Introduction

In December 2010, the staff members of ESU #17 individually completed an online version of the Self-Assessment of Readiness for Education Service Agencies. Members of the Leadership Team completed the Self-Assessment a month earlier.

On January 4, 2011, twenty-one members of the staff (including Leadership Team members) met to review the results of the Assessment and to arrive at consensus regarding the overall ratings that would be used for reporting. As a whole staff, the Necessary Conditions were reviewed, with overall ratings determined by consensus. The staff then divided into small groups of 3-4 members to review the initial results and assign overall ratings to the remaining practices. Each small group was assigned a specific section. Upon completion, each group reported on the consensus determined by their group and asked the large group to assist with any specific item in which small group consensus could not be determined.

Overall, the results were as follows:
  • Necessary Conditions - Operational (5)
  • Core Task #1 Ensure Desired Results - Emerging (3), Operational (5)
    • The agency currently encourages professional development. Individual growth plans and staff goals would develop a unified vision for the entire staff.
    • · Agency improvement surveys are completed by school district personnel in an online format regularly in order to provide immediate results to the agency. Action plans are evaluated and revised to reflect current needs of school districts indicated from the data. Staff days are scheduled to monitor ESU performance. Agency Administration has been supportive of professional development opportunities.
  • Core Task #2 Improve Teaching and Learning - Emerging (2), Operational (10), Highly Functional (1)
    • The agency provides staffing to fulfill the needs of schools in the area. Professional development is offered to professionals, para-professionals, parents, and community members.
    • · The agency provides a wide variety of support that enhances student learning, including professional development on technology, instructional strategies, and media resources. The agency promotes opportunities for school districts to work in partnership in order to maximize resource allocations and provide educational opportunities for students.
  • Core Task #3 Foster a Culture of Improvement - Emerging (2), Operational (5)
    • Agency staff feel there is opportunity to meet as a group and share ideas and perspectives. The agency encourages peer assistance for improvement. The staff is professional in accepting differing ideas.
    • Agency staff support and respect each other through collective agency communication. The Continuous Improvement Planning process allows for individual program re-evaluation. Continued professional development growth is supported for all individual programs/departments.
  • Core Tasks (overall) - Emerging (7), Operational (20), Highly Functional (1)

A detailed summary of the work completed follows.


A Self-Assessment of Readiness for Education Service Agencies

Purpose: This Self Assessment of Readiness is designed to reflect an Education Service Agency’s (ESA) readiness for accreditation by examining the agency’s practices in relation to the research-based conditions, core tasks, and effective practices of continuously improving schools and districts (NSSE, 2004). By assessing an agency’s readiness against the research, a determination can be made regarding the agency’s capacity to meet the AdvancED standards and whether the agency can be granted candidacy status for accreditation.
Directions Part A: Review the five necessary conditions (listed below) of improving education service agencies. Use the rating scale described in the key to assess the degree to which the agency is engaged in the stated condition.

Key:
1 Not Evident Little or no evidence exists
2 Emerging Evidence indicates early or preliminary stages of implementation of practice
3 Operational Evidence indicates practices and procedures are actively implemented
4 Highly Functional Evidence indicates practices and procedures are fully integrated and effectively and consistently implemented
Necessary Conditions
1
2
3
4
overall
Effective Leadership
The leadership decisions and practices support the vision for the continuous improvement of learner performance and agency effectiveness.
0
0
20
5
3
Policies and Practices
The agency has policies and practices in place that support improvement efforts.
0
2
15
8
3
Resources and Support Systems
The agency has the human, technology, and material resources to support improvement efforts.
0
3
12
10
3
Quality Staff
The recruitment, placement, and professional development of staff are aligned with the agency's vision for service.
0
2
14
9
3
Quality Information
An information system which collects, manages, and uses information to support the agency's vision is in place in the agency.
0
8
10
7
3
Directions Part B: Each category below contains the three core tasks of continuously improving service to districts and schools. Under each core task are listed the research-based effective practices of continuously improving agencies that relate to that task. Examine the agency’s practices in relation to the research findings listed. Use the rating scale described in the key to assess the agency’s practices and determine the level that best describes the agency’s implementation of the stated practices.

Key:
1 Not Evident Little or no evidence exists
2 Emerging Evidence indicates early or preliminary stages of implementation of practice
3 Operational Evidence indicates practices and procedures are actively implemented
4 Highly Functional Evidence indicates practices and procedures are fully integrated and effectively and consistently implemented

