eBRIEF: September 2021 The Newsletter for Busy Educators

ebrief the newsletter for busy educators

September 2021

woman in green shirt shows two children a globe In this issue:



photo of lynn mckahan

With the new year well underway, I want to remind you that State Support Team 1 is with you on your school improvement adventure. Our consultants are here to help you lead your schools and districts to be the best they can possibly be.

One way we provide support is through offering free professional learning opportunities. I hope you had the chance to review our course catalog and have found it helpful in mapping out your PD plans.

A couple things to note:

  • If you haven’t already done so, consider joining us for The Leadership Series for Bringing Back Better with Cathy Lassiter, Ed.D. Cathy will share her extensive knowledge about teaching and learning, equitable practices, and leadership with our region. Registration closes September 17.
  • Please keep an eye on your email and watch our website and Twitter for training location updates as we continue to adjust and adapt to changing COVID-19 health recommendations. We will notify you if an in-person course changes to hybrid or is cancelled.
  • I know that finding substitutes to allow staff to attend professional learning is difficult. If you have any feedback as to how we can meet the learning needs of your staff, while minimizing the need for subs, we would love to hear it. Please feel free to contact me at esclew_lm@sstr1.org with your ideas.

Reach out if we can help in any way.


Lynn McKahan, M.S., Director
State Support Team Region 1

Please help us reach your colleagues! Share this newsletter with new administrators, educators, and staff in your district. We’d love to get to know them better and to begin to connect them with resources in Region 1.

close up of tree lined road with double yellow line


1 Identify Critical NeedsIn order to know where you want to go, you first needed to understand where you are. Your  journey to school improvement began with collecting and analyzing data to identify where you need to make changes. Your Root Cause Analysis and One Needs Assessment helped you evaluate data and prioritize your district and building needs.

To review: Ohio Improvement Process: Step 1 – Identify Critical Needs

The Ohio Improvement Process


Ohio Improvement ProcessThe Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) is an organizational strategy that guides districts and schools through a process of collaboration and decision making using data, evidence-based strategies, quality implementation, and feedback monitoring to increase student growth and achievement.

It facilitates communication and decision-making between district, central office, school, grade levels, content areas, and classrooms personnel. The team structures at the core of the OIP form peer-to-peer networks, giving more people a voice and allowing for the inclusion of multiple perspectives in guiding each district’s journey toward organizational learning and continuous improvement.

Dive deeper into the Ohio Improvement Process
Root Cause Analysis


A root-cause analysis is the first, and perhaps most important step in completing the One Needs Assessment. It helps you identify your critical needs through the collection and analyzing of data. It is important to include your district leadership team (DLT), building leadership team (BLT), and teacher-based teams (TBT) in this process.

The goals of your root-cause analysis should be to:

  • Discover the primary cause of a problem
  • Understand how to fix underlying issues
  • Apply what you learn to prevent future issues


Related resources

One Needs Assessment


One Needs Assessment

The One Needs Assessment supports meeting step 1 of the OIP (identify critical needs) by providing a structure for teams to analyze student, educator and system data to analyze current practices,  identify root causes, and determine and prioritize your district and school needs across multiple improvement areas.

New for 2021-22

    • New questions were added based on district and school needs.
    • Reports were added to help districts and schools analyze root causes and self-selected priority needs.
    • The embedded CCIP needs assessment will no longer be available for use.
      • Schools and districts will use the One Needs Assessment tool for plans submitted for the 2021-2022 school year.
    • Educational Service Centers and County Boards of Developmental Disabilities needs assessments
      were added

Further learning

student in plaid shirt with blue backpack smiles and shields eyes with hand while looking offscreen


2 Research and Select Evidence-Based StrategiesOnce you identified your district or school’s critical needs, you began to envision the future and explore where you wanted to go. You researched evidence-based strategies and selected those that addressed your needs. You also worked with your teams to thoughtfully and intentionally develop your school improvement plan that helps you build excitement and make plans for the journey to improving outcomes for all students.

To review: Ohio Improvement Process: Step 2 – Research and Select Evidence-Based Strategies

The School Improvement Process

continuous improvement process


The School Improvement Process is a structured, yet flexible process that provides a systems framework of collaborative team protocols to:

  • analyze data
  • research aligned improvement strategies
  • implement and monitor strategies
  • provide feedback to teams, and
  • determine effectiveness based on performance and implementation data.

girl examines map with only the top of her head visible with mountains in the distance


Districts (and buildings) that make progress in increasing achievement of their students, have relied on their improvement plan as their roadmap of how to move toward their desired outcome.”Angie Osborne, SST 1 Consultant

3 Plan for ImplementationYour School Improvement Plan is your GPS for ensuring you stay on track toward addressing the needs discovered by your root cause analysis and moving closer to your identified goals. Now you are planning for implementation, moving forward, and monitoring progress. Keep your school improvement plan on your dashboard – – you will use it to track your progress, make any necessary detours, and help you reach your destination.

