well as individuals who come
directly from those communities themselves.
The Center director will lead the development of the role descriptions and will be
responsible for incorporating ISBE and all stakeholders’ interests into the role descriptions and
ensuring ISBE approval of each role description before recruitment commences. The Center
director also will engage other Center staff and AIR’s substantial professional resources,
including its human resources (HR) team members with advanced HR degrees and extensive
experience in staffing education-related projects, in the development of accurate, effective, and
motivating role profiles. In addition, The Center director will work closely with Center staff and
AIR HR and leadership teams to ensure that the role descriptors are appropriately incorporated
into all staff recruitment, professional development, and performance management activities
while maintaining the utmost standards of compliance and ethics.
4.B. Recruiting, Hiring, and Developing Staff
Upon approval of role descriptions, AIR will immediately commence open and
competitive recruitment for Center vacancies. Along with advertising in traditional recruitment
venues such as newspapers, websites, and professional associations, AIR will pursue an
aggressive plan of direct sourcing of highly qualified candidates through its extensive networks
and experience in district and school improvement in Illinois and across the nation. For
recruitment of The Center director, unit managers and chief officer for Accountability and
Oversight, AIR will tap into its extensive national network of experts and recruiting resources for
additional direct sourcing of preeminent candidates. This direct sourcing will include outreach by
staff to their network contacts to publicize the career and professional opportunities with The
Center and a request for candidate referrals from these network contacts. AIR will place specific
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emphasis on outreach to underserved populations and individuals with experience working with
SWDs, ELLs, racial and ethnic minorities, and low-income populations. The emphasis on these
populations in the recruiting and staffing plans is essential for the success of The Center in
understanding the specific issues facing these populations and the cultural competencies required
for effective interventions in the schools and districts that serve these communities. In addition,
AIR will employ other direct sourcing techniques, such as social networking and database and
Internet searches, for qualified candidates with the desired backgrounds and experiences.
The role descriptors will provide the foundation for screening and selection of candidates.
The functional qualifications will be used for initial screens of candidates by recruiting staff and
hiring managers. Hiring managers include The Center director, unit managers, and assistant
directors and will work with recruitment staff to ensure integration of ISBE and Center
objectives into all aspects of recruiting and onboarding of Center staff. This initial screen will be
followed by a brief telephone screen to confirm interest and salary levels and to begin the
rigorous selection process based on the functional qualifications and the understanding of ISBE
operational frameworks. Candidates who pass the telephone screens will be invited for an
intensive interview by Center and AIR corporate staff. Intensive interviews will incorporate
behavior-based interviewing techniques to probe deeply into the candidates’ experience with and
aptitude for the highly specialized district and school improvement interventions, along with the
ISBE operational frameworks and the ability to work within a fast-moving, complex
environment. Additional screens will include the ability to collaborate with colleagues and
stakeholders and to maintain motivation and accountability in a challenging educational
environment. Postinterview debrief sessions will be held for candidates whereby diverse
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perspectives on candidates may be shared. The Center director and appropriate hiring manager
will make hiring recommendations for approval by ISBE after the debrief sessions.
The role descriptions and behavior-based interviewing not only will serve as screening
tools during the recruitment process but also will help set expectations for performance and
development of staff selected for hire. The screening process provides an initial communication
to candidates about what will be expected from them during their period of performance and how
they might need to develop to perform their duties.
4.C. Performance Evaluation System
AIR’s current performance management system will be adopted for application in The
Center to ensure rigor, transparency, and equity for all Center staff in addition to fostering
motivation for and alignment with ISBE and Center objectives. AIR’s performance management
system currently includes three core elements: expectation setting, feedback, and
rewards/recognition. AIR’s performance management system also is managed in the context of
professional development for each staff member, with each of the elements designed to facilitate
the development of AIR professional staff.
Expectation setting is conducted within one month of hire for individual staff.
Expectations are refreshed and reviewed annually by supervisors and by AIR executive and HR
staff each spring following performance reviews for consistency, fairness, and alignment with
organizational objectives and values. Performance expectations for The Center will be developed
by The Center director in coordination with ISBE and AIR representatives. After Center
objectives are approved and clarified, they will be communicated to all staff during group
meetings or on an individual basis. Individual expectations will be derived directly from Center
objectives and will be finalized through two-way conversations between Center staff and their
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direct supervisors. The Center director will be responsible for approval of individual Center staff
expectations and their alignment with Center objectives. In addition, AIR HR and executive staff
review performance expectations.
AIR performance expectations are a combination of values-based and outcomes-based
goals. Values expectations include topics such as integrity, professional development,
collaboration, mission focus, and diversity. Outcomes-based goals are tied specifically to broader
organizational benchmarks and objectives and are written in a SMART (specific, measureable,
attainable, relevant, and timely) manner to ensure alignment with these broader organizational
objectives. In addition, each goal is written with the intention of challenging AIR and Center
staff to continuously develop themselves to exceed expectations outlined in each goal.
AIR’s performance management system is built upon regular feedback and performance
adjustment—both of which are intended not only to improve performance but also to help each
staff member develop professionally. All Center staff in a supervisory role will receive training
on setting goals and providing appropriate, fair, and timely performance feedback as well as in
rewards and recognition, professional and career development, and AIR policy and procedures.
AIR has regularly scheduled feedback sessions each summer and performance evaluations each
spring; however, supervisors are strongly encouraged to meet with their staff on a monthly basis
at a minimum. These systems will support the regular review of Center progress toward its
objectives and ensure their attainment.
Rewards and recognition include performance-based salary increases that are tied to both
values-based and outcomes-based goals. In addition, AIR offers discretionary bonuses to staff
when performance warrants it. Recognition and career development opportunities also are key
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elements of AIR’s performance management system, which will ensure alignment with an
obtaining of ISBE and Center objectives.
5. Evaluation Plan for the Statewide System of Support
The evaluation plan for the SSOS has two major components. The first component is an
external evaluation, for which ISBE will provide separate funding. The evaluation will measure
the effectiveness of SSOS improvement practices on school, district, and student measures. The
second component is an internal evaluation, which will provide ongoing evaluation and feedback
related to the SSOS services, including training, technical assistance, and coaching as well as
feedback to stakeholders on the impact of services at the district, school, and student levels.
5.A. External Evaluation
The external evaluation will consist of two main components: a summative (or outcome)
component, which will evaluate and measure the effectiveness of SSOS practices in improving
district, school, and student outcomes; and a process component, which will evaluate the SSOS
service delivery as well as the dissemination and replication of effective SSOS practices
throughout the regional delivery system. ISBE will contract with an external evaluator to conduct
a five-year multimethod evaluation.
Although not conducting the external evaluation, AIR will support it in several ways:
•
Working with ISBE to articulate the specifications for the external evaluation. The
assumption is that competitive bids and proposals for the external evaluation will be
sought through a request for proposals (RFP). The RFP will lay out the specifications for
the evaluation, including the research questions to address, the evaluation design
requirements, deliverables and schedule of deliverables, and budget and budget
specifications.
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•
Reviewing evaluation proposals, if requested, as well as data collection protocols and
instruments, and evaluation reports.
•
Supporting regular communication with the external evaluator through establishing
and/or participating in biweekly calls with the evaluator.
The external evaluator will be the entity to develop the evaluation design and implementation
plan. However, we think the plan should be guided by the following specifications. (As noted
earlier, we will work with ISBE to finalize the expectations, but the expectations presented here
might serve as a starting point for considering specifications.)
•
The summative evaluation will be aligned with the Eight Essential Elements and will
examine the school and district changes related to these elements as well as to specific
changes in instruction and student academic performance.
•
The research questions that will guide the summative evaluation are as follows:

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
The following are specific requirements related to the external evaluation:
•
The evaluation will rely on a quasi-experimental design or a virtual comparison group
that will provide a perspective on causality with respect to student academic
achievement.
•
The evaluation will clearly address the different levels of support (Levels 1–5) provided
by SSOS and will provide outcome information on schools at each of the levels.
•
The evaluation will include a case study component, in which a sample of priority or
focus districts and schools are examined closely to identify how improvement efforts are
implemented, how they progress, and how (and if) challenges are overcome. The
evaluator must use multiple methods to obtain information from these schools, including
interviews and focus groups, classroom observations, and an extant data review. Survey
findings from the site visit districts and schools also will inform the case study component.
•
Annual reports will be submitted to ISBE. A draft outline, which describes the focus and
organization of the annual report, should be presented three months before the annual report
is due.
•
Annual work plans should be submitted to ISBE.
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Evaluator roles beyond the data collection, analysis, and reporting for the deliverables will
include the following:
•
Working closely with ISBE to identify the parameters of data collection
•
Advising on indicators and measurement that will be incorporated into the performance
management, with particular attention to the observation protocols and surveys whose
results will be included in the system. This will require attendance at one or more of the
meetings that ISBE will convene to plan the performance management system.
•
Participating in biweekly calls with ISBE to discuss the progress of the evaluation and to
weigh in on any relevant decisions that ISBE makes with respect to the performance
management system and other matters
•
Presenting findings in-person or through webinars, particularly following the delivery
and approval of the evaluation reports and including annual meetings of the SSOS
stakeholder group involved in the initial evaluation
•
Financial reporting as required by ISBE
AIR proposes that the external evaluation be funded at approximately $600,000 annually. This is
6 percent of the total Center budget in year one and 5% for each remaining year, which is a
standard percentage rate for external evaluations.
5.B. Internal Evaluation
The proposed internal evaluation plan will provide The Center with reliable data to
inform and improve service delivery over the course of the grant. In other words, the evaluation
will enable ongoing performance monitoring that fosters continuous improvement. The
evaluation plan is characterized by the following:
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•
Frequent formative feedback for program improvement
•
Multiple methods of gathering evaluation data, including interviews and surveys of users,
site analytics, and review of key documents attesting to The Center’s activities and
outcomes
•
Multiple sources of evaluation data, including school and district staff, logs of services,
and district and school documents
The continuous performance feedback resulting from this comprehensive evaluation approach
will help The Center make progress toward its goals. In the Center’s first two years, the
expectation is that the annual performance reports will have largely formative evaluation
purposes and will be used to guide the development of The Center’s services. In The Center’s
final three years, AIR expects the annual evaluation reports to be more summative, pinpointing
where The Center has and has not met its goals.
AIR has extensive experience with internal evaluation for large Centers. Each of the
Comprehensive Centers that has been operated by AIR has included an internal evaluation
component. For each Comprehensive Center, the internal evaluator has worked closely with the
technical assistance providers and maintained a rigorous though flexible approach to data
collection, analysis, and reporting. The work on those centers has made AIR very aware that
service and support systems to states and within states require adaptability on the part of
evaluator because the state managers and technical assistance providers frequently have had to
meet situations and circumstances that require modifications of original plans. Although AIR
recognizes that the internal evaluation must be a flexible one, we also recognize that any
evaluation, including an internal evaluation, has to have structures that guide activities and the
focus of the evaluation.
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The internal evaluation will employ a utilization-focused approach, which is both highly
collaborative and context driven. Internal evaluators will largely focus on the delivery of services
as well as the reaction of clients (school and districts) to the services provided. Questions that the
internal evaluation of The Center will address include, but are not limited to, the following:
•
These terms are defined as follows:
•
Quality refers to the degree of excellence of The Center’s professional development and
technical assistance services. For a given Center service, quality may be indicated by the
degree to which it incorporates relevant research, is accurate, and is well organized.
•
Relevance refers to the extent to which The Center’s services are deemed by end users to
be pertinent and applicable to their needs related to supporting effective instruction and
leadership. We will assess user satisfaction with the relevance of a range of services. For
example, we will assess whether webinars focuses on topics of relevance to participants
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and whether the resources in the Turnaround and Improvement Guide are relevant to the
needs of users in schools at different rating levels.
•
Usefulness refers to the extent to which The Center’s services are useful in helping users
improve instruction and leadership. We will assess whether the products and TA services
are useful in helping build capacity of recipients to close achievement gaps, turn around
low-performing schools, and so on.
Data Sources
The data sources for the internal evaluation fall into three broad categories: Surveys,
interviews, and extant data from the performance management system.
Surveys will be conducted with district administrators, school administrators, and
teachers and for whom the Center provided technical assistance. There will be two types of
surveys. The annual user survey will be sent to each of these groups, and will address satisfaction
with the Center’s resources and services, and their extent of impact (e.g., in terms of the Eight
Essential Elements). The Center also will administer targeted post-event surveys to collect
immediate feedback on the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the training and/or technical
assistance provided.
Semistructured telephone interviews will be conducted biannually with a sample of
school and district administrators. The evaluation team will conduct these interviews with a
stratified sample of administrators drawn from each of the four service levels. The purpose of the
interviews is to understand the types of Center services received, satisfaction with the services,
and the extent of impact of Center services on school or district capacity (in terms of the Eight
Essential Elements). These interviews will provide in depth feedback across the different models
of service.
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In the following fall, after schools have received their new star rating, we will conduct
follow-up interviews with the same individuals. These interviews will focus on what Center
services worked well or didn’t work well (for schools that raised their star rating or didn’t,
respectively), and how the school and The Center can improve their services.
Interviews will be used to gather in-depth information about stakeholder satisfaction with
products and technical assistance, and about the impact of the Center on state capacity to support
innovative practices. Interview protocols will feature open-ended questions (e.g., “Describe
changes that have occurred in the way you implement intensive interventions”). Interviews will
be recorded and transcribed prior to analysis. The evaluation team will conduct a small pilot for
each protocol to confirm that the questions elicit the intended information. There may also be
opportunities (e.g., following workshops) to conduct face-to-face interviews with participants in
TA or PD. The purpose of these interviews would be to provide rapid feedback on a specific
topic or event. These interviews might be briefer and less formal than the biannual interviews
and would not be transcribed.
Extant data from the performance management system will be used to report on the
level and type of service delivery. The evaluation team will extract and analyze information from
the database to describe service delivery and how it differs based on region and characteristics of
districts. Information to be used in the evaluation may include the category of service (e.g.,
Turnaround, Educator Quality, etc.), type of service (e.g., workshops, trainings, webinars) and
school rating. These data will provide important feedback on the take-up of services, to
determine if schools in different categories of support (foundational, focused, etc.) are accessing
different services as anticipated.
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Table 5 summarizes the alignment of data sources to evaluation questions, and Table 6
provides a summary of the frequency of data collection by year.
Table 5. Alignment of Data Sources to Internal Evaluation Questions
Evaluation Question
Annual
Survey
Postevent
Surveys
Interviews
Extant
Data
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
Table 6. Evaluation Methods, Data Sources, and Frequency of Data Collection
Method
Data Source or Informant Type
Frequency of Data Collection
Interviews
• District administrators
• School administrators
Biannual
Surveys
• District administrators
• School administrators
• School teachers
Annual
Postevent
Extant data
• TA activity logs
Quarterly
Continuous Feedback on Performance
The internal evaluation will be most useful if it provides feedback to The Center that is
timely and usable. The internal evaluation will fully support The Center’s continuous
improvement efforts by providing the information The Center needs to target those efforts. Table
7 summarizes the frequency of feedback from the internal evaluation.
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Table 7. Tasks Related to Continuous Feedback
Tasks
Frequency
Meet with Center staff to coordinate efforts and provide updates
on data collection and findings
Monthly
Provide evaluation results related to specific TA events and
projects on an as-needed basis
Ongoing
Provide written reports on service delivery; and perceived
quality, relevance, and utility of services
Quarterly
Provide memos as needed on emergent issues (e.g., staff
changes, startup issues) and special events (e.g., data retreats)
As needed
Complete an annual performance report
Annually
Staffing. The team will consist of the lead evaluator and assistant evaluator, who together
will manage or perform the tasks described earlier. The lead and assistant evaluator will be
assisted the evaluation and perform the tasks described earlier. In addition, the team will include
a research assistant, a data manager and two analysts.
6. Organizational Capacity
6.A. Prior Experience
AIR has proven itself to be a reliable partner in helping low-performing schools and
districts improve outcomes for children. At the local level, this work has included serving as lead
partners for school turnaround; conducting audits of academic, social-emotional, and financial
needs; assisting with the design and coordination of improvement strategies; and monitoring and
evaluating progress toward improvement goals. At the state level, AIR has assisted state agencies
in the design of statewide systems of support through our Great Lakes East Comprehensive
Center and Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center and has provided specific tools and
guidance through our National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, National High
School Center, and National Center on Response to Intervention. AIR has the knowledge,
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expertise, and highly qualified staff needed to assist both the state of Illinois and local school
districts to implement, monitor, and evaluate interventions that will lead to dramatic
improvements for students and result in a robust statewide system of support. A sample of our
work at improving systems that impact all learners can be found in Section 6.B.
ADI led the Laboratory for Student Success’s comprehensive school reform
implementation project in 113 schools. ADI’s Center on Innovation & Improvement has assisted
43 states in the development of their systems of support. Its Indistar system for district and
school improvement is now the SEA’s platform in 24 states. ADI’s model for improving
leadership and instruction in low-achieving schools was successful in lifting 27 of 29 Virginia
schools out of restructuring in two years. ADI has been a national leader in school turnaround. Its
director was a member of IES’s expert panel on turnaround, has authored several monographs
and articles on the subject, and was a member of the U.S. Department of Education’s contingent
to study school turnarounds in Korea. ADI’s Turnaround Academy is the chief vehicle for
training SEA and field personnel in Michigan on turnaround strategies.
Through AIR’s work as a lead partner for turnaround and in conducting audits that lead
to strategically designed action plans for improvement, AIR has positively impacted students,
their teachers, and their school communities. Our experience and expertise span the continuum
of foundational and focused support through the needs of priority interventions and the highest
needs for district accountability. Coupled with the expertise of ADI, we have the knowledge,
skills, and proven results to positively impact student outcomes at all levels of the statewide
system of support.
AIR and ADI have a rich history of providing technical assistance work collaboratively.
We have access to leading researchers and current information on best practices in the field.
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ISBE stands to benefit from this established history of collaboration. We are ready, able, and
willing to step up together and begin the work of The Center. We need no time to establish trust
and negotiate boundaries. This is of benefit to the students, schools, and districts in Illinois. A
published report of AIR’s and ADI’s cooperative work in Michigan, Michigan’s District Focus
Gets Traction (Bailey, Coscarella, & Kinnaman, 2012), attests to their combined work in this
important industrial state. Table 8 shows our levels of support, work, and partnership.
Table 8. Levels of Support With Work and Partnership Examples
Level of Support
Example of Work and Partnership
•
Technical assistance centers disseminating research, tools, and
direct assistance to clients on topics including the Eight Essential
Elements webinars and train-the trainer materials developed around
topics such as school and district leadership, curriculum and
instruction, RTI, and so on.
•
Creation and dissemination of improvement tools and processes
such as Rising Star and Early Warning Systems
•
Audits of the written, taught, and tested curriculum
•
TA on Eight Essential Elements as core improvement strategies
•
Turnaround needs assessments
•
Strategic improvement planning support
•
Transformation strategy design, including data and progress
monitoring process
•
Experienced lead partner for turnaround and transformation
•
School-level and district-level audits (some distinction about
intensity that is different from focused support)
Assisted Buffalo Public Schools with its lead partner RFP and
selection process, including outlines of vendor requirements and
authority
Foundational
Assistance
Focused Support
Priority Intervention
High-Priority District
Intervention
•
•
AIR is the lead partner for East St. Louis Illinois School
Improvement Grant
•
ADI is supporting East St. Louis community development
initiatives
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Theory of Action for The Center
We know that the quality of instruction received by students has the greatest impact on
achievement. The work of The Center for School Improvement is designed to positively change
practices in districts and schools. Figure 5 shows the theory of action for The Center.
Figure 5. Theory of Action
Delivery Team
The
Center
Research
Council
Design
and
Support
Team
The bulk of The Center resources must be directed directly at staff supporting the field.
That said, it is critically important that the staff have the best available research, tools, and
delivery mechanisms to support the work. As such, our theory of action includes mechanisms to
provide research (research advisors) and expert guidance (design and support team) to support
the design, implementation, and assessment of The Center functions. Researchers will provide
connections to the latest research and emerging practices in the field as well as quality assurance.
The design and support team then works with the delivery team to tailor and align these findings
into tools and supports for schools, in alignment with the essential elements. The design and
support team also supports the delivery team in building capacity for change. In other words,
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they support not only the “what” of the services but the “how.” Without attention to consultative
skills and change management practices, the best research and tools will sit idle.
Theory of Action for School Turnaround
When working directly with low-performing schools and districts, we work to
achieve the following outcomes:
•
Implementation of a coherent, disciplined approach to teaching and learning
•
More effective teachers and leaders
•
Higher expectations and results for all students
•
Improved climate and culture
•
Improved parent and community engagement
These outcomes mirror the Turnaround requirements as outlined under the federal School
Improvement Grants and AIR’s own research and expertise on what it takes to transform
chronically low-performing schools. We achieve these outcomes through working with district
staff to implement appropriate system and structures for change. These include structured school
leadership team meetings, early warning systems, formative assessments, professional learning
communities, instructional improvements, and cultural supports. We focus on building the
capacity of the school and district staff. Our work is firmly anchored in the belief that our
ultimate goal is to work our way out of a job so that these schools and districts no longer need
our help. All of our technical assistance and professional development work is based on the
application of highest quality research and best practice, focused on direct application in the
specific context of the district or school, and supported through its hands-on partnership by staff
members who have real experience changing schools and districts.
