Networked Improvement Implementation Community of Practice Resources

CoP Description: The Networked Improvement Implementation (NII) CoP supported State capacity-building and implementation of Networked Improvement Communities (NICs) within and among districts and schools and fostered innovative approaches to generating and using evidence for continuous improvement. This CoP focused on supporting states interested in developing systems to support districts or groups of districts in continuous improvement initiatives.

The NIC model, developed as a set of tools and processes for improvement science, posits that organizations that pursue continuous improvement in a networked setting show potential for accelerated learning. NICs leverage the expertise and working relationships of researchers and practitioners across contexts, promoting learning and improvement through testing of interventions in quick cycles. By communicating findings within NICs, practitioners and leaders can scale that learning and improvement across organizations. (Bryk et al., 2011). The sum of needs-sensing data collected by the Network through surveys and SEA leader interviews, and current research, pointed to the following theory of action that underpinned this CoP:

  • Schools can improve faster if they understand and apply the tools of improvement science and share what they are learning with other schools that are working to solve a similar problem.
  • Schools are more likely to adopt improvement strategies that other schools have developed and refined, compared to “off the shelf” programs or strategies that are handed to them by the state or other outside entity.
  • By  targeting funding and technical support, the state educational agency (SEA) can be an important coordinating entity in this work.

Through four learning cycles CoP members explored the following topics:

NIC processes, including identifying a problem statement, conducting a root cause analysis, developing a theory of action, developing aims and drivers, and implementing and measuring a change idea through plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles

  • Different models for implementing NICs within education agencies (districts, regional agencies, etc.)
  • Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle measurement and its connections to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) evidence tiers and the implementation of evidence-based practices (EBPs)

Participating SEAs: Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wyoming

CoP Duration: February through May 2020