Tag: Rural

SCEE National Summit on Educator Effectiveness

SCEE National Summit on Educator Effectiveness

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Two weeks ago, several West Wind Education Policy Inc. staff were in Washington, D.C. to lead the inaugural SCEE National Summit on Educator Effectiveness, Transforming State Systems for the FutureSCEE, the State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness, was convened by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in the fall of2010.

Nearly thirty states convened to dissect educator effectiveness from many different lenses.  With facilitation from West Wind, Council of Chief State School Officers staff, and the national Comprehensive Center network, the 28 state teams set out to think about the current “state of [their] state,” their students’ and educators’ needs, and what effectiveness looks like from many different standpoints.

For West Wind, it was rewarding to see the summit unfold after much planning, conceptualizing,  webinars, blog posts, and more than a little sweat that led up to the Summit.

West Wind was particularly proud of the work we led in four of the six breakout strands:  Teacher Evaluation; Leader Evaluation; Professional Development and Policy and Systems Change.  Deb Hansen was the strand leader for Professional Development, where she worked closely with Stephanie Hirsh of Learning Forward to design an interactive and engaging series of activities for state teams using—believe it or not—the principles of high quality professional development in their delivery.  Circe Stumbo and Deanna Hill coordinated the Policy and Systems Change strand, where we wove into the work not only our framework for Systemic Equity Leadership but also the work of Summit keynoter Michael Fullan.  Fullan’s two articles on whole-system reform helped states recognize the need for thinking broadly about their vision for education and strategically about the drivers they prioritize in rolling out reform.

Playing as a tag-team, Deanna helped Circe to represent West Wind in the set-up session to both the teacher and leader evaluation strands.  There, we were able to interject considerations of equity into the policy and technical conversations about the design of statewide evaluation systems.

All in all, the hope remains that these deliberations, which were initiated from the many discussions at the summit, can bring continued collaboration and participation.  West Wind looks forward to continuing its work with the states as they progress.

Report of the Focus Groups to Discuss Bold and Innovative Ideas

Report of the Focus Groups to Discuss Bold and Innovative Ideas

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In 2005, the Iowa General Assembly created the Institute for Tomorrow’s Workforce (ITW). The ITW is charged with focusing elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education on what children need to know to be successful in Iowa’s global workforce. More specifically, the General Assembly asked the ITW to provide a “long term forum for bold, innovative recommendations to improve Iowa’s education system to meet the workforce needs of Iowa’s new economy.”

In 2006, the Iowa General Assembly passed legislation termed “Pay for Performance.” The legislation called for a pilot study of 10 school districts with pay-for-performance programs where teachers’ pay is based on student achievement, among other factors. An executive order by the governor contracted that work to the ITW. The legislation also directed the ITW to create an education efficiency and improvement plan for Iowa.

In order to inform the pilot study and improvement plan, the ITW contracted with Learning Point Associates (LPA) to conduct background studies. Under the contract, LPA will convene advisory work groups, conduct focus groups and a phone survey, meet with interest groups about their preliminary findings, and publish a final report by January 2007. LPA contracted with West Wind Education Policy, Inc. (West Wind) to conduct the focus groups. West Wind is a small company based in Iowa City, Iowa, providing policy analysis, professional development, and leadership training to district, state, and national leaders and advocates for public education.

Seven focus groups were conducted around the state, with 100 total participants. In September and October 2006, focus groups met in Muscatine, Oelwein, Fort Dodge, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Centerville, and Des Moines. The focus groups were held in neutral locations in small towns and urban areas in order to gather a wide range of perspectives. Participants represented an array of interests, including educators, administrators, higher education, students, parents, community members and activists, business owners and managers, and senior citizens.

Questions were posed to each focus group to elicit the participants’ ideas, concerns, and priorities. Analysts at West Wind analyzed the results and prepared the following report for LPA and the ITW. An accompanying Technical Report is available with additional detail from each focus group session.

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Library image (cc) Brooks Elliott

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