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Specific Strategies
AIR and ADI have implemented several specific strategies for rapid change and
improvement.
•
Engage stakeholders early on to garner buy-in and foster urgency. From the onset,
the creation of The Center will be an inclusive process. The IES Practice Guide titled
Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools (Herman et al., 2008), led by AIR
researchers, lists as one of the primary principles to gaining dramatic improvement is the
ability of the school leader to build a staff committed to the school improvement goals.
We have many mechanisms in place to connect the SSOS organizations and build a
common vision for improvement. These same strategies and mechanisms will be used at
the school and district level. Data co-interpretations, planning sessions that involve key
stakeholders, and multiple communication vehicles will be critical for engagement.
•
Generate quick wins. It will be critical that The Center identify and determine quick
wins to establish credibility. Similar strategies will be used at the district and school
level. According to Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools (Herman et al.,
2008), it is critical that the district leadership signal the need for dramatic change.
Identifying quick wins will become a routine part of work with our focus and priority
schools.
•
Stay aligned and focused. A third principle outlined in the practice guide is the ability to
maintain a constant focus on instruction. Turnaround districts and schools that are
successful have a laserlike focus on improvement. We will have the same, cohesive focus
as a center and work with our schools and districts to implement a singular, focused
improvement plan.
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•
Monitor data frequently, and don’t be afraid to change directions. Along with a clear
focus on improved instruction is the use of data to guide decisions and make
improvements that will impact outcomes for children. Using data to make needed
changes early is the fuel of dramatic change. The Center Service Scorecard system will
provide a vehicle for frequent data review. In addition, gathering teams frequently for a
“reality check” meeting allows for decision making to happen more quickly. We know
that quarterly data reviews with stakeholder teams generate support for direction changes
in a more timely way.
•
Be transparent. Data used for decision making is most powerful when it is known and
understood. Our successful turnaround schools have data walls—where all student data
are posted. The goals are clear, and everyone is accountable for results. This same
approach will be used at The Center. Goals and results for various teams will be shared
publicly. We will carry this principle down to the districts and schools we serve. The
transparency of the data used to make decisions should be a key function of the
performance management system.
•
Implement and build strong leaders. We know from our experience with turnaround
schools, a strong leader is critical. We will screen Center director candidates for strong
leadership skills. In addition, we will use the Turnaround Leadership Competencies
published by Public Impact in developing leaders in the field.
•
Include practitioner voices because people like to learn from peers. Our experience
also has taught us that multiple voices at the table make a difference, peers learning
together, peers delving deeper into issues and making peer-to-peer connections make
strong decisions. An outside consultant can recommend something to a district several
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times, but often hearing it from a colleague makes the difference. We will engage district
and schools staff in sharing with one another on an ongoing basis.
6.B. Examples of Our Work
AIR has a rich history of working with low-performing districts and schools and has
demonstrated expertise in turning these entities around and improving the student achievement.
In addition, AIR is able to draw upon a wealth of knowledge and abundant expertise in a variety
of educational fields as well as access to corporate resources and in-house centers (see
“Organizational Capacity,” 6.C.). The ability to tap into these sources places our clients
strategically ahead of the curve. We know what it takes to help districts and schools make the
changes that are necessary for all students to learn. We have gathered a list of projects that
highlight the relevant experience requested in this RFSP.
Table 9 contains 19 different projects and demonstrates some of the highlights of our
work. Further information may be found for each project under the project description. We also
have chosen to highlight specific school-level and district-level achievement successes.
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Table 9. Highlights of Our Work
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Union
Involvement
School or District
Size
English Language
Learners
Demographics
Free or ReducedPrice Lunch
Rural
Location
Urban
Evidence of Effectiveness
School-Level
Reform
Project
District-Level
Reform
Level
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
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Union
Involvement
School or District
Size
English Language
Learners
Demographics
Free or ReducedPrice Lunch
Rural
Location
Urban
Evidence of Effectiveness
School-Level
Reform
Project
District-Level
Reform
Level
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
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Union
Involvement
School or District
Size
English Language
Learners
Demographics
Free or ReducedPrice Lunch
Rural
Location
Urban
Evidence of Effectiveness
School-Level
Reform
Project
District-Level
Reform
Level
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
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Union
Involvement
School or District
Size
English Language
Learners
Demographics
Free or ReducedPrice Lunch
Rural
Location
Urban
Evidence of Effectiveness
School-Level
Reform
Project
District-Level
Reform
Level
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
The Center for School Improvement—75
Union
Involvement
School or District
Size
English Language
Learners
Demographics
Free or ReducedPrice Lunch
Rural
Location
Urban
Evidence of Effectiveness
School-Level
Reform
Project
District-Level
Reform
Level
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Romulus Middle
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Union
Involvement
School or District
Size
English Language
Learners
Demographics
Free or ReducedPrice Lunch
Rural
Location
Urban
Evidence of Effectiveness
School-Level
Reform
Project
District-Level
Reform
Level
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Buffalo Public Schools: Building a School Turnaround Office, Buffalo, New York
In spring 2011, AIR was contacted by the Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) school board
with a request for assistance in creating a rigorous review process for selecting external
providers. In this application phase for SIG funds, BPS was not eligible for transformation grants
and was thus pursuing a strategy to fund restart models. Our team was hired after the request for
proposal (RFP) was released, and we were hired only to create the rigorous review process. In
doing so, we developed a multistep process, trained the review committee, provided additional
AIR staff to review applications to ensure interrater reliability, and facilitated committee
discussions and consensus decision making. Although the state ultimately denied the application,
one area of positive feedback was on the multistep review process that was employed.
The
state then allowed BPS to reapply for SIG funds. Because of the high level of satisfaction during
the first application phase, BPS reengaged AIR and expanded our role to include the
development of the RFP, support to schools that chose to submit plans for the transformation
model, and grant writing support in addition to implementing the rigorous review process
developed during the first phase. In addition to providing support for the SIG application
process, BPS also capitalized on AIR’s expertise to assist with their internal restructuring and
creating an office designated to provide specific support to its persistently low-achieving
schools. As part of this phase of work, AIR assisted BPS in defining performance benchmarks
and projected outcomes and set in motion a plan for ongoing monitoring activities, culminating
with the opportunity to formally evaluate successes and challenges over the three-year grant
cycle. The indicators of success include the following:
•
Positive feedback from the state on the multistep, rigorous review process created by AIR
•
Expansion of AIR’s role in the second phase of the application process
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•
Development of performance benchmarks and project outcomes to assist the new
turnaround office in monitoring SIG grantees and external providers
•
Continued feedback from the client regarding their high level of satisfaction with AIR’s
services and deliverables
Clark County Efficiency Study, Clark County School District, Nevada
Clark County is struggling—as are many large urban school districts—to meet the needs
of a large and growing population of ELLs, with fewer resources than they have had in the past.
AIR partnered with the Gibson Consulting Group to conduct an evaluation for the Clark County
School District that was designed to help district leaders make decisions about maintaining or
eliminating specific academic programs for the 2011–12 school year. AIR conducted an
academic program review to investigate the extent and quality of the evidence of effectiveness
for an identified set of key district programs, including programs and services for ELLs, and a
comparative analysis of Clark County School District and other similar districts. The evaluation
examined two research questions: (1) What existing educational programs yield the greatest
return on investment and could be expanded (within the constraints of existing resources) to
increase student achievement? and (2) What, if any, educational programs should be abandoned,
with resources being redirected to an existing program(s) and/or a new program(s) to increase
student achievement? The evaluation included a review of district documents, a review of the
research literature, interviews with district staff, and analysis of extant state and district data.
Curriculum Audit for the English Language Arts in the Elkhart Community School
District, Elkhart, Indiana
After being cited for corrective action under the NCLB Act in English language arts
(ELA), many districts have contracted Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of AIR, to carry
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out curriculum audits, including the Elkhart Community School District in Northern Indiana. A
comprehensive ELA curriculum audit was conducted in this district of approximately 13,500
students during the 2007–08 school year. During this audit, Learning Point Associates, an
affiliate of AIR, collected information regarding ELA curriculum, instruction, assessment,
professional development, and intervention services. The data sources included the following:
• Analysis of three years of ELA achievement data
• K–12 ELA curriculum alignment to the state standards
• ELA assessment alignment to the state standards
• 88 interviews with district and school-level staff
• Key document review of ELA policies and plans
• 100 hours of ELA classroom observations
Every curriculum audit tailors to the client’s specific needs. This district is unique in that it
implements two distinct ELA curricula. Therefore, the classroom-observation protocol utilized
in this audit was ELA-specific, allowing the analysis to address how ELA content was being
delivered across K–12 classrooms in the district. Several audit data reports revealed that the
district lacked both a districtwide comprehensive, well-articulated written curriculum and local
ELA assessments. In addition, data indicated that inequities exist in the support services offered
to both teachers and students. Informed by the audit findings, Learning Point Associates, an
affiliate of AIR, collaborated with district personnel to draft an action plan informing the
district’s improvement efforts. Currently, student performance in Elkhart Community School
District is improving, but the district is still identified as being in need of improvement.
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However, during the 2007–08 school year, the district met 30 of the 33 annual yearly progress
indicators, five more than it had reached the previous year.
Decatur School District Mathematics Common Core Alignment, Decatur, Illinois
Decatur Public Schools is working with AIR to assist the district in the development of a
K–12 curriculum framework for mathematics. The two-year process was conducted in workshop
format and focused on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Participants Grades K–12
inspected and learned the CCSS, aligned curricular materials, and selected curricular materials
for grade levels and courses. Curriculum writing sessions were held in which participants wrote
new aligned curriculum, included suggested accommodations and modifications for at risk
students and created suggested formative assessments for the new aligned curriculum all grade
levels. District created benchmarked pacing guides with introduction, mastery and review levels
for all grade levels were created and reviewed as a part of this work.
District Audits New York State Audits of the Written, Taught, and Tested Curriculum
2005–06: Yonkers, Wyandanch, Hempstead, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, and New York City
Districts 3 and 31 (for mathematics)
2006–07: Schenectady and New York City Districts 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 19, 24, and 31 (for ELA)
2007–08: Rome, Utica, Binghamton, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Mount Vernon, Dunkirk, and
New York City Districts (formerly 10, 11, 14, 18, and 29)
2008–09: Kingston and East Ramapo
2010–11: New York City Districts 5 and 16; North Rockland
Since the beginning of the 2005–06 school year, Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of
AIR, has conducted comprehensive audits of the written, taught, and tested ELA and
mathematics curricula in 32 school districts across New York that have failed to meet AYP. With
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each district, a four-step process was followed: planning, data collection, co-interpretationSM of
the findings, and action planning based on the key findings and auditor recommendations. AIR
staff employed a variety of data collection methods to reveal a complete picture of what is being
taught, how it is being taught, and where it matches state curriculum standards. An alignment
study of each district’s written curriculum was conducted against the state content standards. The
unique approach to interpretation involved engaging the school districts in the process and led to
ownership of the key findings by district staff. The school districts received final reports with
research-based recommendations based on the co-interpretationSM key findings.
In total, our audits have reached more than 630,000 students in kindergarten through
Grade 12 in urban, suburban, and rural school districts in New York City and upstate New York.
Of the 32 school districts in corrective action under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act that
were audited, 13 are in good standing. Good standing means that these school districts have met
AYP requirements for two consecutive years across all subgroups.
Data instruments used included the following: student assessment data, school-level
interviews, regional- and district-level interviews, classroom observations (utilizing the School
Observation Measure protocol), key document review, curriculum alignment, classroom
practices survey (Surveys of Enacted Curriculum), special education substudy report (including
examinations of redacted individualized education programs), and English language learner
(ELL) substudy report (including parent and community-based organization focus groups). Both
substudies utilized interviews and observations. Findings and recommendations concerned areas
such as curriculum alignment, differentiating instruction, integrating services for students with
disabilities and ELLs, embedded professional development, retaining new teachers, monitoring,
the utilization of assessment data, and concerns specific to high schools.
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District of Columbia Audit of Special Education Curriculum and Instruction, Washington,
D.C.
AIR is conducting a quality review of special education service delivery in DCPS and
public charter schools in the District of Columbia. The quality review assesses program quality
at the school level by applying a set of indicators developed in conjunction with special
education stakeholders. The primary objective is to identify and analyze programs and services at
the classroom, school, and district level as well as to obtain information about effective practices
that contribute to positive outcomes for students with disabilities.
East Chicago ELA Audit, East Chicago, Indiana
The School City of East Chicago was cited in corrective action under the federal No
Child Left Behind Act. As a result of this citing, the district needed to implement one of three
sanctions provided by the state of Indiana: an audit of the alignment of curriculum and/or the
curriculum management system; curriculum mapping; or the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum.
East Chicago determined that given the current curriculum, a curriculum audit is the proper
starting point for the district. Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of AIR, was contracted by
the district to perform this work. The purpose of this project was twofold: (1) to determine the
degree of alignment between the district’s K–12 English language arts written curriculum and
the Indiana Academic Standards and (2) to determine the development and implementation of a
sound, valid, and operational system of curriculum management. Learning Point Associates, an
affiliate of AIR, used a collaborative approach with clients during each phase of the project
including planning, data collection and analysis, co-interpretation and recommendations, and action
planning support to ensure that project objectives were met and that client capacity was increased.
There were several deliverables under this contract throughout the four phases of the audit.
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During the 2007–08 contract year, School City of East Chicago serviced an approximate student
population of 6,026 in PK–12th grade. Eighty percent of the students in the district received free
lunch, and 7 percent received free or reduced-price lunch. In the district, 7.4 percent of the
students were of limited English proficiency and 15.6 percent were in special education.
ELA Curriculum Alignment, Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin
AIR was hired to review ELA curricula and pacing guides at each grade level for (1)
alignment to the Wisconsin Reading Framework and the Milwaukee Public Schools Reading
Learning Targets, (2) appropriateness of instructional time span for three-month skill mastery,
(3) cohesive horizontal alignment between the reading curricula and the pacing guides, and (4)
vertical alignment to develop articulation between grades. The deliverables included a draft gap
analysis, a facilitated conversation with the district team, and a final report with
recommendations for action. The deliverables from this project were used for district planning
and the redesign of the ELA curriculum.
At the time of this contract, MPS served 87,360 students, with 77 percent of the students
receiving free or reduced-price lunch. ELLs comprised 8.6 percent of the student population.
Eisenhower High School Transformation, Decatur, Illinois
Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of AIR, serves as the lead partner for Eisenhower
High School’s Transformation Plan, as awarded under the School Improvement Grant (SIG)
1003g guidelines. With full-time on-site support, we are a direct partner in the improvement
strategies of the transformation plan—specifically, developing leadership capacity, promoting
professional learning communities, overseeing instructional coaching, implementing the
Common Core State Standards, implementing an early warning system, reforming the district’s
teacher evaluation process and tools to include student growth, and monitoring progress
indicators at the school and individual student levels.
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External School Curriculum Audits
•
Utica, New York: JFK Middle School
•
Rocky Mount, North Carolina: Rocky Mount Preparatory School
•
New York City, New York: Audits of 11 individual schools under the auspices of the
New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE)—Cobble Hill School of American
Studies; John Dewey High School; P.S. 152 Dyckman Valley; P.S. 044 Thomas C.
Brown; Newcomers High School; EBC High School for Public Service; Ebbets Field
Middle School; P.S. 277; P.S. 151 Mary D. Carter; P.S. 106 Edward Everett Hale; and P.S.
103 Hector Fontanez
External School Curriculum Audits
•
New York City, New York: Audits of 75 individual schools under the auspices of
NYCDOE (itemized list upon request)
AIR has extensive experience conducting highly collaborative audits of curricula (i.e.,
written, taught, and tested) in both ELA and mathematics. Our individual school curriculum
audits are designed to provide information to school and district leadership teams about the
curriculum and the instruction taking place in their buildings so that they can identify specific
areas on which to focus improvement efforts. To this end, the school audit is customized to
address the school’s area of identification and to target issues affecting the student subgroups
failing to make adequate yearly progress. As with the district-level audits, the AIR team partners
with the school in conducting interviews and classroom observations and administering surveys
to all instructional staff. Data are analyzed and several reports produced (one per data source) for
the school’s use. Key findings are developed in concert with district and school staff, utilizing
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our co-interpretation process. Each school audit results in a report of key findings, paired with
research-based recommendations for improvement targeted to the school’s needs.
Ft. Wayne Community Schools Curriculum Audit, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Ft. Wayne Community School District contracted with Learning Point Associates, an
affiliate of AIR, to conduct an English Language Arts centered curriculum audit. The purpose of
this project was twofold: (1) to determine the degree of alignment between the district’s K–12
English language arts written curriculum and the Indiana Academic Standards and (2) to
determine the development and implementation of a sound, valid, and operational system of
curriculum management.
We used a collaborative approach with clients during each phase of the project, including
planning, data collection and analysis, co-interpretation, and recommendations. This approach
ensured that project objectives were met and that client capacity was increased.
Kansas City Literacy Curriculum Audit, Kansas City, Missouri
This audit examined the taught ELA curriculum at the elementary, middle school, and
high school levels. The process was a collaborative one, intended not to find fault but to generate
findings in concert with school and district participants to help schools and the district overcome
their individual barriers to success. As such, district-level findings were not an end in themselves
but rather a starting point for facilitating conversations to identify probable causes, areas for
improvement, and ways to generate plans to realize improvement.
The approach was defined by duties and responsibilities; planning; data collection and
analysis; co-interpretation and recommendations; and action-planning support. Phase 1: Planning
kick-off meeting, and school sample selection. Phase 2: Data collection and analysis, which
included classroom observations, interviews and focus groups. In elementary schools
examination of allocation of time for literacy instruction and the proportion of instructional time,
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engaged time and academic learning time. Explicit and systematic instruction examined whether
the critical components of the reading and writing process are being taught in sequenced,
systematic, intentional, teacher-directed and explicit manner. Differentiated instruction, student
motivation and engagement, instruction that builds knowledge and culture that students bring to
school written literacy curriculum, and use of assessments also were examined. In secondary
schools analysis included explicit instruction, instruction that fosters student motivation and
engagement in literacy learning, student collaboration, writing, and infusion of literacy
development in all classes, literacy interventions for struggling readers and writers and effective
use of assessment. Phase 3: Co-interpretation. Phase 3 comprised the co-interpretation of
findings and generation of recommendations. Phase 4 is action planning (optional). The final
phase of the audit process required translation of data and interpretations into action plans that
can drive district improvement.
Hazelwood School District Turnaround and Transformation Partner, Hazelwood, Missouri
AIR has supported Hazelwood School District in its turnaround and transformation
planning since May 2010. The work started with leading the needs assessment and planning
process for the Hazelwood East Middle school improvement grant (SIG) and has grown to
districtwide support for turnaround and transformation, including the development of a new,
districtwide teacher evaluation system. AIR has been providing coaching and implementation
support to the superintendent and several assistant superintendents. In addition, AIR serves as the
lead partner for Hazelwood East Middle School in the 2010–13 implementation of its turnaround
intervention model. The support provided includes leadership coaching; implementation of
professional learning communities; and implementation of the school’s full SIG turnaround,
including interventions related to parent and community involvement, data use, literacy
curriculum, literacy instruction, and literacy assessment.
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Lanphier High School Transformation, Springfield, Illinois
AIR affiliate Learning Point Associates serves as the lead partner for Lanphier High
School’s Transformation Plan, as awarded under the SIG 1003g guidelines. With full-time onsite support, we are a direct partner in the improvement strategies of the transformation plan—
specifically, developing leadership capacity, promoting professional learning communities,
overseeing instructional coaching, implementing the Common Core State Standards,
implementing an early warning system, and monitoring progress indicators at the school and
individual student levels.
Missouri Needs Assessment and School Improvement Grant-Writing Assistance, Missouri
Department of Education
AIR affiliate Learning Point Associates was chosen by the Missouri Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education to work with six schools in Missouri. We conducted
varying levels of needs assessment in each school and provided support to school leaders in
writing grant applications to the state to receive 1003(g) federal school improvement funds to
implement one of the four federally approved models. All six schools were awarded SIG funds,
with two receiving the highest ratings and awards in the state.
Romulus Middle School Transformation, Romulus, Michigan
Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of AIR, serves as the lead partner for Romulus
Middle School in Romulus, Michigan, in the implementation of its SIG transformation. Romulus
Middle School student enrollment is approximately 600 students. Lead partner duties include
leadership coaching, coordinating support vendors, establishing school data systems and
monitoring protocols, designing an extended learning program, designing teacher compensation
systems, supporting positive behavioral supports, and implementing instructional improvement
interventions.
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U.S. Virgin Islands Educational Improvement Project, U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Department of Education, in partnership with AIR
affiliate Learning Point Associates, completed a three-year initiative designed to use
improvement plans and evaluation results to inform education decision making at the school,
district, and territory level and to comply with federal regulations. Intensive technical assistance
resulted in the development and implementation of well-aligned continuous improvement plans
throughout the USVI system and significant achievement gains in 19 of 33 schools within the
territory. Central to the success of the initiative was leadership training of continuous
improvement team and instructional leaders. Literacy-specific professional development was
conducted by AIR affiliate Learning Point Associates coaches for literacy leaders at all grade
levels. These sessions focused on the need to improve both the rigor of content taught and the
instructional methodology.
