Monday, February 4, 2019

What School Improvement Leaders are Saying About Their Experience in the LAUNCH!™ Program

The Institute for Performance Improvement 
Session Feedback

Which portions of the session were most useful? Why?
          " It helps us to sort and organize the causes for 'As Is' state."
          " Finally! YES, YES, YES, to critical thinking!!"
          " Having the opportunity to dig into a problem and develop prediction ques as a team."
          " Having concrete tools to use as resources for guiding Principals in the school improvement                process."

How does this session compare with other professional development you or your team(s) experienced?
          "I have truly been more engaged in this professional learning than I can ever remember."
          "Allowed for great levels of meta-cognition and collaboration."
          "Much more interactive."
          "It is excellent and I appreciate you guys giving us time to work on assignments in class."
          "Top Notch!"
          "This has exceeded the professional learning I have done in the past."
          " I keep repeating to myself; 'This is by far so superior to other trainings. No Comparison."
          " More intense - more participation all higher level thinking related directly to the work we are              about to embark on."
          " Practical and Useful. Provides tools I can use tomorrow!" 
          " This is the BEST! So relevant to my work AND my work is understood."

How could your team use the skills and tools reviewed to facilitate work with those you serve across the state to ensure students have the skills they need to succeed in the future? 

         "Deep thinking and Ownership, especially if all stakeholders were involved."
         " YES! Everything we are learning and practicing is directly relate-able."
         " Any school would benefit from using the skills and tools discussed today. It is critical that                  students have these skills to succeed in today's work and workplace."

TIFPI - Getting the "DOING DONE" in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia

GADOE School and District Effectiveness Staff and their Metro Atlanta and North Georgia RESA Colleagues kicked off LAUNCH!™ last week, getting ready to help their newly-assigned schools. Focusing on the work of the first three Certified School Improvement Specialist Standards™, they planned how to best support systemic performance factors analysis and selection of interventions that meet school and student's needs.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Way to Go, WACO!

Wow!! We worked in Washington County Schools in GA yesterday as they focused on the Certified School Improvement Specialist Standard Five, Manage and Organize Efforts and Results. This district serves around 3,600 students, and all of the principals, assistant principals, district leaders and instructional coaches have either completed the Institute  LAUNCH! program for facilitating systemic, sustainable school improvement.

The evidence of the application of their learning is everywhere! Schools have the right processes and tools in place to support teaching and learning, and to deeply engage teachers in the improvement process. With a strong focus on literacy and math, the team members are working to ensure students have the foundations for academic success.

Yesterday they developed and applied a distributed leadership assessment to evaluate how pervasive and consistent their team-based improvement efforts are, and how effectively they are engaging teachers, and giving them the support, responsibility and autonomy to make needed changes and sustain progress.  

WACO Superintendent Dr. Donna Hinton has participated in every session, and has actively supported and coached each participant, ensuring that their learning transferred to on-the-job action, and achieved the targeted outcomes.

As the Institute for Performance Improvement has taught and coached each participant, Dr. Hinton has focused on supporting application in practice, and recognizing the significant progress they are making individually and collectively. Way to go, WACO!

Monday, November 19, 2018

How We Began

How We Began

In 2010 Deb Page was researching Georgia schools which had NI-9 status under No Child Left Behind, which had turned around their performance and sustained improvement over time. She identified a common body of practices used by school and district leaders, and state-assigned school improvement staff which had been autonomously adopted, but were not explicitly shared or understood. After capturing these practices, Dr. Judith Hale, an international expert in evidence-based standards, credentials and evaluation conducted a national study to develop and validate the Certified School Improvement Standards.

These were the first national standards for school improvement facilitators, a new profession in education that had evolved under national and state accountability. Dr. Hale led the development of an evidence-based job certification, and alignment to the standards. In 2010 Deb and Dr. Hale founded the Institute for Performance Improvement to implement the national CSIS certification program, and in 2012 published the School Improvement Specialist Hand Book via Corwin Press, the first field guide with a digital toolkit for school improvement facilitators.

In 2013 Dr. Jean Quigg joined us, bringing a wealth of school improvement leadership experience. Together she and Deb, developed the LAUNCH! Learning and Performance Development Program, aligned to the CSIS standards. The course premiered in Kentucky for Education Recovery Leaders and Specialists, and continues to be provided nationally for state and local education agency leaders and staff.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Standard 2- Facilitating Deriving Meaning and Engagement- The Child in All of Us- Dr. Jean Quigg

We have all been around small children at ages 2 and 3 and their favorite word is ‘why’? They are curious in exploring the world and trying to make meaning of all the things around them. We are constantly answering their questions of ‘why’. There were times when my daughters were two and three years old that I just wanted to say “because that is just the way it is”, but I knew that their cognitive growth in vocabulary and in concepts about the world depended upon my answers to them.
How they handled future events in their lives also depended upon my answers and how they understood events and concepts in the world. There were times we had to dig into books and the internet to find the answers to their questions so that their understanding would be accurate and clear.

We are no different as adults. When we understand the things around us we can make better decisions and do a better job in the work we are doing. The same is true with facilitating school improvement. The research tells us that employees that are engaged are more productive and happier at work. When stakeholders understand the true “as is” state of their schools and the implications of their actions, they are more likely to ‘get the doing done’.

As school improvement facilitators we can help adults see that they may not have all the information needed for a valid decision or that what they perceive may not be totally accurate. Facilitating the gap between what they know or think they know and actual performance is a critical step for engaging others in the work. We have to create that curiosity to understand the current state, the performance factors affecting their work and the implications of their actions. We have to help them dig into the data and understand the data so that the ‘why’ of the work is clear. You will then increase the chances that stakeholders will understand what needs to happen next.
ESSA will require the engagement of all stakeholders in the planning process. How are you facilitating deriving meaning and engagement in your district or school?

