Wednesday, August 1, 4:00-4:30, SUB Room 233, Theme: Leadership

School district leaders seek to implement educational improvements that support change, including requirements of the new federal ESSA law (e.g., interventions with evidence of effectiveness). But few interventions are developed specifically for rural contexts. Consequently, leaders struggle to scale-up interventions that offer important benefits for rural students, schools and communities. We will describe how a Pennsylvania educational service agency (ESA) is building capacity with and for its 35 school districts to address this leadership challenge.

Intermediate Unit 8 (IU8) is establishing a process whereby IU8 and leaders of school districts, schools and communities partner in discovering, promoting and scaling customized solutions that impact student learning opportunities and success. The process is called CARE, Catalyzing Action for Responsive Education. CARE includes four steps: (1) discovery, (2) capacity building, (3) intentional place-based design of innovation, and (4) success assurance.

We will present results of a retreat with district leadership teams to be held in June 2018 that discovers their innovative policies, programs or practices as “signature candidates” for placement in the IU8 innovation lab. Selected candidates go through an incubation period, with a learning network of participating school districts using a design-based implementation (DBIR) process to make the innovation most adaptable for scale-up in the rural IU8 region.

Implications include: school districts able to lead change that serves students and communities well, scale-up of rural-appropriate innovations, micro-credential to recognize innovative leaders, IU8 Innovator’s Academy to support micro-credentialed leaders, and potential model for ESAs in U.S. and other countries.

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