SEAs are able to reserve up to five percent of SIG funds for administration, evaluation and the provision of technical assistance to SIG-awarded schools. Twenty-six states intend to use all or a portion of these funds to enhance their existing state systems of support to better assist SIG schools. Twelve states are creating new offices specifically designed to support state SIG efforts. For example, the Kentucky SEA intends to create a new Office of Educational Recovery Services to build LEA and SIG school capacity. With regard to direct assistance to schools, the primary categories of support include: state designated support staff, quality control measures for external providers, targeted professional development, improvement tools, and strategies to engage community stakeholders (see Exhibit 10).
State designated support staff. Nineteen states intend to assign a coach or facilitator to work with specific LEAs and SIG schools. For example, the Maine SEA plans to hire additional staff and Title I school improvement consultants to act as liaisons between the SEA and SIG grantees. In Kansas implementation coaches will visit each school every other week and work with the principal and leadership team to ensure implementation of the school improvement plan and SIG. Oklahoma plans to hire district Educational Leadership Coaches for principals, and in Kentucky, Educational Recovery Specialists will focus on coaching, mentoring and modeling effective instructional practices to increase the effectiveness of the school's staff. Thirteen states plan to use technical assistance teams to support LEAs and SIG schools.
Quality control measures for external providers. Eighteen states plan to support LEAs in accessing external providers and evaluating their quality. For example, the Colorado SEA plans to host an External Providers' fair so that LEAs may attend the fair and obtain information on potential external partners. The Massachusetts SEA plans to qualify external providers based on the providers' ability to support the "Essential Conditions" that the SEA has identified as critical to turning around schools. In Indiana, the SEA plans to approve LEAs' external provider selections.
Customized professional development. Sixteen states plan to customize professional development based on specific LEA and SIG school needs. For example, the Pennsylvania SEA intends to offer the Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership Initiative, which is designed to provide SIG-school leaders with knowledge and skills to implement standards-based reform and use data to inform decision-making.
Improvement tools. Ten states will provide tools to support SIG school activities, including school improvement planning templates, needs assessments, budgeting documents, data analysis tools, teacher evaluations, and suggested guidelines for hiring new staff. For example, the New Mexico SEA developed the Web Educational Plan for Student Success (Web EPSS) tool which guides schools and districts through the process of conducting a school-wide needs assessment, and then tracking actions, responsibilities and progress toward increasing student achievement. The Ohio SEA plans to customize and enhance existing tools to target SIG-schools. One such tool is the Implementation Management/Monitoring (IMM) tool, which provides a way for Ohio LEAs to document how improvement plans will be implemented and how implementation will be measured. The IMM tool also provides an opportunity for LEAs and schools to identify needed resources, to assign individual responsibilities, and to set a timeline for implementation. In another example, the Colorado SEA developed the Expedited Diagnostic Review (EDR) for LEAs to identify the needs of Tier I and Tier II schools. Colorado School Support Team standards, indicators, and protocols were used to develop a review process with the primary goal of identifying root causes of a school's poor academic performance and the best improvement strategy for the school.
Engaging stakeholders. Thirteen states plan to provide support to districts and schools by engaging stakeholders. Among these thirteen states, eight plan to facilitate support networks of SIG LEAs and schools. For example, Kansas will draw from an existing collaborative district and school improvement model—the Kansas Learning Network—to identify coaches for LEAs and SIG schools. The remaining five states plan to enlist partners, including institutions of higher education to support LEAs and SIG schools. For example, Minnesota plans to work with the University of Minnesota to develop the Minnesota Principals Academy for turnaround principals in order to increase the pool of high-caliber principals available for SIG schools in the state.