The EdReform Portals: Embodying a Vision of Responsive Technical Assistance

By Robert T. McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Executive Director
National Institute for Community Innovations
March 2005

The National Institute for Community Innovations promotes knowledge management practices that drive continuous improvement. This knowledge management vision consists of the following twelve core elements:

  1. Consensus in an expert community (such as the Urban Educator Corps or National Staff Development Council) regarding the critical dimensions about which educators should strive for excellence, along with pointers to practices and resources that exemplify best practices in each of these dimensions.

  2. Creation of one or more rubrics that enable educators individually and collective to self-assess and be assessed relative to those dimensions.

  3. Creation of qualitative and, wherever possible, quantitative indicators for each rubric dimension that assist educators to accurately assess themselves.

  4. Creation of web-based surveys enabling educators to assess themselves and others vis-à-vis the rubrics.

  5. Use of the surveys to identify educators and educational programs that are exemplary models in each rubric dimension.

  6. Use of the surveys to identify the priority needs of educators and educational programs for technical assistance.

  7. Consensus among the expert community's leaders on how best to provide technical assistance to meet their members' shared and individual needs.

  8. Creation of an expertise database that enables educators and educational programs to identify expertise they possess and are willing to share and to catalog their expertise in terms of the rubric dimensions.

  9. Consensus among the expert community's leaders about how best to leverage expertise within their community and to seek additional external resources, as needed, to augment the community's current capacity to meet its members' own needs through collaboration and sharing of best practice.

  10. Use of synchronous (chat, IP conferencing, etc.) and asynchronous (e.g., web threaded discussion) tools to facilitate online mentoring and technical assistance, to contain travel costs and supplement face-to-face technical assistance.

  11. Ongoing assessment by the expert community's leaders of the community members' progress in improving their professional practice, by monitoring changes in the qualitative and quantitative indicators.

  12. Utilization of XML-based web cataloguing and dissemination tools that make it easy and rapid for expert community members to disseminate their best practices, evidence of improvement, priorities and plans for further improvement, and expertise to the wider national educational community.

For More Information

For more information, please contact:

Robert T. McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Executive Director
National Institute for Community Innovations
235 Main Street
Montpelier, Vermont USA 05602-2410
www.nici-mc2.org
Tel. (802) 249-1159
Fax (802) 229-2056