Please respond to the focus question at the conclusion of each section.
Core Task #1: Ensure Desired Results
The agency expects and ensures desired results by:
1
2
3
4
overall
1. Implementing a vision that promotes continuous improvement of learner performance and agency effectiveness.
0
10
8
6
2
2. Ensuring high expectations for learning and agency effectiveness through its goals, strategies and services.
0
6
11
8
2
3. Maintaining a focus on improving learner performance and agency effectiveness that permeates all levels of the agency and service area.
2
7
9
7
3
4. Acting on a compelling, shared belief that, collectively, staff can impact the desired results of the agency.
1
7
9
8
2
How does the agency build capacity to ensure desired results?
  • Effective communication with each other regarding areas needing improvement, ways to improve these areas, and the improvement they and others are seeing.
  • By continuing to support training opportunities and staff development.
  • Staff are encouraged to be an active part in the ESU 17 improvement process.
  • Work together, interactively, to reach goals. Meetings involve different departments so no one feels left out on their own.
  • planning, organizing, communicating, services
  • The agency works toward improving staff needs.
  • The agency encourages staff to get involved in the agency with trainings,meetings, groups and organizations.
  • Open communication Individual performance growth plans may be an idea to go along with our department goals.
  • Collective vision, encouraged communication
  • Strives for more like going through this process, but I think the whole staff should be held to the highest standard possible
  • The agency's desire is to become better and more effective when we service schools and become a resource for the schools. The agency personnel want to create good rapport with the schools within the area.
  • Staff are provided time to work collectively on updating agency improvement action plans as well as addressing activities included within those plans. Staff members are supported in attending 'training of trainers' workshops in order to address educational issues locally.
  • Employees are encouraged and allowed to attend trainings in their specific disciplines.
The agency effectively monitors performance by:
1
2
3
4
overall
5. Using a comprehensive system of organizational evaluation to provide feedback for improving learner performance and agency effectiveness.
1
8
10
6
3
6. Using data to inform decision-making about delivery of services that improves learner performance and agency effectiveness.
0
4
15
6
3
7. Identifying performance targets, indicators, and measures for comparing and improving agency effectiveness.
2
7
9
7
3
8. Taking appropriate and timely action to improve areas of identified agency needs.
0
4
11
9
3
How does the agency use data to guide continuous improvement and to monitor the results of efforts to improve?
  • The agency focuses on areas of need or concern indicated from the data, works collectively to brainstorm ideas on how to improve areas of need, and then reviews the chosen methods and collects additional data on those areas.
  • Use surveys sent to schools to help guide future direction
  • offers various inservice opportunities
  • Surveys are collected from staff at area schools on an annual basis to provide continuous improvement of services to schools.
  • Surveys are done by the schools, the agency sees the results, goals are set, and then evaluated. The agency encourages feedback from the schools and the data is reviewed formally or through informal conversation among peers.
  • through the educational service unit board and staff
  • Uses data from employees to set up areas of improvement needed.
  • The data is looked a 2-3 times a year and the CIP can have added goals and how we go about those to accomplish those goals.
  • I think our recent surveys have been very helpful in pointing us in the direction of being more helpful and effective for our member schools. We have done a good job of taking action to control the variables in which we can.
  • Data collection, implementation of new resources
  • Surveys are used to collect data to see what is needed for services or what needs to be changed
  • The agency uses surveys from school personnel and administrators, as well as, parents to create data to guide continuous improvement. Monitoring results will be from a follow-up survey.
  • ESU improvement surveys are completed by school district personnel in an online format in order to provide immediate results to ESU staff so that action plans can be updated to reflect current needs of school districts.
  • Through the CIP process.
Core Task #2: Improve Teaching and Learning
The agency supports student learning by:
1
2
3
4
overall
9. Maintaining service area-wide expectations for student learning that reflect academic, cognitive, and metacognitive skills.
0
6
13
5
3
10. Supporting high expectations for student learning by promoting a coherent and rigorous curriculum.
2
5
14
4
2
11. Helping schools and districts to align their assessment system with curriculum and instruction in the classroom.
1
4
12
8
3
12. Supporting equity of learning for all students.
0
6
12
7
3
13. Supporting student services and special programs to optimize individual student learning.
0
3
15
6
4
14. Promoting a student learning community that includes student involvement.
3
5
10
6
2
15. Involving families and the community in supporting children as learners.
1
9
12
3
3
What services does the agency provide that support and improve student learning?
  • Speech Language Therapy, Resource, Assistive Tech., Early Childhood Services, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy (provided to children through SPED services), Transition, Health Screenings, Media Services, Workshops, Distance Learning, and Technology Education, Workshops, and Support.
  • Teacher Workshops, Teacher Training, SPED Services
  • through technology support
  • ESU 17 provides teacher and para trainings to support student learning. MAPS assessment was also arranged through ESU 17.
  • I'm not directly involved in teacher trainings, but I know many opportunities are available for teachers to gain knowledge, and therefore, improve teaching techniques and student learning.
  • resource, speech-language, school psychology, technology services
  • Classes for parents, students, and teachers to help each improve.
  • Resource teachers, speech pathologists, technology workshops, teacher training
  • They offer trainings for staff, community members and teachers and staff from other schools.
  • IEPs, RTI program, have supported parent sessions on reading
  • Vast array and SPED offerings and instructional tools designed to promote student learning
  • SPED services, workshops for teachers and parents
