SIGnetwork: October 2022

SIGnetwork Logo and photo of a group of Students

News You Can Use


New SPDGs Announced!
Congratulations and welcome aboard to our new FY 2022 SPDG Grantees!

  • Alabama State Department of Education
  • California Department of Education
  • Georgia Department of Education
  • Kansas State Department of Education
  • Michigan Department of Education
  • Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Nebraska Department of Education
  • New Mexico Public Education Department
  • Ohio Department of Education
  • Oklahoma State Department of Education
  • Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • State of Vermont

October Directors' Webinar Recording & Resources

Luiz Pereira, New Jersey’s Project Director, shared what he has learned about sustainability during the “What I’ve Learned so Far” interview.

Additionally, Karen Erickson shared the Tar Heel Reader a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces, including touch screens, the IntelliKeys with custom overlays, and 1 to 3 switches.

Upcoming SPDG Directors' Webinar

Vicki Griffo, from the California SPDG, will share her experience improving fidelity, developing communications, and working toward sustainability in her “What I’ve Learned so Far” interview on November 3rd at 3:00 ET.

Then Jamie Mikeska, from ETS, will share how you can use Mursion Simulation Training for Educators with new and returning teachers and leaders. This technology develops classroom management and instructional skills without harming any live humans in the process!

The Department is soliciting applications for two grant programs, totaling $280 million, to increase access to mental health services for students and young adults funded through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) and Fiscal Year 2022 omnibus appropriations.  The BSCA provides historic funding to help meet President Biden’s goal of doubling the number of school-based mental health professionals and addressing the nation’s mental health crisis.  This is the first of $1 billion in BSCA funding that the agency will award over the next five years for this purpose (press release). 

The first program, School-Based Mental Health Services, awards grants to states and school districts to increase the number of credentialed school-based mental health professionals.  There is $144 million available each year for five years, with an average award size of $1.75 million.  The agency estimates making up to 150 awards. 

The second program, Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grants, supports innovative partnerships in high-need districts to boost the mental health profession pipeline.  There is $143 million available each year for five years, with an average award size of $800,000.  The agency expects to make 250 awards. 

Coinciding with this announcement, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded nearly $27 million to expand and improve mental health care for children and adolescents (press release). 

SPDG Success!

colorful balloons against a clear sky background

The Nebraska SPDG has worked to develop relationships with its universities, so that these IHEs can support the use of evidence-based practices by districts and regional service units.

Nebraska table for SPDG success

Improving Professional Learning

Improving Professional Learning

Recommendations for Addressing Readiness Impacted During and After COVID-19

Prepared for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation by Rebekah Hornak, Sophia Farmer, Yolanda Perkins, Ellen Nacik, & Caryn Ward (September 2022)

EIC readiness constructs include:

  • District Teaming
  • LEA Executive Sponsor Support (Leadership)
  • Communication
  • Assessing Fit & Feasibility
  • Implementation Planning; and
  • Measurement Planning

Strategies for building up each of these elements of readiness are provided in the brief.

teacher and student working together

Evaluators' Corner

This brief details how LAUSD create a theory of action (TOA) by engaging stakeholders to ensure diverse perspectives that would lead to greater ownership. The district is now using their TOA to communicate a vision of every student being a mathematician.

Family Engagement

Toolkit of Resources for Engaging Families and the Community as Partners in Education: Part 1: Building an understanding of family and community engagement

This toolkit from IES can be used to stimulate discussion and increase understanding about family and community engagement—both its importance and how to approach it. Facilitators can choose from among the many options the one that is right for their school or district.

Spotlight on OSEP/TA


FREE HLP Paraeducator series (funded by CEEDAR) to share with the state SPDGs to embed in their PD offerings.  Here is the link to the information and registration. 

Effective and High-Leverage Practices for Paraeducators –FREE asynchronous series- 

A Toolkit to guide educators in developing and improving practical measurement instruments when engaging in continuous improvement

This REL Southwest toolkit guides educators in developing and improving practical measurement instruments for use in networked improvement communities (NICs) and other education contexts in which principles of continuous improvement are in use. Continuous improvement includes distinct repeating processes: understanding the problem, identifying specific targets for improvement, determining the change to introduce, implementing the change, and evaluating if and how the change led to improvements.

This toolkit is aimed at helping a team of educators with the final step in the cycle, which includes collecting data to measure implementation of changes (such as new instructional strategies) and intended outcomes and using those data to inform future action.

The toolkit focuses on the creation of instruments such as short surveys, checklists, rubrics, exit tickets, and quizzes that are aimed at measuring improved instruction and student learning and that are practical to implement in the classroom. A team of educators ready to introduce and test a change can use this toolkit to identify what to measure, consider existing instruments, draft new instruments, evaluate and refine instruments, plan data collection routines, and plan for data discussions to interpret the data and inform action.

REI Southwest developed the toolkit in partnership with the Oklahoma State Department of Education team working with the Oklahoma Excel NICs. Examples of processes and measures developed for the Oklahoma Excel NICs are included in the toolkit.

Tweets, Podcasts, & Videos of the Month

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S5 E3 It’s Time for a PD PARTY
Oct 13, 2022

In this episode, Jenn David-Lang of The Main Idea and I interview Elena Aguilar about her new book with co-author Lori Cohen The PD Book: 7 Habits That Transform Professional Development. To learn more about Elena and her great work visit her website:

Jenn has done a Main Idea summary of the book, and if you would like a copy, you can email her at

Download this Episode

REL_West (@REL West) Tweeted: This 📺 by @RELSouthwest and @RELPacific spotlights a toolkit of research-based resources to help engage #AmericanIndian/#AlaskanNative, #HawaiianNative/#PacificIslander, and #Indigenous families and communities in student success. #NativeEd

If You Have the Time


The US Dept of Education (ED) released a Fact Sheet describing all current ED grants that support teacher preparation, induction, professional learning, and retention, and that includes the SPDGs!