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 1. What is an improvement collaboration?

It is a group of districts committed to working collaboratively, both in person and virtually, to learn new or refined knowledge and tools that will help them make progress in their problem space. At the same time, they will develop and adopt a long-term model for collaborative, continuous improvement for their district that can be used and refined across their whole system over the long term.

 2. What is an improvement team? Who should be on it?

Participating districts will send a consistent district leadership team, made up of four to eight members to the three (Fall, Winter, Spring) two-day in-person leadership convenings, and a summer summit. Each team member must be a district leader who guides your system-wide implementation in the shared challenge. Teams typically consist of central office, site, and classroom leaders. Each team will also consist of at least one senior district decision maker, such as a CAO or Assistant Superintendent, who will be responsible to maintain clear and consistent communication with the superintendent regarding the team improvement plans and implementation.

 3. What are the stages of the work of the improvement collaboration? What does the 3 years look like?

We begin with a launch period Spring 2018 comprised of 3 in-person meetings followed by three (Fall, Winter, Spring) two-day in-person leadership convenings, and a summer summit each year. In between these convenings, there are opportunities to opt into specialized sessions, virtually and in-person.

 4. What is the time commitment to be involved in the collaboration?

Not sure how to answer this in a different way or how specific you want to be, seems pretty similar to 3, but i could see people asking both questions

 5. What role does California Education Partners play in the collaboration?

California Education Partners is here to support you and your team in this work.  We will be engaging experts and deepening our partnerships with others to best support the efforts of all Ed Partners Collaboration districts.  As an Ed Partners team, we will:

  • Provide strongly facilitated convenings to support each district’s improvement plan and to help build the capacity of both individuals and teams

  • Model and demonstrate effective processes to build shared responsibility, mutual understanding, inclusive solutions, full participation, and risk taking

  • Administer and use ongoing participant’s surveys and other measures, including observations, interviews, and document review to drive continuous improvement

  • Provide ongoing, timely, and clear communication for all Ed Partners Collaboration events and learning opportunities. We schedule leadership convening dates at least nine months in advance and provide pre-meeting information at least three weeks before every in-person session, or as soon as possible

  • Maintain and promote an online community designed to enhance learning and cross-district collaboration

  • Identify and facilitate additional virtual and in-person learning opportunities to increase individual and team capacity and promote progress on districts’ improvement plans

  • We offer all districts access to external thought partners and other nonprofit technical assistance organizations through leadership convenings and opt-in learning sessions

  • Opportunities to collaborate with all districts in the Ed Partners Collaboration portfolio

 6. What is an example of a shared challenge for a collaboration?

The new districts involved in this collaboration will spend spring 2018 reflecting on their “on track” data to determine an area for focused improvement and building collaborations of 10-12 like-minded districts who will work with each other and experts in the field to address their shared challenges. Not sure if you want to get more specific about examples here

 7. How is this different than an initiative?

From our experience working with districts thus far, we hear of the challenges on working with too many conflicting initiatives and other “quick solutions” as they work to improve the outcomes for their students. While our State may be big, so many of districts face very similar challenges, and there are very few structures in place across our systems to allow us to work together, learn from each other, and ultimately transform our systems from compliance to sustained improvement.

 8. What is the time commitment required to be in an improvement collaboration?

Your team from your district will attend 3 launch meetings this Spring as well as three (Fall, Winter, Spring) two-day in-person leadership convenings, and a summer summit each year. In between these convenings, there are opportunities to opt into specialized sessions, virtually and in-person. We see the best success from teams that meet monthly to review progress on their improvement plans they set to start each year.

 9. Does it cost anything to participate?

No, we want participation to be easy and minimally burdensome. We cover hotel and food, along with all costs associated with meeting facilities. At the end of the end of the launch period, we reimburse districts directly for travel expenses incurred during the launch period. We will provide a reimbursement form, and districts will submit receipts for travel expenses by its staff members who attended the launch meetings (note - we do not reimburse individuals).

Beginning in September 2018, we provide a $10,000 stipend to cover travel costs for each participating team each academic will be given a yearly stipend to cover expenses related to your involvement in the collaboration, including travel costs to leadership and opt-in meetings, materials, and lodging at opt-in sessions.


 10. How is collaborating with other districts & experts in the field critical to improve outcomes for our students?

 California Education Partners firmly believes that the people working inside school systems are the ones most capable of improving outcomes for all students and that that learning is most fruitful when it's done across district lines. We work with districts who are deeply committed to providing the best possible educational outcomes for all students through innovation across their systems. Through district teams providing feedback on planning, implementation, evidence collection and use, we see individuals building internal capacity as improvement organizations to close gaps and lead high-performing, equitable schools.

freelanced this one - saw a lot more of the how, but not specific language on why working across districts and with experts is necessary

 11. What does "collaboration" mean in this context?

Collaboration looks like making your practice and insight visible, and jumping into learning and growing with other leaders in the field. This happens at the in-person convenings, virtually in an online community between meetings, sharing insights on Twitter and working with a couple districts throughout the year to offer feedback on your practices in your district context.

freelanced also - Similar to #10

 12. Is this improvement work appropriate for my district at this point in time?

This opportunity is ideal for district leaders who are interested in improving their system so that all students stay on a successful trajectory toward college and career readiness a three-year improvement effort through a three year effort. In order to accomplish this, your district will be making your improvement process visible to other districts and experts in the field so that you can learn and grow together.

 13. What are the criteria for districts to join these collaborations?

We're looking for districts that are:

  • Small to mid-sized - can you write the specific sizes here?

  • Believe systems improvement is possible and is predicated on learning from and with others

  • Embody the principles of collaborative leadership, which would contribute to the development and impact of our collaborative continuous improvement model

  • Exhibit and cultivate a vision of equity and excellence for their students and communities

  • Select and sustain focus on high leverage problem space(s) that can contribute to improvements across the system and sustained progress towards a compelling vision

  • Demonstrate ability to deliver and follow through on their plans, both for action and for evidence collection

  • Display openness to improving by making their practice(s) visible to others in order to receive and reflect on feedback and other perspectives

 14. What has the impact been of districts involved in these collaborations so far? What are some participants from our existing collaborations saying

We are working with nearly 40 districts from across the state in our current Improvement Collaborations, Math in Common and CALLI. Here are what some of them are saying about their work:

“The cross-district conversations have helped us to uncover additional strengths and weaknesses.  The similarities in context with some districts (even after all these years) is surprising yet reassuring that we are all still working on being the best we can be.”

“I appreciate the commitment by Ed Partners to make sure we all have a deep understanding of the purpose of our work and help ensure we are headed in the right direction.”

“Our CALLI experience has helped us to become a learning district. We continue to model for our teachers what this means, and we will continue to move our work forward through our implementation plan.”

“I am looking forward to share learning from today.  Each member comes with a unique insight to move our efforts on Early Literacy forward.  Sharing the tools and utilizing the techniques as a group will bring our district and the students we serve closer to the outcomes of our vision.”

 15. How can we apply? When will the applications be available and when are they due?

Districts will be invited to apply after attending information meetings, talking with Ed Partners staff or receiving a nomination. Applications will be made available here starting September 22nd. Applications should be completed and emailed by November 10th.

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