Opinion
School & District Management Opinion

School Improvement RFP(s) of the Week

By Marc Dean Millot — April 15, 2008 3 min read
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Six Glimpses Into the Evolving Market for Professional Development Services

From Monday’s issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets ReportAnnouncement: Professional Development Course Offerings for Algebra II

Their Description:
The full educational potential of the (state) professional development portal cannot be fully realized without... modules that are research-based, standards-based and continuously available during the year....[T]he... Department of Education Is seeking... modules... that meet... Algebra II frameworks and... standards....

Announcement: Professional Development Services

Their Description: [P]rovide Professional Development Services for Staff... through the... Teach for Success Classroom Observation Program.... a research-based observational tool designed to assist... in observing and analyzing the quality of standards-based instruction.... Sections shall include Instructional Practices for All Learners, Student Engagement...

Announcement: Consultant Services For Professional Development

Their Description:
The successful organization will help (the district) ....
1. Connect best practice... research to long-term school improvement goals....
3. Structure “next step” action plans for engaging our entire learning community...
7. Inspire school and district leadership teams, establish ownership....

Announcement: Instructional Coaching Support Services

Their Description: Instructional Coaches, Secondary Literacy are to work collaboratively with English/Language Arts teachers and... instructional support staff.... The role of the (coach) is to support standards-based, content-specific instruction for English Learners, Standard English Learners, special education and gifted students.

Announcement:
Consulting Principals To Coach School Leaders

Their Description: Coaches must demonstrate a commitment to the achievement of all students and the dedication to supporting administrators in attaining this goal. Support... will include monitoring classroom instruction with principals, implementing districtwide initiatives, drafting and monitoring School Improvement Plans, and coaching principals in resource allocation and school leader responsibilities.... Coaches will report to the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction....

Announcement: Mathematics Professional Development Program

Their Description:
The objectives... are:
1. Increase teacher capacity to use manipulative in order to deliver mathematics concepts to students using the constructivist approach
2. Provide teachers with grade level specifically needed resources... strategies for invoking higher-order thinking skills....ongoing direct classroom instructional coaching... weekly e-communication lesson plans...

My Thoughts: I have personally visited the website of every education and other agency listing k-12 and youth service grants and contracts at the federal, state and local levels via the internet every week since January of 2004 for clients of my RFP listing service. Last week, seventeen new state and local RFPs for professional development were released, more than I recall seeing for any one week.

Education agencies of all sizes are accelerating a trend to outsource a key human resource function. In principle, professional development could be stand-alone business. In practice, I’m not sure it can offer high value-added to student performance unless it is part of a well integrated program.

How will the winners relate to the curriculum and instructional practices favored by states or district - and with the providers of their products, services and materials? The RFPs suggest a move away from Kaplan-style “one stop shop” solutions for curriculum and instructional services, yet the record of educational agencies as general contractors is spotty.

Still, worth pursuing.

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