NCSI is launching a series of Learning Collaboratives to support states in improving outcomes for children with disabilities ages 0-21. The Collaboratives are networks of shared leadership and peer support designed to enable participants to (1) identify issues and opportunities in improving outcomes for children with disabilities from cradle to career through joint and self-reflection, feedback, problem-solving, support; (2) engage in professional learning and growth to build statewide capacity in four foundational areas; and (3) support selves and one another in implementation of State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) strategies & other priority efforts.
Learning Collaboratives are organized in focus areas, with topics driven by State-identified Measurable Results (SiMRs) as articulated in States’ Systemic Improvement Plans (SSIPs) as well as other state priorities (e.g., state legislative action, ESEA Flexibility Waivers, Agency priorities, others). Some Collaboratives bring a school-aged focus, others are more concentrated in early childhood content, and other Collaboratives are designed to function best with cross-age engagement.
There are eight focus areas for the Learning Collaboratives, all of which are open to all states, based on the state’s priorities and needs. Each state is invited to join one Collaborative, and depending on how many states are interested in each Collaborative, there may be an opportunity for states to join as many as two Collaboratives per state.
- Family Outcomes (early childhood)
- Social Emotional Outcomes (early childhood)
- Early Literacy (birth-3rd grade)
- Intermediate and Adolescent Literacy (grades 4 & above)
- Graduation & Post-School Outcomes
- Results-based Accountability Systems (RDA/Monitoring)
- School Turnaround
Learning Collaboratives are intended to gather together 5-10 state teams per focus area. Membership for each State team includes 5-10 members, configured with a multi-disciplinary orientation to include: key State Educational Agency (SEA) and/or Lead Agency (LA) personnel who represent both special and general education / whole child perspectives; SSIP team members as appropriate; Local Education Agency (LEA) and/or Early Intervention Services (EIS) personnel / practitioners; professional and family organization members; and other pertinent stakeholders depending on state context (e.g., other state child-serving agencies, legislative staff, governor’s office staff, etc.). Each state team has a designated team leader, who is responsible for the following kinds of tasks:
- Working with Agency leadership to engage participation of relevant stakeholders
- Communicating information about the Collaborative to State Team members
Connecting priorities of SEA & LA Department Heads with SSIPs, including reporting to SEA/LA leaders and relevant senior staff
- Providing systems overviews and status updates during designated opportunities (in-person and virtual settings)
- Facilitating State Team conversations during in-person meetings and virtual collaboration, with support from NCSI staff
- Helping to guide implementation within states to ensure achievement of steps determined necessary by the State Team
Differentiated travel support is available for each state participating in a Learning Collaborative, based on their OSEP Determination: ‘Meets Requirements’ states receive travel support for up to 2 team members; ‘Needs Assistance’ states receive travel support for up to 5 team members; ‘Needs Intervention’ states receive travel support for up to 6 team members, if engagement in a Learning Collaborative is prioritized in their NCSI intensive intervention individualized TA plan.
The Learning Collaboratives are configured to offer a continuum of technical assistance support, which includes periodic face-to-face meetings, ongoing virtual engagement, and ongoing, individualized support to States. Each Collaborative will meet in person 1- 2 times per year, with locations selected, to the maximum extent possible, to support convenient access for all state teams. During these face-to-face meetings, professional learning will be supported through presentations, state members’ needs will be addressed via individualized TA in small group settings, and intentional efforts will be undertaken to promote peer-to-peer learning. Content will include a focus on evidence-based practices for data use, teaching and learning, systems change, general supervision, communication and collaboration, and implementation science. Protected time will be ensured for state teams to meet and deliberate, problem-solve, and make decisions and to engage in action-oriented discussions facilitated by designated NCSI staff. During the Collaborative meetings, content experts will be readily available to consult with state teams. State teams will also have opportunities to present their problems and emerging solutions to induce peer learning. Workbooks will be created by NCSI content experts and used to guide State team efforts, in order to catalyze and organize thinking, influence refinement of SSIPs/development of Phase II or other priority action plans, and document ideas and action items.
Substantial efforts will also be undertaken by NCSI to support states outside of the face-to-face gatherings. Via thoughtfully constructed virtual mechanisms, states will receive support to harness learning through content-based collections and curation with a system called Declara, will engage in national and state-centric presentations; receive state-specific coaching via phone & email and access NCSI-review and feedback on documents and processes.
NCSI’s Learning Collaboratives are being coordinated with other TA centers funded by the US Department of Education. Opportunities for other TA center engagement include: (1) co-leading specific Collaborative(s), wherein staff help to shape priorities, develop face-to-face meeting agendas and content, provide direct coaching to state team members, and engage in content curation and virtual conversation; or (2) providing targeted knowledge development through national and state-specific webinars, resource dissemination, and guest expertise in face-to-face and/or virtual platforms. Interested TA centers should contact NCSI to become involved.
For more information about the Learning Collaboratives, please access a recording or materials from a series of recent national Q&A sessions about the model, and/or plan to participate in one or more upcoming Q&A sessions about each Learning Collaborative. These upcoming sessions will be based on the focus area of the Collaborative (e.g., early literacy), and will provide participants with an opportunity to both learn more about anticipated content, as well as shape specific content variables and state priorities.
You may also contact Jessica Arnold at 510.302.4296 or firstname.lastname@example.org.