Among Idaho’s 115 school districts, 75 are in rural locales, with half of those also considered remote. To ensure all of the state’s 745 schools receive equitable resources and support, the Idaho State Department of Education (ISDE) has requested technical assistance from NWCC on the following priority areas:
Aligning Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Implementation to Identified State Priorities
ISDE has five teams (Consultation and Coordination, Standards and Assessment, Accountability and School Improvement, Supporting Excellent Educators, and Supporting All Students) working on aligning the federal regulations of ESSA to meet the unique needs of Idaho’s students and schools. NWCC is assisting the teams by providing tools and resources to inform their decisions, engage stakeholders, and arrive at decisions that meet the state’s guiding principles: 1. The needs of children must drive any necessary change. 2. Every student can learn and must have a highly effective teacher in every classroom. 3. Current and new resources must focus on the demands of the 21st Century.
Fair and Equitable Accountability System
NWCC is supporting ISDE as leadership revisits the state’s accountability system. ISDE wants to make sure that local school boards and superintendents have both the resources and the autonomy to ensure all students are mastering state standards. NWCC is providing facilitation, technical assistance, and access to national experts as the state moves through this process.
NWCC is providing technical assistance to ISDE as teams analyze the services they provide to local districts. The state's goal is to maximize alignment of school improvement, special education, and educator effectiveness programs, in order to effectively serve districts and schools within the state. NWCC’s role is to facilitate conversations between programs and identify processes and potential opportunities for program staff to collaborate. With NWCC's assistance, ISDE is revising the way services are offered and delivered to ensure that rural schools and schools with high populations of high-risk students can take advantage of the variety of support provided by the state. ISDE services range from school improvement coaching to specific assistance with low-incidence disabilities.
American Indian/Alaska Native Students
Working with SDE and the Northwest’s four other state education agencies (SEAs), we provide capacity-building support to meet the educational needs of American Indian/Alaska Native students. We do this by helping the SEAs’ Indian education coordinators share resources and lessons learned with each other, as well as by providing technical assistance to individual SEAs through state-level projects with regional implications. For example, we have supported SDE staff in creating an Indian education plan for the state and the Nez Perce Tribal Education Agency in assuming greater responsibility for the schools that serve their students.
Rural Innovation and Student Engagement
In 2013, NWCC and its partners at Boston College created a network designed to connect isolated rural educators as they work to implement rigorous new standards and improve outcomes and opportunities for students. The Northwest Rural Innovation and Student Engagement (NW RISE) Network currently includes schools from seven districts in Idaho (Basin, Bliss, Garden Valley, Genesee, Glenns Ferry, Salmon River, and South Lemhi), along with districts in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.