Support, Opportunity, Achievement, Revitalization (SOAR)
A cooperative project between the University of Idaho and Boise State University to improve student success.
"Piecemeal change to improve schooling inside a school district is an approach that at its worst does more harm than good and at its best is limited to creating temporary pockets of “good” within school districts. When it comes to improving schooling in a district, however, creating temporary pockets of good isn’t good enough. Whole school systems need to be transformed in a sustainable way."
— Francis M. Duffy, Ph.D.
The path to student success isn’t straight, easy, or one-size-fits-all. University of Idaho researchers received a grant from the Idaho State Board of Education to develop realistic, systemic, and holistic approaches to improved student outcomes.
The University of Idaho is working to help our state’s school districts. Together, we can build on your hard work to brighten the future of Idaho’s youth.
As part of the project, the University of Idaho will partner with school districts to:
- Complete a district-wide needs assessment
- Create improvement plans that specify research-based best practices to assist the district and its schools in addressing their greatest identified needs
- Create local and regional support teams to help districts address the identified needs and challenges for systemic, district-wide sustainable improvement
- Build leadership capacity at the board, district, and building levels to improve student achievement and growth
- Identify effective strategies for increasing graduation rates, student attendance, academic achievement, and post-secondary completion
- Develop a dynamic, virtual community of support to promote networking and sustainability
- Provide financial and technical support to build long-term systems of success within districts
As a partner district, you will receive:
Through the SOAR project, the University of Idaho will partner with school districts to design holistic professional development based on the data obtained from that district’s needs assessment. In this way, district leadership and staff, including school board members, administrators, teacher-leaders, and students, will receive expert training in:
- Differentiated curriculum
- Implementing high impact instructional strategies
- Using the Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS),
- Increasing staff efficacy, gathering and analyzing data
- Understanding the impact of poverty, trauma and brain resiliency on student growth
- Danielson Model of supervision and evaluation
Each year a one day summit will be held, bringing together all the participants. Subsequently, professional practice seminars will be held using the most up-to-date technology to connect everyone from a distance. Additionally, mini-grants will be available to assist school personnel as they participate in school improvement activities.
Numerous districts in Idaho have requested guidance with completing required state and federal compliance mandates, including Continuous School Improvement Plans, specifically SMART Goals, Action Steps, and state accreditation processes. In addition, assistance with reviewing and analyzing school-wide data from multiple sources has been sought. A portion of funds from this grant will be allocated to support technical demands based upon data obtained from the needs assessment.
Many districts in Idaho are located in rural areas. School and district leaders and faculty express feelings of isolation. They have limited opportunities to interact and communicate with other professionals working with similar populations. A portion of the funds from this grant proposal will be designated to design and facilitate both face-to-face and virtual opportunities for networking.
Long-term, Sustainable Approaches to Improved Student Achievement
The SOAR project is designed support your district as it improves student success. The goal is to establish programs and processes that will take a long-term view of improvement while also achieving some essential short term outcomes in graduation rates, student attendance, academic achievement, and post-secondary completion. At some point, the funding for the project will go away, but these programs and processes will live-on in your district to continue helping your students for years to come.
As a partner district, you will commit to:
- Active involvement on the part of your school board, administration, teachers and students
- Readiness to benefit from the work of the project
- Active and cooperative involvement of existing district and building-level leadership teams
- Collaborative time for teachers to build professional learning communities as part of the project’s school improvement activities
- One point person from your district to help plan and communicate project activities
» Summit Information