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Cycle of Continuous Improvement

The Iowa Department of Education's (DE) School Improvement Team, with input and feedback from Iowa's Area Education Agencies (AEAs), provides the following technical assistance documents regarding a suggested cycle of continuous improvement. The resources should be helpful to new administrators, administrators new to Iowa, to AEAs, and to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) (local public school districts and accredited non-public schools).

The documents describe a suggested process in which continuous improvement is the primary organizer for school improvement. Though accreditation related to Chapter 12 occurs within a five-year period with a comprehensive site visit and report in Year 3, elements of continuous improvement (i.e., needs assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation) occur each year. The primary focus is on a plan for cyclical implementation and evaluation of programs and services. The processes and products of the comprehensive site visit review for accreditation are most evident in Year 2: Initial Preparation For Comprehensive Review; Year 3: Comprehensive Review; and Year 4: Transition To CSIP Revision. Throughout the Cycle Of Continuous Improvement, the themes of improved schools are addressed: vision, mission, and goals; leadership; collaboration; learning environment; curriculum and instruction; professional development; and monitoring and accountability. LEA, AEA, and DE roles and responsibilities are suggested in the document. Another way to view and understand the suggested process of continuous improvement is through a graphic representation of the cycle that accompanies the technical assistance document.

Cycle of Continuous Improvement Document

Cycle of Continuous Improvement Graphic

Consultant Assignments


Site Visits

Purpose of the School Improvement Site Visit 281--Iowa Administrative Code 12.8(4)(a)(2)

  • To assess progress with the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP)
  • To make recommendations with regard to the visit findings for the purposes of improving educational practices above minimal compliance
  • To determine that a school or school district is in compliance with the accreditation standards
  • To provide a general assessment of educational practices


Iowa Department of Education Site Visit Team Member Invitation and Sign Up

Site Visit Team Member Invitation - An invitation, expectations and sign up information for site visit volunteer-team members.


2013-2014 School Year

State Accreditation Site Visits 2013-2014

Future Site Visits for Public Schools as of December 2013

Future Site Visits for Non-Public Schools as of January 2013


2013-2014 Site Visit Documents

Site Visit Process and History

2013-2014 Site Visit Training PowerPoint Handout

2013-2014 Overview Presentation Guidelines for Site Visits

2013-2014 Document Review Checklist and Non-Regulatory Guidance for School Districts

2013-2014 Document Review Checklist and Non-Regulatory Guidance for Nonpublic Schools

2013-2014 Required On-Site Interview Groups

2013-2014 Conversation Starters for Public Districts

2013-2014 Conversation Starters for Non-Public Schools

Chapter 12 Matrix

Annual Notices for Public School Districts and Accredited Nonpublic Schools

Sample School Improvement Visit Schedules 2013-2014

Protected Classes Chart 2013-2014

Web Based Non-Compliance Instructions for Districts or Schools


Link to Equity Education Documents


School Improvement Team

The School Improvement Team at the DE conducts site visits for accredited nonpublic schools and school districts, reviews Annual Progress Reports (APRs), and assists Schools and School Districts in continuous school improvement efforts such as the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP). Data for both the APR and CSIP are collected through the C-Plan application. The Team conducts feasibility studies with accredited public school districts seeking options such as Whole Grade Sharing and School District Reorganization. The Team monitors Private Instruction, Specially Accredited Schools, Open Enrollment, School District Waivers and Exemptions, Nonpublic School Accreditation, and Senior Year Plus.

The following contact information includes the monitoring assignments of each School Improvement Consultant. Schools, School Districts, AEAs, and members of the public should contact the Consultant assigned to their AEA for any school improvement related questions.

Contact Information

Grimes State Office Building
400 E. 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319-0146

General Number: 515-281-8402

Fax Number: 515-242-5988

Hours: 8:00am-4:30pm, Monday-Friday (Except State Holidays)



Dave Tilly
Deputy Director and Division Administrator
Division of Learning and Results

Amy Williamson
Bureau of School Improvement



Holly Barnes
Monitors and provides technical assistance for Keystone AEA 1 and Mississippi Bend AEA 9.
C-Plan assistance

Janet Boyd
Monitors and provides technical assistance for Green Hills AEA.
Charter School Consultant
Online non-compliance
Document Review Checklist

Cindy Butler
Monitors and provides technical assistance for Prairie Lakes AEA 8.
Online non-compliance
C-Plan assistance
Document review checklist

Barbara Byrd
Monitors and provides technical assistance for Great Prairie AEA and Mississippi Bend AEA 9.
Contact for whole grade sharing
Coordinator for feasibility studies (school district reorganization and whole grade sharing)

Elizabeth Calhoun
Monitors and provides technical assistance for Northwest AEA.
Contact for Private Instruction (i.e., home schooling)

Margaret Jensen Connet
Monitors and provides equity / MCGF technical assistance for all AEAs.
Coordinates LEA focused equity site visits
Coordinates AEA focused equity visits
Assists with community college focused equity site visits

Beth Happe
Monitors and provides technical assistance for Heartland AEA 11.
Exempt schools assistance
Non-Public School Accreditation
Specially Accredited Schools

Eric Heitz
Monitors and provides technical assistance for AEA 267.
Open Enrollment

Fred Kinne
Monitors and provides technical assistance for Grant Wood AEA 10.
AEA Accreditation
AEA Reorganization
AEA technical assistance
Senior Year Plus assistance

Isaiah McGee
Provides assistance regarding Policy, Achievement Gap and Charter Schools.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 20, 2014 at 12:20pm.