6.C. Organizational Capacity
Organizational Structure
AIR is founded on education research. Established in 1946,the organization is a national
and international leader in the improvement of teaching and learning, providing research,
assessment, evaluation, and technical assistance to ensure that all students have access to a highquality, effective education. Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit organization with more than
25 years of direct experience working with and for educators and policymakers to transform
education systems and student learning, merged with AIR in August 2010, bringing its nationally
recognized expertise in expanded learning, district and school improvement, and educator
effectiveness. Combined, our capacity to design and conduct rigorous and relevant education
research and evaluations; develop and deliver tools, services, and resources targeted to schools,
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school districts, and communities; and analyze and synthesize education policy trends and
practices is unparalleled.
The Education, Human Development, and the Workforce (EHDW) program at AIR is
committed to applying the best research evidence available to further human development and
potential, to increasing success in the workplace, and to ensuring that all students have access to
a high-quality effective education. The division’s staff of more than 400 work to illuminate the
root causes of the most pressing education and workforce challenges and to measure the impact
of the best known solutions. We ask the difficult questions to increase the field’s understanding
of what works and why, and our answers drive positive change.
EHDW program staff manage a diversified portfolio of work comprising more than 250
contracts and grants—ranging from direct consulting assignments to multiyear research and
technical assistance projects—from a variety of government, public, and private-sector clients.
AIR operates several federally funded research and technical assistance centers, including Great
Lakes East Comprehensive Center, Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center, National Center
for Technology Innovation, National Center on Response to Intervention, National Charter
School Resource Center, National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, and National
High School Center.
Our Expertise
EHDW is known for the following:
•
Conducting rigorous research that provides insight into how interventions work, when
they work best, and for which populations.
•
Identifying, collecting, analyzing, and presenting data to promote action for
improvement.
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•
Applying research to develop state-of-the-art tools and processes to transform
organizational and educational practices.
•
Informing public policy discussions by translating research and synthesizing trends.
•
Implementing innovative approaches and strategies directly with organizations,
schools, districts, and states to improve outcomes and create the right conditions for
lasting change.
Our expertise includes district and school improvement, educator effectiveness, expanded
learning, special education, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Our history of supporting districts and schools in rural, suburban and urban areas is documented.
We foundationally build our work on cycles of continuous improvement and improving educator
quality. We strategically and specifically work with our clients to increase capacity through the
comprehensive planning process, provision of professional development, and leadership training.
Our research, tools, and provision of technical assistance and support in the essential elements of
conditions for learning, community and family engagement, curriculum, instruction, and
assessment are geared to change the learning environment and improve teaching and learning.
Financial Stability
AIR has the financial capability, working capital, and fiscal resources necessary to run
The Center and support the Illinois statewide system of support. AIR has a solid, relationship
with JP Morgan Chase and good credit standing with our vendors. Our existing equity and
established commercial lines of credit are sufficient to provide the working capital necessary to
complete work awarded through task orders issued to us.
AIR is audited on an annual basis. Financial and A-133 audits are conducted by an
independent audit firm that performs specializes in annual audits. AIR also is audited on a
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regular basis by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). DCAA reviews and approves
AIR’s provisional billing rates, indirect rates, and also audit and issue the final rates. All
completed audits and financial reviews have confirmed that AIR is in full compliance with
required accounting standards.
AIR has the capacity to have in place, all facilities, equipment, personnel and other
required resources needed to insure overall management of this study and to meet task order
scope of work objectives and deliverables, on schedule and within budget.
AIR has been a federal government contractor since 1947. During its entire history, AIR
has been committed to providing high-quality performance. AIR has a strong record of adhering
to project budgets, owing to our adept project management team and our corporate accounting
infrastructure, which includes software tools for projecting, tracking, and comparing costs. In
addition, from consistent on-time submission of program and financial reports to commendable
response times for proposal submissions and award modifications, AIR has demonstrated time
and again the willingness to put forth the effort needed to ensure our products meet clients’
needs—on schedule. At AIR, timely past performance of award requirements is demonstrated by
the following:
•
Completing applications in a timely and efficient manner
•
Being available for phone or online negotiations of submitted applications and proposals
•
Submitting quarterly program and financial reports on time
•
Responding promptly to requests for project pipelines
•
Quickly identifying and fielding consultants and other short-term technical assistance
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•
Engaging home office resources as needed to meet time-sensitive technical issues in the
field
Organizational Capacity
AIR has experience in many areas, including a strong history of running national and
state level centers of expertise. A key strength of our nonprofit corporation is that of addressing
our client’s needs and ensuring that we continuously strive to deliver uncompromising quality
and coherence to our work. We have more than 30 years of experience working with the Illinois
State Board of Education in a variety of venues, most recently during the Regional Educational
Laboratory Midwest and Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center contracts. Our ability to
coordinate work from multiple locations deploy staff to wherever needed, design and implement
tools for systemic reform as well as disseminate research based practitioner level information is
well documented in our work history. Listed later are a sample of the national-level and statelevel projects and centers that we have operated.
Michigan Race to the Top, Michigan Department of Education, 2009–10
Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of AIR, was hired to assist the Michigan
Department of Education (MDE) in the development of a strategy to immediately address
Michigan’s critical education priorities and align them with the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA) assurance areas designated within the U.S. Department of Education
Race to the Top (RTTT) RFP. This work included mapping current Michigan initiatives to the
RTTP assurances, including reviewing data and other evidence to recommend how priorities will
be met, innovation embraced, resulting in a high-quality scope of work. District support included
project management support for the district application process, draft criteria for the initial
screening of the Re-Imagine proposals and to identify districts for consideration and possible
funding. We also were to assist the MDE and the selected districts to establish a consortium of
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districts for innovative practice as part of MDE’s RTTT program. This included the design and
delivery of a technical support system for the districts involved in the application process.
Center for Comprehensive School Reform and Improvement, 2004–09
With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the purpose of The Center was to
assist schools and school districts contemplating or engaged in school reform and improvement.
AIR provided them with reliable information about research-based strategies and assistance in
using that information to make positive changes. The Center’s mission was to help schools
organize, plan, implement, and sustain improvement. The Center was funded through the U.S.
Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and operated by
Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit education research and consulting organization and an
affiliate of AIR. The Center brought education research and strategies directly to educators
through free resources and technical assistance, including regularly published materials
(newsletters, issue briefs, and research briefs) on topics pertinent to school improvement and
research-based guides, tools, and information to help schools increase academic achievement for
all students.
Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice, 1997–98
AIR operates the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice, which provides
technical assistance (TA) for Safe Schools/ Healthy Students grantees (individual school
districts) as a collaborative subcontractor with the Education Development Center. Primary areas
of TA include support and resources on violence prevention, safe schools and building resilient
youth through conflict resolution, anti-bullying strategies, social-emotional curriculum such as
character education, and social skills training. TA specialists provide direct consultation, written
guides, fact sheets, webinars, and peer-to-peer networking in the implementation of evidencebased programs such as Peers Making Peace, Positive Action, and Peer Mediation. The Center
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for Effective Collaboration and Practice also assisted Safe Schools/Healthy Students grantees in
implementing a social-emotional curriculum (including character education and social skills
training).
Comprehensive School Reform Quality Center, 2003–06
AIR was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and
Secondary Education to create and operate a Comprehensive School Reform Quality (CSRQ)
Center. The CSRQ Center provided timely and reliable tools and technical assistance to support
urban and rural educators and education decision makers in choosing the highest quality CSR
model to meet locally defined needs. The Center provided resources and reliable information to
help decision makers answer a central question: Which of these programs work well to raise
student achievement or accomplish other important student outcomes? The work of The Center
focused on three main areas: producing and disseminating reviews and supplemental guidance on
the effectiveness and quality of CSR models; developing partnerships with organizations,
educators, and technical assistance providers to ensure that CSRQ reports are useful and
relevant; and providing technical assistance to help support an increased capacity to use the
reports and guidance produced by the project.
Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, 2005–12 Recompetition
The Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center serves the states of Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. It
provides an array of training and technical assistance resources to build the capacity to support
districts and schools in implementing the current reauthorization of the Elementary and
Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This comprehensive center works to support the SEA in
closing achievement gaps and helping all students achieve the high academic standards dictated
by ESEA.
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Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center, 2006–12 Recompetition
Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center delivers technical assistance and support to
state education agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin. The regional comprehensive centers work
with the five federally funded national content centers and provide states with research, proven
tools, and direct technical assistance in teacher quality, instruction, high school improvement,
innovation and improvement, and assessment and accountability. In carrying out its technical
assistance work, Great Lakes West produces a wide array of deliverables that include, but are not
limited to, state technical assistance plans, activities and inquiries databases, a website, a
quarterly e-newsletter, brochures, and formative and summative evaluations. The primary goal of
Great Lakes West is to increase states’ capacity to assist districts and schools in meeting their
student achievement goals related to the current reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (ESEA) by providing assistance that will enable the states to assess the
improvement needs of districts and schools, develop solutions to address those needs, build and
sustain a state system of support for districts and school improvement efforts, and improve the
tools and systems for school improvement and accountability.
National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI), 2007–12
AIR manages the National Center on Response to Intervention—which supports the
implementation of response to intervention (RTI) on a national level—in consultation with
researchers from Vanderbilt University and in collaboration with researchers from the University
of Kansas Center for Research on Learning. NCRTI is funded by the Office of Special Education
Programs to build the capacity of state education agencies (SEAs) to assist local education
agencies (LEAs) in implementing proven and promising RTI models. For example, during its
first year, NCRTI contacted all 50 states and began to provide SEAs with technical assistance
implementation supports to strengthen their RTI initiatives. Notably, NCRTI has developed a
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framework for capacity building that helps participating SEAs (1) develop their vision for RTI,
(2) establish RTI leadership teams, (3) assess student needs and the strengths (and weaknesses)
of existing SEA and LEA delivery systems, and (4) self-assess both the implementation
efficiency and impact of their statewide initiative for RTI. Moreover, NCRTI has used its
website and webinars to reach broader audiences, such as parents and educators, with
information about RTI.
National Charter School Resource Center (Resource Center), 2005–14
The U.S. Department of Education created the National Charter School Resource Center
to promote effective practices, provide technical assistance, and disseminate resources critical to
the success of charter schools and awarded the contract to Learning Point Associates and its
partner organizations: Editorial Projects in Education, SRI International, American Institutes for
Research, and small-business partners Collaborative Communications, Public Impact, and Forum
One. The Resource Center provides the Office of Innovation and Improvement’s Charter Schools
Program and charter schools throughout the nation on-demand access to resources that assist
them to successfully plan, implement, and maintain high-quality programs. These services
include, but are not limited to, a wide range of research and development assistance, resource
production and dissemination, technical assistance, and ongoing forums to engage dialogue and
sharing of best practices throughout the charter schools community.
National High School Center (NHSC), 2005–12
Another of the five national content centers, the National High School Center promotes
the use of research-supported approaches to help all students learn and become adequately
prepared for college, work, and life. Identification of research-supported improvement programs
and tools and technical assistance services to improve secondary education are among the
offerings of the National High School Center. In operating this center, AIR subcontracted with
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several other leading education research organizations, including Learning Point Associates,
MDRC, the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA), and WestEd. Operating as
a catalyst for change in high schools across the country, NHSC has three overarching functions:
(1) dissemination of comprehensive, usable knowledge about effective strategies for improving
high schools; (2) synthesis of research into useful products and tools; and (3) provision of a
variety of high-leverage technical assistance services to meet the diverse needs of the regional
centers nationwide. NHSC presents information in a variety of ways, including webinars, fact
sheets and briefs, and summer institutes, to ensure that its products are accessible to a wide
audience.
National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and
Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk II, 2002–15
This project continued AIR’s work (from 2002 to 2005) to operate the National
Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth Who Are
Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk (NDTAC). AIR developed a uniform evaluation model for
reporting education data and built the capacity of state and local agency programs through the
delivery of technical assistance (TA), dissemination of best-practices information, and fostering
collaboration among neglect or delinquent (N or D) programs and other agencies and
stakeholders. NDTAC directly serves the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) Title I, Part D,
program office of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Center’s primary
audience is state education agency (SEA)-level N or D coordinators, but The Center also
provides services to a larger body of personnel in state agencies (SAs) and local education
agencies (LEAs).
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Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest, 1984–16
REL Midwest is one of 10 regional educational laboratories funded by the U.S.
Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The primary mission of the
regional educational laboratories is to serve the educational needs of designated regions, using
applied research, development, dissemination, and training and technical assistance, to bring the
latest and best research and proven practices into school improvement efforts. Serving the states
of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, REL Midwest works
collaboratively with educators and policymakers to identify and apply scientifically valid
research to decision making by collecting and interpreting data to assess regional needs,
developing and delivering technical assistance, engaging in state policy outreach activities,
conducting events that connect research to practice, and implementing short-term and long-term
applied research and development efforts. Throughout the course of their five-year contracts,
RELs performed five general tasks and the associated subtasks that align with the general tasks
of the performance work statement. AIR (through its affiliate Learning Point Associates) has
housed a regional education laboratory, continuously since 1984, first as the North Central
Regional Educational Laboratory and later as REL Midwest.
What Works Clearinghouse, 2009–12
The Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education contracted with
AIR to create The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC), which provides educators, policymakers,
researchers, and the public with a central and trusted source of scientific evidence of what works
in education. The WWC produces rigorous reviews of scientific evidence of the effectiveness of
educational programs, practices, products and policies. To do this, the WWC develops standards
for reviewing and synthesizing research for selected topic areas. Within each topic (or subtopic),
the WWC produces reports on the intervention and reports on the topic. Part of the critical
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review process includes developing standards for the quality of educational research across topic
areas. It also includes a registry of evaluators who are prepared to conduct evaluation studies
designed to meet high-quality standards as determined by the Clearinghouse.
6.D. Nonnegotiable Commitments
AIR and ADI both have long histories of being collaborative partners in creating change
in state and district systems that improve outcomes for students. This work has been based on
disciplined approaches to the work and thoughtful decision making parameters that facilitate
effective work process and minimize risks toward achieving our goals. The history of both
organizations includes successful partnerships with each other and with ISBE. We bring this
collaboration, discipline, and thoughtfulness to our work on The Center. To that end, we request
the following decision making authority and nonnegotiable conditions.
Personnel
•
Although hiring of The Center director and other key leadership positions will be done in
collaboration with ISBE, AIR reserves the final decision on hiring and retention of staff
at all levels of The Center organizational chart.
•
We believe that recruiting and staffing the most highly qualified staff for each Center
position is the key to our success. ISBE has provided salary caps and number of position
ranges for specific positions. For example, The Center will employ between 5 and20 FTE
Turnaround Specialists with a total cost cap of $3 million. We reserve the right to hire 15
rather than 20 of a given position to allow us to get the most highly skilled people in the
position at a competitive rate. Although the decision will be made in consultation with
ISBE, AIR reserves the right of final decision on the number of positions that will be
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staffed and their respective salaries. Such decisions will be based on the budget, number
of people, and market value of these positions.
Collaboration With ISBE
•
Collaboration with key ISBE leadership is a nonnegotiable. After The Center is
established, we request quarterly meetings with ISBE leadership including
Superintendent and assistant superintendent. These meetings will precede any state board
meetings at which The Center is on the agenda and any reports that will be presented to
the state board. We request more frequent meetings with our direct liaison for the first
180 days of The Center.
•
In the interest of collaboration, a SSOS Liaison funded 50 percent by The Center and 50
percent by ISBE and located with an office next to either state superintendent or deputy
superintendent will serve as a conduit for communication between ISBE, The Center
director, and senior leadership of The Center.
•
Center leadership, AIR, and ADI will be consulted on state policy decisions prior to
finalization so that the operations and effectiveness of The Center is a key consideration.
•
The success of The Center will rely on the credibility it has in the field with LEA and
school leaders and stakeholders. The authority backing of The Center by ISBE and vocal
support of Center initiatives, vision, and decisions are critical to success.
•
To be effective, we require timely and comprehensive access to school-level and districtlevel data.
•
We request assurance that reports we prepare will be submitted to the state board; these
reports will have been preapproved by the superintendent. We also request that we are on
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the agenda for state board meetings on a quarterly basis to ensure that The Center’s
operation gets routine consideration by the board.
Work Plan Refinement and Adjustment
•
We request negotiations in scope of work changes for the work plan. This will assist in
ensuring that we provide effective support for local education agencies, schools, and state
improvement initiatives
•
With a five-year plan, there will be inevitable changes in the federal, state, and local
landscape and policy requirements. In addition, new research and best practices will
emerge that necessitate a review of The Center work plan and process. AIR, with
consultation of ISBE, will incorporate these changes as necessary for effective support of
LEAs, schools, and statewide improvement initiatives.
6.E. Staff Qualifications
Project Personnel
AIR and ADI as organizations are involved in a variety of projects designed to build the
capacity of SEAs and their SSOS. We also have a depth of experience in supporting districts and
schools in their improvement efforts. Table 10 outlines the personnel from AIR and ADI that
will be most directly involved with Center activities and is followed by highlights of their
previous experience in this role. More detailed cameos can be found in Section D of this
proposal.
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Table 10. Staff Involvement
Role
Personnel
Interaction
Timeframe
Senior Advisor
Jessica Johnson
Sam Redding
Center director
DAO chief officer
Weekly
Audit of the SSOS
Cary Cuiccio
Marie Slater
Danielle Carnahan
SSOS audit participants
Weekly throughout
duration of the audit
Design team
Jessica Johnson
Sam Redding
Thomas Kerins
Carole Perlman
Mark Mitchell
Victoria Cirks
Center director
DAO chief officer
Unit managers
Regional assistant
directors (RADS)
Monthly
Quarterly R&D Forums
Evaluation
Mary Nistler
Multilevel
external evaluator
Monthly
Professional
development support
team
Sam Redding
Julie Corbett
Dawn Dolby
District assistance teams
Rapid response teams
District liaisons
Summer intensive and
monthly
Performance
management support
team
Susan Hanes
Steven Ross
Center director and
leadership
Throughout the PMS
design
Curriculum &
instruction support
team
Danielle Carnahan
Christine Rauscher
Steve Leinwand
Unit managers
Content area specialists
Monthly
Turnaround support
team
Catherine Barbour
Aaron Butler
Turnaround specialists
District liaisons
Monthly
Research council
CASEL
Learning Forward
Cross & Joftus
Daniel Duke
Timothy Shanahan
Donna McCaw
Yvonne Holloman
Diane August
Rebecca Herman
Kerstin Carlson Le Floch
Steve Leinwand
Angela Minici
David Osher
Lisa Kinnamen
Lauren Morando Rhim
Design team and Center
staff at various levels
Quarterly R&D Forums
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Senior Advisors to The Center director and unit managers will provide guidance to the
executive level of The Center on Center functions, strategic planning, and monitoring of impact.
Frequency of support will be detailed in collaboration with ISBE.
Jessica Johnson is a managing director for District and School Improvement at AIR. She
provides guidance and management oversight for a range of projects with states, districts, and
schools primarily in the Midwest and Northeast regions. Her primary duties are to advise state
and district leaders on strategic improvement initiatives and oversee all district and school
improvement projects at AIR.
Sam Redding, Ph.D., is director of the Center on Innovation & Improvement (CII). Dr.
Redding served on the IES expert panel on school turnarounds and co-authored its 2008 report
Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools. Dr. Redding has served on a variety of
state committees, including the standards-writing committee for the Illinois State Board of
Education; the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) Leadership Team and the
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Parent Leadership Team; and the Collaborative for
Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.
Audit of SSOS will be conducted by experience field staff who will lead the collection of
data and co-interpretation.
Cary Cuiccio, team lead, is the principal education consultant in District and School
Improvement services at AIR. She acts as project director for the New York State Curriculum
Audits, guiding an innovative approach to multivariate data collection and collaborative
interpretation to help districts and schools in corrective action use data to develop concrete action
plans for improvement. Cuiccio also led the Learning Point Associates team, providing support
and assistance to the Michigan Department of Education in developing a statewide-integrated
education reform plan, including development of the Michigan Race to the Top proposal.
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Marie Husby-Slater. In her present work for the Great Lakes West Comprehensive
Center, she manages communications for the 2.5 million federal contract and provides research
and technical support for technical assistance to the Illinois State Board of Education and
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction focused on high-priority, statewide educational
initiatives. She has participated in numerous audits at the school and district level.
Danielle Carnahan, senior literacy associate, has worked with numerous states, districts,
and schools to help align and reform both instruction and curriculum. She has lead curriculum
audit teams in numerous districts and states.
The system design team will support the development of the statewide plan for systemic
improvement resulting from the audit.
Jessica Johnson (described earlier).
Sam Redding, Ph.D., (described earlier).
Thomas Kerins, Ed.D., serves as the associate director for Program Development for The
Center on Innovation & Improvement (CII), where he has specialized in statewide systems of
support. He has held positions including the state director of Testing for Illinois; assistant
superintendent for School Improvement and Assessment for the Illinois State Board of
Education; and assistant superintendent for School Improvement, Standards, and Assessment for
the Springfield School District. He is an adjunct professor for the University of Illinois at.
Carole Perlman, Ph.D., before joining The Center on Innovation & Improvement, served
as School Improvement Coordinator for the Chicago Public Schools from 2003 to 2006. For 20
years she was director of student assessment for the Chicago Public Schools and later served as
school improvement coordinator.
Dawn Dolby is a senior technical assistance consultant with the district and school
improvement services group of AIR. At Learning Point Associates, she provided technical
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assistance for states and districts in need of improvement through educator quality, instructional
reform, data driven systems and professional development. Dolby led the design of AIR
Turnaround and Transformation services and is currently focused on supporting secondary
schools in Missouri, Michigan, and Illinois in turnaround strategy design and implementation.
