Overview of ISD Partnership

Steps for implementation

Alt+Shift engages in multi-year partnerships with Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) to strengthen their capacity to sustain implementation efforts at member districts and ISD programs, yielding improved outcomes for all students.

Creating sustainable change requires 

  • time
  • reflection
  • new and existing systems and processes
  • student-focused shared vision inclusive of multiple perspectives

Alt+Shift collaborates with ISD leadership teams to address these requirements.  We co-construct training and collective action plans for the implementation effort.

Ready to explore partnership?

Submit the Partnership Inquiry Form to initiate a conversation about the partnership process.


5 steps linked together: apply, clarify, onboard, prepare, partner

Following the initial Partnership Inquiry, Alt+Shift has created a five step process to move forward with partnership.

Explore Partnership

Alt+Shift has created a five step process to move forward with partnership.

  1. Apply - The ISD Director of Special Education and/or Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and applicable ISD/member district personnel complete the application for partnership.
  2. Clarify - ISD leadership and Alt+Shift personnel will meet to discuss site readiness and clarify expectations for the partnership.  Questions from both parties will be available prior to the meeting.  Preview Alt+Shift’s follow-up questions.
  3. Onboard - ISD leadership will meet with Alt+Shift to discuss the roles, expectations, and goals of the partnership.
  4. Prepare - ISD personnel will engage in any readiness activities that are needed before training begins.
  5. Partner - The ISD team and Alt+Shift begin training, coaching, and meeting.


Training includes initial training, subsequent training, and on-going training.  Having a comprehensive training plan supports sustainability and growth of the implementation effort.

Initial training:  During the Prepare phase, ISDs select member districts and/or programs who will receive the first round of training.  Alt+Shift provides the initial training.

Subsequent training: When new member districts, programs, or other cohorts are brought on, they will also need the initial training.  ISDs will identify personnel to attend the Course Trainer Institute from Alt+Shift to be able to provide that whenever the need arises in the ISD.  See “Sustain” below for more information about the Course Trainer Institute.

On-going training: This refers to job-embedded, continuous support and feedback that is needed as part of implementation.  This takes on a variety of forms and is co-constructed by the ISD and their local districts and programs based on need.  Some examples include coaching, peer coaching, refresher training, parent training, and professional learning communities.


Learners cannot benefit from instructional practices they do not experience.  On-going, job-embedded support and feedback is critical to implementing new practices learned in training.

Alt+Shift co-constructs and facilitates implementation activities with ISDs as part of partnership.

ISD partners will:

  • Co-construct a collective action plan and implementation supports - The plan outlines how the ISD will create or utilize a system to partner with member districts and programs to implement and sustain evidence-based practices.
  • Engage in implementation team meetings - The team will meet every 30-60 days to problem-solve the challenges of implementation and review the collective action plan. Teams include representatives of affected stakeholder groups as well as someone with executive leadership and decision-making authority.  See “Forming the Implementation Team” below.
  • Explore ongoing job-embedded support and feedback - Alt+Shift can co-construct and consult on models at ISDs who are implementing this.  Alt+Shift is also available to provide coaching for ISD personnel who are leading the implementation effort.


Supports to sustain the implementation effort are designed to keep implementers engaged with the work, and connected to resources that will help them as they continue to problem solve and improve.

Networking - Alt+Shift provides in-person and virtual opportunities for educators across Michigan to learn from each other.

Course Trainer Institute - During initial implementation, ISD leadership will identify personnel who will attend the Course Trainer Institute.  Upon successful completion of the Course Trainer Institute, course trainers will be able to provide the initial training to new groups within the ISD and technical support to those who have already been trained.

What is the Course Trainer Institute?

  • The institute is specifically designed to prepare course trainer candidates to provide the course.  This is done through additional interaction with the content, considering presentation challenges, practice, problem-solving, and networking.
  • The institute provides opportunities for course trainer candidates to insert examples, interaction, practice, and reflection into the training sessions.
  • The institute is for ISD personnel, or member district personnel who are authorized to provide the training outside of their local district on behalf of the ISD.

What steps are involved in the Course Trainer Institute?

