Using Self-study Guides to Support Implementation Fidelity


– [Nathan] Welcome to the audio file on using self-study guides to support implementation fidelity. This audio file informs interested parties about the role of self-study
guides in helping educators ensure strong implementation
of new interventions and reflect on current practices in implementing a specific
academic practice, multi-tiered system of support, or response to intervention framework. While the examples
shared here are centered on evidence-based
practices in implementing literacy interventions in
elementary and middle school, and academic interventions in high school, the notion of self-study
applies to supporting literacy or academic interventions
in any subject area or grade level. I’m Nathan Archer, the
Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast multimedia specialist. This audio file will consist
of a question and answer format featuring Mr. Kevin Smith
who will answer questions about the value of self-study guides. Mr. Smith is currently
the alliance manager of the Florida Career
Readiness Research Alliance at the REL Southeast at
Florida State University. He is also the task lead
for training, coaching, and technical support activities
for the REL Southeast. He is formerly the deputy
and acting director of the Just Read Florida office at the Florida Department
of Education, or FDOE, where he provided
extensive technical support to schools and districts across the state. Prior to joining the FDOE, Mr. Smith was a middle and
high school literacy coach and teacher of English,
journalism, technology, and reading intervention. Mr. Smith, thank you
for answering questions about using self-study guides to support implementation fidelity. The REL Southeast has produced
several self-study guides for practitioners. Can you tell us about self-study guides? – [Kevin] Self-study
guides for implementation are tools designed to
help districts and schools gather baseline information
to use in developing an implementation plan for
evidence-based literacy or academic interventions. The guides help teams of
educators such as teachers, instructional coaches, school counselors, and administrators prioritize their needs as they develop or refine
their implementation plan for interventions. The guide offers guiding questions and possible sources of evidence so that teams can gather
progress monitoring information for continuous improvement and evaluate the implementation
of the interventions. There are currently self-study guides to help educators plan for and implement literacy interventions in
grades K-two, three-eight, nine-12, and summer reading camps. The self-study guide for
interventions in grades nine-12 also includes mathematics interventions. – [Nathan] What does the
self-study process look like in the elementary school setting? – [Kevin] Self-study is
designed to promote reflection about current strengths and challenges in planning or implementation, spark conversations among staff, and identify areas for improvement. It’s helpful to elicit input from participating teachers and others who deliver literacy or
academic interventions in addition to instructional coaches, and school-based administrators. In an elementary school
setting, there’s a focus on ensuring that students are identified for intervention early on, using valid and reliable assessments and scheduled and place into instruction that will help meet their
needs as soon as possible. There are evidence-based
instructional strategies and materials to ensure
that students receive the appropriate catch-up instruction that will get them back
on track with their peers. It is important that
their time in intervention is strategic and intense and that teachers have an opportunity to work one-on-one or with small groups to ensure that each
student’s needs are met. – [Nathan] Middle and high
schools are usually structured quite differently than elementary schools. How would using a self-study
guide in these settings be similar or different when compared to the elementary school setting? – [Kevin] The important areas
to consider for interventions at the middle and high school level are similar to elementary school. There is still a need to
consider the assessments used for placement, scheduling,
instructional materials, teacher quality and support,
classroom environment, and communication. The most significant
differences probably relate to scheduling and student needs. In secondary schools, most students have multiple subject area
teachers and electives. It’s important to consider how to ensure that students still receive all of the other instructional
components needed when they’re scheduled in an intervention. In addition, the range of
student needs for intervention grows as students get older. Rather than focusing on some of the same instructional practices for most students, students may have vastly different needs. For example, those still needing to focus on foundational reading skills, to those with reading skills that may be close to
proficiency but have a lack of necessary vocabulary knowledge, or the ability to understand
nuances within complex texts. – [Nathan] For districts or
schools already implementing a specific academic
practice, multi-tiered system of support or response to
intervention framework, how might self-study guides be helpful? – [Kevin] The self-study guides provide evidence-based
