Systems Improvement Group Shares Expertise with Clients

Tue Jan 16 2018
SIG co-director Maureen Hawes speaks with colleague Arlene Russell Bender.

The Systems Improvement Group (SIG)  at ICI provides evaluation, training, and technical assistance services to K-12 education systems around the country as they strive to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, other students at risk for poor educational outcomes, and their families. "We know the needs are great in U.S. states and territories," says SIG Co-Director Michael Sharpe. "The Systems Improvement Group is ready to help."

SIG staff provide clients with high-quality, relevant, and useful technical assistance in the areas of implementing and scaling-up evidence-based practices, program evaluation, strategic planning, stakeholder facilitation, data analytics, and leadership development services to monitor program performance and demonstrate accountability with federal and state education requirements. All of these areas are critical to enhancing systems striving to improve outcomes for students with disabilities, those at-risk, and their families.

Since its launch in 2015, SIG staff have applied their expertise to a growing list of complex projects. They have conducted state education agency evaluations focused on State Systemic Improvement Plans, Reading First Grants, State Personnel Development Grants, and State Improvement Grants. In addition, they have directed a number of statewide surveys by state departments of education, including surveys examining the nature and range of the supply and demand of Speech and Language Pathologists, assessing whether schools facilitated parental involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities, and collecting data for postschool outcomes for high school leavers with disabilities. "The approach taken by SIG staff is to listen very carefully to what clients want and need in order to address challenging evaluation and systems-improvement issues," says Maureen Hawes, SIG Co-Director. "The client is an active collaborator in developing creative and innovative solutions."

SIG's client list continues to grow. "We are always looking for new contracts, especially evaluation and state department of education technical assistance projects related to the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act," says Hawes (pictured on left with colleague Arlene Russell Bender).