  • 'Parent's are Learners, too (PLT?) group is for the preschooler's parents and a professional team.
  • Special education services: speech therapy, resource, evaluation. Health services: school nurse. Media: information resources to enhance education. Staff development: instructional strategies.
  • Trainings are available through the ESU for all area schools. Parent trainings are being held to address some topics, especially for the birth through 5 population.
The agency maximizes teacher effectiveness by:
1
2
3
4
overall
16. Providing support and professional development that provide for instructional strategies that give students a focus, feedback, and sufficient opportunities to master skills.
0
3
12
9
3
17. Providing appropriate strategies to assess the performance of students’ academic, cognitive, and metacognitive skills.
1
1
17
4
3
18. Supporting instruction that meets individual needs and engages learners.
0
6
16
2
3
19. Promoting maximum use of time for instruction.
1
6
11
6
3
20. Supporting classroom environments conducive to learning.
0
4
16
4
3
21. Optimizing technology and multimedia as learning tools.
0
3
14
8
3
How does the agency maximize teacher effectiveness that supports student learning?
  • Provides support, awareness, education of relevant issues.
  • workshops, training, promoting technology awareness, providing technology infrastructure and services
  • through technology workshops
  • ESU 17 staff work with individual and groups of teachers to provide strategies for teachers in working with students.
  • offering professional development seminars and a networking for educators to rely on
  • Teachers are trainned in different areas that are needed.
  • Technology workshops, teacher trainings
  • The agency encourages professional development, conferences and advanced education. The agency also encourages the use of technology for students and teacher preparedness.
  • Continue to instruct and provide follow up support for research based instruction. Model and coach educators on quality instruction and provide them with strategies that enable them to differentiate instruction for all students. Educate them on how to use the data they get from their students as a framework for what needs to be done in their classroom.
  • Staff Development offerings, Technology offerings and Information Literacy offerings
  • Allows to go to workshops that improve knowledge that can be used with the students
  • Teacher effectiveness is supported by a host of workshops on technology, behavior in the classroom, special education, SRS system, etc.
  • APL Instructional Strategies is offered on an alternating year basis.
  • Through opportunities for professional development.
Core Task #3: Foster a Culture of Improvement
The agency develops a professional learning community by:
1
2
3
4
overall
22. Sharing a common vision and goals that have learner performance and agency effectiveness as the focus.
0
9
10
6
3
23. Improving individual and collective performance by coming together regularly for learning, decision-making, problem-solving, and celebration.
1
11
7
6
2
24. Continuously enhancing individual effectiveness through inquiry, practice, and peer reflection.
3
10
9
3
2
25. Supporting a culture of collegiality, collaboration, respect, and trust.
1
5
15
4
3
How does the agency foster a community of learners dedicated to improvement?
  • By involving all individuals in various ways and by increasing awareness and communication of the areas that need improvement through meetings and other forms of communication.
  • not sure yet
  • periodic opportunities to meet as a group
  • ESU 17 provides time for monthly meetings for staff to share ideas and brainstorm solutions to concerns of area teachers and parents.
  • professional development
  • Staff meetings
  • The agency encourages to rely on other peers for assistance to the improvement process.
  • Be supporting each other and taking the approach that we all need to continue to be learners ourselves and set specific goals to increase our own skills and knowledge.
  • Collective communication
  • Limited numbers of employees stand in for others as representatives
  • Committees are formed to work on the three areas of continuous improvement. The agency encourages the members to go to workshops outside the area, also.
  • NWEA MAP will get us started on this road by providing immediate data that schools can use in order to improve instruction for all learners. The question is "how can we support/lead school districts to using this data effectively?"
  • Through CIP meetings and yearly all staff meetings that allow of each discipline to meet as a group.
The agency leads for improvement by:
1
2
3
4
overall
26. Sharing leadership for continuous improvement and agency effectiveness throughout the service area.
0
5
14
4
3
27. Articulating a compelling need for continuous improvement and providing meaningful ways for its professional learning community to focus on its performance.
0
6
14
4
3
28. Engaging in practices that support the continuous improvement of teaching and learning and agency effectiveness.
0
6
14
4
3
How does the agency build the capacity of leaders to provide leadership for continuous improvement?
  • By supporting and respecting each others efforts, ideas, and skills.
  • staff meetings, surveys, AdvancED process
  • provides many resources for teachers
  • ESU 17 strongly supports and encourages staff to attend statewide trainings that improve their positions. Information from the trainings is shared by departmental meetings.
  • seeking out capable individuals, professional development
  • The agency encourages leaders from each department to get involved in the improvement process.
  • I think we do have some strong leadership capacity already within our unit. Maybe we could have a leadership PLN.
  • Collective agency communication
  • Form committees to make sure everything runs smoothly
  • Leadership for continuous improvement is evidenced by participation in or leading various groups in the schools: ILCD, Research (to help guide one school's continuous improvement), participate in CIP process in individual schools.
  • By promoting and supporting programs and initiatives that have a proven track record for positively impacting learning. This also includes bringing a level of awareness to our school district administrators so that they can have frank discussions and consensus-building conversations about what their students need.
  • Having CIP meetings two to three times a year.
Permission to duplicate this tool for non-profit use by a school, district, or education service agency as part of an accreditation process is granted with proper attribution to AdvancED.
For all other uses, permission must be obtained directly from AdvancED, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033.