support for stakeholders as they make a multitude of decisions for intervention implementation. For example, how to select
students to receive intervention, choosing intervention content and scheduling time for interventions. Whether an intervention
is being newly implemented or has been implemented for years, the self-study guides can
play a supportive role. Specifically, scoring guide areas embedded within the self-study guides
can help guide and support fidelity of implementation. Implementation of a new process can take a full school year or
more to be successful. Therefore, implementation
fidelity is critical, not only in the planning
phase of implementation, but also as it’s carried
out over a period of time to ensure continuous improvement. When using evidence-based practices, it’s critical to consider
that generalization may only occur if the
intervention or practice is carried out with fidelity
to the model studied. This means that considerations made for how school and classroom practices, along with the
recommendations from research. The annotated bibliography
at the end of the guides help educators focus on
the supporting evidence from each area and why it may be important to implement with fidelity. – [Nathan] With each new school year, students needs may change. As well, schools welcome new students and potentially new teachers. How does this present a challenge in maintaining implementation fidelity once a literacy or academic intervention has been implemented? And how does self-study help
address those challenges? – [Kevin] That’s an excellent point. With teach and principal
turnover at schools, along with student
mobility, one school year may look very different from the next. Changes in faculty and
staff can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge
of how things can work well, and also important
components of implementation. In addition, each group of students bring various needs that
will need to be addressed. Since self-study’s intended to provide a continuous framework for improvement, bringing in new members as
part of the self-study team is actually helpful,
whether they may be new to the school or just new to the team. The idea of self-study is that educators with various perspectives come together to discuss each of the components with their unique and valuable insights. Having new members to the team can help broaden an understanding
of what may be working well and infuse the process with
new ideas for implementation. The consistent framework
of guiding questions and possible sources of evidence, provides a level of
continuity within the process and an alignment with
evidence-based practices. – [Nathan] Your work with
the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast has
afforded you the opportunity to interact with stakeholders
at the state, district, and school level across
the southeast states. Can you provide us with specific examples of how school districts
or schools have used self-study guides to support
implementation fidelity? – [Kevin] The REL Southeast
trains school leaders and teams throughout Mississippi to use the summer reading
camp self-study guide for planning their first-ever third grade summer reading camps. Districts and schools shared
how helpful the tool was for planning and
subsequent implementation. The state has seen great
increases in literacy rates on their state outcome
assessments and NATE and has thanked the REL Southeast for supporting these efforts. District staff in Seminole
County Public Schools, Florida discussed the benefits of
using the self-study process in establishing and reviewing intervention implementation
procedures in secondary schools. The South Carolina Department of Education partnered with the REL
Southeast to train over 800 educators throughout the
state in the summer of 2019 on the early literacy
interventions self-study guide as part of the Palmetto Literacy Project. – [Nathan] Those examples
are very encouraging and highlight the value
of the self-study guides. As you mentioned before,
there are currently self-study guides
available for implementing literacy interventions in
grade K-two and three-eight, as well as for summer reading camps and high school academic interventions. Based on your work with the REL Southeast, do you see a need for self-study guides to support other areas? If so, what areas would they focus on? – [Kevin] We’ve had great
response from our partners, stakeholders, and alliance members on the helpfulness of
our self-study guides. Based on additional requests,
we are currently finalizing self-study guides on
literacy interventions in adult education, career
counseling in secondary schools, and instructional coaching. Each of these should be
available in the next year or so. – [Nathan] Thank you, Mr. Smith, for this helpful discussion on
the use of self-study guides in elementary, middle,
and high school settings. It’s encouraging to hear that the success of the currently available
self-study guides has paved the way for
additional self-study guides to be developed for an even further reach across stakeholders. We hope that listeners have been informed and encouraged to use self-study guides to support implementation of evidence-based literacy
or academic interventions within their own schools or districts.

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