Mark Mitchell is state manager for the Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, he
manages a group of six consultants, staff, and subcontractors who provide technical assistance to
the Ohio Department of Education focused on high-priority, statewide educational initiatives. As
manager, he works collaboratively with leadership from the Ohio Department of Education and
with stakeholders from the regional system of support, school districts, state associations, and
higher education staff in Ohio to advance important work. This work includes the collaborative
design, statewide implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the Ohio Improvement Process
Victoria Cirks is a technical assistance consultant at AIR. She provides technical
assistance focused on the design and implementation of educational policy initiatives at the state,
district, and school level to improve student outcomes and prepare students for postsecondary
success.
Evaluation activities (described in Section 5) will be led by the following:
Mary Nistler is a senior researcher on the EHDW team at AIR. Her work focuses on
designing and planning evaluations, particularly those that are utilization focused and responsive
to client needs for timely information. She is currently the lead qualitative analyst for a statewide
evaluation of afterschool programs funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
For four years, Nistler has served as data director for curriculum audits of schools in corrective
action in New York state, designing audit frameworks, protocols, and reports as well as
managing field work and quality assurance procedures.
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Professional Development Support Team will provide professional development to
district assistance teams and rapid response teams and other school-level support staff.
Sam Redding, Ph.D., (described earlier).
Julie Corbett is the principal consultant and founder of Corbett Education Consulting.
She is a national expert on school and district turnaround, education reform, school improvement
best practices, and implementation of the federal SIG program. Before launching her own
education consulting company, Corbett was program manager at Mass Insight Education and
Research Institute in Boston. There, she led the outreach and dissemination of The Turnaround
Challenge’s framework and strategies; researched, wrote, and edited a variety of publications for
the Meeting the Turnaround Initiative; and worked on a variety of state consulting projects.
Dawn Dolby is a senior technical assistance consultant with the district and school
improvement services group of AIR. Dolby has 25 years of educational experience as a teacher,
professional development trainer, and school improvement and turnaround specialist. Dolby has
worked with schools and districts in more than 25 states and has successfully supported
numerous schools in comprehensive reform efforts leading to improved student achievement and
corrective action status. Over her years in education, she has taught and provided professional
development and technical assistance in urban, rural, and suburban schools.
Performance Management Support Team will provide guidance on the structure and
use of the performance management system and the internal evaluation design.
Susan Hanes, Ed.D., has extensive experience in public education, including information
management services, assessment development, research, program evaluation, and high school
mathematics teaching. Her experience includes 12 years in the Georgia Department of Education
in assessment development, director of statistical services and electronic data collection for
statewide systems, and program evaluation. Dr. Hanes has worked in local school systems as the
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director of assessment, research and evaluation.. She has conducted consulting services for the
IES Longitudinal Data System Grants, technical assistance for the Performance Based Data
Management Initiative (PBDMI), and consulting services and site visits with the Center for
Education Leadership and Technology and CCSSO for the Decision Support Architecture
Consortium.
Steven M. Ross, Ph.D., is currently a senior research scientist and professor at the Center
for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University. He has testified on school
restructuring research before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Early
Childhood, Youth, and Families, and is a technical advisor and researcher on current federal and
state initiatives regarding the evaluation of technology usage, supplemental educational services,
State Systems of Support (SSOS), and ESEA. Steven serves on the Center on Innovation &
Improvement’s Scientific Council.
Curriculum & Instruction Quality Assurance
Danielle Carnahan, senior literacy associate, has worked with numerous states, districts,
and schools to help align and reform both instruction and curriculum. She is knowledgeable in
research and has demonstrated capacity to design and implement instructional reform initiatives
at the state and district level.
Steve Leinwand is a principal research analyst at AIR and has more than 30 years of
leadership positions in mathematics education. He currently serves as mathematics expert on a
wide range of AIR projects that evaluate programs, develop assessments, and provide technical
assistance. Leinwand’s work at AIR has included serving as implementation task leader for the
IES Mathematics Professional Development Impact study; coauthoring What the United States
Can Learn from Singapore's World-Class Mathematics System (and what Singapore can learn
from the United States.
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Christine Rauscher, Ph.D., senior technical assistance consultant, has been involved
with the Iowa Department of Education implementation of the Common Core State Standards,
was project director for the Common Core State Standards Curriculum Mapping Project in a
large Indiana district, and has worked with the Kansas City, Kansas School District along with
other districts around the country to help them align their curriculum, instruction, assessment,
and professional development to the CCSS. She has been responsible for the creation of multiple
curriculum alignment initiatives and consultative work on two Institute of Educational Sciences
randomized controlled trial literacy.
Turnaround Specialist Training
Catherine Barbour is a senior consultant for School Turnaround services at AIR. She
leads project teams in the design and development of products and services to support states,
districts, and schools in their improvement efforts, specifically in the area of school turnaround
and transformation. She has lead three successful school turnarounds as a principal each
respectively in an urban, rural, and suburban school district. Barbour is a credentialed school
turnaround leader, earning her certificate from the Darden/Curry Partnership for Leaders in
Education.
Aaron Butler, Ph.D., senior turnaround consultant and has served as a turnaround
administrator before joining AIR. Aaron brings his experience, knowledge, and demonstrated
leadership skills to AIR’s turnaround and transformation services as the on-site turnaround
coordinator at Lanphier High School in Springfield, Illinois, and also leads AIR’s turnaround
work at Eisenhower High School in Decatur, Illinois. He provides coaching to district and school
leadership as they implement the turnaround plan working to ensure that the initiatives are wellimplemented and effective
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Research Council provides guidance and expertise by participating in the R&D Forums,
tools and process design, and quality assurance. These individuals and organizations represent
just some of the national expertise that will support The Center. Letters of support and agreement
to participate in Center activities can be found in Appendix B for those individuals and
organizations outside of AIR and ADI.
CASEL. Since 1994, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning
(CASEL) has been the world’s leading organization to advance the science and evidence-based
practice of social and emotional learning (SEL). CASEL has been at the forefront of defining the
field of SEL and setting rigorous quality and professional standards. Currently, CASEL is
engaging in a ground-breaking effort to make SEL an essential part of PK–12 education in the
United States. Through a coordinated set of strategies across practice, research, policy, and
communications, CASEL seeks to build, refine, and ultimately spearhead the broad
dissemination and use of leading-edge knowledge and supports that make students’ educational
experience more well-rounded through academic, social, and emotional learning.
Through ongoing research and study of implementation, CASEL has continued to refine
district, school, and classroom strategies to enhance five core areas of social and emotional
competence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and
responsible decision making. CASEL has established practice standards and identified evidencebased programs that help students develop these competencies. Effective schoolwide SEL
programming pursues two interrelated sets of strategies: (a) systematically teaching, modeling,
and facilitating application of social and emotional skills so students use them as part of their
daily repertoire of behaviors, and (b) establishing safe, caring, and highly engaging learning
environments involving peer and family initiatives and whole-school community-building
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activities. Together these strategies have been shown to have positive impacts on school climate,
improve academic performance, and promote a host of social and emotional benefits for
students.
Learning Forward. Learning Forward is an international membership association of
learning educators focused on increasing student achievement through more effective
professional learning. The organization’s purpose is ensuring that every educator engages in
effective professional learning every day so every student achieves. Learning Forward facilitated
the development of the internationally recognize Standards for Professional Learning. It operates
the Center for Results that supports education leaders in developing systems to improve educator
effectiveness and student achievement. The Center for Results offers high-impact consulting and
programs strictly aligned with Learning Forward’s research and body of knowledge in effective
professional learning to support deep implementation in schools.
Cross & Joftus. Early in 2004, Christopher Cross and Scott Joftus joined forces to
provide education leaders with expert and customized assistance in evaluation, strategic
planning, policy analysis and development, and school and district improvement. Sharon Deich
joined Cross & Joftus (C&J) in April 2007, enhancing the capabilities of the core team to focus
on expanded learning opportunities and address financing issues central to the success of all
reforms. Monica Rosen became the fourth partner in March 2012, bringing extensive expertise in
the area of human capital management.
Over time, Cross & Joftus has worked with a range of clients—including the states of
California and Kansas and districts such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Charlotte-Mecklenburg,
Dallas, Camden, and Buffalo—on a number of important issues, including the following:
•
District and school improvement and turnaround
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•
Needs assessments and strategic planning
•
Finance
•
Extended learning time
•
Special education
•
Human capital
•
Teacher quality
•
Accountability and data systems
•
Public-private financing approaches
•
No Child Left Behind Act implementation
Our continued success is based on two factors. First, we offer education leaders the small-firm
advantage of working directly with our partners and the large-firm advantage of leveraging
senior consultants with specialized knowledge and talents. Second, we combine rigorous
analytical methods with innovative solutions. We promote a capacity-building approach that
adds value to organizations long after their work with us has ended.
Dr. Daniel Duke. After teaching high school social studies and serving as a secondary
school administrator, Daniel L. Duke embarked on a career in higher education. For more than
three decades, he has taught courses on educational leadership, organizational change, and
school reform as well as conducted research on various aspects of public schools. After serving
on the faculties of Lewis and Clark College and Stanford University, he came to the University
of Virginia as chair of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Dr. Duke founded and
directed the Thomas Jefferson Center for Educational Design and helped establish the DardenCurry Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE), a unique enterprise involving the Curry
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School of Education and the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. He serves as
research director for the PLE. A prolific writer, Dr. Duke has authored or coauthored 27 books
and several hundred scholarly articles, monographs, chapters, and reports. His most recent books
include The Challenges of Educational Change (2004), Education Empire: The Evolution of an
Excellent Suburban School System (2005), Teachers’ Guide to School Turnarounds (2007), and
The Little School System That Could: Transforming a City School District (2008). A highly
regarded consultant, Dr. Duke has worked with more than 150 school systems, state agencies,
foundations, and governments across the United States and abroad. He has served as president of
the University Council for Educational Administration and was chosen as Professor of the Year
at the Curry School of Education.
Timothy Shanahan, Ph.D., is professor of urban education at the University of Illinois at
Chicago, where he is director of the Center for Literacy and chair of the Department of
Curriculum and Instruction. He is a principal investigator on the National Title I Study of
Implementation and Outcomes: Early Childhood Language Development. Professor Shanahan
was director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools. His research emphasizes reading-writing
relationships, reading assessment, and improving reading achievement. He is immediate past
president of the International Reading Association. In 2006, he was appointed by President
George W. Bush to serve on the Advisory Board of the National Institute for Literacy. He was
inducted to the Reading Hall of Fame in 2007.
Donna McCaw, M.A., M.S.Ed., received her doctorate from Illinois State University in
Curriculum and Instruction, with an emphasis is literacy. She has served education in the
following positions: professor of educational leadership, elementary principal, K–12 director of
curriculum, elementary school counselor, and speech therapist. She worked for six years with
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severely developmentally delayed adults in a sheltered workshop. She taught a class of
secondary students and team-taught sixth-grade science. She has coauthored several books and
has published numerous chapters within others. She has effectively presented to and trained
teachers, administrators, school board members, and support staff across the United States and in
the Virgin Islands. Topics of interest and expertise include curriculum, instruction, assessment,
literacy, program evaluation, continuous improvement cycles, grant writing, interpersonal skills,
and implementing change. Her work has included districts of all sizes, most of which have been
high poverty. A prolific grant writer, Dr. McCaw has millions of dollars in competitive grants to
her credit.
Diane August, Ph.D., is a managing director affiliated with AIR located in Washington,
D.C. At AIR, she is responsible for directing the English language learner (ELL) work for
EHDW. Her area of expertise is the development of science and literacy in second language
learners in Grades PK–12. Currently she is assisting several states and districts in implementing
the Common Core State Standards for ELLs. Prior to her position at AIR, she was a senior
research scientist at the Center for Applied Linguistics, where she was the principal investigator
for an NICHD Program Project that investigated the development of literacy in ELLs and
coprincipal investigator at the IES-funded National Research and Development Center on
English language Learners. She has also served as staff director for the National Literacy Panel
on Language Minority Children and Youth. She has been a senior program officer at the National
Academy of Sciences, where she was study director for the Committee on Developing a
Research Agenda on the Education of Limited English Proficient and Bilingual Students. Dr.
August has worked as a teacher, school administrator, legislative assistant, grants officer for the
Carnegie Corporation, and director of education for the Children’s Defense Fund. In 1981, she
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received her Ph.D. in education from Stanford University and in 1982 completed a postdoctoral
fellowship in psychology also at Stanford. She has published widely in journals and books.
Rebecca Herman, Ph.D., is a managing research analyst at AIR. She specializes in
conducting and evaluating research on school improvement as well as translating research to
practice. Dr. Herman is currently principal investigator of the U.S. Department of Education’s
(ED) Impact Evaluation of Race to the Top and School Improvement Grants, and project director
of the implementation substudy. Further, she is project director of ED’s study Turning Around
Chronically Low-Performing Schools. She chaired a panel to produce IES’s practice guide on
turning around chronically low-performing schools. Dr. Herman’s earlier work on effective
school reforms includes leading the first five-year phase of the What Works Clearinghouse and
leading An Educators’ Guide to Schoolwide Reform, a critical evaluation of the research and
implementation of the most prominent and promising comprehensive school reforms. She serves
on several advisory panels, providing guidance on school improvement research, including the
Education Writers Association National Research Advisory Panel and the Center for Disease
Control’s Guide for Community Preventive Services, and has provided Congressional testimony
and briefings.
Kerstin Carlson Le Floch, Ph.D., is a principal research analyst at AIR, specializing in
school improvement, state accountability policies, and Title I implementation. At present, Dr. Le
Floch directs the Study of School Turnaround for IES, a large-scale case study investigation of
the implementation of the SIG under ARRA. From 2003 to 2008, Dr. Le Floch directed the Study
of State Implementation of Accountability and Teacher Quality under NCLB for the U.S.
Department of Education. Through the SSI-NCLB, Dr. Le Floch managed two waves of data
collection from state officials, each consisting of approximately 200 interviews, with a 100
percent response rate. Dr. Le Floch also acted as the deputy project director on the partner study,
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the National Longitudinal Study of No Child Left Behind. Together, these two studies constituted
the primary data sources for the Congressionally mandated National Assessment of Title I. For
these studies, Dr. Le Floch has been a lead or primary author on six reports on key components
of NCLB. In addition to her work studying NCLB implementation, Dr. Le Floch directs a mixedmethod evaluation of Michigan’s statewide system of support for high-priority schools and has
conducted research on the California state system of accountability, through AIR’s study of the
Immediate Intervention/Underperforming Schools program. Dr. Le Floch recently concluded a
Gates Foundation-funded study of state supports for low-performing high schools. In the context
of the National Longitudinal Evaluation of Comprehensive School Reform, Dr. Le Floch directed
the development of district-level and school-level surveys, and conducted state interviews,
school-level case studies, and related analyses. In addition to studies at the federal and state
level, Dr. Le Floch also conducted an evaluation for the New York City Department of
Education of the implementation of the ARIS technology platform. Prior to joining AIR, Dr. Le
Floch worked with the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, collecting data on state
assessment and accountability policies under the Improving America’s Schools Act. Dr. Le
Floch presents regularly at national conferences and has published technical reports, book
chapters, and journal articles on issues related to accountability and school improvement. She
holds a Ph.D. in education policy studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Steve Leinwand is a principal research analyst at AIR and has more than 30 years of
leadership positions in mathematics education. He currently serves as mathematics expert on a
wide range of AIR projects that evaluate programs, develop assessments, and provide technical
assistance. Leinwand’s work at AIR has included developing specifications and an Algebraic
Reasoning item pool for the NCES High School Longitudinal Study; serving as implementation
task leader for the IES Mathematics Professional Development Impact study; coauthoring What
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the United States Can Learn from Singapore's World-Class Mathematics System (and what
Singapore can learn from the United States); and co-authoring a comparison of the 2007 Grade 3
assessments administered in Hong Kong and in Massachusetts. In addition, Leinwand has
provided school-level and district-level support and technical assistance for the General Electric
Foundation’s Ensuring Futures in Education project, the Microsoft Math Partnership, and the School
Improvement Program work at Hazelwood East Middle School in Missouri. As part of AIR’s
assessment program, Leinwand has overseen the development of multiple-choice and constructedresponse items for AIR’s contracts with Ohio, Hawaii, Delaware, and South Carolina.
Before joining AIR in 2002, Leinwand spent 22 years as a mathematics consultant with
the Connecticut Department of Education, where he was responsible for the development and
oversight of a broad statewide program of activities in K–12 mathematics education, including
the provision of technical assistance and professional development, the evaluation of Title 1 and
K–12 mathematics programs, the assessment of student achievement and teacher competency,
and the coordination of statewide mathematics programs and activities. Leinwand also has
served on the NCTM Board of Directors and has been president of the National Council of
Supervisors of Mathematics. He also is an author of several mathematics textbooks and has
written numerous articles. His books, Sensible Mathematics: A Guide for School Leaders and
Accessible Mathematics: 10 Instructional Shifts That Raise Student Achievement were published
by Heinemann in 2000 and 2009, respectively.
Angela Minnici, Ph.D., is a principal researcher on the Educator Quality team and serves
as deputy director of the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. As the former
associate director of educational issues at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and senior
researcher at the Center on Education Policy, Dr. Minnici uses her expertise in improving teacher
quality to help support states and districts in developing and implementing educator evaluation
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systems. Her current work focuses on developing ways to assess teaching and learning
conditions and to use the data for school improvement purposes as well as educator evaluation.
While leading AIR’s work with the Mississippi Department of Education to streamline and
redesign the state’s teacher evaluation instruments, Dr. Minnici also is providing technical
assistance to North Dakota and Wisconsin in developing and implementing new educator
evaluation systems. She is a member of the Teacher and Leader Evaluation Study, a two-year
study designed to test the influence of a comprehensive teacher and leader evaluation system on
teacher instructional practice, principal leadership, and student achievement in multiple states
and districts. Dr. Minnici has given many presentations to federal and state policymakers,
teachers, administrators, parents, and other education organizations. Before joining AIR, she
served as the principal investigator for several multistate research studies examining federal and
state education policies, including NCLB and high school exit exam policies. While working at
the AFT, Dr. Minnici facilitated the incorporation of research on teacher quality into policy
development, publications, and technical assistance efforts. She directed the AFT’s federal
Investing and Innovation (i3) grant that supported the implementation of rigorous and
comprehensive teacher evaluation systems in 10 districts across New York and Rhode Island. Dr.
Minnici earned her Ph.D. in administrative and policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
David Osher, Ph.D., is vice president of Human and Social Development at AIR. His
work focuses on collaboration, children’s services, prevention, social-emotional learning, youth
development, the social and emotional conditions for learning, teaching, and healthy
development, and culturally competent interventions for children and youth with mental health
problems and disorders and their families.
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Dr. Osher has served as director of the Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice,
has led AIR’s contract that supported the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council, and has
helped the U.S. Department of Education develop The National Agenda for Improving Results
for Children and Youth With Serious Emotional Disturbance. Dr. Osher currently serves as
principal investigator for the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Violence
Prevention, the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health, and the
National Evaluation and Technical Assistance Center for the Education of Children and Youth
Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At Risk. Dr. Osher also serves as principal investigator of a
contract to help the Federal Agency Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs develop
and implement a strategic plan to improve the coordination and efficiency of youth programs and
is working with New York State’s Governor’s office, Children’s Cabinet, and Commissioners to
develop dashboards with common indicators across Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Mental
Health, Probation, Education, Family Services and Health.
Dr. Osher has studied school and community change at a local, state, federal, and
international level, where he also has led the development of tools to study, monitor, and
intervene regarding school improvement (e.g., surveys, score cards, and tools to identify
effective interventions). He is AIR’s lead consultant to three major initiatives that focus on
community collaboration—Turnaround for Children, Say Yes to Education, and Cleveland
Ohio’s Human Ware Initiative and consults regularly with such national organizations as the
American Federation of Teachers and City Year. Dr. Osher has consulted with UNICEF global
and regional staff as well as UNICEFF and Ministry of Education staff from Cambodia, China,
Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and the Philippines regarding life skills, social emotional
learning, and the monitoring of school climate.
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Dr. Osher served as principal investigator of The What Works Clearing House Review of
Character Education, the Global Evaluation of UNICEF’s Child Friendly Schools, and the
national survey of youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice and adult correctional systems,
and of evaluations of city, citywide, and statewide youth development initiatives in New York
City, San Diego, Alaska, and Iowa. Dr. Osher has lead efforts to develop research agendas for
the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Program and chaired expert
panels convened for the Departments of Education and Justice regarding the prevention of school
violence and for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration regarding
intervention to foster safe, supportive, and successful schools.
Dr. Osher consults with federal state and local officials across multiple regularly with
offices in the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice, and has
served on multiple interagency work groups with federal officials. Dr. Osher serves on numerous
expert panels (e.g., the Preschool and Elementary School Assessment Workgroup and the
research advisory boards for America’s Promise and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and
Emotional Learning) and editorial boards. A former dean of two Schools of Human Services, and
a liberal arts college, Dr. Osher has authored, coauthored, or edited more than 270 books,
monographs, chapters, articles, and reports, including documents that were released by the White
House, Secretary of Education, Attorney General, and various Assistant Secretaries.
