Through customized and evidence-based technical assistance, WestEd’s National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) helps increase the capacity of state education agencies and early intervention lead agencies to engage stakeholders as allies to support the implementation of effective, evidence-based practices at the state and local levels.
NCSI provides a differentiated, three-tiered system of technical assistance (TA) to support states in transforming their systems to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.
Designed to support all states. Every state agency has an individually assigned TA Facilitator —one for IDEA Part C and another for IDEA Part B. Find the TA Facilitator for your state at: https://ncsi-resources.wested.org/
All states have access to NCSI tools, products, national webinars, and other resources through the NCSI Website.
Designed to support many states. Targeted TA is often based on needs common to multiple recipients. NCSI Cross-State Learning Collaboratives are an example of NCSI Targeted TA in which groups of states convene to address common focus areas for improvement.
Targeted TA plans may also be developed for individual states to meet customized needs and often include these kinds of activities:
• In person or virtual presentations at state-specific conference(s) or event(s)
• Developing and/or co-facilitating meeting(s) and event(s) to further SSIP efforts
• Supporting survey development or other engagement efforts
• Finding, adapting, or developing resources to address areas of state interest, need, or inquiry (e.g., policy scans, literature reviews, fidelity tools).
• Short-term consultation related to SSIP planning, implementation, and evaluation
• Regularly scheduled check-in calls with the state SSIP Leadership Team and other TA Centers, as appropriate, to follow-up and advise on state SSIP implementation progress
Designed for a select group of states. Intensive TA plans are developed for states that have the need and capacity to engage in an ongoing, deep systems transformation endeavor with NCSI. This category of TA should result in changes to policy, program, practice, or operations that support increased state capacity and/or improved outcomes at multiple systems levels.
Any state with a Needs Intervention Determination from OSEP is offered Intensive TA, which is customized for each state and described in a collaboratively developed Intensive TA Plan. Additional states may also engage in Intensive TA based on an in-take process that includes collaboratively assessing with the state, their needs and readiness to engage in Intensive TA.
Examples of Intensive TA may include:
• Individualized assistance to support development and sustainability of in-state capacity to implement and evaluate the SSIP
• Regularly scheduled, intensive, in-person and/or on-site professional development or capacity-building sessions to guide and measure implementation and scaling up of evidence based practices
• Long-term, comprehensive and strategic planning between state agency and NCSI staff to complete activities set forth in the SSIPs
NCSI staff support states through two primary roles: TA Facilitator and Content Specialist.
TA Facilitators are assigned to each state/territory for both Part C and Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to understand needs and broker resources. TA Facilitators build and sustain relationships with state education agency (SEA) and early intervention lead agency (LA) staff, collaboratively identify specific state needs, and broker technical assistance supports from NCSI Content Specialists and other appropriate sources. An assigned TA Facilitator is the first point of contact for a state seeking technical assistance from NCSI.
Content Specialists work in four Service Area Teams:
- Data Use
- Knowledge Utilization
- Systems Change
- Communication & Collaboration
Each capacity-building Service Area Team develops tools and resources, and provides technical assistance at the Universal, Targeted, and Intensive TA Levels.
Please click a team on the right
to view more details.
Data Use Team
Focus: To promote the
use of high-quality data as the basis for the development, implementation, and evaluation of the State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP)
Team Members: Content specialists in collecting data, improving data systems, analyzing root causes, selecting appropriate data sets to inform decision-making, and applying data for decision-making
Knowledge Utilization Team
Focus: To ensure that SEAs and Part C Lead Agencies learn about and support school districts and early intervention services programs to successfully implement evidence-based practices and develop leaders who promote knowledge use and continuous learning and adaption
Team Members: Content specialists in evidence-based practices for standards, curricula, instruction, assessment, accountability, and meeting the needs of children and youth with disabilities
Systems Change Team
Focus: To support states to develop, implement, and evaluate SSIPs and improve state infrastructure, capacity for transformation, and general supervision systems to help states achieve systems coherence and adopt performance management structures
Team Members: Content specialists in systems alignment, resource analysis, and infrastructure analysis and development
Communication & Collaboration Team
Focus: To develop state capacity for stakeholder engagement and increase access to quality resources from general and special education technical assistance centers to help states select, develop, and implement proven solutions
Team Members: Content specialists in building collaborative relationships and communicating with key stakeholder groups
Building on the previous work of the national Regional Resource Center Program, which assisted states in providing high-quality special education services, NCSI helps state education agencies (SEAs) and lead agencies (LAs) build capacity for systems transformation through:
NCSI helps SEAs and LAs align systems and implement organizational structures to focus on performance, provide professional development, and make adjustments based on formative data
NCSI helps SEAs and LAs work across divisions, departments, and programs to integrate priorities, combine resources, and ensure an intentional focus on positive outcomes for children and youth with disabilities
NCSI helps SEAs and LAs engage multiple stakeholders to promote innovation and develop creative solutions to persistent, systemic challenges
NCSI helps SEAs and LAs learn about, select, implement, evaluate, and scale up effective practices