To review: Ohio Improvement Process: Step 3 – Plan for Implementation

The state-level documents below also serve as guides for this important work.

Each Child Our Future


Each Child Our FutureEach Child, Our Future: Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education 2019-2024 is our roadmap for ensuring each student receives an excellent pre-kindergarten through grade 12 education. The plan is centered on meeting the needs of the whole child and serves as an aspirational guide for students, parents, partners and the education system.

It identifies four learning domains and 10 priority strategies to support the whole child and enable the state-level vision and goal, while using three core principles as a guiding framework:

Each child has access to relevant and challenging academic experiences and educational resources necessary for success across race, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, family background, and/or income.
Strong collaboration between parents and caregivers, educators, higher education, business, libraries, social service organizations, and others share the responsibility of preparing children for a successful future.
Quality schools ensure school leaders, educators, parents, caregivers, community partners and other individuals and factors come together to best serve each student.

Further learning

Each Child Means Each Child


Each Child Means Each Child

Each Child Means Each Child builds upon the guidance of Each Child Our Future to expand direction for improving learning experiences and outcomes for students with disabilities. It offers recommendations, tactics, and action steps to:

  • increase literacy skills
  • improve disproportionality
  • promote post-secondary success
  • foster inclusive leadership
  • advance high-quality instructional practices

Each Child Means Each Child identifies three major focus areas:

  • Multi-Tiered System of Support: getting to the problem early
  • Professional Learning: building educator and systemwide capacity
  • Post-Secondary Readiness & Planning: educating for living a good life

Further learning:

  • In 2020, the Guiding Coalition was established to advise the Department’s Office for Exceptional Children in the development of a five-year implementation plan for operationalizing Each Child Means Each Child, a roadmap for improving learning experiences and outcomes for students with disabilities.
  • Each Child Means Each Child from the Ohio Department of Education

student in light blue jacket carries backpack and stands in front of school bus


4 Implement and MonitorWith your destination in mind and your directions at hand, you are almost ready to embark on your school improvement journey. You are now ready to take your first steps to providing a better learning environment for your students. The frameworks discussed below will help you arrive at your intended destination. Now is the time to make sure they are tuned up and ready to roll.

Universal Design for Learning connects Ohio’s Learning standards with strategies and resources appropriate for all students, including those with very specific needs including students with disabilities, gifted students, and English learners.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support use data and problem-solving strategies ensure that all learners receive the supports and interventions they need to be academically and behaviorally successful in school.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is systems change process and framework that will help you:

  • use data to drive decision-making
  • select evidence-based interventions and practices that support varying student needs
  • implement systems that effectively and efficiently support implementation of those practices
  • monitor your progress to ensure outcomes are met

Learn more: Ohio Improvement Process: Step 4 – Implement and Monitor

Universal Design for Learning


Grounded in neuroscience research on how individuals learn, UDL is a framework for creating instructional goals aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards, selecting and designing materials, methods, and assessments that work for ALL learners, using flexible approaches that meet the needs of each individual learner, and reducing or eliminating barriers to learning. UDL is based on:

Three Basic Principles
a blueprint for creating flexible goals, methods, materials, and assessments that accommodate learner differences
Multiple means of representation
  • perception
  • language and symbols
  • comprehension
Learn more
Multiple means of expression
  • physical action
  • expression and communication
  • executive functions
Learn more
Multiple means of engagement
  • recruiting interest
  • sustaining effort & persistence
  • self-regulation
Learn more

Professional learning opportunities:

Further reading:

Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)


A conceptual framework for MTSSMulti-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a framework of integrated supports designed to meet the achievement and behavioral needs of all learners through data-based problem-solving.  The integrated instruction and intervention is delivered across a 3-tier approach to provide ALL students with the best opportunities to succeed academically and behaviorally in school.

Tier 1 supports serve as the foundation for behavior and academics for all students. For most students, the core program gives them what they need to be successful and prevent future problems.
This level of support focuses on improving specific skill deficits, and is often delivered to groups of students with similar targeted needs, in addition to Tier 1 core instruction.
Tier 3 supports are the most intensive supports, designed to meet the specific needs of an individual student, and are provided in addition to Tier 1 and Tier 2 instruction and supports.