Lisa Kinnaman, Ed.D., is ADI’s director of improvement support to states and is based
at the Boise State University Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies. Dr. Kinnaman
was the chief architect of Idaho’s acclaimed statewide system of support, which she also
administered before joining ADI. She has worked as an education professor at Northwest
Nazarene University as well as a history and sheltered instruction teacher at Capital High School
in the Boise School District. Dr. Kinnaman developed and implemented the Idaho Building
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Capacity project, a cornerstone of Idaho’s Statewide System of Support designed to provide
frequent and meaningful technical assistance to schools and districts in needs improvement
status. She is currently heading Idaho Leads, a statewide technology project funded by the
Albertson Foundation, and manages ADI’s Indistar in the Western states. Dr. Kinnaman’s
doctoral dissertation was on statewide systems of support, and she has consulted with several
state education agencies on their systems.
Lauren Morando Rhim, Ph.D., is the president of LMR consulting. She provides
strategic technical assistance, program planning, facilitation, research, and evaluation services to
state departments of education, school districts, and nonprofits committed to creating highquality public schools for all students. Examples of her recent work include multiple projects for
the Academic Development Institute, for which she serves as a member of the Scientific Council.
Projects include developing and providing technical assistance to the national comprehensive
center network and state education agencies about the U.S. Department of Education’s SIG
program as well as analyses of its implementation, and directing a study of successful school
restructuring efforts under NCLB. Since 2007, she has worked with the Darden-Curry
partnership at the University of Virginia to assess and expand its School Turnaround Specialist
Program, including teaching in the program and conducting district readiness assessments for
participating districts. She holds her doctorate from the University of Maryland, College Park, in
Education Policy and Leadership.
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7. Subcontractors
AIR is proposing ADI and Corbett Education Consulting (CEC) as its subcontractor
partners on The Center. CEC is a certified BEP partner. ADI has been a reliable and responsible
partner in other projects since 2006; ADI provides competitive and fair prices for the work it
produces. In addition, ADI has been vetted through the Central Contractor Registration (CCR)
search (see the separately sealed Certifications package). AIR has worked with CEC’s founder
and principal, Julie Corbett, and found her to be a reliable and responsible partner.
Also provided in the Certifications package are the following documents: signed teaming
agreement, signed Standard Certifications for Bidders and Subcontractors, Disclosure of Conflict
and Financial Interest, BEP certification, letter of intent with BEP. Budget summary and details
are provided in the cost proposal.
In addition to the above information, after prime contract award, AIR will issue ADI and
CEC a detailed subcontracting agreement with clear and specific statement of work, performance
expectations, billing instructions, and the prime award appropriate terms and conditions as flow
down to the services provider.
8. Process for Hiring Project Personnel
8.A. Process for Hiring Center Director
To expedite the hiring process for this key position AIR has already begun preparations
for recruitment and hiring of one, full-time Center director to oversee and direct the daily
operations of The Center. Upon receipt of the RFP and a review of the included job description
and required qualifications for Center director, AIR staff began reaching out to its extensive
national networks of highly credentialed and experienced professionals in the field of educational
reform. In addition, AIR has begun an initial review of its own HR recruitment database built up
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more than seven years of extensive recruitment for education-related purposes, along with social
networking venues for highly qualified candidates with the requisite background and experience.
Upon award of The Center, AIR will immediately commence review of selected resumes
with the appropriate ISBE staff members to ensure that the shared interests of all stakeholders,
including ISBE, AIR, The Center, and district, school, and community partners are represented
in the selection process for The Center director. After ISBE and AIR reach agreement on which
candidates should proceed to the next step in the selection process, AIR technical and human
resources experts will conduct initial telephone screens with candidates to confirm availability,
interest, and conditions of employment with the selected candidates. In addition, these initial
telephone screens will include behavior-based probes into the backgrounds of candidates to
begin the selection process and to confirm potential suitability for the role. These behavioral
screens will be developed in part based on conversations between ISBE and AIR staff during the
résumé review process regarding the potential strengths and weaknesses of each candidate
selected for additional screening. Extensive notes will be taken during the initial phone screens
with potential candidates for subsequent review by AIR leadership and the appropriate ISBE
staff. AIR, in consultation with the ISBE representatives, will select two to three finalists for inperson interviews based on the initial phone screens and the candidates’ responses to the
behavior-based probes.
AIR will conduct rigorous in-person interviews for the finalists and will bring its full
technical and leadership resources to bear during the interview process. Finalists will be
interviewed by individuals or groups with extensive qualifications in educational programming,
including improvement of low-performing districts and schools, targeted professional
development for teachers, principals and administrators, data-driven decision making and
interventions, continuous improvement and management of large education technical assistance
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projects. The interviews will be structured so that AIR subject matter experts in these areas
conduct rigorous behavioral and scenario-based screens in their specific areas of expertise with
finalists. In addition, AIR executive leadership and human resources experts will conduct screens
for selection of candidates based on their leadership and management capacities and alignment
with AIR’s and The Center’s mission and culture. In addition, each finalist for Center director
will present to a panel of AIR experts on a topic relevant to the work of The Center and the
interests of Center stakeholders, including ISBE, districts, and schools.
Interviewers will provide notes and written feedback on finalists to AIR project
leadership and human resources staff for appropriate record-keeping and follow-up. Follow-up
includes a debrief of the interview days for each candidate, along with a robust discussion of
each finalist’s suitability and a recommendation whether to proceed. Prior to making a
recommendation on which finalist to offer The Center director position, AIR program
management and human resources staff will conduct at least three professional references on the
recommended candidate to confirm expected performance and to provide one final screen. AIR
leadership and project staff will discuss their recommended candidate for Center director with
selected ISBE staff and will provide summary notes for discussion in seeking approval for the
hire as Center director. AIR will invite ISBE staff to meet with the recommended candidate prior
to approval for hire. Upon approval for hire, AIR will make a verbal offer for the position
contingent upon criminal background check and education verification. Once an offer is accepted
and the contingencies lifted, AIR will initiate on-boarding activities for The Center director,
including all requisite paperwork, cultural and mission orientation, and setting of initial
performance expectations. The Center director will undergo a criminal background check and
education verification before hire.
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8.B. Process for Hiring Managers
After the contract for The Center is awarded to AIR, and simultaneously during the
selection process for The Center director, AIR will engage its extensive networks to commence
the search for the curriculum and instruction manager, the regional support manager, and the
priority schools intervention manager, all of whom will be full-time Center employees and who
will report directly to The Center director. In addition, AIR will conduct an aggressive sourcing
campaign for these candidates to include extensive advertising, database search, and social
networking activities. All candidate sourcing activities will include specific, targeted outreach to
individuals with expertise working with ELLs, low-income students, racial and ethnic minorities,
and SWDs.
After The Center director has been hired, he or she will lead the development and
finalization of role descriptors in conjunction with ISBE as described in Section 4 of this
proposal. Finalized and approved role descriptors for Center managers will serve as the
foundation for the screening and selection process. The Center director will work closely with
ISBE staff and AIR technical assistance and human resources expertise to implement the same
recruitment and selection process described earlier for Center managers, with a special emphasis
on the specific content area of each manager. Application materials, resumes, and summary notes
on final candidate will be presented to ISBE for review before hire for each of the three Center
manager positions. All Center staff hires will undergo criminal background checks, education
verification, and three reference checks before hire.
8.C. Process for Hiring Regional Assistant Directors
Upon contract award and approval of Center work plan, AIR also will commence
candidate sourcing activities for the 10 full-time regional assistant directors who will report to
The Center director and who will be housed in corresponding regional offices of education. The
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Center director and functional managers will finalize the role descriptions for the regional
assistant directors with ISBE as described in Section 4 and will employ the role descriptors in the
screening and selection process for the regional assistant directors. Every attempt will be made to
find suitable candidates for the regional assistant director positions within or nearby the
respective regional offices of education, with the specific needs of the regional education office,
districts, and schools in mind throughout sourcing and selection. In addition, all candidate
sourcing activities will include specific, targeted outreach to individuals with expertise working
with ELLs, low-income students, racial and ethnic minorities, and SWDs.
An expedited interview process involving initial phone screens and panel interviews
consisting of AIR technical experts, human resources staff, and project managers will be
implemented to ensure rapid hire of regional assistant directors based on the need to hire 10
regional assistant directors. The Center director and center mangers will personally interview
each finalist before extending an offer. Application materials, resumes and summary notes on the
final candidate will be presented to ISBE for review before hire of the regional assistant
directors. All Center staff hires will undergo criminal background checks, education verification
and three reference checks before hire.
8.D. Process for Hiring Content Area Specialists
The Center director, manager of curriculum and instruction, and regional assistant
directors will collaborate with ISBE to finalize the role descriptors for remaining content area
specialists in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, data/assessments, and learning
supports as described in Section 4. Extensive networking, including social networking, and
advertising will be conducted within each specific region to ensure a robust candidate pool for
each of these positions. All recruiting activities will include outreach to individuals with
expertise working with ELLs, low-income students, racial and ethnic minorities, and SWDs. The
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expedited screening and selection process will be incorporated to ensure that the high volume of
content area specialist staff may be hired within an appropriate timeframe and for timely startup
of Center activities. Panel screens will be focused on areas of technical expertise, and The Center
director, manager of curriculum and instruction and regional assistant directors will work with
ISBE, and AIR technical and project leadership and human resources experts to ensure
appropriate technical assistance skills for each candidate for each position prior to extending an
offer. All Center staff hires will undergo criminal background checks, education verification, and
three reference checks before hire.
8.E. Process for Hiring Turnaround Specialists
The Center director, manager of priority schools interventions, and regional assistant
directors will collaborate with ISBE to finalize the role descriptors for turnaround specialists.
Extensive networking, including social networking, and advertising will be conducted within
each respective geographic region to ensure a robust candidate pool for highly qualified
turnaround specialists. All recruiting activities will include outreach to individuals with expertise
working with ELLs, low-income students, racial and ethnic minorities, and SWDs. The
expedited screening and selection process will be incorporated to ensure that the high volume of
turnaround specialist staff may be hired within an appropriate timeframe and for timely startup of
Center activities in each region. Panel screens will be focused on areas of technical expertise,
specifically turnaround expertise and experience. The Center director and manager of priority
schools interventions will work with ISBE, and AIR technical and project leadership and human
resources experts to ensure a high level of turnaround skills and experience for each position
prior to extending an offer. All Center staff hires will undergo criminal background checks,
education verification and three reference checks before hire.
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8.F. Process for Hiring District Liaisons and District Assistance Teams
The Center director and regional assistant directors will collaborate with ISBE to finalize
the role descriptors for district liaisons and district assistance teams. Extensive networking,
including social networking, and advertising will be conducted within each respective region to
ensure a robust candidate pool for each of these roles. All recruiting activities will include
outreach to individuals with expertise working with ELLs, low-income students, racial and
ethnic minorities, and SWDs. The expedited screening and selection process will be incorporated
to ensure that the high volume of hires for the district liaison and district assistance team roles
may be hired within a condensed timeframe and for rapid startup of Center activities. Panel
screens will be focused on areas of technical expertise, and The Center director and the regional
district liaisons will work with ISBE, and AIR technical and project leadership and human
resources experts to ensure appropriate technical assistance skills for each position prior to
extending an offer. All Center staff hires will undergo criminal background checks, education
verification, and three reference checks before hire.
8.G. Process for Hiring Rapid Response Teams
The Center director, priority schools manager and turnaround specialists will collaborate
with ISBE to finalize the role descriptors for district liaisons and district assistance teams.
Extensive networking, including social networking, and advertising will be conducted within
each region to ensure a robust candidate pool for each of these roles. All recruiting activities will
include outreach to individuals with expertise working with ELLs, low-income students, racial
and ethnic minorities, and SWDs. The expedited screening and selection process will be
incorporated to ensure that the high volume of hires for the district liaison and district assistance
team roles may be hired within a condensed timeframe and for rapid startup of Center activities.
Panel screens will be focused on areas of technical expertise, and The Center director, the
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manager of priority schools and turnaround specialists will work with ISBE, and AIR technical
and project leadership and human resources experts to ensure appropriate technical assistance
skills for each position prior to extending an offer. All Center staff hires will undergo criminal
background checks, education verification, and three reference checks before hire.
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D. Contractor’s Qualifications
D.1. Description of the Organization
The Education, Human Development, and the Workforce (EHDW) program at AIR is
committed to applying the best research evidence available to further human development and
potential, increase success in the workplace, and ensure that all students have access to a highquality effective education. The program’s staff of more than 400 work to illuminate the root
causes of the most pressing challenges in education and workforce productivity and to measure
the impact of the best known solutions. We ask the difficult questions to increase the field’s
understanding of what works and why, and our answers drive positive change.
The staff of AIR manage a diversified portfolio of work comprising more than 250
contracts and grants—ranging from direct consulting assignments to multiyear research and
technical assistance projects—from a variety of government, public, and private-sector clients.
Our staff excels at working on-site with clients and is able to competently manage large-scale
projects, of all types, from work stations that may be located off client sites. AIR operates
several federally funded research and technical assistance centers, including Great Lakes East
Comprehensive Center, Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center, National Center for
Technology Innovation, National Center on Response to Intervention, National Charter School
Resource Center, National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, and National High
School Center.
Our Expertise
AIR is known for the following:
•
Identifying, collecting, analyzing, and presenting data to promote action for
improvement.
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•
Applying research to develop state-of-the-art tools and processes to transform
organizational and educational practices.
•
Informing public policy discussions by translating research and synthesizing trends.
•
Implementing innovative approaches and strategies directly with organizations,
schools, districts, and states to improve outcomes and create the right conditions for
lasting change.
•
Conducting rigorous research that provides insight into how interventions work, when
they work best, and for which populations.
Our expertise includes district and school improvement, educator effectiveness, expanded
learning, special education, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) but
extends beyond K–12 education. We also have deep knowledge of early childhood development,
college and career readiness, higher education, organizational effectiveness, school finance
policy, and workforce development. Section 6 of this proposal demonstrated our vast experience
and expertise with clients in this field.
D.2. Qualifications and Experience
Project Personnel in Alphabetical Order
Catherine Barbour is a senior consultant for School Turnaround services on the EHDW
team at AIR. She leads project teams in the design and development of products and services to
support states, districts, and schools in their improvement efforts, specifically in the area of
school turnaround and transformation. Barbour has led project teams to design and develop
school improvement plans for
school districts in Illinois and Missouri, which resulted in
submitting awarded applications. Barbour provides consulting to states, districts, and schools in
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level and school-level leadership training to lead turnaround, developing implementation
monitoring indicators and tools, and building systems for sustaining reform initiatives.
Previously, Barbour was an independent consultant working with schools and districts to provide
training and support in the implementation of professional learning communities, school
improvement leadership coaching for principals and school teams, and curriculum development.
She has lead three successful school turnarounds as a principal each respectively in an urban,
rural, and suburban school district. Barbour’s focus is on schools, districts, and states to
implement successful turnaround and transformation services. Barbour received her master’s
degree in elementary administration at the College of William and Mary. Barbour is a
credentialed school turnaround leader, earning her certificate from the Darden/Curry Partnership
for Leaders in Education.
Aaron Butler, Ph.D., senior turnaround consultant, has more than 13 years of experience
in public education. During that time, he served as a classroom teacher, teacher leader, and
turnaround administrator before joining AIR. Aaron brings his experience, knowledge, and
demonstrated leadership skills to AIR’s turnaround and transformation services as the on-site
turnaround coordinator at
turnaround work at
in Springfield, Illinois, and also leads AIR’s
in Decatur, Illinois. He provides coaching to district
and school leadership as they implement the turnaround plan working to ensure that the
initiatives are well-implemented and effective.
Danielle Carnahan, senior literacy associate, has more than 10 years of experience in
literacy support and development. During this time, she has worked with numerous states,
districts, and schools to help align and reform both instruction and curriculum. She specializes in
working with urban areas with schools of at-risk students from low-income and limited English
proficient families. She is knowledgeable in research and has demonstrated capacity to design
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and implement instructional reform initiatives at the state and district level. Through the years,.
Carnahan has authored many reports and published articles and manuals on professional
development and research.
Victoria Cirks is a technical assistance consultant at AIR. She provides technical
assistance focused on the design and implementation of educational policy initiatives at the state,
district, and school level to improve student outcomes and prepare students for postsecondary
success. As project lead with the Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, she manages
technical assistance to the
related to its competency-based
education policy and safe and supportive learning projects. Through her work on competencybased education, she has led a multiyear collaboration with the IDEA Partnership and
to
develop and moderate a statewide community of practice. In addition, she facilitates cross-state
meetings and consults with other states working on Next Generation learning initiatives. She
served as project lead for the career and technical education (CTE) standards revision project
working with the Indiana Department of Education to increase the rigor of its CTE standards and
to align them with the Common Core State Standards. In addition, she works with the National
High School Center on high school improvement and college and career readiness initiatives.
The development and implementation of communities of practice is a main focus area of her
project work. She has worked on projects with Reform Support Network assisting state education
agencies in their implementation Race to the Top, the Center for Comprehensive School Reform
and Improvement, providing school-level and district-level support for RTI initiatives and has
conducted audits of the written, taught, and tested curriculum in multiple districts of New York
City schools. Prior to joining AIR, Cirks served as a school-based program coordinator for a 21st
Century Community Learning Center program. She earned a master’s degree in peace and
conflict resolution from American University.
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Julie Corbett is the principal consultant and founder of Corbett Education Consulting.
She is a national expert on school and district turnaround, education reform, school improvement
best practices, and implementation of the federal SIG program. She has authored a growing
number of publications, including Lead Turnaround Partners: How The Emerging Marketplace
of Lead Turnaround Partners Is Changing School Improvement published by the Center on
Innovation & Improvement. She also is a member of the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to
the Top Reform Support Network. Before launching her own education consulting company,
Corbett was program manager at Mass Insight Education and Research Institute in Boston.
There, she led the outreach and dissemination of The Turnaround Challenge’s framework and
strategies; researched, wrote, and edited a variety of publications for the Meeting the Turnaround
Initiative; and worked on a variety of state consulting projects. Prior to joining Mass Insight, she
was a research assistant with The Rodel Foundation of Delaware and assisted with the Vision
2015 education reform. Mrs. Corbett also completed a year of service with Americorps VISTA
and the Delaware Mentoring Council program, where she was the lead staff in the creation of a
Governor’s Executive Order for state employee mentoring (signed by Governor Minner,
September 2005). Corbett is a fellow of the Institute for Education Leadership’s Education
Policy Fellowship Program at Northeastern University and has an M.P.A from the University of
Delaware, where she specialized in state and local government and education policy. She earned
her B.A. at Denison University.
Cary Cuiccio, team lead, is the principal education consultant in District and School
Improvement services at AIR. Cuiccio is a skilled project manager, group facilitator, and team
builder and has 14 years of experience negotiating the implementation of school improvement
reforms in large urban systems, coordinating technical assistance, and facilitating the
development of strategic plans to optimize organizational growth and development. As project
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director, team lead, or technical assistance provider on a number of projects, she manages
relationships with clients, subcontractors, and stakeholders; oversees teams of up to 40 field staff
and provides quality assurance on tools, processes, events, and reports produced on behalf of our
clients. She acts as project director for the
, guiding an
innovative approach to multivariate data collection and collaborative interpretation to help
districts and schools in corrective action use data to develop concrete action plans for
improvement. Cuiccio also led the Learning Point Associates team, providing support and
assistance to the Michigan Department of Education in developing a statewide-integrated
education reform plan, including development of the Michigan Race to the Top proposal.
Cuiccio provides quality assurance on issues specific to district and school improvement work at
AIR, in addition to managing client relationships, building strategic partnerships with local
stakeholders, and representing the District and School Improvement Services group to a variety
of constituencies in the wider education community. Previously, Cuiccio was an independent
consultant in New York City, providing organizational development and strategic planning
services to the nonprofit and public sectors, including the New York City Department of
Education. She is skilled at understanding district budgets and developing monitoring and
evaluation mechanisms to track program impact over time.
Dawn Dolby is a senior technical assistance associate with the district and school
improvement services group of AIR. Dolby has 25 years of educational experience as a teacher,
professional development trainer, and school improvement and turnaround specialist. At
Learning Point Associates, she provided technical assistance for states and districts in need of
improvement, worked with district teams to improve their educator talent through mentoring and
induction practices, facilitated data interpretation sessions with teachers and leaders, and
designed professional development in a variety of areas, including curriculum, examining
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student work, and technology integration. Dolby’s current work is focused on supporting
secondary schools in Missouri, Michigan, and Illinois in turnaround strategy design and
implementation. She currently leads the Turnaround and Transformation Service Line for AIR.
Her position also requires management of staff, projects, and budgets. Dolby has worked with
schools and districts in more than 25 states and has successfully supported numerous schools in
comprehensive reform efforts leading to improved student achievement and corrective action
status. Over her years in education, she has taught and provided professional development and
technical assistance in urban, rural, and suburban schools. Dolby earned her master’s degree in
instruction and curriculum from the University of Colorado–Boulder.
