Strategy Evaluation & Learning

The Strategy, Evaluation & Learning team partners with clients to generate actionable information that helps them do their most important work better. The team is committed to culturally responsive evaluation practice, and focuses on four areas of work:

  • Transparent, well-designed, high quality, culturally responsive, credible program evaluation and data services rooted in partnership and relationships
  • Training, coaching and facilitation to enable clients to take data-informed action
  • Facilitation and support of strategic planning and continuous improvement efforts that promote racial equity
  • Dissemination of learning, evaluation, and data results, particularly for practices that promote racial equity

For more information please contact: Sarita Siqueiros Thornburg

Service Offerings

Conduct implementation studies of programs and initiatives

We work with school districts and Educational Service Districts; state, county, and city agencies; foundations; and community-based organizations to evaluate a wide range of programs and initiatives. Recent projects include:

  • Annual local program evaluations of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program grants for out-of-school time learning programs
  • Program evaluation of Schools to Career Plus Initiative for county Workforce Development Council
  • Statewide study of High School and Beyond Planning with statewide agency
  • Program evaluation of special education use of paraeducators as 1:1 aides

21st Century Community Learning Centers Program

The AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Center conducted a state-funded evaluation of out-of-school time learning programs operated by several Educational Services Districts, CBOs, local and government agencies.

Schools to Career Plus Initiative with county Workforce Development Council

The AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Center conducted a program evaluation in partnership with a local Workforce Development Council and school districts to increase career awareness among high school students through a variety of activities, experiences, and on-line tools.

Study of High School and Beyond Planning with statewide education agency

The AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Center worked with a statewide education agency to learn how school districts are using the High School and Beyond Planning tools to support students in post-secondary planning.  The purpose of this study was to:

  • Learn how districts and schools are implementing High School and Beyond Planning tools
  • Understand how High School and Beyond planning tools assist in helping students prepare for graduation and achieve post-secondary goals
  • Identify supports districts and schools need to successfully implement the High School and Beyond Planning tools

Program evaluation of special education use of paraeducators as 1:1 aides in local school district

The AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Center worked with a local school district to conduct a program evaluation that included a literature review of best practices, focus groups with stakeholders, a district-wide survey, and classroom observations to understand the impacts of using paraeducators as 1:1 aides in special education.

Evaluate the effectiveness and influence of professional development

We develop and implement processes and structures to evaluate how professional development impacts educator practice.  We are partnering with Kauffmann and Associates to evaluate OSPI/AESD Network Professional Learning to understand the changes in school staff or early learning educator practice and student performance indicators for the nine Educational Service Districts (ESDs) serving Washington State.

Assess systems change

We work with clients to support system change, by evaluating strengths, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. Example projects include:

  • Evaluation of the implementation of PSESD’s Racial Equity Policy
  • Shared services pilot study with statewide agency.

Implementation of PSESD’s Racial Equity Policy

The AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation and Learning Center is currently supporting the implementation of PSESD’s racial equity policy to realize our agency END to ensure success for each child and eliminate the opportunity gap, and our goal to become an antiracist multicultural organization.

Shared services pilot study with the Department of Early Learning

The AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation and Learning Center led the evaluation of this short-cycle pilot inform the development of statewide comprehensive shared services in early learning. The study had a mixed methods design and increased understanding of the following areas:

  • Provider priorities for comprehensive services statewide
  • The factors that impact successful collaborative implementation of shared services in different settings
  • How the AESD Network and Child Care Aware can be more coordinated and responsive to statewide and local needs

Build capacity for data use

We provide training and workshops to clients across the education sector to build capacity to use data to inform and improve. We have provided workshops for:

  • School and district teams interested in unpacking racial disproportionality in their discipline data
  • State agency staff wanting to have more intentional data-focused conversations with their local partners
  • City government staff and partners interested in applying a racial equity lens to the use of accountability data
  • General data coaching workshops for school and district teams

Develop performance measurement systems and strategy support

We work with clients internally and externally to connect strategy and evaluation, where learning informs action. Example projects include:

  • Process facilitation to develop an Agency-wide theory of change and associated progress measures for PSESD
  • Developmental evaluation of the PSESD Early Learning Program’s implementation of a new organizational design
  • Case studies for a private foundation to illustrate regional work on the Student Success Link (a district-CBO data collaboration), Early Warning Indicator system work in a local high school, and secondary success and college readiness work in a local district

Agency-wide theory of change and associated progress measures for PSESD

In 2017-18, the AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Center is leading a process with our PSESD colleagues to articulate how our individual and collective work move our region closer to our END: Success for Each Child and Eliminate the Opportunity Gap by Leading with Racial Equity. We are developing our collective theories of change and measures of progress toward our END.

Each department, division, or program is spending articulating their theory of change and the measures that will help them know they are making progress toward our END.  The goal of this effort is to have an Agency-wide Theory of Change and a prioritized set of progress measures that:

  • Adequately reflect our END and PSESD’s commitment to racial equity
  • Understand and hold the agency accountable for structural changes that lead to student outcomes
  • More closely align agency performance measures with the actions of PSESD staff
  • Contribute to an asset-based view of our students, families, and communities
  • Align with agency partners’ measures of progress to ensure maximum cross-agency impact

Developmental evaluation of the PSESD Early Learning Program’s implementation of a new organizational design

The AESD/PSESD Strategy, Evaluation, and Learning Team began a developmental evaluation of the implementation of a new organizational design for the PSESD Early Learning Program in September 2017.  The purpose of this developmental evaluation is to:

  • Learn from and document the implementation of the new Early Learning design as it unfolds
  • Improve ongoing implementation by providing information that can be used for planning, strategy, and continued development of the design

Team Members

Sarita Siqueiros Thornburg Executive Director Strategy, Evaluation & Learning

Sarita Siqueiros Thornburg
Executive Director Strategy, Evaluation & Learning

Bruce Cunningham, PhD Research and Evaluation Director

Bruce Cunningham, PhD
Research and Evaluation Director

Nathalie Jones Educational Equity and Evaluation Consultant

Nathalie Jones
Educational Equity and Evaluation Consultant

 Hilary Loeb, PhD Director of Strategy, Evaluation and Learning

Hilary Loeb, PhD
Director of Strategy, Evaluation and Learning

 Cassandra O’Francia Program Specialist

Cassandra O’Francia
Program Specialist

Paméla Raya-Carlton, EdD Project Manager

Paméla Raya-Carlton, EdD
Project Manager

 Stephanie Van Alstyne Evaluation Manager

Stephanie Van Alstyne
Evaluation Manager