Through customized and evidence-based technical assistance, WestEd’s National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) helps increase the capacity of state education 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 children, and youth with disabilities.
Designed to support all states. Every state agency has an individually assigned TA Facilitator 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 and to the NCSI Fiscal Support team.
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 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) 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 Capacity Building Areas:
- Data Literacy
- Research-Informed Practices
- Systems Coherence
- Stakeholder & Family Engagement
NCSI helps SEAs build foundational skills and knowledge to address four systems transformation priorities:
Maximize leadership to align general and special education systems to close equity gaps
Optimize General Supervision, Accountability and Support Systems
Optimize General Supervision, accountability and support systems to improve results
Operationalize Evidence-Based Practices
Operationalize evidence-based practices for teaching and learning
Actualize improvement for students with disabilities in low-performing systems