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State Support Team, Region 16

Need an OIP Refresher? Check out OLAC's New Website!

If you’ve ever visited the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council’s (OLAC) website, you may have been deterred by how outdated it was. This year they are rolling out an overhauled webpage. Recently I attended a training to become an OLAC facilitator. I would love to share my discoveries with you about the Ohio Leadership Advisory Council and their new and improved website!


First of all, what is OLAC? According to their website, the goal of the organization is as follows: “Our goal is to provide educators - no matter their role - with the structures and resources they need to develop shared and effective leadership at every level.” They have a partnership with the Ohio Department of Education. At the center of their work is the Ohio Leadership Development Framework through which they promote the use of DLT’s, BLT’s, and TBT’s to increase successful student outcomes.


OLAC’s work is immersed in the Ohio Improvement Process. Their website states, “The combination of OLAC's work in delineating essential practices ("the what") and the use of the OIP ("the how") to put them into practice has given many districts across Ohio increased capacity to lay a strong foundation for continued and sustainable improvement.” The wealth of information about the OIP is invaluable to educators, no matter their role in their buildings.


OLAC, after ten long years, has recently updated their website, and the improvements are quite significant! Here are a few things you’re going to want to check out and use. (You’ll need to create a free account to access most features.)


  1. Training Modules- located on the Dashboard, OLAC has created over 20 learning modules for educators. Topics range from Assessment to What Districts Need to Know to Implement TBT’s. The modules are easy to navigate and are well structured. You can even earn credit and contact hours with pre-approval!

  2. Webinars- OLAC has produced 15 webinars covering a wide variety of topics including Social-Emotional Learning and the OIP. Most of the webinars are facilitated by the esteemed Dr. Brian McNulty.

  3. Podcast- OLAC so far has only one podcast called, “Lead the Way: Ideas & Insights for Education Leaders.” This podcast is downloadable and an easy listen.

  4. Educator Evaluation Crosswalks- this was one of my favorite features on their website. Principals and other building leaders can use this feature to easily create tools to use evaluatively, or non-evaluatively if preferred, that identify an area of focus based on the Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession. This section of the website states, “By using the crosswalk, teachers can easily address gaps in their own professional development and avoid redundant professional development in areas where they are already proficient. In addition to OLAC modules, this crosswalk provides teachers with reputable resources and provides focusing questions for principals/evaluators to use to guide constructive interactions with teachers about needed support.” I had so many ideas for this tool. Teachers could use it for self-reflection. Teams could use it as a resource because once an area of focus is determined, the tool provides numerous, evidence-based resources to help educators improve on that standard.

  5. Videos- OLAC also has a collection of videos featuring best practices in action. These videos could be used during team meetings to illustrate a strategy or practice for a staff. Teachers could watch these videos to improve his/her own practice. The videos can be filtered based on several categories: Topic, Grade Level, School Setting (rural, urban, etc.), Team Level, OIP Stage. This makes finding the best video for your needs much easier.


OLAC has several features still in development. The one that I’m most looking forward to is the Case Studies. Coming soon, OLAC will have detailed case studies added to the Dashboard that teams can use to discuss and analyze.


Overall, OLAC is doing great work across our state. Their resources make the OIP more accessible.


If you have any questions about the Ohio Improvement Process, OLAC, or their website, feel free to contact me.



Engaging Families: Let’s Make It Happen

Family engagement is one topic that districts know is important, but aren’t always sure how to make it happen. I am sharing four tips that you can implement tomorrow that will make family engagement a priority in your school.


Tip #1: Gather Family Engagement data by surveying parents, utilizing a family engagement inventory. (Link to a free customizable survey: https://u.osu.edu/familyschoolpartnerships/surveyingfamilies/ .) Using the data, look for trends. Sort the trends into two categories: things that are in your control and things that are out of your control.


What is showing up as a need/priority for your school?


Tip #2: Utilize your BLT or DLT team to analyze the data. What trends are you noticing? Again, focus on items that are within your control. What is showing up as a need? Choose 1 or 2 items as a priority. Rewrite these items in a goal-oriented language. Place the goals in a shared professional space and share them with all educators in your building.


Tip #3: Conduct some research around your goals. Think about conducting a book study as a team or reading several articles together. Need a book recommendation? Check out this link for a great, practical  read to reach families that are traditionally hard to involve, http://drsteveconstantino.com/engage-every-family-five-simple-principles/


Tip #4: Implement your strategy to help you reach your goal and revisit your goal often. Don’t forget to reflect and progress monitor your goal.


Wait a second, did we just take our family engagement data through a five-step process?


Family engagement involvement takes a culture change in your school.  A culture that places a priority on building strong relationships with families in order to improve academic achievement. A culture that welcomes families as part of the learning environment and takes into account the whole child (their family is a huge piece of that) of each child.


Follow-up read: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/01/10/how-to-solve-the-parent-engagement-problem.html