The purpose and priorities of OLI4


OLI4 Overview

The Ohio Leadership for Inclusion, Implementation, & Instructional Improvement (OLI4) will be developed in collaboration with Ohio school districts that agree to serve as partners in the design and use of targeted professional development (PD) including coaching to foster shared leadership for the full implementation of inclusive instructional practices that improve results for all children, including those who have disabilities and other learning difficulties.

The project will provide targeted PD[1], including technical assistance (TA) and coaching, to (1) build the capacity of school principals[2] to improve results for all students, including students receiving special education services and students with learning difficulties, as part of district- and school-wide improvement; (2) build principal knowledge and skill in the use of distributed or shared leadership models, including the facilitation of building leadership teams (BLTs) and teacher-based teams (TBTs) aligned with the Ohio 5-step Process; (3) identify and support the consistent implementation of specific targeted practices that improve student access to and progress in inclusive educational environments; and (4) collect comprehensive and ongoing needs assessment data and data on the level of inclusive practice and its effects on student outcomes over time.  

Comprehensive evaluation of the project’s impact on principal growth and development and its effects on the district’s capacity to continuously improve instruction and student learning, and on the achievement of target student populations will provide the project team and leadership of the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children (OEC) with focused feedback for refining the content and delivery of PD over time. Data collected as part of OLI4 evaluation will be structured around implementation drivers, particularly in the area of leadership, and will be aligned with relevant federal indicators. Needs assessment data collected annually will contribute to OEC’s establishment of baselines and targets for guiding focused improvement.

The project will focus specifically on the role of the principal in districts (i.e.,  those in improvement status as well as those that have voluntarily elected to use OIP) committed to the system-wide use of structures (e.g., collaborative learning teams) and practices (e.g., monitoring implementation and providing feedback and support) that foster inclusivity and improve the collective capacity of adults at all levels of the district to meet the instructional needs of all children. Four regional cadres of principals – in the south, southeastern, northeastern, and western/southwestern Ohio – will constitute cohort 1 and will receive targeted PD that supports them in:

  1. Focusing and prioritizing core work to establish a strong foundation for improving the quality and rigor of instruction provided to all students, as well as improving the level of learning aligned with Ohio’s New Learning Standards (ONLS) for all student groups;
  1. Building principal capacity for establishing a culture of shared inquiry, learning, and improvement in meeting the needs of all students, with a focus on understanding instructional frameworks [such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)] that support the full engagement of diverse learners in the instructional process; and
  2. Setting the conditions for effective implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of the effects of adult actions on student learning and results.

PD will draw on research in effective adult learning and implementation science to engage participants deeply in the process of identifying and deploying research-based practices to address problems of practice associated with meeting the needs of students with disabilities and learning difficulties in inclusive settings. Learning experiences will be structured through a combination of centralized PD; ongoing structured and facilitated sessions held on a regional basis to allow for sharing, discussion, and problem solving among principals; and in-school performance leadership coaching.

Principals in cohort 1 will complete a practice profile on inclusive leadership practice, providing feedback to the project as part of a Beta test. Such feedback will be used to refine the profile and the associated PD content, which will be delivered to principals in cohort 1, as well as to principals in successive cohorts. Cohort 2, for example, will include principals from cohort 1 cadres and principals from additional cadres (e.g., central Ohio, northwestern Ohio) that are added in successive project years.

As a statewide effort, OLIseeks to broaden the involvement of collaborative partners by working with the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council, institutions of higher education that receive grants through the Ohio Deans Compact on Exceptional Children to restructure administrator preparation programs, and other key partners [e.g., the Ohio Council of Professors of Educational Administration (OCPEA), the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators (OAESA), the Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators (OASSA), and the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT)] to inform the development of PD for principals. Bringing a diversity of perspectives to bear while maintaining an unwavering commitment to developing principal capacity within the context of the existing statewide, systemic improvement process (i.e., OIP-OLAC), will reduce fragmentation and duplication, infuse OLI4 content and improve alignment within and across existing principal professional development (PD) efforts. It will also contribute to sustainability and scalability of evidence-based practice during and after the grant period.

[1] The term professional development (PD) means training, technical assistance, and coaching.

[2] The term principal means principals and assistant principals in participating districts.