Throughout this past year, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) has been working on a Coherence Project in which four offices have sought to align efforts and initiatives to offer schools a coherent model for student support. These four offices include the Offices of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, Special Education, Coordinated Student Support Services, and Coordinated School and District Support. One of the items that have been a result of the Coherence Project at the NDE is the Continuous Improvement Template.
The Continuous Improvement Template is a tool that encourages districts to merge and align their district’s Continuous Improvement and District MTSS Leadership Teams. The roles and responsibilities of both teams frequently overlap and there is often redundancy of tasks and processes if the teams operate independently. For example, both teams organize and analyze data to make decisions on an ongoing basis, as well as review the district's assessment, curriculum and instructional resources. The template provides a structure for districts to document these processes and organize them in a format that can be shared with teams that complete an external visit at the end of the district’s 5-year continuous improvement cycle. Although it is not mandatory that districts merge their teams and use the new Continuous Improvement template, many districts are opting to do so.
At ESU 10, we are modeling coherence and combining our supports with Continuous Improvement and MTSS. The Teaching and Learning Coordinators and the MTSS Facilitator collaborate to provide support to districts on topics related to Continuous Improvement and MTSS. Collaboration across departments with the Special Education Department and Teaching and Learning Department is occurring in effort to support districts with also aligning their Targeted Improvement Plan goals with the district’s Continuous Improvement Plan and MTSS processes.
Moving forward, our Continuous Improvement and MTSS trainings will be aligned and combined. We will start with holding a data review at the beginning of June where districts will have the opportunity to analyze their data and engage in data-based decision-making to identify priorities for the upcoming school year. We will hold additional training throughout the upcoming year based on the needs that districts identify during the data review. The hope is that by modeling coherence as a Service Unit, we will be delivering services to districts that are more aligned and consistent.
With time and people being a scarce resource, it is important that now more than ever, we practice the old-adage saying of “work smarter not harder.” Merging and aligning initiatives such as Continuous Improvement and MTSS will help ESU 10 be more consistent with our services and helps districts to utilize their time and resources to improve the quality of their processes in supporting student success.