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Northwest ISD Enhances College Readiness Programming through Multi-Phase Research Process

Northwest Independent School District (NISD) joined Hanover Research to grow the administration’s program evaluation capacity and amplify pathways and support structures in college and career readiness.

The Challenge: Enhance Programming to Prepare College-Ready Graduates

When reviewing the district’s success metrics, Melissa DeSimone, NISD’s Director of Research, Assessment, & Accountability, hypothesized there was a missing link between current programming and the district’s effectiveness in enabling postsecondary student success. Ms. DeSimone turned to Hanover Research. “I appreciate the ability to use Hanover’s literature to gain insight into what other school districts are doing. This research helps give us validated, data-driven answers to some of our district’s key questions,” she explained. She also believed that an increased focus on teacher quality, vertical alignment, and professional development would serve as key components to bridge this gap.

“I appreciate the ability to use Hanover’s literature to gain insight into what other school districts are doing. This research helps give us validated, data-driven answers to some of our district’s key questions.”
Melissa DeSimone
Dir. of Research, Assessment, & Accountability

The Solution: Develop a Peer-Focused College and Career Readiness Initiative

The Research Process

To validate her hypothesis, Melissa collaborated with Hanover to develop a research-driven college and career readiness initiative.

Phase 1: Benchmark Current Practices

Approach

Hanover analysts compared existing district AP programming with state-wide scores and proven best practices.  The team performed in-depth interviews to uncover and highlight the policies and success metrics of six peer districts.

Outcome

Hanover’s report identified program oversight and accountability as a district-wide area for improvement.

Phase 2: Build Out College & Career Support Services

Approach

NISD invested in talent to expand the current programming by establishing a new position—Director of College & Career Readiness.

Outcome

In June 2014, NISD hired a new Director to oversee the development, implementation, assessment, and continuous improvement of programs to increase student access to postsecondary education and employment opportunities.

Phase 3: Identify Key Performance Indicators

Approach

Using data analytics, Hanover defined a list of college readiness indicators that will be used in identifying and classifying students into two groups: “college ready” and “not college ready.”

Outcome

NISD will use the identified indicators to monitor and track the state of its current students as they progress in their educational careers.

The Outcome: Amplified Pathways to Support Student Readiness for College and Careers

“Hanover helps us diagnose what the best practices in the field are, which enables us to prescribe solutions that ensure our programming aligns with industry standards.”

Kyle Seipp
Dir. of College & Career Readiness

NISD’s motto is “Every Student Future Ready,” a goal it will continue to fulfill as the college and career readiness initiative progresses. Hanover’s contributions in the first phase of this iterative research process helped the district strategize how to enhance current programming, ultimately achieved through establishing the Director of College & Career Readiness position.

As the district is projected to grow by an additional 11,000 students within the next eight years, Kyle, Melissa, and the NISD team plan to apply Hanover’s research to inform upcoming future-readiness needs. Kyle outlines their ongoing plans, “furthering our initial benchmarking research to analyze the specific student data from SAT and ACT test scores will continue to answer big questions for our district. Given the current scope of our program, we can determine if our efforts are leading to success. Based on this research, we will know if we should keep our current program focus or redirect efforts to increase student achievement.”

“Based on this research, we will know if we should keep our current program focus or redirect efforts to increase student achievement.”

Kyle Seipp
NISD Director of College & Career Readiness

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The Client

Northwest Independent School District

The District

Located north of Fort Worth and west of the Dallas metroplex, Northwest Independent School District operates 27 campuses and is one of the largest growing school districts in the state of Texas.

Hanover Solution

Academic Program Planning and Impact

This brief offers recommendations to help districts use program evaluations to navigate this uncertain environment and create a solid foundation for a successful future.

Research Process

Phase 1: Benchmark Current Practices

Phase 2: Build Out College & Career Support Services

Phase 3: Identify Key Performance Indicators

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