Fostering SST Renewal And Collective Learning
State Support Team (SST) personnel form the foundation of Ohio's statewide system of support. As the group charged with supporting continuous district-wide improvement using Ohio's improvement framework [i.e., Ohio Improvement Process (OIP)], SSTs must find ways to support the individual and collective renewal of regional staff, helping them to improve their own understanding of the increasing array of tools and resources available to support higher levels of learning on the part of Ohio's district leadership teams (DLTs), building leadership teams (BLTs), teacher-based teams (TBTs), superintendents, central office personnel, principals, teachers, and related services personnel.
Like all other organizations, Ohio's SSTs experience staff turnover. As new SST personnel are employed and introduced to the OIP, and as "new" districts are identified as being in need of improvement for the first time (including districts that may have been designated excellent or effective in the past), it is incumbent upon SST Directors to orient new staff and regularly re-orient veteran staff so that high-quality support can be provided in a consistent, coherent way to all districts and their schools to close achievement gaps and improve results for all students.
This story - the first in the OIP Cornerstone Connections series that features the work of Ohio SST personnel - offers suggestions for how SST Directors can support the development of shared learning on the part of SST personnel. Such shared learning and understanding of the intended outcomes of OIP use, and the relationship between OLAC essential practices (i.e., the what) and OIP structures and tools (i.e., the how), is essential for ensuring that early learning and school readiness, special education, and other key SST functions work together in a unified way to foster improved instructional practice and student performance.