Indistar is a platform that guides high-quality work by school or district Leadership Teams with built-in flexibility to set your own direction, personalized to your needs.
Indistar® was created by ADI, working directly with several state education agencies and revising the system as the states engaged their districts and schools with the process. ADI continues to constantly upgrade the system in response to clients' needs and suggestions.
Indistar® may be adopted by a state or a district. The system takes on the state's or district's own identity, and users access it through the state’s or district's own website. The system connects users from all levels to establish a coherent and high-functioning system for improvement. One person from each Leadership Team (district or school) is designated to serve as Process Manager. The Process Manager interfaces with the system to prepare team meeting agendas, worksheets, and Wise Ways®. The Process Manager also enters the team’s minutes and work plans into Indistar®. Coaches (engaged by the school or provided by the state, district, or charter organization) are given access to the system so that they can follow the progress of the work and provide coaching comments and reviews for the team. Superintendents and principals are given full access to the system. The district or school may also issue “guest” logins to groups—teachers, parents, school board members, for example—who can then view progress charts and reports without editing data.
Indistar® is built around the core functions performed by each level of the education system, effective practices at each level, and indicators of effective practice. A core function is a central, operational purpose of a state, district, or school. An effective practice is a way of operating (related to a core function) that is shown by both research and evidence in real-world application to contribute to student learning. An indicator is an observable expression of a practice, something concrete that indicates that an effective practice is in place.
The system is entered via login and password through the state’s or district's website and displays the state’s or district's name. The state or district chooses a set of indicators from ADI's research library. The state or district may designate a subset of indicators as “key indicators” to be given special emphasis. The state or district determines which consulting roles will be utilized in the system; for example coaches for district Leadership Teams, coaches for school teams, and district liaisons to school teams. Also, the state or district may add other reporting requirements to the system so that districts and schools may use one portal to prepare and submit all required reports.
ADI has spent time researching and identifying the behaviors and practices that result in improved teaching and learning so that the district and school can spend its time implementing them; practices are aligned with research and best practice via Wise Ways® summaries embedded in the system and available for download.
Indistar’s web-based technology does the traveling so that people don’t have to, allowing coaching, monitoring, and reporting via the web.
Goals are typically constructed around a district’s or school’s core functions, such as Leadership, Curriculum, Professional Development, or Instruction. They are often broad statements that advance a mission. Specific, detailed actions are then necessary to attain a goal. Indistar® drives the specific, detailed actions. Indistar’s indicators of effective practices are research-based ways of doing things that add meaning to global goals. The indicators of effective practice are specific, plain language guideposts, aligned with research. In fact, the indicators are so specific that they can be easily assessed, clearly aligned with people responsible, set to timelines, coached, and tracked for high-quality implementation. Specificity matters.
Indistar includes a coaching feature that allows an external coach to offer feedback to the Leadership Team’s work. The coach reviews the ongoing work of the team and offers comments. The Process Manager is alerted by email that a comment has been entered by a coach, and the team can then reply. The system maintains a thread of the dialogue between the coach and the team, and the comments can be saved or printed as a report. Coaches may also enter more extensive Coaching Reviews.
The cyclical improvement process means that the Leadership Team is always working on its indicators—implementing, monitoring, and improving its plan. This is not a plan that is prepared annually, submitted, and then re-written a year later. It is a continuous improvement process. However, snapshot reports can be generated to demonstrate that an effective plan is in place at a particular point in time.