Susan Hanes, Ed.D., has extensive experience in public education, including information
management services, assessment development, research, program evaluation, and high school
mathematics teaching. Her experience includes 12 years in the Georgia Department of Education
in assessment development, director of statistical services and electronic data collection for
statewide systems, and program evaluation. Dr. Hanes has worked in local school systems as the
director of assessment, research and evaluation. She was the director of Standards and Research
for the Georgia Office of Education Accountability. She has conducted consulting services for
the IES Longitudinal Data System Grants, technical assistance for the Performance Based Data
Management Initiative (PBDMI), and consulting services and site visits with the Center for
Education Leadership and Technology and CCSSO for the Decision Support Architecture
Consortium. She is a consultant for the Center on Innovation & Improvement and coordinates
the National Network of State School Improvement Leaders. She has served as a peer reviewer
for the U.S. Department of Education for Accountability Reviews and State Assessment System
reviews since 1999 and has been a member of Title I State Monitoring teams. She has worked on
committees for the CCSSO and National Center for Education Statistics, including Chair,
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Implementation Task Force–National Forum for Education Statistics, 1990–91; Task Force on
Confidentiality, National Center for Education Statistics–Member, 1994–95; and Chair,
Education Information Advisory Committee for the Council of Chief State School Officers,
1994–95.
Marie Husby-Slater is a technical assistance consultant on the EHDW team at AIR. She
has experience designing and facilitating professional development, and working at the state,
regional, district, and school level to improve student outcomes. In her present work for the
Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center, she manages communications for the 2.5 million
federal contract and provides research and technical support for technical assistance to the
and
focused on
high-priority, statewide educational initiatives. Her masters’ work focused on group and social
learning, as well an e-learning and blended learning for adults and professional development.
Jessica Johnson is a managing director for District and School Improvement at AIR. She
provides guidance and management oversight for a range of projects with states, districts, and
schools primarily in the Midwest and Northeast regions. Johnson and her team provide policy
guidance, strategic support, and technical assistance to state education agencies, most recently
for Massachusetts and Michigan, on the implementation of federal education initiatives,
including the school improvement grant (SIG) and Race to the Top programs.
Johnson also oversees the delivery of research-tested strategies to improve student
achievement. She is responsible for the financial oversight, program and project management,
quality assurance, and service development for the organization’s district and school
improvement services. Her group has conducting district and school improvement audits for
more than 50 clients totaling more than $20 million in the last five years. In 2010, Johnson
directed the development of the School Turnaround and Transformation line of service to
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provide comprehensive services to transform teaching and student learning in the lowest
performing schools. In
serving more than
Johnson’s team assisted urban, rural, and suburban schools,
students in applying for the state’s SIG funds. This assistance included
conducting the needs assessments in four of the schools. Johnson’s staff will provide turnaround
services, including reforming the teacher evaluation system, in two of the
schools.
Johnson began her career at Deloitte working as a business analyst and eventually as a
manager in the change management practice. She has professional development and consulting
experience in both the private and public sectors. Johnson earned a master’s degree in public
policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Thomas Kerins, Ed.D., serves as the associate director for Program Development for The
Center on Innovation & Improvement (CII), where he has specialized in statewide systems of
support, coauthoring case studies on five states. He holds a doctorate in educational
administration from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in education research from
Loyola University. He has held positions including the state director of Testing for Illinois;
assistant superintendent for School Improvement and Assessment for the Illinois State Board of
Education; and assistant superintendent for School Improvement, Standards, and Assessment for
the Springfield School District. In Illinois, he was assistant superintendent for District 186, and
he was a member of the General Supervision Enhancement Grant (GSEG) Task Force,
participating in all Task Force meetings, numerous meetings with ISBE staff, and several site
visits to schools, districts and cooperatives around the state; he actively participated in all phases
of the project and was especially instrumental in the assessment of local data quality and the
development of the Annual State Report on Special Education Performance and the LRE Special
Education Profile. He is an adjunct professor for the University of Illinois at Springfield and a
much-sought-after consultant with more than 30 years in the field of education. Besides serving
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in a variety of roles at both state and local levels, he has held several honorary positions, is a
prolific writer for various journals, and is a frequent presenter at conferences and symposiums.
Mark Mitchell is a senior consultant on the EHDW team at AIR. He has 16 years of
experience designing and facilitating professional development as well as working at the state,
regional, district, and school level to improve student outcomes. In his present position as state
manager for the Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, he manages a group of six consultants,
staff, and subcontractors who provide technical assistance to the
focused on high-priority, statewide educational initiatives. As manager, he works collaboratively
with leadership from the
and with stakeholders from the regional
system of support, school districts, state associations, and higher education staff in
o to
advance important work. This work includes the collaborative design, statewide implementation,
monitoring, and evaluation of the
Improvement Process, restructuring and evaluation of the
statewide system of support to districts and schools, common core state standards
implementation support, and adoption and implementation of credit flexibility policy and
opportunities for students across
Mitchell also develops the technical assistance plan with
, provides written reports and documentation, and monitors the budget and the scope and
quality of work.
Mary Nistler is a senior researcher at AIR. Her work focuses on designing and planning
evaluations, particularly those that are utilization focused and responsive to client needs for
timely information. She is currently the lead qualitative analyst for a statewide evaluation of
afterschool programs funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. She also is
working with a team to develop a self-assessment tool for community schools, which will be
used by the
. For four years, Nistler has served as data director for
curriculum audits of schools in corrective action in New York state, designing audit frameworks,
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protocols, and reports as well as managing field work and quality assurance procedures. Other
evaluation projects include a statewide evaluation of Reading First (the case study component),
an audit of 22 Chicago public schools, and an evaluation of efforts by 18 private schools in
Hawaii to introduce 21st century skills and technology into their schools. Nistler previously
worked for EMT Associates (Folsom, CA) on a wide range of local and national evaluations,
particularly focusing on youth development and service integration.
Carole Perlman, Ph.D., before joining The Center on Innovation & Improvement, served
as School Improvement Coordinator for the Chicago Public Schools from 2003 to 2006. For 20
years she was director of student assessment for the Chicago Public Schools and later served as
school improvement coordinator. She holds a B.S. in mathematics with honors from the
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), an M.S. in statistics from the University of Illinois at
Urbana–Champaign and a doctorate in public policy analysis from UIC. A past president of the
National Association of Test Directors and past board member of the National Council on
Measurement in Education (NCME), she also served on the Center for Research on Evaluation,
Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) National Advisory Board and represented NCME for
two terms on the Joint Committee on Testing Practices. She has served on numerous state and
federal advisory panels, including the 1992 NAEP Reading Framework Steering Committee, the
first NAEP Mathematics Standard-Setting Panel, the Education Information Advisory
Committee’s Assessment Task Force, and the Voluntary National Test Technical Advisory
Committee. She is a frequent presenter at professional conferences and is the recipient of the
AERA Division D Research Report Award, AERA Division H Outstanding Publication Award,
National Association of Test Directors Career Award for Outstanding Contributions to
Educational Assessment, and the UIC College of Education’s Distinguished Alumna Award.
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Christine Rauscher, Ph.D., senior technical assistance consultant, has been involved
with the
implementation of the Common Core State Standards,
was project director for the Common Core State Standards Curriculum Mapping Project in a
large Indiana district, and has worked with the
along with
other districts around the country to help them align their curriculum, instruction, assessment,
and professional development to the CCSS. She was the team lead for the New York State
Department of Education External School Curriculum Audit process in 17 New York City
schools. She has been responsible for the creation of multiple curriculum alignment initiatives
and consultative work on two Institute of Educational Sciences randomized controlled trial
literacy studies and is the author of multiple reports for extant school data reviews. Dr. Rauscher
has extensive experience as a K–12 educator. Prior to joining AIR, she was an associate
superintendent. She earned a Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa.
Sam Redding, Ph.D., is director of the Center on Innovation & Improvement (CII). A
former high school teacher and college dean, since 1984. He has served as the executive director
of the Academic Development Institute (ADI). He received the “Those Who Excel” award from
the Illinois State Board of Education in 1990 and the Ben Hubbard Leadership award from
Illinois State University in 1994. He has been executive editor of the School Community Journal
since 1991 and was a senior research associate of the Laboratory for Student Success (LSS) at
Temple University from 1995 to 2005. He has edited three books on family-school relationships,
written a book on school improvement, edited a book on statewide systems of support, and
written articles and chapters in the areas of school management, school improvement, and factors
affecting school learning. Dr. Redding served on the IES expert panel on school turnarounds and
co-authored its 2008 report Turning Around Chronically Low-Performing Schools. Dr. Redding
has served on a variety of state committees, including the standards-writing committee for the
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Illinois State Board of Education; the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS)
Leadership Team and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Parent Leadership Team; and
the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. He has served on various civic
boards as well as the boards of the Effective Schools Institute and Superintendency Institute. In
2000, Dr. Redding conducted a study for LSS of 102 schools in 11 states that were implementing
comprehensive school reform. He has worked directly with more than 40 districts in
comprehensive school reform, consulting with their administration, training teachers, and
establishing systems for tracking student learning data. He holds a doctorate in educational
administration from Illinois State University, master’s degrees in both Psychology and English,
and is a graduate of Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management.
Steven M. Ross, Ph.D., received his doctorate in educational psychology from
Pennsylvania State University. He is currently a senior research scientist and professor at the
Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Ross is the
author of six textbooks and more than 120 journal articles in the areas of educational technology
and instructional design, at-risk learners, educational reform, computer-based instruction, and
research and evaluation. He is a noted lecturer on school programs and educational evaluation,
Editor Emeritus of the research section of the Educational Technology Research and
Development journal, and a member of the editorial board for two other professional journals. In
1993, he was the first faculty recipient of the University of Memphis Eminent Faculty award for
teaching, research and service, and recently held the Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of
Excellence in Urban Education and a Faudree Professorship at the University of Memphis. He
has testified on school restructuring research before the U.S. House of Representatives
Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth, and Families, and is a technical advisor and
researcher on current federal and state initiatives regarding the evaluation of technology usage,
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supplemental educational services, State Systems of Support (SSOS), and ESEA. Steven serves
on the Center on Innovation & Improvement’s Scientific Council.
D.3. Contracts With ISBE
Table 11. Contracts With the Illinois State Board of Education
Contract Name
21st Century Community
Learning Centers Program
Contract
ISBE
Value Contract #
$2,497,870 MY08621
Period of
Performance
07/01/07–06/30/12
D.4. Client References
District Audit of Written, Taught, and Tested Curriculum
Client: New York State Education Department
Reference No. 1:
Since the beginning of the 2005–06 school year, AIR affiliate Learning Point Associates
has worked with 34 districts across New York that failed to meet academic standards—creating
customized plans for improving their performance. The basis of each improvement plan are our
comprehensive audits of the written, taught, and tested ELA and mathematics curricula in the
district’s schools. With each district, a four-step process has been followed: planning, data
collection, co-interpretation of findings, and action planning based on key findings and auditor
recommendations. Staff members employed a variety of data collection methods to reveal a
complete picture of what is being taught, how it is being taught, and where it matches state
curriculum standards. An alignment study of each district’s written curriculum was conducted
against the state content standards. The unique approach to interpretation involved engaging
districts in the process and led to ownership of the key findings by district staff. The audit
process concluded with a final report, which included detailed recommendations, to the New
York State Education Department and the districts. Each district was then responsible for
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creating an improvement plan that details how it will respond to the recommendations and is
held accountable by the New York State Education Department for implementing the
recommendations during the next three years. In many districts, we facilitated that planning
process, helping districts create measurable plans. In total, our audits have reached more than
630,000 students in kindergarten through Grade 12 in urban, suburban, and rural school districts
in New York City, Long Island, and the greater New York metropolitan area, as well as upstate
New York. Of the 34 districts that were audited, 17 are in good standing.
School Improvement services including Turnaround, Curriculum Alignment, and Teacher
Evaluation Design
Client: Decatur (Illinois) Public Schools
Reference No. 2:
Decatur Public Schools has an established working relationship with AIR. We have been
contracted to assist the district in mathematics curriculum development, as well as to provide
turnaround services at a high school and have assisted with the teacher evaluation design.
AIR assisted Decatur Public Schools with the development of a K–12 mathematics
curriculum. The two-year process was conducted in workshop format and focused on the
Common Core State Standards. Teacher participants from Grades K–12 inspected and learned
the standards, aligned curricular materials, and selected curricular materials for grade levels and
courses. Curriculum writing sessions were held in which participants wrote new aligned
curricula, included suggested accommodations and modifications for at-risk students and created
suggested formative assessments for the new aligned curriculum in all grade levels.
In addition, Learning Point Associates, an affiliate of AIR, serves as the lead partner for
Eisenhower High School’s Transformation Plan, as awarded under the School Improvement
Grant (SIG) 1003g guidelines. With full-time on-site support, we are a direct partner in the
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improvement strategies of the transformation plan—specifically, developing leadership capacity,
promoting professional learning communities, overseeing instructional coaching, implementing
the Common Core State Standards, implementing an early warning system, reforming the
district’s teacher evaluation process and tools to include student growth, and monitoring progress
indicators at the school and individual student levels.
Michigan Statewide System of Support
Client: Michigan Department of Education
Reference No. 3:
(MDE)
AIR has a long history of work with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).
Through the Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center, we provided assistance to MDE and built
and put in place systems, structures, processes, networks, and partnerships in support of district
and school improvement. A central focus of the effort has been to build the department’s
capacity and the capacity of its key partners, including the intermediate school districts and their
professional association (the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators), to
provide technical assistance and other support to local education agencies. An integral theme
within this work has been fostering structures to promote MDE cross-office communication,
coordination, and leveraging efforts to build coherence, reduce fragmentation, and improve
efficiency. One of the most important lessons learned during the previous years is the need to
focus on alignment of policies, practices, and procedures at all levels of leadership and across
structural silos.
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Ohio Statewide System of Support
Client: Ohio Department of Education
Reference No. 4:
Executive Director, Ohio Network for Innovation and Improvement (ONII)
The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the state education system, under No
Child Left Behind (NCLB), was faced with an ever-expanding pool of districts and schools in
need of improvement, coupled with limited capacity at the state and regional levels, to support
intensive and broad-based improvement efforts. It was determined that a systemic, structured
improvement approach that would apply to any district and school regardless of improvement
status was needed. Support for this improvement approach would come from the regional
system. Therefore, capacity building to assist this effort needed to be based on one district and
school improvement approach for the entire state, not multiple approaches as in the past. Great
Lakes East Comprehensive Center, a subsidy of AIR, has been a partner to Ohio throughout all
stages of this process. They have collaborated with ODE and the regional system of support to
design, implement, and monitor the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP). Great Lakes East has
provided significant technical expertise, coaching and facilitation. It has worked with various
configurations of state leadership teams to design and implement a process of monitoring the
effectiveness of the SSOS in supporting implementation of the OIP with fidelity, and in
determining any changes in adult behaviors and student performance. The focus now is on
collaborating with a cross-office ODE leadership team to ensure greater coherence,
communication, and coordination among ODE’s many initiatives (i.e., Race to the Top and
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Submitted July 13, 2012
School Improvement Grant) with the OIP. Another focus is to continue to align and integrate
tools and resources, both online and print.
D5. Bidder’s Good Faith Effort to Meet Business Enterprise Program (BEP)
Goal of 20%
Please refer to the separately sealed Utilization Plan to review our Bidder’s good faith
effort to meet this BEP goal. AIR will contract with Corbett Education Consulting which is a
certified BEP for services in year one, with ongoing services in year two through five. In
addition, AIR and the Center staff will seek additional opportunities to meet the BEP program
through outsourced activities such as print/copying, facilities rental, meals, and any other Center
expenditures. Finally, regarding staffing, where possible, AIR will contract for staff through
BEP entities.
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E. Exceptions to the RFSP
Contractual Terms and Provisions
Item 11 Liquidated Damages: AIR takes exception to the payment of liquidated damages as
detailed in this clause and proposes that the process and amount of liquidated damages be
negotiated between the parties as part of the project negotiations. AIR does not object to the
concept of liquidated damages, just to the process and amounts listed in the standard conditions.
Item 11 Indemnification: AIR takes exception to the overly broad nature of the
indemnification clause and requests that the indemnification be limited only to indemnify and
hold harmless and for only those acts due to our own gross negligence.
Item 12 Insurance: AIR cannot list ISBE as an additional insured on its Professional
Liability Policy. AIR can require its insurer to provide 30 day’s prior notice for cancellation and
non-renewal, however not material modification, of its polices which can be accomplished by
endorsement but will not be stated on the certificate of insurance.
Item 22 Solicitation and Employment: AIR takes exception to this clause as it is our
understanding that several positions to be filled under this request for proposal will be filled by
current employees of ISBE. AIR is willing to work with ISBE to identify which current state
employees will be transferred to this contract and provide appropriate notice to the state to
facilitate these transfers.
Standard Certifications for Bidders and Subcontractors
Item z: As a not-for-profit organization, AIR takes exception to this clause. Where
appropriate and at its sole discretion, AIR may choose to hire former Illinois state and RESPRO
staff to perform some of the work. AIR will hire staff under commercially reasonable terms and
conditions exclusively determined by AIR. In the event AIR hires former Illinois state or
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RESPRO employees, AIR will not assume any liabilities or obligations arising from their prior
employment or due to events that occurred prior to its hire of these individuals, including but not
limited to costs or other liabilities with regard to termination of prior employment of individuals
who formerly performed Statewide System of Support work. AIR cannot be bound by past union
bargaining agreements.
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References
Bailey, B., Coscarella, M., & Kinnaman, L. (2012). Michigan’s district focus gets traction:
Partnership with comprehensive centers provides momentum. Lincoln, IL: Center on
Innovation & Improvement. Retrieved from
http://www.centerii.org/survey/downloads/MichDistTraction.pdf
Center on Innovation & Improvement. (2012). Evaluating and improving the SEA System of
Recognition, Accountability, and Support (SRAS) evaluation rubric. Lincoln, IL: Author.
Retrieved from http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/procurement-library/srasrubric.pdf?sfvrsn=0
Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fullan, M., Hill, P. W., & Crevola, C. (2006). Breakthrough. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Hanes, S., Kerins, T., Perlman, C., Redding, S., & Ross, S. (2009). Evaluating the statewide
system of support with rubrics, explanations, and exemplars. Lincoln, IL: Center on
Innovation & Improvement. Retrieved from
http://www.centerii.org/survey/downloads/Evaluating_the_SSOS.pdf
Hassel, B., & Steiner, L. (2010). Guide to working with external providers (2nd ed.).
Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from
http://www.air.org/files/4896R_Work_w_Ext_Providers_d1.pdf
Herman, R., Dawson, P., Dee, T., Greene, J., Maynard, R., Redding, S., et al. (2008). Turning
around chronically low-performing schools (IES Practice Guide; NCEE 2008-4020).
Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practice_guides/Turnaround_pg_04181.pdf
Learning Forward. (2011). Standards for professional learning [Website]. Retrieved from
http://www.learningforward.org/standards/standards.cfm
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Submitted July 13, 2012
Redding, S. (2012). Change leadership: Innovation in state education agencies. Lincoln, IL:
Center on Innovation & Improvement. Retrieved from
http://www.centerii.org/survey/downloads/ChangeLeadership.pdf
Rhim, L. M., Hassel, B., & Redding, S. (2008). State role in supporting school improvement. In
S. Redding & H. Walberg (Eds.), Handbook on statewide systems of support (pp. 21–56).
Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
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Appendix A. Resumes
American Institutes for Research Resumes
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Catherine Barbour
Education
M.Ed.
B.A.
1993, The College of William and Mary, Elementary Administration
1987, Christopher Newport University, Elementary Education
Professional Credentials and Certifications
Credential in School Turnaround Leadership, University of Virginia, 2006
Present Position
Senior Consultant School Turnaround, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
(2010–Present)
Works with schools, districts, and states to implement successful turnaround and
transformation services in designing, implementing, and evaluating school reform
initiatives. Manages teams to conduct and coordinate the various aspects of the needs
assessment for the school, organizing key stakeholder groups within the district,
conducting co-interpretation process, and providing technical assistance for grant writing.
Provides principal coaching, school leadership team coaching, analysis of school data,
and advisement to school leadership team on next steps, support in establishing and
facilitating school organizational structure, leadership meetings, data team meetings, and
other school support committees as outlined in School Improvement Grant which may
include support in curriculum revision, mapping, and pacing guide development. Leads
project teams in the design and development of products and services to support states,
districts, and schools in their improvement efforts, specifically in the area of school
turnaround and transformation.
Past Professional Experience
Senior Consultant (2007- 2010)
Developed district specific implementation plans and conducted training for professional
learning communities model with metrics and outcome targets. Provided consulting
services for 35 plus school teams to support implementation of PLC model, identify and
prioritize student learning needs based on analyzing data, and problem solve potential
implementation issues.
Turnaround Principal (1999- 2003, 2003-2004, 2004 -2006)
Led turnaround at three low performing schools; John Tyler Elementary School,
Hampton City Schools, Rawls Byrd Elementary Williamsburg–James City County
Schools, and Berkeley Elementary Spotsylvania County Public Schools increasing
student achievement in reading and math meeting all AYP requirements for No Child
Left Behind and to be fully accredited by the Virginia Department of Education.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A1
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Aaron R. Butler
Education
Ph.D.
M.S.
B.S.
2006, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Educational Leadership & Policy
2001, Southwest Baptist University, Educational Administration
1998, University of Evansville, Secondary Education
Present Position
Senior Turnaround Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
(2011–Present)
Provides coaching to district and school leadership as well as professional development
for school administrators engaged in school turnaround and transformation. Leads, in
collaboration with school principal and district leaders, school transformation and
turnaround initiatives to meet the requirements of school improvement grant 1003G,
including progress monitoring and reporting. Evaluates instructional programs and
provides professional development and feedback to teachers. Supports family and
community engagement initiatives as outlined in district School Improvement Grant
(SIG) plans. Provides guidance and support on initiatives to the school site on a daily
basis.
