Of Idaho’s 115 school districts, 75 are in rural locales—half of which are considered remote. To ensure 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:
Creating an Evidence-Based Toolkit for Schools in Need of Support
Reaching the more than 200 schools across the state identified for targeted or comprehensive support requires a coherent set of guidance from ISDE staff members, regional school improvement coordinators, and local school improvement coaches. NWCC is assisting ISDE with the development of an evidence-based toolkit that can be used as a common point of reference. The toolkit includes best practices for literacy, math, and language acquisition for English learners. In addition, we are working with ISDE to provide virtual and in-person training to schools identified for support.
Evaluating the State Technical Assistance Team
The State Technical Assistance Team (STAT), part of Idaho’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan, serves as a clearinghouse to align, oversee, and support the implementation of improvement plans for schools identified as in need of comprehensive or targeted support. Having helped ISDE establish and facilitate STAT in 2017–18, NWCC is now working with the agency to measure the team’s effectiveness and identify areas of improvement by creating an internal formative evaluation process.
Serving American Indian and Alaska Native Students
Working with ISDE and the Northwest’s four other state education agencies (SEAs), we build stakeholders’ capacity to meet the educational needs and support the strengths of Native students. We do this by facilitating a professional learning network among the SEAs’ Indian education coordinators so that they can share resources, promising practices, and lessons learned. In addition, we provide technical assistance to individual SEAs through state-level projects with regional impacts. For example, we have supported ISDE staff members in developing and implementing a revised American Indian education plan for the state.
Collaborating for Rural Innovation and Student Engagement
In 2013, NWCC and our partners at Boston College created an educator network. The goal: Reduce isolation by connecting educators from some of the region’s most rural and remote districts. Today, the Northwest Rural Innovation and Student Engagement (NW RISE) Network convenes teachers and leaders from more than 30 districts in five states (including eight districts in Idaho), along with SEA staff members, to collectively improve student outcomes and engagement across the region.