This is part of an ongoing series on the TASH blog to keep you updated on TASH’s role in the SWIFT Center (School Wide Integrated Framework for Transformation). The SWIFT Center is a national technical assistance center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs to implement a model for educating general and special education students together to improve schoolwide academic outcomes. The following update is provided by TASH Education Policy Director Jenny Stonemeier.
We recently marked 6 months since the funding of the SWIFT Center and there is significant and exciting progress to report.
Knowledge Development Centers
The SWIFT Center has announced the selection of the 6 Knowledge Development Sites from among the 30 schools that were nominated. These 6 sites will serve as models of best practices for implementation of school wide transformation practices. The 6 schools selected will give the SWIFT Center the opportunity to learn from and with communities that have long standing experience with implementing school wide transformation.
The SWIFT Center Knowledge Development Centers are:
1. Fox Prairie Elementary School, Stoughton, WI
2. Newberry Elementary School, Newberry, FL
3. WSH Charter School, Los Angeles, CA
4. Camdenton K-8 School, Camdenton, MO
5. Willard Middle School, Berkley CA
6. William Henderson Inclusion School, Boston MA
State Selection Visits
Thirteen states have expressed their interest in partnering with the SWIFT Center. The state selection process occurs in 3 steps; the state indicating their interest, a phone conversation with Wayne Sailor or Amy McCart to clarify the project and discuss process, and finally, if agreed by both the state and the SWIFT staff, a site visit may be scheduled for a day long meeting with the state department of education, representatives from 4 school districts, and others as determined by the state. The state site visits are intended to discuss the project in detail, understand the position of the state and the districts relative to SWIFT principles, and outline capacity of a potential SWIFT partnership. Next steps in the state selection process include identify a memorandum of understanding that will further outline roles and responsibilities. State visits should be completed by May 15 with selection and announcement to follow thereafter.
There are several SWIFT products currently under development. These products will serve as critical features of SWIFT Technical Assistance delivery in the months and years to come.
The SWIFT FIT (Fidelity Implementation Tool) is a research validated screening tool that will be utilized by SWIFT Center staff along with school and district staff to establish a baseline and ongoing benchmarks for SWIFT implementation. TASH staff have been involved in developing the policy components of this tool.
The SWIFT Field Guide will serve as a manual for schools and districts as they progress thought the implementation process of SWIFT. The final document will provide information and guidance, along with core values and principles upon which the SWIFT Center is based. As with other SWIFT products, TASH and the policy team have worked to insure that these documents encompass the full scope of our policy work.
SWIFT Products from the Policy Team
The policy team—led by TASH—is currently drafting our first SWIFT Policy to Practice Brief. This brief will be the first in a series that will dive deeper into the issues of policy alignment to support SWIFT principles and implementation. The first brief will lay out a current policy landscape for education. In future briefs we will explore specific policies along with discussion for building policy bridges to support SWIFT implementation and school wide transformation.