Past Professional Experience
V.P. of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, CCC High School (2007–2011)
Led a highly successful school turnaround project in an urban high school, comprised of
98% racial minority and 90% low-income students, that resulted in student achievement
scores exceeding state averages in core English, math, and science courses on Missouri
End of Course (EOC) exams. Initial steps included a curriculum review and rewriting
process at CCC based on backward design model and curriculum mapping and later
added skills mastery tracking in core courses. Oversaw a team of teacher leaders who
planned and coordinated professional development and school improvement activities
that were aligned with the goals of the school improvement plan. Created and managed
budgets and completed all required reporting for federal title programs and School
Improvement Grant.
Mathematics Teacher/Department Chair and Professional Development Chair,
McCluer High School (MO) (2006–2007)
Redesigned mathematics department meetings to incorporate regular review of student
work, assessment data, and sharing of best practices among teachers in order to promote
continuous learning. Scheduled and organized school-wide professional development
days and led project to design and implement Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
at McCluer High School. Invited to share program highlights at national Coalition of
Essential Schools Conference in 2006.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A2
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Danielle Carnahan
Education
A.B.D.
M.S.I.
B.S. E.D.
Illinois State University, Curriculum and Instruction
1999, Northeastern Illinois University
1995, Illinois State University
Present Position
Senior Associate, American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Learning Point
Associates (2004-Present)
Experience designing and implementing national, state, district, and school level literacy
and curriculum improvement initiatives as well as managing teams, projects, and budgets.
Experience in the creation of processes and tools to assist low achieving and urban
schools with continuous improvement and comprehensive planning work. Coordination
of professional development and technical assistance activities for literacy initiatives at
the district level. Substantial knowledge working with curriculum initiatives for districts
and schools in need of improvement including alignment, benchmarking and creation of
written curriculum for grades k-12. Has co-developed observation protocols and created
training for two Institutes for Educational Sciences literacy research projects. Seasoned
facilitator of professional development and technical assistance with an emphasis on
urban schools of at-risk students from low-income and limited-English-proficient
families. Author of journal articles, marketed tools, as well as multiple reports designed
for simple ease interpretation by schools and districts.
Past Professional Experience
Program Associate (2001–2004)
Worked within the Center for Literacy, managed projects, and worked with clients to
achieve stated objectives. Accomplishments include the creation of materials designed to
help further the understanding of scientifically based reading research, assistance to states
in Reading First Subgrant competitions, as well as provision of technical assistance and
professional development at the school level to increase student achievement and teacher
knowledge.
Teacher, Chicago Public Schools (1995-2001)
Certified by the State of Illinois to teach Language Arts, and Social Sciences for grades
kindergarten through nine and is labeled as highly qualified to teach many areas K8.
Designated as reading point person and wrote reading plan for the school, aligning
instruction with research based practices and worked to integrate CPS preferred strategies
into curriculum.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A3
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Victoria Cirks
Education
M.A.
B.S.
2002, American University, Conflict Resolution
1999, Illinois State University, Political Science
Present Position
Technical Assistance Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR) and
Learning Point Associates (2007–Present)
Provides technical assistance to state education agencies, regional education agencies and
local education agencies with a primary focus on competency-based education, college
and career readiness, high school improvement and redesign, safe and supportive
learning, implementation of Common Core State Standards, Race to the Top, and other
federal reform priorities. Specific activities include managing operational work of the
project, including client relations, and developing and implementing technical assistance
strategies to ensure that assistance is relevant, useful, and of the highest quality to the
client; providing technical assistance to state departments of education and local school
districts; designing professional development for district and regional education services
areas; reviewing and synthesizing research literature and state policies; facilitating state
work groups; designing and facilitating stakeholder engagement initiatives, including
leveraging technology, communities of practice, and online platforms to support those
initiatives, synthesizing feedback and research to support development of state policy and
guidance, facilitating communication and collaboration with and between federal
technical assistance networks, state education agencies, regional educational service
agencies, school districts, and other key stakeholder groups; conducting interviews and
needs assessments; and project planning and collaboration.
Past Professional Experience
Program Coordinator, Kankakee Community College (2004–2006)
Developed a 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program with
academic and enrichment activities for three schools. Served as site coordinator for an
afterschool program for the junior high and high school afterschool program. Developed
parent and community workshops on topics such as family literacy, English language
learning, and health care (Illinois All Kids program). Screened, hired, and supervised
diverse program staff of 15.
Staff Assistant, Office of the Legislative Counsel, U.S. House of Representatives
(1999–2003)
Prepared legislative documents for U.S. House representatives and committees.
Coordinated development and training program between U.S. House offices for new
Congressional technology system. Developed training and information materials on new
technology system. Conducted training workshops for staff of 50.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A4
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Matthew A. Clifford
Education
Ph.D.
M.S.
M.S.
B.A.
2009, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Educational Leadership
2002, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Educational Leadership
1994, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Continuing Education
1990, University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, English
Present Position
Senior Research Scientist, American Institutes for Research (AIR) (2008–Present)
Manage multiple professional development, research and evaluation contracts/grants that
focus on educational leadership and instructional support. Serve as content expert on
issues of teacher and principal evaluation, professional development design, and
compensation. Through the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality and
Teacher Incentive Fund Technical Assistance Center, design and disseminate pertinent
information and professional supports to educators. Lead technical assistance efforts on
principal evaluation, hiring, and professional development issues to states and districts.
Professional Experience
Implementation Lead, Teacher and Leader Evaluation System Study (2012-Present)
Director, District Leader Evidence-Based Policymaking Study (2010-Present)
Technical Assistance Lead, Teacher Incentive Fund Technical Assistance (2011-Present)
Technical Assistance Lead, Hazelwood Principal Evaluation Design (2011-Present)
Director, Mississippi Leads Principal Program Evaluation (2010–Present)
Director, Miami-Dade Public Schools Principal Residency Evaluation (2010–Present)
Director, Principal Workforce Study (2009–Present)
Selected Publications
Halverson, R., & Clifford, M. (forthcoming). Distributed leadership revisited: How distributed
cognition can help us study high school leadership. Journal of School Leadership.
Kimball, S., Clifford, M. & Fetters, J. (forthcoming). Evaluating principals’ work: Design
considerations and examples for an evolving field. Washington, D.C.: Center for
Education Compensation Reform.
Clifford, M., & Ross, S. (forthcoming). Guidelines for principal evaluation. Washington, DC:
National Association of Elementary School Principals & National Association of
Secondary School Principals.
Clifford, M., Hansen, U., Lemke, M., Wraight, S., Brown-Sims, M., & Fetters, J. (2012).
Practical guide to designing comprehensive school principal evaluation systems.
Washington, DC: National Comprehensive Center on Teacher Quality.
Clifford, M., Behrstock-Sherratt, E., & Fetters, J. (2012). The ripple effect: A framework for
principal evaluation design. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A5
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Dawn Dolby
Education
M.A.
B.A.
2000, University of Colorado-Boulder, Curriculum & Instruction
1988, University of Evansville, Elementary & Middle School Education
Present Position
Senior Program Associate, American Institutes for Research (AIR) 2011-Present
Provide lead partner services and technical assistance to schools implementing
turnaround and transformation models including leadership coaching, instructional
systems design and program monitoring. Co-lead the design of Learning Point Associates
School Turnaround Service Line and the development of turnaround field staff. Provide
technical assistance to states and districts regarding curriculum and districts in need of
improvement.
Professional Experience
Senior Consultant-Practice, Learning Point Associates
2006 – 2010
Collected and analyzed qualitative and quantitative data for district audits of the written,
tested, and taught curriculum as well as curriculum management systems in Indiana and
New York. Facilitated data interpretation sessions, researched and wrote final reports
including action item recommendations. Served on the PD Cadre and contributed to the
design of organizational frameworks for human resources and leadership. Designed and
led professional development programs in mathematics curriculum, instruction, new
teacher mentoring and technology integration.
Lead School Turnaround Consultant, Romulus Middle School, School Improvement
Grant, Romulus Community Schools (2010–Present)
Providing lead partner services for school transformation including implementation of: a
coherent, disciplined approach using data to drive decisions at the school leadership team
level; progress monitoring systems for teaching and learning and service provider
support; early warning systems and strategic student interventions
Project & District Lead, Division of School Improvement, School Improvement
Grant Application Process, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary
Education (2010)
Worked with six schools in MO to conduct needs assessment and to provide support in
writing grant applications to the state to receive 1003g federal school improvement
models to implement one of the 4 federally approved models. We were approved to
provide implementation support to these schools if they would like our services.
Employment History
2011-Present
2006–2010
Senior Program Associate, American Institutes for Research
Senior Consultant-Practice, Learning Point Associates
2001–2006 Northern New England Area Manager and trainer, Success For All
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A6
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Peggie Klekotka Garcia
Education
MUPP
M.Ed.
M.A.
B.A.
2003, University of Illinois–Chicago, Urban Planning and Policy
1994, University of Georgia–Athens, Gifted and Creative Education
1991, University of Pennsylvania, U.S. History
1990, University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Social Thought and Political
Economy (Summa Cum Laude)
Present Position
Senior Technical Assistance Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
and Learning Point Associates (2004-2006, 2008–Present)
Coordinate professional development and technical assistance activities for federally
funded centers. Lead the technical assistance portfolio for the National Charter School
Resource Center, which is focused on better preparing charter school educators to serve
English language learners. Review research and then design high-quality professional
development opportunities that enable practitioners to apply the latest research and policy
to their practice. Author publications that are designed to help practitioners and
policymakers better understand research, policy initiatives, and best practices on topics
related to English language learners, high school improvement, innovation in education,
and scaling up high-quality charter schools. Skilled in developing research-based
curricula that help English language learners concurrently master their command of
grade-level academic content and increase their language proficiency in English.
Past Professional Experience
Teacher, Chicago Public Schools (1992–1993, 1995–1998, 1999–2002, 2006–2008)
Certified by the State of Illinois to teach History, ESL, and Spanish for Grades 6–12.
Taught a variety of different courses in social studies, sheltered social studies, English as
a Second Language, and Spanish for students in grades 7–12. Researched and developed
a primary source–based curriculum designed to help students improve their critical
thinking and creative problem solving skills in the social sciences. Developed deep
expertise in serving urban students and in differentiating curriculum to meet the needs of
culturally diverse students, struggling learners, and English language learners.
Presidential Management Fellow, U.S. Department of Education (2003–2004)
Served as project co-coordinator for the implementation of the Secretary’s High School
Initiative.
Lecturer, Yibin Teachers College, Peace Corps, China (1998–1999)
Taught postsecondary courses in oral and written English for students who were training
to become English teachers. Participated in a variety of activities to further cross-cultural
understanding between China and the United States.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A7
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Carla Hulce
Education
M.Ed.
B.A.
2006, University of Illinois–Chicago, Education (Instructional Leadership)
1994, Columbia College, Liberal Education
Present Position
Senior Consultant, School Turnaround, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
(2011–Present)
Works with schools, districts, and states to implement successful turnaround and
transformation services. Leads project teams in the design and development of products
and services to support states, districts, and schools in their improvement efforts,
specifically in the area of school turnaround and transformation. Consults with states,
districts, and schools in designing, implementing, and evaluating school reform
initiatives. Designs and facilitates technical assistance and/or professional development
sessions with state, district, and/or school staff.
Past Professional Experience
Director, Hulce Consulting Group (HCG) (2008–2010)
Developed and implemented individualized education plan (IEP)/full individual
evaluation (FIE)/504 Plans in conjunction with special education departments resulting in
full compliance and cohesive planning with ancillary staff (psychologist, speech/language
pathologist, nurse and social worker). Conducted professional development titled
“Inclusion: Universal Design for Learning”.
Capacity Coach, Chicago High School Redesign Initiative (CHSRI) (2006–2008)
Provided leadership coaching and used research-based strategies and models for
curriculum and classroom instruction that promoted high-quality teaching and learning
and improved student outcomes, including achievement on standardized tests, graduation
rates, and preparation for postsecondary education.
Chicago Project Director/Associate Director, Small Schools Workshop (2004–2006
and 1996–2000)
Supervised workshop staff and provided technical assistance to more than 25 schools.
Developed and implemented training course for Illinois State Board of Education’s
School Change Institute. Wrote the facilitator portfolio manual, the practicum tool for all
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) facilitators working with schools/districts in the
school change process.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A8
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Jessica Johnson
Education
M.P.P.
B.A.
1999, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
Public Policy
1996, Albion College, Economics and Management (Magna Cum Laude)
Present Position
•
•
•
•
•
Managing Director, District and School Improvement, American Institutes for
Research (AIR) (2011–Present)
Provides oversight, quality assurance, and project management on projects focused on
State and District level technical assistance. She has worked with systems of supports in
multiple states, and testified for the House of Representatives as an expert on school
turnaround in May 2010, and she is frequently contacted by and cited in media
publications as an expert in the field. Specific examples of her work include:
Oversight of turnaround projects in over 10 schools in the past two years resulting in
double digit increases in benchmark assessment data in some schools
Oversight and leadership of Michigan Race to the Top application development, resulting
in a Comprehensive Strategic Plan for the State of Michigan
Developed and managed process for Comprehensive District Audits for New York,
resulting in over 17 schools districts coming out of corrective action over a six year
period
Developed models for Systemic Support leading to AIR as a preferred vendor for district
and school improvement/turnaround services in Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts, Ohio,
New York, and several districts including New York City and Cleveland.
Provided support to Michigan in the development of their School Improvement Grant
program – including structures and evaluation.
Past Professional Experience
Manager, Deloitte Consulting, Chicago, IL (1996–2003)
Manager in the People practice at Deloitte. Her position focused on Change Management
activities for large projects including systems implementations, outsourcing, and system
redesign. Work included implementing Medicaid Reimbursement programs in school
districts across the State of Michigan.
Local District Involvement
Referendum Committee Co-Chair, Oswego Community School District 308 (2006)
Strategic Planning Committee Member, Oswego Community School District 308
(2005-2008)
Elected Board Member, Indian Prairie District 204 School Board (2001-2005)
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A9
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Teresa Lance
Education
Administration Certification, 2000, Johns Hopkins University
Master of Science, 1998, State University College at Cortland, Health Education
Bachelor of Science, 1994, State University College at Cortland, Physical Education
Present Position
Senior Turnaround Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Provide coaching to district and school leadership as well as professional development
for school administrators engaged in school turnaround and transformation. Lead, in
collaboration with school principal and district leaders, school transformation and
turnaround initiatives to meet the requirements of school improvement grant 1003G
including progress monitoring and reporting. Evaluate instructional programs and provide
professional development and feedback to teachers. Support family and community
engagement initiatives as outlined in district SIG plans. Provide guidance and support on
initiatives to the school site daily.
Professional Experience
Educational Specialist, MD Anderson Cancer Center (2010-2011)
Conducted research to examine and implement evidence-based education programs and
practices while applying knowledge of educational theory to program development.
Created reports to analyze program outcomes and provided mentoring and supervision to
interns.
Principal, Community Education Partners (2008-2010)
Provided administrative and instructional leadership at an alternative school, which
encompassed a staff of 90 persons who provided instruction to “at-risk” students.
Managed the school's overall operations & facilities and developed annual action & site
improvement plans.
Principal & Assistant Principal, Baltimore City Public Schools (2001-2007)
Charged with reversing operational and leadership deficiencies, enhancing students’
academic performance, transforming the school’s culture and strengthening faculty and
staff skill set levels. Guided the school in the removal from the “Persistently Dangerous”
classification list. Established the school improvement team and several new committees
focused on improving standards and results; committees included: Achievement
Committee, Academic Committee, Attendance Committee, Parent Committee, and the
Climate Committee. Partnered with parents and increased the level of parental involvement
from single-digit participation to triple-document in the school’s recent 10-year history.
Served as Assistant Principal from 2001-2005.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A10
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Steven Jay Leinwand
Education
M.S.
B.A.
1976, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT (Educational
Supervision and Administration)
1971, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (Economics)
Present Position
Principal Research Analyst, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Serves as mathematics expert on a wide range of AIR projects that evaluate programs,
provide technical assistance, develop assessments, design standards and conduct
international benchmarking.
Professional Experience
Program Improvement Technical Assistance and Evaluation (2008-present) Provide
a range of technical assistance and program evaluation services as part of the General
Electric Foundation’s Developing Futures Program in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Louisville,
Erie, and Stamford; the Microsoft Math Partnership in 8 Seattle region districts, and the
Hazelwood (MO) East Middle School Turnaround School Improvement Project.
Math Team Leader, Council for the Great City Schools TUDA Districts Curriculum
Alignment Study (2009-2011 ) Coordinate the development and analysis of alignment
charts for grades 4 and 8 TUDA district and state curriculum standards with NAEP
standards.
Project Leader, NCES High School Longitudinal Study, AIR (2007- )
Oversee the development of algebraic reasoning standards and pool of test items, field
testing, and test form development for the mathematics content component of the study.
Intervention Team Leader, IES PD Math Impact Study, AIR (2005-2008)
Oversee the selection of PD providers, ensures the quality of the design, provision and
revision of the professional development, including coaching, monitors the fidelity of
implementation, and works closely with two vendors on all matters of implementation.
Mathematics Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education (1979–2002)
Responsible for the development and oversight of a broad statewide program of activities
in K–12 mathematics education including the provision of technical assistance and
professional development, the evaluation of programs, the assessment of student
achievement and teacher competency, the dissemination of information, and the
coordination of programs and activities that has resulted in consistently high NAEP
mathematics scores.
President, National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) (1996-1998)
Launched NCSM Leadership Academy, Journal for Mathematics Education Leadership,
and resource manuals.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A11
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Cassandra Meyer
Education
M.S.Ed.
B.A.
2009, Northern Illinois University, Curriculum and Instruction
2005, University of Notre Dame, English (magna cum laude)
Present Position
Technical Assistance Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR) (2011–
Present)
Develops and facilitates trainings and professional development meetings to state,
district, and school clients. Leads internal trainings on topics such as using the CLASS
observation protocol. Coordinates and conducts data collection activities using a variety
of methodologies, such as interviews, surveys, and observations. Writes data reports and
research reports and conducts literature reviews for a variety of projects. Develops tools
and resources for the School Turnaround and Transformation and Performance
Management Advantage service lines.
Professional Experience
Technical Assistance Consultant, Performance Management Advantage Service
Line, AIR (2011–Present)
Facilitates processes to develop and align teacher evaluation system with state
requirements in Decatur (IL) Public School District. Develops training materials and
resources to support the statewide implementation of a new educator evaluation system in
the state of Massachusetts. Supports the development of a new educator evaluation
system in Hazelwood, Missouri.
Team Lead, New York City Department of Education, External School Curriculum
Audit, AIR (2011)
Lead a team conducting external school curriculum audits in six schools in New York
City. Conducted interviews and classroom observations and analyzed data from surveys,
documents, interviews, and observations to create data reports. Lead and facilitated at cointerpretation meetings with school clients. Wrote research-based recommendations and
final reports for each school. Lead internal trainings on the co-interpretation process and
observation protocol used in this project.
Teacher, Clinton Middle School, East Feliciana Parish School District, Louisiana
(2005-2007)
Taught 8th grade social studies in rural district where 94% of students received free or
reduced lunch. Developed and implemented county-wide pacing schedule and teacher
resource guide for 8th grade social studies. Served on Clinton Middle School Positive
Behavior Support leadership team, planning and teaching school-wide initiatives to
establish consistent school-wide procedures and to assist struggling teachers.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A12
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Mark K. Mitchell
Education
M.S.
B.A.
B.S.
1990, University of Michigan, Natural Resources and Education
1983, Indiana University Northwest, Biology
1979, Central Michigan University, Psychology
Present Position
Senior Consultant and Ohio State Manager, Great Lakes East Comprehensive
Center, American Institutes for Research (AIR) (2006–Present)
Manages the work of six consultants, staff, and subcontractors engaged in high-priority
work with the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), such as district and school
improvement, Common Core State Standards implementation, and high school reform
(credit flexibility). Collaborates closely with leadership of the Ohio Department of
Education and the regional system of support to design, plan, implement, and monitor
this work. Responsibilities include design and facilitation of professional development
and planning meetings; managing project staff, work plans, tasks, and budget;
communicating with ODE and other stakeholders; and writing reports and technical
assistance plans.
Past Professional Experience
Program Associate, Math, Science, and Technology Center, Learning Point
Associates (LPA) (2003–2005)
Learning Point Associates merged with American Institutes for Research August 1, 2010.
Responsible for designing and facilitating professional development targeted mostly at
district and school staff in mathematics and science. Worked with several school districts
across the Midwest in support of examining student work and the establishment of
professional learning communities. Extensive experience working with schools and
teachers to implement lesson study.
Adjunct Faculty, Michigan State University School of Education (2001–2003)
Designed and taught a graduate-level physical science methods course for teachers; this
was a joint program of Traverse City Area Public Schools and Michigan State University.
Regional Coordinator, Michigan Rural Systemic Initiative, National Science
Foundation (2000–2003)
Worked closely with teachers, administrators, and communities to enhance science
achievement in rural northern Michigan school districts. Designed and facilitated
ongoing, job-embedded professional development.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A13
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Mary Nistler
Education
M.A.
B.A.
