As an IDC TA provider and someone who once served the Colorado Department of Education, I’m afforded a somewhat unusual perspective on IDC’s technical assistance work from both sides of the proverbial equation. At IDC, I’m in a position to know our resources well. However, during my time as a Part B data manager—and like many others in such a role—I naturally focused on whatever issue was most immediately at hand. The same goes for IDC resources. I used, and therefore was mostly aware of, those that were in front of me at that moment.
Of course, I knew that IDC offered many wonderful TA resources. As a data manager, how could I not? What was eye-opening was exactly how many resources the center offered, and how many I had yet to become acquainted with. Fortunately, I got a glimpse of these available resources in the form of a simple list developed by IDC that IDC’s Bethany Howell offered me and some of my fellow Part B data managers during an evaluation exercise. As we logged onto ideadata.org and began to explore the titles that caught our eye, I soon realized that Bethany’s list was itself a tremendous TA resource.
The “Nice” List
With that experience in mind, I’m taking this opportunity to point you in the direction of our Comprehensive IDC Part B Tool & Product List. Download it and give it a look. Think about how those tools and products might inform your own work in your state. For example, as the parent surveys for Indicator 8 conclude at the end of the school year, you might wish to review the survey-related tools such as our SPP/APR Indicator Sampling Plan Checklist or our Parent Involvement Data: How to Measure and Improve Representativeness for Indicator B8. Using these tools is a fantastic way to begin editing your survey protocols or sampling methods before the survey cycle begins again in the new school year. For another example, following the submission of Exiting and Discipline data in November and before the SPP/APR comes in with full force might be a good time tackle projects that are worthwhile for your department but often difficult to prioritize, such as those related to data processes protocols.
Check It Twice (With Help)
Another option is to reach out to your IDC State Liaison and open a discussion about which resources you’d like to take on during the coming school year. Talk about prioritizing your selections by order of urgency and add them to your calendar to indicate what point in the year you’d like to tackle them. You might even discuss which resources you and your team could work through or implement yourselves and which warrant hands-on support from IDC. You might even ask your State Liaison to check in when the time draws nearer for the ones you decided to try yourself (I bet I’m not the only person who appreciates outside accountability).
So set an intention, download the list, and explore what it has to offer. Make sure you also keep it around for later referral. I think you’ll be glad that you did. And, as always, if you need assistance, IDC is just a phone call or email away.
-- Miki Imura