EIC Year 1 Reflections

It is approximately 9:00 am on a hot June 30th morning, and a room in Raleigh, NC, is full of chatter and laughter. The EIC NIRN team, in matching Implementation Specialist at Work t-shirts, has gathered with one goal in mind – to use learnings from this year to inform the upcoming year of support for the EIC Project. For many of us, it is the first time we meet team members in person, and the noise level to start the day encompasses the excitement filling the room.

 It is hard to believe that we started the EIC Phase 2 journey just 9 months ago. During this time, we hosted 4 provider-only and cohort-wide sessions, 4 deep-dive sessions, and supported the collection of data from various sources and multiple informants. With the EIC NIRN Team growing, implementation science and learning becoming more widely applied throughout the project, we have hit our stride with the implementation of high-quality middle grades math curricula. As the EIC NIRN team settles into the first day of the retreat, we share collective gratitude for the incredible work that has been put in the first year of the EIC grant and our mutual drive for implementation work.

 Day 1 was all about the data! To start, the EIC NIRN team divided into groups to ground themselves in the project’s theory of action and learning questions. The team then moved into the day’s primary activity: digging into the data to prepare for sharing with the cohort and creating an EIC cohort-wide story. Prior to the retreat, the EIC data team provided the team with a Year 1 data packet that included all the measures and collected cohort-wide data up to this point. In groups, the NIRNians utilized a structured protocol to review each measure and its corresponding output to synthesize what the data was telling us. The groups then zoomed out their focus to create a cohesive story that tells the full picture of the EIC Cohort. Day 1 ended with recapping the learning of the day and setting the tone for day 2–planning!

 Entering Day 2, the EIC NIRN Team was just as excited (even though matching shirts were not worn!) to plan together to provide a structure for the upcoming year of support. Day 2 started with the TA and Data Team planning separately and re coming back together at various points to check for cohesion. During this time, the data team discussed what worked and what did not work for data collection and analyses for Y1 and proposed a Y2 data-collection schedule for the TA team to consider. On the other side of the room, the TA team was knee-deep in sticky notes as they brainstormed topics for Y2 support sessions, created a draft differentiated service delivery plan, and intentionally paired communication to the cadence of the year.

 Each side of this learning was shared and mapped onto wall-size calendars around the room. We asked each other what was making sense for the year – what feels out of place – does this make sense here- what if we….? We challenged each other’s thinking and pushed ourselves to zoom in and out on the deliverables of the project and combine this with the reality of implementation in each unique LEA in this project.

 Walking out of work session day 2, the excitement that permeated the retreat’s beginning had maintained its momentum and even grown throughout the two days. The EIC NIRN Team is geared up and ready to get to work utilizing the amazing learnings that have stemmed from year one of the EIC grant to continue to fine-tune our support of the implementation of the high-quality math curricula.

 To our Providers, LEA Partners, and funder – we can’t thank you enough for your contributions to drive forward with this implementation investment. We appreciate your hard work and willingness to include us in your work to make this project happen. The EIC NIRN Team will continue to be here to support you every step of the way.

Effective Implementation Cohort