Further reading:

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)


Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) is proactive approach for creating a positive, consistent, predictable, and safe environment that supports the academic, social, emotional and behavioral competence of all students. It’s primary purpose is to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of schools to support all students. Your PBIS initiative should be comprised of the following elements:

A PBIS team
A team made up of administration and classroom staff that implements PBIS, monitors data, and responds to feedback.
Staff support
Establishing and maintaining school-wide expectations requires effort and support from everyone.
School-wide expectations
Goals should be specific, observable, and attainable. Include staff and students in the planning.
Behavioral instruction
Staff should be intentional in teaching the behaviors that will make goal achievement possible.
A recognition system
Establish a consistent system for acknowledging positive behaviors.
PBIS requires sustained effort by all staff to be successful.
Professional development
Schoolwide expectations, acknowledging and correcting behaviors, and requesting assistance should be included in staff training.
Discipline procedures
Reduce discipline referrals by creating processes that manage negative behaviors in a positive way and coaching students who need extra support.
Data Collection
Evaluate your PBIS program and make informed decisions by collecting and examining data.
Student, family, and community involvement
Survey and gather feedback from stakeholders regularly to gauge processes and progress.

Professional learning opportunities:

Further reading:

closeup of red backpack and red duffle bag


4 Implement and MonitorThe beginning of the school year is the ideal time to re-establish collaborative teams and begin preparations for your school improvement journey. Using the improvement plans that you created last spring will help move this work forward and help you keep a clear focus. When you share the goals and strategies with all team members, you can build a collective effort in working toward meeting your goals. Be sure to discuss how the team will track progress and how you will get back on course when necessary.

Your school improvement checklist:

Establish or re-establish collaborative teams.
Think about including the change agents of the buildings on these teams to help build ownership among all members. Set clear expectations for their role.
Review or determine the non-negotiables.
What are the team's beliefs that will drive decision-making?
What is your why?
Use your School Improvement Plan as the driver for district / building work.
How has the plan been shared across teams?
Determine how to monitor adult practices and their impact on student learning.
Which data should be collected? How often? By Whom?
Make mid-course corrections when needed.
What worked well? What opportunities do you have to grow?


Did you know?

The primary purpose of the Teacher-Based Team (TBT) is for team members to collectively study and learn practices to help improve outcomes for all students.
The primary purpose of the Building Leadership Team (BLT) is to be responsible for the overall improvement of the school.
When school leaders lead and organize teacher learning and development, the impact on student outcomes more than doubles.

Learn more in Vivian Robinson's book, Student-Centered Leadership.

Learn more: Ohio Improvement Process: Step 4 – Implement and Monitor

closeup of person using gps on mobile phone


State Support Team 1 is your companion for the school improvement journey

State Support Team 1 LogoWe are part of Ohio’s State System of Support, which includes 15 other regional support teams, Educational Service Centers (ESC), State Support Teams (SST), Instruction Technology Centers (ITC), and direct supports from the Department. The Statewide System of Support exists to assist schools and districts to increase student outcomes and achievement.


5 examine reflect adjustThe overarching work of State Support Team 1 is school improvement. Our consultants are former educators and administrators who have extensive experience in the areas of school improvement, teaching diverse learners, family and community engagement, and more. We incorporate organizational leadership, capacity building and inclusive instructional practices to provide high quality professional development that includes:

    • coaching
    • technical assistance
    • planning
    • professional learning
    • resource sharing

We are here to help you implement, monitor, examine, reflect, and adjust your plan and goals as needed - to help your school and district be the best it can be for all learners.  Contact us with your questions and professional learning requests.

Learn more: Ohio Improvement Process: Step 5 – Examine, Reflect, Adjust

group of teachers hears from presenter



child in striped shirt holds toy in classroomPreschool Leader Network
Increase your knowledge of the 5-Step Process to make informed instructional decisions and align your work to the Step Up to Quality standards.

