School and District Assessments: The foundation for many school and district improvement activities is the establishment of a baseline of current strengths and areas in need of improvement. The Department offers a variety of evaluation processes designed for schools and districts in need of improvement. The Department is currently working on the development of an online tool that will be available to all schools and districts, regardless of need, for the fall 2009.
Statewide School and District Improvement Foundation and Resources: CALI was initiated in 2004 in collaboration with an international expert on school and district improvement, Dr. Doug Reeves. The CALI theory of action focuses on the use of data-driven decision making and standards-based instruction to address the learning needs of each and every student in the classroom. This initiative has grown since 2004 in response to needs identified by schools and districts. The newest additions include a focus on school leadership, culture and climate, and specific supports for English language learners and students with disabilities (Scientific Research-based Intervention).
No Child Left Behind and the Connecticut Accountability for Learning Legislation: The No Child Left Behind Act was enacted by the federal government to address the national problem of low academic achievement for specific groups of students in our public schools. In an effort to address this achievement gap in the State of Connecticut, state legislation was passed in 2007 to support the State Department of Educationís efforts to identify and work with schools and districts that were identified as underperforming. These two pieces of legislation work hand in hand to guide the Departmentís accountability and school improvement work.
Resources for Partner and Supported Schools and School Districts: To support the partner and supported schools and school districts, the Department has developed a variety of resources and strategies. Districts are assigned staff from the Bureaus of Accountability, Compliance & Monitoring and School & District Improvement to work with the district leadership team on the development of a District Improvement Plan. The State Board of Education reviews and approves the plans for all partner districts. The Department has also developed a State Improvement Plan that mirrors the district improvement process. This plan will guide the Department in the ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of our improvement initiatives. In addition, the Department receives guidance and feedback on our improvement initiatives from the Accountability and School Improvement Advisory Committee.
CALI Strategic Partnerships: In order to expand the capacity of the Department to provide support and technical assistance to districts, the Department has developed many strategic partnerships with professional associations. These partnerships are all designed to support CALI and the Department works closely with the organizations to ensure alignment and consistency of message and service.