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:
Establishing the State Technical Assistance Team
During the creation of Idaho's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, it became clear that a team specifically tasked with supporting struggling schools was needed. The State Technical Assistance Team (STAT) is an integral part of Idaho's ESSA plan. STAT will serve as a clearinghouse to align, oversee, and support the creation and implementation of improvement plans for schools identified as in need of comprehensive or targeted support. NWCC has provided support to ISDE in writing the ESSA plan and preparing for implementation. Helping establish and facilitate STAT is the next phase in our support of Idaho’s ESSA implementation.
Creating the School Improvement Framework
ISDE is developing a framework for school improvement that will include evidence-based processes, data analysis tools, decision-making protocols, and templates. The framework is intended to ensure the right schools receive the right assistance in a timely manner, and it will be used by ISDE, STAT, districts, schools, and external technical assistance providers. The accompanying guide will summarize all the resources available to schools identified for comprehensive and targeted support and how they align. NWCC is supporting the development of the framework and guide, which is the next step in the process of analyzing and aligning school improvement services statewide.
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 eight districts in Idaho (Basin, Garden Valley, Genesee, Glenns Ferry, Highland, Salmon River, South Lemhi, and Timberline School in Orofino School District), along with districts in Alaska, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.