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Strategic Partnership with the Institute for Student Achievement (2001-present)

Since 2001, NCREST has been the strategic partner to the Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) (link here). NCREST has collaborated with ISA on the design, development and roll out of their high school reform model through activities such as the documentation of the ISA model in action, the development of student formative assessments in writing and math, the surveying of students’ ambition, aspirations, and sense of efficacy, and the analysis of student data on these instruments, the oversight and support of ISA coaches, and the review of school progress on the implementation of the ISA model.

About the partner organization
The Institute for Student Achievement (ISA) is a national not for profit, high school redesign organization that uses a research based framework of 7 principles to transform underperforming high schools by creating new small high schools or small learning communities (SLCs) that prepare all students to graduate high school college-ready.

Key activities
Over the years, NCREST has engaged in various activities to support ISA, including:

  • Documenting the implementation of the ISA model by conducting site visits to partner schools and conducting interviews and focus groups with teachers, administrators, students and parents; and conducting observations of classroom practice, extended day programs and key meetings, and reviews of student work.
  • Managing the student performance assessment program including: (1) developing formative assessments in math and writing, (2) conducting professional development workshops on the use of rubrics to assess student work and on using assessment data to plan instruction; (3) providing technical assistance to ISA schools on the administration of performance assessments and on the use of an online database for entering and managing their student assessment scores and (3) analyzing student assessment data and providing schools with bi-yearly student performance reports.
  • Managing the ISA student survey component, including (1) developing and administering an online survey of 9th and 11th grade students on their ambitions, efficacy and post-high school aspirations; (2) providing technical assistance to ISA schools on the administration of student surveys; and (3) analyzing student survey data and providing schools with annual student survey reports.
  • Providing oversight and support of ISA coaching including (1) recruiting school, executive, content, leadership, and counseling coaches for ISA schools, (2) providing professional support for coaches by conducting orientation for new coaches, planning and conducting monthly coaches meetings, and overseeing the development of professional resources for coaches (e.g. intranet, articles, DVDs).
  • Supporting the process for reviewing school progress on the implementation of the ISA model to determine sustainability and development needs including (1) developing the protocols for the internal school teams and for external reviewers; (2) providing professional development for participants; (3) participating as external team members; and (4) overseeing the external teams’ written reports.
  • Producing publications on the ISA model in action: NCREST has produced a publication on Distributed Counseling and on How ISA develops and launches new small schools.

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