“State directors reported to me that the content provided in the sessions was helpful, and the opportunities to network with their state team and across state teams was very useful for moving to Phase II of the SSIP. I attended the meeting in Jacksonville and found this to be true.”– Bill East, Executive Director, National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), and member of NCSI Leadership Team
State teams representing almost all states and territories came together during April and May, with a number of Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) staff and technical assistance (TA) centers at three interactive institutes held across the country. The institutes focused on building capacity in the design, implementation, and evaluation of State Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIP).
The three IDC Interactive Institutes on High-Quality Data & the SSIP were hosted by IDEA Data Center (IDC), in collaboration with The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy), The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), The National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), The Parent Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs), and other important stakeholders working together to implement the SSIP and achieve state goals. The institutes were held April 29–30, 2015, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; May 12–13, 2015, in Jacksonville, Florida; and May 27–28, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois. Thirty two Part B and C teams representing 24 states and territories attended the first institute in Albuquerque, 36 teams representing 26 states and territories attended the institute held in Jacksonville, and 41 teams representing 32 states and territories attended the final institute in Chicago.
Teams representing the State Special Education Director, Part C coordinator, data manager, 619 Coordinator, and the SSIP or State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR) Coordinator, as well as other key stakeholders in the state, had opportunities to do the following:
- 1) Hear keynotes from OSEP staff and experts in evaluation and implementation who provided states with lessons learned from Phase I of the SSIP, expectations for Phase II, and presentations on the use of data to drive change and how to “think like an evaluator.”
- 2) Attend a variety of sessions intended to help states begin to tackle Phases II (development) and III (implementation and evaluation) of the SSIP. States selected relevant presentations across a range of topics, including stakeholder engagement; implementation science; data quality and use; evidence-based practices related to reading, mathematics, and transitions; and evaluation.
- 3) Interact and network with other states, TA providers, and presenters to actively engage in conversations regarding the next phase of planning for SSIP implementation and evaluation, and to review and individually consult on state-specific SSIP needs.
- 4) Identify new practical tools and products from multiple centers through a tools and products showcase.
State teams also took an active role in some of the presentations. For example, as part of the stakeholder strand at the institutes, state directors and staff from Arizona, California, Georgia, Michigan, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia co-presented with the NCSI Communication and Collaboration team to provide practical examples of stakeholder engagement in Phase I and the deep engagement they envision for Phase II of the SSIP. In addition, teams had an opportunity to learn about the blueprint for authentic engagement, Leading by Convening, and provide feedback on a series of four stakeholder developed rubrics. The rubrics, which were developed in collaboration with the IDEA Partnership and NCSI’s Data Use Service Area Team, focus on measuring the depth of stakeholder engagement across areas such as (1) coalescing around evidence-based practice, (2) building support through data, (3) creating active (meaningful) engagement, and (4) engagement and value creation in evaluation. You can view samples of the rubrics by accessing the session slides (see Slides 6–9). Based on the feedback from states, the rubrics are being updated and finalized and will be available on Grads 360 and the NCSI website soon.
As states continue to work to deepen their stakeholder engagement, NCSI staff will be available for support. Contact your TA facilitator or Patrice Linehan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about the rubrics or specific learning activities used to deepen state interaction among stakeholders.
Find materials and resources from all of the IDC Interactive Institutes at https://ideadata.org/ii2015/. For those who attended the institutes, you also can access them through the meeting app.