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The Exploration route of the Empowering Action for School Improvement (EASI) application is focused on identifying needs and exploring options through external diagnostic reviews, stakeholder engagement, and effective improvement planning. The components of the Exploration route assist LEAs in identifying areas of strength and need (External Diagnostic Review), engaging a variety of stakeholders in improvement conversations (Stakeholder Engagement), and building a plan centered around those prioritized needs (Improvement Planning). The EASI application also offers the opportunity for LEAs/schools to focus their Exploration work on a particular population of students, content areas, or school models (i.e., English Learners, AECs/Online schools, or Early Literacy).
The Exploration route differs from the other routes within EASI. Reviewers assess readiness and fit, rather than awarding points through a competitive grants process. If the collective amount of requests exceeds availability of funds, then a prioritization process is used. The duration of the awards is typically shorter than the other EASI routes and spans 18 months (e.g., January 2022 - June 2023). Early Implementation funds may be available for initial implementation of activities and strategies associated with the review and planning process.
The components of the Exploration route are designed to work together to support the creation of a thorough improvement plan. A Diagnostic Review (either holistic or specialized) informs a rigorous process of Improvement Planning. The Improvement Plan also draws on initial Stakeholder Engagement work and incorporates future stakeholder input as a part of the planning process. Note that applying for subsequent implementation activities through EASI will require evidence of an external diagnostic review, meaningful community engagement and a well-developed improvement plan. Applicants are encouraged to apply for the full Exploration route (Diagnostic Review, Stakeholder Engagement, and Improvement Planning) to ensure a thorough exploration process. However, as EASI is a needs-based process, LEAs who have previously engaged providers for Diagnostic Reviews or Stakeholder Engagement work should only opt schools into the services that are needed. The diagram below outlines the four components of the Exploration route. Because the different elements of the Exploration route work so closely together, LEAs are encouraged to select the same provider for the external diagnostic review, stakeholder engagement and improvement planning work – or at least negotiate a way for the different providers to align their work.
Program Contact Information
Improvement Planning Specialist, School Improvement and Planning
(720) 737-3205 | Hesse_L@cde.state.co.us
Title I School Improvement Coordinator, Federal Programs
(720) 728-9023 | Meushaw_L@cde.state.co.us