U.S. Department of Education: The Power of the Process: Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Monday February 8, 2021
3:00 - 4:00 PM
Keynote Theater

Many states and districts have considered developing a singular comprehensive needs assessment process that can address all their federal program needs assessment requirements, thereby replacing multiple assessments they may use currently to meet these requirements. Developing a singular needs assessment process takes considerable planning and communication effort, which may be why few states and districts have developed and implemented such a process. In this presentation, we will review federal needs assessment requirements, discuss examples from states of practices to adopt and pitfalls to avoid available to those interested in this strategy, and provide resources to assist in putting this strategy into practice.

Cary Cuiccio

Cary Cuiccio is a Senior Director at American Institutes for Research, with over 20 years of experience negotiating the implementation of improvement reforms in large urban school districts and state systems, coaching and coordinating technical assistance, and facilitating systems change. In her career at AIR she has developed and guided an innovative, research-based approach to stakeholder engagement in data-driven decision-making, called co-interpretationsm. This approach has been utilized successfully for over ten years on federal, state and local projects to build capacity for collaborative, contributor-informed data analysis, and build local stakeholder engagement in both implementing and learning from key initiatives and education systems change. Cuiccio was the Needs Assessment task lead and a member of the leadership team on the federally funded State Support Network, through which she leveraged her considerable needs assessment expertise to support states and districts as they planned to meet the need assessment requirements under ESSA. In this role Cuiccio co-authored the Needs Assessment Guidebook, a technical assistance tool for states and districts produced by the State Support Network and led the production of a related series of podcasts. Prior to joining the State Support Network team, Cuiccio designed and led the New York City School Renewal Assessments - mixed-methods needs assessments for the 95 lowest-performing schools in New York City. Cuiccio also oversaw the implementation of 3 large-scale needs assessments conducted under the auspices of the Illinois Center for School Improvement: Individual District Needs Assessments for the 26 lowest-performing districts in Illinois; a Network Needs Assessment for the Chicago Public Schools; and an Intentional Data Review and Root Cause Analysis process for 77 individual Illinois districts designated for Focus services based on the performance of subgroup students. Currently, Cuiccio is the Partnership Lead for the Regional Education Laboratory Southwest, where she oversees the work of Partnership Liaisons across six research-practice partnerships in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. Previously, Cuiccio worked in New York City with the New York City Department of Education on implementing the Comprehensive School Reform Program and changes to Title I brought by the No Child Left Behind legislation. Cuiccio earned her bachelor’s degree with distinction from Carleton College and a Master of Science in Organization Development from American University.