Opinion
School & District Management Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week

By Marc Dean Millot — February 26, 2008 3 min read
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Gaining the Right To Enter a State Market in District ServicesFrom the February 26 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement: Professional Development & Technical Assistance - Strategic Planning Due March 7, Student Reassignment Due March 7, Performance Management Due March 5, Change Management, Due March 4, Interim Assessment, Due March 3 (Feb 20), Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina

Their Description:

The North Carolina State Board of Education and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) have increased the emphasis on providing comprehensive support to K-12 schools and school districts in the state. Primary emphasis is placed on low-performing schools and districts that are in school improvement according to federal and state criteria. The DPI seeks to build the school and districts staffs’ capacity, knowledge, skills and dispositions to ensure teaching for learning for all is routine practice in NC. A variety of school districts’/schools’ needs will be identified through a comprehensive needs assessment...
The purpose of this RFI is to seek a company/companies with which a school or district could contract to provide professional development and technical assistance in....

[S]trategic planning.... For purposes of this RFI, the DPI has adopted the following definition for strategic planning. Strategic planning is a systematic process which requires the school system or school to develop strategic goals, measures, and action plans that emphasize student learning and continual improvement, and serves as the guiding document for total system and/ school alignment. This alignment ensures that the action plans are implemented at the system, school, and classroom level.

[S]tudent reassignment policies and procedures.... Options for improving the means by which students are given access to particular schools.

[I]mplementing performance management systems.... [T]he practices of actively using performance data to improve the knowledge, skills and dispositions of employees.

[C]hange management and organizational redesign/alignment.... Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change, both from the perspective of an organization and on the individual level.... Organizational redesign and alignment refers to re-arranging strategy, structures and systems in a positive and reinforcing manner to achieve the organization’s vision and mission.

[I]nterim assessment.... [A]ssessments that fall between formative and summative assessment, including the medium-scale, medium cycle assessments currently in use.
Vendors selected to provide this service would be highly recommended to schools/districts that, in turn, would develop their own contracts directly with their selected vendor. Specific focus will be on providing professional development and technical assistance that addresses... research-based best practices....

The following specifications are necessary for vendors to be recommended to schools/districts.
• Is there sufficient data to clearly demonstrate success of prior training contracts?
• Is your research base for this service available?....
• What evaluative data available for the quality of your work in North Carolina schools?...
• How much time is required for the professional development and technical assistance to the school?...
• What technology is required for schools/districts to implement this?
• How is this service aligned with the North Carolina Professional Development
Standards?

My Thoughts: These RFPs are about the right to enter a North Carolina market for professional services around district reform. If you don’t respond, you can’t compete. Research evidence of effectiveness will be hard to come by, and the barrier to entry will be higher next year. Focus on alignment with PD standards.

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