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.
After completing a visit or consultancy, the Consortium offers districts three options for following up.
The most common process is that two years after the visit, a representative subset of the original visiting team returns, and facilitates a conversation focused on the actions taken by the district in response to the team's recommendations. The returning members of the original team offer the district more suggestions about moving the work forward.
Another option is returning earlier, perhaps after one year, to assist the district in moving to its next level of work and supporting momentum generated by the original visit. The decision on the best time for a follow up visit is made by the district.
A third option, done in conjunction with, not in place of, one of the options discussed above is having a subset of the original visit team work directly with the district in unpacking the report and generating plans for action. This occurs shortly after the original visit has ended and the report has been received by the district.