  1. Complete the Participant Course.
  2. Secure administrative approval to engage in the Course Trainer Institute. Administrators must, to the best of their ability, ensure that the trainer candidate will be able to attend every session in its entirety.
  3. Secure Alt+Shift approval for participation in the Course Trainer Institute.
  4. Sign trainer agreement.
  5. Complete the Course Trainer Institute. It is critical that trainer candidates attend every session in its entirety.
  6. Co-present the course with Alt+Shift staff.
  7. Secure Alt+Shift approval to be a trainer.
  8. Present the course at least once every other year.
  9. Attend virtual update meetings.

How many days is the Course Trainer Institute?

This varies depending on the training.  The time commitment ranges from 3 to 7 days, spread out over months, and may involve half days or virtual meetings.

How many trainers should ISDs have?

We recommend an initial team of 2-4 people.  ISDs are encouraged to add trainers each year to keep the cohort at that level.  Trainers become unavailable for a variety of reasons (change of job, change of availability, retirement, move out of district, etc.).  Recruiting trainers each year helps ensure that trainers will be available.

Why is trainer preparation and certification such a long process?

Changing one’s own instructional practices takes time.  Being able to describe those new practices to others takes even longer.  The trainer development process offers trainer candidates the time and opportunity to reflect, practice, and engage in continuous learning with a peer group.

Course Trainer Institute FAQs

ISD Director Involvement is Critical

Administrators are essential to creating systems that support implementation or improvement efforts.

Participate in the Implementation Effort

The ISD Director of Special Education will be included in all components of the partnership.  For Foundations of Math, the ISD Director of Curriculum and Instruction will also be part of the partnership.

ISD directors attend all:

  • Partnership exploration meetings in their entirety.
  • ISD Implementation Team meetings.*
  • Training sessions.*

*If the director cannot attend, he/she/they designates someone else who is directly connected to the work who can approve resource-allocations, and set priorities for staff.

ISD directors dedicate staff time to:

  • Attend training sessions.
  • Lead the effort within the ISD.
  • Participate in implementation support activities, such as collaborative planning time, group coaching, etc.

Additional expectations:

  • Set a dedicated, standing meeting time for the ISD Implementation Team every 30-60 days.
  • Ensure allocation of financial resources to support and sustain the effort.
  • Establish the effort as a priority and champion the work.
  • Establish a partnership with a member district or ISD program in the same way the ISD is partnering with Alt+Shift.

Form the Implementation Team

ISD administration and/or designees will select team members.  See “Forming the Implementation Team” for more guidance.

Select member districts and/or ISD programs to receive training

The ISD identifies at least one partnering member district or program who will receive the training and engage in implementation. The ISD meets with this group in 30-60 day cycles to develop a collective action plan focused on utilizing systems that support sustainable implementation of evidence-based practices throughout the district or program. The team monitors progress toward the goals contained in that plan.

Forming the Implementation Team

The ISD implementation team will include

  • ISD stakeholders
  • Director of Special Education and/or Director of Curriculum and Instruction
  • Member district/ISD program personnel
  • An Alt+Shift specialist is part of the team through initial implementation

Ensure that all needed perspectives are represented on the implementation team.  This means involving those that are affected by or have an interest in the implementation effort.  Including these perspectives can

  • Lead to a more effective implementation effort
  • Improve community support and buy-in
  • Generate more ideas and possible solutions to problems as they arise
  • Build a better understanding of the context in which the effort is being implemented

The implementation team collaborates to create or utilize systems that strengthen partnership with member districts and ISD programs to sustainably implement evidence-based practices. Each member is an equal partner. 

Team members are expected to:

  • Participate in the full initial training.
  • Participate in all team meetings in their entirety.  Meetings may be in person or virtual.
  • Ensure that technology and/or classroom coverage is set up to support participation.
  • Respond to requests for feedback by the given date.
  • Contribute individual expertise to meetings.
  • Complete assigned tasks and action items by the given date.

Here are some examples of processes to use for analyzing and identifying stakeholders:

Checklist: Identifying and Analyzing Stakeholders and Their Interests

Stakeholder Perspective Template


Anticipating Change

During multi-year implementation efforts, educators often question “how they’re doing” or what to expect.

To help address that question, this document illustrates five phases of implementation based on what our partnerships sites have experienced. The stages come from “Moving from Talk to Action in Professional Learning,” a blog post from Instructional Coaching Group.

The graphics in this document are meant to depict how administrators, staff, students, and overall cultures and climates shift from stage to stage, while also moving forward and backward among them. The stages are not linear or sequential, and the examples provided are by no means exhaustive. Every implementation experience is unique.


Anticipating Change.pdf

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