Begins September 9

student in safety gear welds in labCTE Special Education Leaders Network
Collaborate to improve the achievement of students with disabilities, and receive special education updates, discuss data, face challenges together, and share successes.
Begins September 14

teacher in yellow shirt and gray blazer holds notebook in classroomNew Special Education Leaders: Year 1
Navigate the many expectations of your new role, ensure you are meeting guidelines, and connect, share, and problem solve with other new leaders from across the region.
Begins September 14

mother uses tablet with sonFamily Engagement Community of Practice
Explore evidence-based family and community engagement frameworks, learn how to put policy in to practice, and discover how to align your efforts to your school improvement goals.
Begins September 15

group of people stand in circle with hands clasped together in middleSupporting Students with Disabilities through Integrated Leadership
Join in deep discussions regarding meeting the needs of special education students and ensuring they each receive rigorous, evidence-based instruction.
Begins September 21

student in green shirt and white headband reads a bookLiteracy Leaders Network
Use evidence-based literacy practices and strategies to develop an implementation plan aligned with Ohio’s new dyslexia legislation to promote positive outcomes for all learners.

Begins September 23

two high school students review paperwork togetherRegional Transition Network
Help ensure successful graduation and post-secondary outcomes for all students, through education/training, competitive integrated employment, and independent living.
Begins September 28

student reads book in beanbag chairAdolescent Literacy Network
Explore practices that address the six essential domains of adolescent literacy and build a solid theoretical framework and implement literacy plans.

Begins October 13


cathy lassiterBringing Back Better with Cathy Lassiter, Ed.D.
Launch into a year of growth and learning! This highly interactive series led by Cathy Lassiter includes short reads, group discussions, self-reflections, and implementation planning.
Registration closes September 17

mother helps daughter with backpackNNPS Family Engagement Training
Move beyond parent-teacher conferences and volunteer recruitment! Learn how the NNPS model can build collaboration in support of your school improvement, climate, and culture goals.
Registration closes September 17

student in blue tee shirt and glasses raises hand in classroomPBIS Tier II Training
Gain the skills and strategies you need to support your students’ social, emotional, and behavioral needs to increase opportunities for academic success during this year of pandemic recovery.
Registration closes September 28

Equity by DesignUDL & CTE 2.0: Equity by Design
Examine the UDL guidelines through an equity lens, build equity awareness, and gain the knowledge and skills you need to close the achievement gap for special populations identified by Perkins V.
Registration closes October 1


An introduction to the integrated comprehensive systems for equity framework and process

The Co-Founders of ICS Equity, Dr. Elise Frattura and Dr. Colleen Capper, will provide an overview of the Integrated Comprehensive Systems for Equity Four Cornerstones Framework and Process on Tuesday, September 28. All Four Cornerstones and ICS Equity Steps are implemented in a context of community engagement and development.


Ohio Family Engagement Leadership Summit:  September 17

Jackie JacobyHosted by the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center at The Ohio State University, the Ohio Family Engagement Leadership Summit is a day of professional learning and connecting virtually with those dedicated to advancing effective family-school-community partnerships across Ohio and beyond. The summit brings research to action by providing schools, families, and community partners with the tools they need to work together to launch all children to success.

→  State Support Team 1: Session 13 - Holding Great Meetings for Families ←

State Support Team 1 Urban Literacy Consultant, Jackie Jacoby along with representatives from State Support Teams 6 and 13 will lead a power up session at 1:00 p.m. They will share a tool and resources aligned with evidence-based practices to guide your teams through holding engaging and effective family meetings.


2021 OCALICONLINE CONFERENCE:  November 16 - 19

2021 marks the 15 year anniversary of OCALICON, the premier autism and disabilities conference where thousands of people from around the world come together to learn, network, and share research, best practices, and resources to support the life-long needs of individuals with disabilities.

photo of nicole herbertphoto of lisa hite→  State Support Team 1 Session - UDL: Going Beyond Access  ←

Be sure to join State Support Team 1 consultants, Lisa Hite and Nicole Herbert at OCALICONLINE on Thursday, November 18 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. as they examine how the Universal Design for Learning Framework takes teaching and learning beyond access and into socially just education.

They will demonstrate how reviewing data on marginalized populations will reveal that the time is now to eliminate the barriers and inequalities of teaching and learning that exist as well as the need to continue the work of the UDL framework. Learn key concepts and ideas from Katie Novak and Mirko Chavin’s book Equity by Design, along with ways to put them into action.


eBRIEF! is the primary source for the latest news and information from State Support Team 1. The monthly digital publication is designed to provide you with relevant education resources, timely news and announcements, and upcoming professional learning opportunities.

Level Up with Literacy is a bi-monthly digital publication that provides information and resources to help you ensure all learners have access to high-quality language and literacy instruction and appropriate interventions from birth through grade 12.

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State Support Team Region 1
Lynn McKahan, M.Ed., Director
2275 Collingwood Blvd. | Suite C | Toledo, OH 43620
info@sstr1.org | 419.720.8999 | www.sstr1.org

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