1993, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Public Policy Administration
1983, Eastern Washington University, Music (piano performance)
Present Position
Senior Researcher, American Institutes for Research (AIR) (2011–Present)
Conduct evaluations of education programs and rapid assessments of schools, districts,
and school corporations. Design and manage the qualitative component for program
evaluations, including cross-site evaluations, implementation studies, and case studies.
Extensive experience in designing multi-year evaluations that are aligned with project
phase and implementation approaches. Recent projects include designing and analyzing
qualitative data for statewide assessment of 21st CCLC centers in Texas. Designing and
planning data collection, analysis and reporting, and quality assurance procedures for an
external audit of 61 New York City schools. Designing and managing rapid assessments
of 22 urban charter schools for the purpose of helping the schools and charter corporation
prepare for future high-stakes review. Manage projects and/or project components at
various funding levels ($40,000 to $4 million). Design and manage the case study
component for a 5-year, 18-project evaluation in private schools which are incorporating
21st century skills and technology into their curricula and instruction.
Past Professional Experience
EMT Associates, Folsom, California
1995-2003
Conducted evaluations and numerous studies related to youth programs, substance abuse
prevention, needs assessments, education, and interagency collaboration. Served as
project manager on national cross-site evaluation of programs for pregnant and parenting
teens.
University of Missouri –St. Louis Public Policy Research Center
1993-1995
Research associate. Supported local and state evaluations through data collection,
analysis, reporting.
Payap University, Chiang Mai, Thailand
1992-1993
Piano instructor at private university. Taught private lessons and arranged student
performances.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A14
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Lisa Palacios
Education
Ed.S.
M.S.
B.S.
Anticipated Graduation, 2014, Curriculum and Instruction, University of
Michigan
1990, Illinois State University, Curriculum and Instruction (summa cum
laude)
1986, Illinois State University, Elementary Education (summa cum laude,
Bone Scholar)
Professional Credentials and Certifications
Type 03 Teaching Certificate (K-9), Illinois School Board Association, 1987
Type 75 Administrative Certificate, Illinois School Board Association, 1999
Present Position
Senior Education Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR) 2011-Present
• Serve as Indiana State Lead for Common Core State Standards and as a
mathematics/technology consultant through the Great Lakes East Comprehensive
Center, contributing to work around math/technology grant design, scoring, and
evaluation, curriculum standards unpacking, and planning for an integrated secondary
mathematics pathway under the Common Core.
• Conducted instructional audits work in the area of mathematics.
• Led work with Decatur Public Schools (IL) to write a common core based pre K-12
mathematics curriculum. This will be a two year process that included observations,
instructional modeling, and secondary pathway selection.
• Consulted on training for Delaware’s Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS),
designing and providing training to teams from every district in the state.
• Consulted on Intel Teach Elements, aligning the Elements courses to both the
Common Core State Standards as well as the 21st Century Framework.
Professional Experience
Senior Program Associate, Learning Point Associates (LPA) 2004-2010
Learning Point Associates merged with American Institutes for Research August 1, 2010
Director of Technology, Community Unit School District 200, Wheaton, IL (2000-2003)
Director of Instructional Technology, Community Unit School District 200, Wheaton, IL
(2000-2003)
Fifth Grade Teacher, Pleasant Hill Elementary School, Community Unit School District
200, Wheaton, IL (1991-1997)
Fifth Grade Teacher, Haskin Middle School, Community Unit School District 430,
Sandwich, IL (1987-1991)
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A15
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
W. Christine Rauscher
Education
Ph.D. 1978, University of Iowa, Educational Leadership, Curriculum, Literacy
Education
M.A. 1972, University of Iowa, Literacy Education
B.A. 1967, Iowa Wesleyan College, Elementary Education (Summa cum laude)
Professional Credentials and Certifications
Superintendent’s Certificate, Illinois State Board of Education, 1982
Superintendent’s Certificate, Iowa Department of Education, 1975
Reading Specialist Certificate, Iowa Department of Education, 1972
Present Position
Senior TA Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
2009-Present
Responsible for creation of multiple curriculum alignment initiatives; consultative work
for multiple states on standards, assessments, and systems for cohesive instructional
initiatives; consultative work on two Institute of Educational Sciences RCT literacy
studies; helped conduct research reviews of over 10,000 publications for access to print;
author of multiple reports for extant school data reviews.
Project Director, Kansas City, Kansas School District Literacy Audit, Kansas City,
Kansas School District 2012Collected data through classroom observations, principal interviews, document review,
and teacher surveys. Facilitated co-interpretation process whereby representative faculty
determined key findings based on the data. Wrote final reports based on the key findings
identified through the co-interpretation process along with corresponding
recommendations. The focus of the work was alignment to the Common Core State
Standards.
Consultant on Common Core State Standards, Turnaround Schools, Springfield,
Illinois School District and Decatur, Illinois School District 2012-Present
Provided consultative services to schools on the alignment of their curriculum,
instruction, and assessment to the Common Core State Standards.
Employment History
2011-Present
2009-2010
2008-2009
2005-2008
1999-2005
1994-1999
1985-1994
1982-1985
Senior TA Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Senior Literacy Associate, Learning Point Associates
Literacy Consultant, Iowa Department of Education
Associate Superintendent, Cedar Rapids Community School District
Assistant Superintendent, Palatine Community School District 15
Assistant Superintendent, Hinsdale Community School District 181
Assistant Superintendent, Naperville Community School District 203
Curriculum Director, Palatine Community School District 15
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A16
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Marie Husby-Slater
Education
M.S.
B.A.
2011, Fordham University, Graduate School of Education, Adult
Education and Human Resource Development
2005, Albion College, Speech Communication
Present Position
Technical Assistance Consultant, American Institutes for Research (AIR) (2011–
Present)
Marie Husby-Slater conducts proposal development, research support, product
dissemination, client services, and materials development including electronic and print
media. Ms. Husby-Slater has developed internal methodologies and procedure, and
developed and provided the related guidance, training, and implementation tools. She has
participated in four years of district and school audits and three years of School
Improvement Grant needs assessment and proposal support. Through the Great Lakes
West Comprehensive Center she has provided technical assistance to the states of Illinois
and Wisconsin, including work related to state systems of support, educator effectiveness,
strategic planning, and Common Core State Standards implementation.
Past Professional Experience
Program Associate, Learning Point Associates (2008–2010)
Learning Point Associates merged with American Institutes for Research August 1, 2010.
Program Specialist, Learning Point Associates (2006-2008)
English Instructor, Morton College (Project Care)/Berwyn Public Library (20112012)
Certificate in English as a foreign language through American TEFOL Institute, (2006).
Taught English as an additional language, writing and grammar course to adult literacy
students. This was an open-enrollment community education course co-sponsored by
Project Care at Morton College and the Berwyn Public Library.
Adjunct Instructor, Triton College (2007)
In the fall of 2007, Ms. Husby-Slater taught English as a second language to adult
literacy students at Triton College. This included two courses. The first was a 1-month
course focused on basic literacy skills. The second was an intermediate course focused on
developing proficiency in conversation and specifically job skills–related literacy.
Professional Affiliations
American Association of Adult and Continuing Education
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A17
Academic Development Institute Resumes
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Sam Redding
Academic Development Institute
121 N. Kickapoo Street
Lincoln, IL 62656
Telephone Number
[email protected]
Education
Ed.D.
M.S.
M.A.
B.A.
Educational Administration, Illinois State University, 1976
Supporting Areas: Special Education
Psychology, Illinois State University, 1970
English, University of Illinois, 1996
History, Illinois State University, 1968
Supporting Areas: Special Education
Professional Experience
1984 - Present
2005 - Present
1995 - 2006
1991 - Present
1976 - 1983
1972 -1976
1968 - 1972
Executive Director, Academic Development Institute
Director, Center on Innovation & Improvement
Senior Research Associate, Laboratory for Student Success
Executive Editor, School Community Journal
Vice President and Dean, Lincoln College
Associate Professor, Lincoln College
Teacher, LeRoy High School
Honors
Ernie Wing Award for Excellence in Evidence-Based Education
Key Leaders Award—YMCA of USA
Ben Hubbard Leadership Award—Illinois State University
Those Who Excel Award—Illinois State Board of Education
2012
1995
1994
1990
Experience & Expertise
Sam Redding is the executive director of the Academic Development Institute, an organization
he founded in 1984. He is also the director of the Center on Innovation & Improvement, one of
five national content centers funded by the U. S. Department of Education. Since 1991 he has
served as executive editor of the School Community Journal. Sam holds a doctorate in
educational administration from Illinois State University and master’s degrees in Psychology and
English. He did post-doctoral study at the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard
University. He taught special education and social studies at the high school level, coached
several sports, and was a college psychology and education professor. He was dean and vice
president of Lincoln College. For eleven years he was a senior research associate of the
Laboratory for Student Success at Temple University. Sam has authored books, chapters, and
articles on school improvement, state systems of support, school turnarounds, parent
involvement, and the school community. Sam served on the expert panel on school turnarounds
for the Institute of Education Sciences. He has consulted with more than 30 state education
agencies and many districts.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A18
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
Lauren Morando Rhim, Ph.D.
[email protected].us
EDUCATION
Ph.D. Social Foundations of Education Policy. University of Maryland, College Park
M.A. Higher Education Administration. The George Washington University
B.A. Psychology. University of Vermont
Professional Business Certificate in Leadership and Management. University of Vermont
PROFESSION AL EXPERIENCE
LMR Consulting
1/10 - Present
President
Provide research, evaluation, program planning, facilitation, and strategic technical assistance
services to state departments of education, school districts, and nonprofits committed to creating
high quality public schools for all students.
Public Impact, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Senior Consultant
University of Maryland, College Park
Institute for the Study of Exceptional Children and Youth
Project Intersect: How Special Education and Charter Schools Coexist
Project Director/Faculty Research Associate
Maryland State Charter School Program Evaluation
Lead Evaluator
1/07 – 12/09
1/03 - 12/06
3/06 - 10/06
Consultant
10/01 - 12/02
Provided research and evaluations services to clients such as: Annie E. Casey Foundation; Education
Commission of the States; Harford County Public Schools; Learning Point Associates; Local Initiatives
Support Corporation; Marriott Hospitality Charter School; Maryland State Department of Education;
Mass Insight Education; National Association of Charter School Authorizers; and National Association
of State Directors of Special Education.
University of Maryland, College Park
Institute for the Study of Exceptional Children and Youth
Project SEARCH: Special Education as Requirements in Charter Schools
Faculty Research Assistant
Center for Policy Research on the Impact of General and Special Education Reform
Graduate Research Assistant
2/95 – 9/01
Peace Corps, Washington, DC
Peace Corps Fellows Program
Acting Associate Director/University Program Specialist
1/92 - 2/95
Corporation for National and Community Service, Washington, DC
4/94 - 8/94
AmeriCorps Leaders Program
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A19
Corbett Education Consulting Resumes
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
JULIE E. CORBETT
222 N. Columbus Drive, #4303 • Chicago, IL 60601
www.corbetteducation.com • [email protected] • 312-479-7719
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Founder & Principal Consultant (Feb. 2010 – present)
Corbett Education Consulting, Chicago, IL
Areas of focus: strategic planning, organizational management, technical assistance, and
implementation support of School Improvement Grants & state systems of support; case study
research and publication creation; grant writing; research; policy analysis & creation; and,
advocacy for education reform, school turnaround organizations, lead and supporting external
partners, districts, and state education agencies.
• Full management of consulting practice, including publicity, contracting, proposal
creation, provision of services, management of contractors, budget/finance, and
formation of partnerships
•
Clients include: Academic Development Institute, Academy for Urban School
Leadership, Center on Innovation & Improvement, Consortium for Educational Change,
The KIPP Foundation, the National High School Center, and the Virginia and Louisiana
Departments of Education
Program Manager, School Turnaround Group (May 2007 – Feb. 2010)
Mass Insight Education and Research Institute, Boston, MA
Areas of focus: transformational turnaround vs. incremental school improvement; systems of
accountability; state and district systems of support; ultimate consequences; school level
implementation of turnaround; key levers of high performing high poverty schools; outreach and
advocacy; marketplace analysis and development.
Graduate Research Assistant
Rodel Foundation of Delaware, Wilmington, DE (Jan. 2006 – May 2007)
Brader Elementary School, Newark, DE (Fall 2005)
Community Mobilizer for Mentoring (July 2004 – July 2005)
AmeriCorps*VISTA placement - Delaware Mentoring Council, Dover, DE
EDUCATION
M.P.A University of Delaware, School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy (May 2007) Newark,
Delaware; State and Local Management & Education Policy
B.A.
Denison University (May 2004)
Granville, Ohio; Sociology/Anthropology and International Studies
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A20
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
GRACE BELFIORE
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Education Consultant (2002 – present)
Self-Employed, S. Hamilton, MA
Consults on education reform at the nexus of learning, technology, and process design. Selected
clients:
 Nehemiah Foundation, Sacramento, CA. Design/grantwriting for WayUp Sacramento
Promise Neighborhood (on-going)
 Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Consulting on new learning technology for
Diplomas Now model
 M&T Bank, Buffalo, NY. Design/grantwriting for Buffalo Promise Promise
Neighborhood (won two grants, including $6m implementation grant).


Stupski Foundation, San Francisco, CA. Consultant Researcher and Writer on Next Generation
Learning and Assessment
Standard and Poor’s School Evaluation Services, New York, NY. Consultant Writer for
Kansas Resource Management Study on Highly-Resource Effective Districts
Senior Consultant (2002 – 2010)
Mass Insight Education & Research Institute, Boston, MA.
Selected projects:
 Co-author of The Turnaround Challenge, influential framework for turning around high
poverty schools.
 Design Team Leader, Turnaround School-level Design Team
 Co-author of Partnership Zones, The New Partnership Paradigm, and seven Turnaround Case
Studies. Contributor to six-state Partnership Zone Initiative implementation program
 Senior Editor of effective-practice database of over 100 school reform strategies, district
performance audits, and research reports
Open/Distance Learning Consultant (1995 – 2000)
Self-employed, Thame, England
Founding Director (1989— 1995)
Pergamon Open Learning, a Division of Pergamon Press Ltd, Oxford, England
EDUCATION
Hertford College, University of Oxford, England. D. Phil. Modern History (education and
family), 1986.
Radcliffe Computer Publishing Course and Publishing Course, Harvard University. 1984 and
1982.
Harvard University. A.B. magna cum laude, Social Studies (social history, sociology), 1979.
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A21
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
ALISON L. FRASER
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
President (2008 – present)
Practical Policy, S. Hamilton, MA
Policy research, writing, and strategy consultant for non-profits, school districts, and institutes of
higher education. Strategic advisor to leading education non-profits, schools, districts, and to MA
Board of Education members. Development consultant, including prospect identification;
grantwriting and grant management for state, pass-through, and federal grants (both entitlement
and competitive) and for major national and local foundations
Director of Development (2009 – present)
Blackstone Valley Regional Technical School District
Director of Instructional and Curriculum Resource Development for nationally-renowned
Massachusetts career-technical regional school district serving 13 municipalities
Director of Policy & Advocacy; Director of the Great Schools Campaign (2003 – 07)
Mass Insight Education & Research Institute, Boston, MA
Senior executive at non-profit institute whose mission is the transformation of public schools
concentrating on underserved populations into high-performance organizations that bring all
students to college- or career-readiness by facilitating enduring, fundamental change at scale
through the practical integration of research, policy, and practice. Director of The Great Schools
Campaign, a policy/advocacy program driving steps toward school reform, including the
Turnaround Schools and World Class Math and Science goals; author of MA School Turnaround
Bill.
Adjunct English Professor (2002 – 2005)
Becker College & Quinsigamond Community College, Worcester, MA
English Teacher (1999 – 2003)
Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, MA
EDUCATION
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Master of Education Degree; Graduate School of Education & Kennedy School of Government;
2002
Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts
Bachelor of Arts Degree; 1982, English Language and Literature & Art History
Framingham State University, Framingham, Massachusetts
Course work toward MBA degree, including predictive and aggregate data analytics
(SPSS);1995-97
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A22
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
ANN (Annie) F. HARMAN
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Education Consultant (2005 – present)
Self-Employed, Chester, VA
Independent education consulting including:
• Virginia Department of Education PASS Coach and Auditor for 5 principals; including
assistance to the Central Office Staffs; Division Liaison and Coach for Franklin City,
Essex, Northampton, and Prince Edward Counties
• Lead Turnaround facilitator for Virginia Department of Education
• Discipline Audit Petersburg Public Schools for VADOE
• Family Life Education Statewide Survey for VADOE
• Take-over principal 2007 Petersburg Public Schools
• Virginia Foundation for Educational Leadership Faculty
Executive for Student Services, Ombudsman (1990 – 2004)
Roanoke City Schools, Roanoke, VA
Responsibilities included leadership and supervision for special education, guidance, magnet
programs, alternative programs, charter school, school psychologists, health and physical
education, middle school athletics, VHSL issues, school resource officer program, security,
safety, crises plans, discipline, hearings, board hearings on serious incidents, all school serious
incidents, substance abuse, family life education, and sexual harassment.
Special Assignment (Jan. 1986 – Aug. 1986)
Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Department of Health
Principal (1986—1990)
Stonewall Jackson Junior High School, Roanoke City Schools
Assistant Principal (1983-1986)
Stonewall Jackson Junior High School, Roanoke City Schools
1986-1990 (January ’86-August ’86 VADOE special assignment)
EDUCATION
Morris Harvey College, Charleston, West Virginia, 1965
Madison College, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1966-1969, BS Health, Physical Education,
Driver’s Education
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1978, MS Health, Physical Education
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A23
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
MICHAEL RASMUSSEN
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Director of Operations (July 2011 – present)
Vision Network of Delaware
Manage day-to-day operations and $1 million+ budget for the Vision Network, negotiate multi
year contract with the Delaware Department of Education to provide leadership development to
schools throughout Delaware, including quarterly deliverables and clear outcomes that support
program implementation, manage a staff of 7 coaches and one assistant, negotiated and
monitored subcontract awards to multiple vendors for program and evaluation services, and
created multi-year Strategic plan, budget and expansion plan to grow the Vision Network and
align our work with state priorities under Race to the Top.
Program Officer (July 2005-June 2011 / Researcher, July 2003-June 2005)
Rodel Foundation of Delaware, Wilmington, DE
Board Member (2005—present)
Newark Day Nursery and Children’s Center
Volunteer Board Member since September 2005, Board President from 2008 to 2012
Americorps VISTA Mentoring Coordinator (August 2002-July 2003)
Brookside Elementary School, Newark, DE
EDUCATION
University of Delaware
Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership, Concentration in Education Policy
Began Fall 2008 (ongoing)
Research Interest: The role of school leadership development programs in improving
achievement outcomes for students
University of Delaware
MA, Urban Affairs and Public Policy, Concentration in Community Development and NonProfit Leadership, May 2005
State University of New York, College at Geneseo
BA Political Science, Secondary Education Certification, December 2001
The Center for School Improvement: Resumes—A24
Appendix B. Letters of Support
American Institutes for Research
Submitted July 13, 2012
The Center for School Improvement: Letters of Support—B1
Curriculum and Instruction (MC 147)
1040 West Harrison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607-7133
July 6, 2012
Dr. David Myers
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Institutes for Research
1000 Thomas Jefferson
Washington, DC 20007
Dear Dr. Myers,
I am pleased to express my support for the proposal developed by the American Institutes for
Research to operate the Center for School Improvement. AIR is valued partner in the field of
education reform and the provision of high quality research and specialized technical assistance
to help us move forward our educational reform priorities.
I agree to support AIR and the Center for School Improvement by participating in the Research
and Design Forums and adding my expertise in the areas of comprehensive planning,
professional development, leadership, curriculum, instruction, assessment, closing achievement
gaps, turning around low performing schools, teaching and learning. I will also provide guidance
on the design, quality, relevance, and utility of Center services as relevant to my expertise.
My past experiences should be helpful in this regard. I am a former director of reading for the
Chicago Public Schools, and I served on the National Reading Panel, a research review panel
charged by Congress with the responsibility for determining what schools can do to raise reading
achievement (and the findings of which are the basis of federal literacy policy), and I chaired two
subsequent review panels (one dealing with preschool literacy and one with second language
learners). I helped write the common core English language arts standards which Illinois is now
implementing, and I serve on one of the PARRC expert panels. Currently, I am principal
investigator on the National Title I evaluation which is a nationwide study of what leads to
higher reading comprehension and language skills for preschoolers and primary grade students.
I look forward to continuing our partnership.
Sincerely yours,
Timothy Shanahan
Distinguished Professor
Chair
Phone (312) 996-4508 • Fax (312) 996-8134 • http://education.uic.edu/ci/
The Center for School Improvement: Letters of Support—B2
The Center for School Improvement: Letters of Support—B3
The Center for School Improvement: Letters of Support—B4
LOCATIONS
Domestic
Washington, D.C.
Atlanta, GA
Baltimore, MD
Chapel Hill, NC
Chicago, IL
Columbus, OH
Waltham, MA
Frederick, MD
Honolulu, HI
Naperville, IL
New York, NY
Portland, OR
Sacramento, CA
San Diego, CA
San Mateo, CA
Silver Spring, MD
1000 Thomas Jefferson Street NW
Washington, DC 20007-3835
202.403.5000 | TTY: 877.334.3499
www.air.org
INTERNATIONAL
Egypt
Ethiopia
Georgia
Haiti
Honduras
Kenya
Liberia
Malawi
Nicaragua
Pakistan
South Africa
Zambia