On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed into law the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as “No Child Left Behind of 2001” (NCLB). This legislation requires that “each state shall establish a statewide system of intensive and sustained support and improvement.” Responsibilities to Title I schools and districts include providing technical assistance to schools identified as low performing, with priority given to schools and districts subject to corrective action and school improvement.
The Iowa Support System for Schools and Districts in Need of Assistance (SINA and DINA) has been developed in response to state and federal legislation described above. Within three months following identification by the Iowa Department of Education, No Child Left Behind requires that a School in Need of Assistance develop a two-year plan that:
- addresses core academic subjects;
- utilizes scientifically researched strategies;
- implements new teacher mentoring;
- includes parent involvement activities; and
- provides for a peer review of the plan.
The purpose of the Iowa Support System for Schools and Districts in Need of Assistance (SINA and DINA) is to assist the districts’/schools’ achievement of the following:
- Educate all students to high standards;
- Strengthen the internal capacity of each district and school;
- Focus accountability on results; and
- Integrate quality educational practices with local decision making
A building identified as a school in need of assistance will receive Title I allocations based on the federal guidelines. A two-year action plan that has been reviewed by peers is required before allocations are distributed. All Title I buildings and districts identified must allocate 10% of their Title I funding to professional development in the area for which the school/district is identified.
There are five phases in the Iowa Support System for Schools and Districts in Need of Assistance:
- Audit Phase
- Diagnosis Phase
- Design Phase
- Implementation/Monitoring Phase
- Monitoring/Assessment Phase
The Audit Phase focuses on the collection and analysis of district/school data to identify strengths and areas of concern in order to design the action plan to increase student achievement. The audit team will . . .
- Collect and analyze district/school data;
- Develop a district/school profile; and
- Determine the strengths and area(s) of concern based on the preliminary analysis in preparation for a more focused review by the district/ school.
As part of the support framework for Schools and Districts in Need of Assistance (SINA/ DINA), the Diagnosis Phase reviews prioritized areas from the audit summary. Through a comparison of the current reality with the desired state, a gap analysis is completed. The root causes that are contributing to the area(s) for further study are identified. If/then statements and/or a theory of change based on possible solutions are created as a final step to set the stage for the goals or action plan steps in the design phase.
The Design Phase provides for the development of an action plan to address the prioritized areas of concern in order to increase student achievement. The district/school collaborates with the support team to design a two-year action plan that . . .
- increases the proficiency of their students in the identified area(s) of concern;
- incorporates the Iowa Professional Development Model to provide teachers with additional or enhanced skills within the area(s) of concern;
- develops the capacity of leadership within the district/school;
- integrates statewide initiatives/programs where appropriate;
- demonstrates how resources (e.g., time, dollars, expertise) are dedicated to the achievement of the plan;
- aligns with the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP);
- provides both formative and summative evaluation strategies;
- includes strategies for increasing the involvement of parent engagement; and
- incorporates actions for appropriate primary elements for the domains based on the identified areas of concern:
- Academic Domain: standards, curriculum, instruction, assessment;
- Quality Educator Domain: professional development, leadership/supervision, internal communications, climate and culture;
- District/School Domain: external environment, stakeholders/family and community, resource allocation, technology, accountability, and completed peer review.
- Assures the delivery of the intervention;
- Facilitates ongoing support to the building/district staff members;
- Provides for ongoing formative assessment and data collection; and
- Builds the capacity of the district/school for ongoing school improvement.
- Evaluates the effectiveness of the intervention(s);
- Reports findings and recommendations to district/school, their stakeholders, and the Iowa Department of Education; and
- Determines recommendations for adjustments to the action plan.