Sustaining Impactful Initiatives through Shared Stewardship

Region 16 Comprehensive Center is the only Regional Comprehensive Center based out of a consortium of educational service districts (ESDs). What does it mean to sustain initiatives with long-term impacts on our ESD networks?

The Region 16 Comprehensive Center Community of Stewards gathered this week to deepen connections between the Comprehensive Center Network and the ESD networks across Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.

As Region 16 enters the fifth and final year of the current Comprehensive Center grant cycle, our teams are working closely with leaders across our ESD networks to share stewardship of key initiatives in Native student success, Native education, co-design, and school improvement, among others.

“Sustainability has been a focus of Region 16 since its inception,” Center Director Bernie Sorenson said. “The networks of leaders we’ve supported — from the Community of Stewards to our communities of action — will endure long beyond this grant cycle.”

Stewards at the October 18 gathering heard about sustaining initiatives from directors Tammy Van Wyhe, Suzanne McFarland Price, Beth Geiger, and Bernie Sorenson:

  • In Alaska, Region 16 has collaborated with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (DEED) and Alaska’s Educational Resource Center (SERRC) to shift the school improvement paradigm to school empowerment. Through the partnership between the three agencies, schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement receive support from school empowerment specialists ready to support deep, community-led school transformation efforts. In 2022, Region 16 and DEED published Alaska’s Empowerment Playbook: A Hands-On Guide for Successful School Improvement.
  • In Oregon, Region 16 is supporting the Office of Indian Education at the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to identify and document exemplary practice in Tribal History/Shared History (TH/SH) curriculum implementation. Interviews with districts surfaced exemplary practices at Southern, Lane, High Desert, and Willamette ESDs. Their practices will be featured in a forthcoming report from Region 16 Comprehensive Center.
  • In Washington, Region 16 recently launched the Pacific Northwest Finder for Indigenous Resources in Education (PNW FIRE). PNW FIRE is a search tool for resources and programs that support Native student wellbeing. The tool was proposed by the Washington Tribal Advisory Board to Region 16 Comprehensive Center and is designed to continue to grow through community contributions.
  • Our Regional Team launched the Co-designing with Families and Communities Fellowship this spring with the Family Leadership Design Collaborative. Co-design teams will engage students, families, community members, and local partners in transformative work that supports educational justice and community wellbeing. The fellowship is designed to support enduring work at all levels of the education ecosystem in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington.

“Our connection with the ESDs has been instrumental in starting, strengthening, and sustaining these initiatives across our three states,” Sorenson said. “ESD staff live and work in our communities — and they’re our conduit to connection with local education agencies and communities. These connections have strengthened the capacity-building supports we can provide to our state education agencies.”

Published October, 2023

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