For more information on the 10 Certified School Improvement Standards, click the link below.

I look forward to reading your responses!

Dr. Jean Quigg

Standard 1 - Analyze and Apply Critical Judgment - Identifying all the Pieces to the Puzzle - Dr. Jean Quigg

As a superintendent, I found that helping people determine what data was needed to analyze the “as is” state in their school had to be an intentional process.  I sometimes got the look that said, “Are you kidding me? What does THAT have to do with our school improvement efforts?” After the data was collected and analyzed in relation to its impact on the school and efforts to improve student achievement, the “aha” moment always resulted. It is important that a baseline be established by critically looking at all data to determine what has possibly impacted student achievement. In addition, it is not until all data is disaggregated in various ways that the puzzle pieces can be combined to reveal the whole picture.

Many times we forget that data other than test scores can impact factors that do affect what is happening with students, teachers, or the community. Although the school cannot control all the factors in a child’s life, intentionally identifying and analyzing those factors that are in or out of the control of the school can help in determining all the players and their impact so that interventions selected will have the best chance of success. Knowing all the factors in the school’s reality helps school improvement teams understand the barriers that are impacting the work.

The factors we cannot control cannot become excuses. They simply help the school work around those uncontrollable factors to still make a difference with all children. Just as we teach compensation skills to children with disabilities, we compensate for those things that we cannot control to improve, because failure is not an option in the business of educating children.

What data do you collect and analyze so that you have all the pieces to the puzzle in school improvement? Are you critically analyzing that data to determine a valid baseline so that progress can be determined?

There are 10 Certified School Improvement Specialist Standards, to read more about the standards click here -

I look forward to hearing your responses!

Dr. Jean Quigg

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

School Improvement Specialist - Recognizing a New Profession in K12 schools

SIS: A New Profession
The School Improvement Specialist is a relatively new role in K-12 education which has evolved from the advent of education accountability. The role is performed by professionals assigned by state education agencies to assist schools in improving educator and student performance; regional education agencies which provide support to school districts and schools; school district leaders and staff assigned to support school improvement, and school leaders, including Academic Coaches and other teacher leaders.  
What is a “Profession”?
A role is recognized as a profession when the following have developed, typically through a professional association or other entity that:
·        Maintains Standards of Practice.
·        Maintains a Code of Ethics.
·        Provides continuing education.
·        Provides professional certifications and designations
·        Provides a membership in a professional home/association that supports and advances the role.
·        Speaks with a unified voice for the role.
Does the SIS Profession Meet Those Requirements?
Standards of Practice
The School Improvement Specialist role has standards of practice, the CertifiedSchool Improvement Specialist™ Standards developed by Dr. Judith Hale, Senior Consultant and co-founder of the Institute for Performance Improvement in 2010.

The CSIS™ standards are:
  • Analyze and Apply Critical Judgement
  • Facilitate Deriving Meaning and Engagement
  • Focus on Systemic Factors
  • Plan and Record
  • Organize and Manage Effort and Resources
  • Guide and Focus Collaborative Improvement
  • Build Capacity
  • Demonstrate Organizational Sensitivity
  • Monitor Accountability and Adoption
  • Implement for Sustainability
Code of Ethics      
The School Improvement Specialist Code of Ethics is part of the Certified School Improvement Specialist™ Application process. Applicants attest to adherence to the code of ethics in their performance and demonstration of their proficiency in the CSIS standards. 
Provides Continuing Education
The Institute for Performance Improvement provides continuing education for school improvement practitioners.
The LAUNCH! Learning and Development Experience is designed for state, local and regional education agency staff, school leaders, academic coaches and other teacher leaders. Aligned to the the Certified School Improvement Specialist standards, the course helps participants to apply the standards in practice to their day-to-day school improvement facilitation efforts. Participants practice with coaching and social learning, and provide evidence in proficiency of facilitation of a systemic, collaborative school improvement process that gets results and is sustainable. The program is rigorous, job-embedded and evidence-based. Successful program completers earn a verifiable digital badge.
The Institute offers a wide range of development programs to support school improvement facilitators. Visit
National Cohort
To apply to join a national cohort complete the LAUNCH!™ School Improvement FacilitationLearning and Development Program Application or contact Deb Page at  The next national cohort will be offered via blended learning in the Spring of 2019 in the Atlanta, Georgia area and online.  
Regional and Local Cohorts
To arrange a cohort in your school district, region or through a professional association, contact Deb Page at
Certifications and Designations
The Institute provides a fully evidence-based Certified School Improvement Specialist™ Certification. Applicants document their school improvement facilitation efforts and results. The process requires three to five years of experience guiding school improvement.  
Applications require triangulated data to show the correlation of school improvement efforts, changes in performance, and student achievement. Attestation is required by a supervisor, lients or others who can verify the accuracy of the application.
The application is processed via a double-blind review process. Successful applicants are awarded a verifiable digital badge, good for three years.  
For more information contact Certification National Director, Dr. Jean Quigg at
Membership in a Professional Home/Association
The Institute partners with the International Society for Performance Improvement (www.ISPI) to provide the SIS Network within ISPI to link school improvement practitioners in learning and networking. ISPI membership provides SIS Network members access to proven practices, tools and experts in performance improvement; national and regional conferences, research, periodicals and other resources to support their practices.   

Thanks For Reading!

Deb Page
President/CEO The Institute for Performance Improvement