The purpose of improvement planning is to increase the quality of the student experience through teaching and learning. The Improvement Plan provides the framework for analyzing problems, identifying underlying causes, and addressing instructional issues in a schools or districts that have not made sufficient progress in student achievement.

The Improvement Plan should embody a plan that is comprehensive, highly structured, and focused primarily on the school's instructional program. The plan should incorporate strategies based on scientifically based research that will strengthen the core academic subjects in the school and address the specific academic issues that caused the school to be identified for school improvement.

The Idaho Building Capacity (IBC) project provides onsite technical assistance designed to assist schools and districts in building their own internal capacity to sustain school improvement efforts.

Capacity Builders

A key component of the IBC project is the utilization of Capacity Builders (CBs). Capacity Builders are distinguished educators that are trained to facilitate the work of school improvement. Each selected school and the district in which it is located will receive the services of a Capacity Builder. During Year 1 of participation, a Capacity Builder will work in a school district for up to 8 hours a week with decreasing support over three years.

Capacity Builders work with school and district leaders to develop a plan of how the CB will be utilized to support the work of school improvement at each assigned site. This is not a one size fits all approach to school improvement, but rather an approach focused on the individual needs and challenges of the sites being served. In addition to CB services, participating schools will be provided with professional development opportunities, resources, and self-evaluation tools. Generally, when a school site participates in the IBC project, one Capacity Builder is assigned to the district office, and one to each of the school sites.

The Idaho Building Capacity (IBC) Project is designed and delivered in partnership with Boise State University, Idaho State University, and the University of Idaho.

IPN is a project developed by the SDE to support administration to improve learning outcomes for all students by focusing on the quality of instruction. IPN is a professional learning community focused on increasing the effectiveness to the Instructional Core.

Strands of Study

Principals participate in a balance of content, professional conversation, and collegial instructional rounds related to instructional leadership, managing change, and improving the overall effectiveness of the Instructional Core.

Strands of study include activities such as:

  • Evaluating Leadership Frameworks and Turnaround Leadership Competencies.
  • Supporting Instructional Rounds and Classroom Observations.
  • Implementing personal professional growth plans based on self-evaluations.
  • Networking with collegial conversation, collaboration and relationship building.

The Idaho Principals Network serves as a resource for principals who are in schools that are in improvement in order to support and build their capacity in specific aspects of leadership. IPN provides training unique to the principal regarding higher level perspectives on leadership.

The ISN is a project developed by the SDE in partnership with Education Northwest to support the work of district leaders in improving outcomes for all students by focusing on the quality of instruction.

Topics Focused on Teaching and Learning

The network is made up of superintendents who work together to develop a leadership community focused on teaching and learning. They consider obstacles that may be preventing improvement in the quality of the instruction in their districts. The SDE acts as a resource and provides the necessary research, experts, and planning to bring superintendents from across the state together to discuss concerns.

Topics for discussion include:

  • Improved outcomes for students
  • Developing a sense of purpose
  • Working with stakeholders
  • Supporting districts and building level leaders
  • Analyzing teaching and learning through data

The SDE's goal is to help meet the individual needs and challenges of each district superintendent in the network.

The Idaho State Department of Education (ISDE) is supporting the Idaho Principal Mentoring Project (IPMP) for new to position Principals in Idaho. This project is completely voluntary and will provide new to position principals with multiple levels of support described in detail below.

The Idaho Principal Mentoring Project has proven to be a valuable program that serves new to position principals. IPMP is only state sponsored activity serving principals in their first or second year as principal. We are not currently accepting assistant principals or principals with more than three years’ experience at this time. The program will have seven mentors (this may change due to program participation levels). Each mentor will be working with three to six school leaders. The mentors will make one or two site visits to each principal’s school/charter or district per quarter, as well as make twice monthly phone contact. The confidential relationship between the mentors and the school leader will focus on developing the skills and dispositions in four critical areas of school level leadership. The areas the program will focus on are interpersonal and facilitation skills, teacher observation and feedback, effective school-level practices and classroom-level practices, and using data to improve instruction.

Three professional developments opportunities will be delivered at three institutes in Boise as noted below. It is strongly encouraged that principals participate in all three institutes. Early notification of the Institute dates will hopefully avoid district scheduling conflicts. The Idaho State Department of Education will sponsor the participation of each school leader by paying the majority of travel expenses, hotel, and meals while at each institute. It will be expected since ISDE is financially supporting the program that participating principals will have an implementation plan that they will share with project staff and their immediate supervisor or superintendent.

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