The Consultancy Model is a three day process that provides a member district with feedback based on a set of Essential Questions posed by the district, and analysis of a minimum of two of the Consortium’s eight indicators of systemic performance. In preparation for the consultancy process, the Consortium assembles a team of professionals from member districts that engage in conversations with the presenting district.
These conversations occur through interviews, evidence and data analysis, student shadowing, classroom visits, and a final protocol that allows the Tri-State team to offer its suggestions and observations based on the Essential Questions posed.
The goal is to provide the district with the team's best thinking about the district's program or initiative while also pointing toward a next level of work.
The consultancy results in a written report that describes the Tri-State team's observations and suggestions for next steps.
Visits typically are focused on a single discipline or approach, K-12. The model of eight indicators serves as the lens through which the systemic performance of the district is viewed. The Consortium’s basic philosophy is linked to systems thinking; that is, districts are asked to align their curriculum and instruction decisions with the expectations embedded in the eight indicators.
A visit also results in a report that has three sections: a narrative portion that responds to the Essential Questions posed by the district, a set of commendations and recommendations relating to each of the eight indicators of systemic performance, and a rubric-driven benchmarking segment designed that helps the district to understand where it currently stands on its journey of continuous improvement.
Teachers and administrators engage in a two-day training module that introduces and applies the language and intent of the indicators. Completion of this training is required to become a member of a visiting team.
We have learned that districts new to the Consortium benefit from a critical mass of teachers and administrators who have completed the training and have been involved in a visit to another district. Prior to a scheduled visit or consultancy from a team of representatives from Consortium member districts, it is recommended that at least a one year self-study be completed in-district as a major phase of preparation for the visit.
Indicator #1: Performance-Based Assessment
Educators utilize performance-based assessments that capture the extent to which students are able to transfer, apply and construct knowledge. These assessments enable students to demonstrate their ability to integrate knowledge, skills, dispositions, and higher-level thinking within and across disciplines. Performance-based assessments typically are student driven, long-term, research based, and interdisciplinary. Student work is assessed against a set of common criteria, and results are used to gauge student understanding of complex concepts and, over time, to inform curriculum and instruction.
Indicator #2: Student Metacognition
Educators design and provide a learning environment that asks students to reflect not just on what they have learned, but also on how they have learned. The district encourages and enables students to engage in metacognition continuously and systemically. Students build the capacity over time to assess, reflect upon and make choices that advance their own learning.
Indicator #3: Metrics of Student Performance
A variety of assessment practices, including norm-referenced and criterion-referenced assessments, provide data and evidence of student knowledge and higher-level thinking. The districts’ system engages teachers and administrators in collecting and analyzing multiple forms of student performance data and disseminating the information to appropriate constituencies. Teachers and administrators use this information collaboratively to make informed decisions to advance student learning.
Indicator #4: Curriculum and Instruction
Teachers and administrators collaborate to develop an articulated and aligned curriculum designed to ensure optimal student results.When making curricular and instructional decisions, teachers and administrators consider current research and evidence of student performance from multiple sources. In their planning, teachers purposefully select and differentiate strategies and resources that advance the learning of all students.
Indicator #5: Professional Learning, Supervision, and Evaluation
The district’s professional learning plan is based on current student and teacher needs linked to district goals. Professional learning is embedded, collaborative and reflective. In providing the time and resources for this learning to take place, the district is attentive to teacher voice. Professional learning is evaluated using a supervision and evaluation process that focuses on efficacy of instruction and attendant advancement of student learning.
Indicator #6: Equitable Support for Student Needs
Processes and practices are in place that identify and address students' academic and non-academic needs. These processes are informed by data and evidence gathered from a variety of sources and are aligned with learning goals for students at all performance levels. Policies and practices that govern student access to all curriculum and programs are non-discriminatory and set expectations that permit students to be challenged at the highest levels. All students have equitable access to all programs.
Indicator #7: Shared Vision and Environment for Change
Shared vision and goals focused on student performance have been developed with the staff and community, are well articulated, clearly communicated, consistently pursued throughout the district and school community, and include student voice. This vision expects, supports, and recognizes risk taking, creativity, and innovation as components of change toward continuous improvement. There is a process to review student and teacher work and learn from experimentation.
Indicator #8: Parent and Community Support
The district actively involves parents and community constituent groups in ongoing two-way communication to advance student learning. A wide range of community resources extends the classroom and enriches the educational experience of students. The budget development process supports the mission, vision and goals of the district, is aligned with efforts to advance student learning, and is supported by the community.