The Lansing iCollaborate Project is a research-based cutting edge approach to improving instructional practices. It is a district-wide classroom observation protocol that gives teachers and principals instructional process language and data with which to drive their professional learning discussions and plans.

School-level Leadership Teams analyze their iCollaborate school, grade/subject data and develop “action plans” to address areas of need and guide instruction. These goals are incorporated into school improvement plans, and drive professional learning. Teachers reflect upon their own individual data and identify areas of strength and focus.

This initiative has significantly changed the discourse around instruction and has given our district a laser-like focus on instructional practices (the “how”), provided a point of reference for addressing district-wide curriculum Pacing Guides (the “what”), and created an impetus for interim assessments ensuring a comprehensive alignment between instruction and student performance outcomes.  Teachers are now talking about their own instructional practices and how they impact student engagement and achievement.

Program Goals

  • Develop district-wide coherence and a culture of collaboration and mutual respect.
  • Provide an opportunity for teachers to reflect on their own instructional practices and develop “action plans” to address their identified areas of strength and need.
  • Identify a shared language with which teachers can communicate clearly about instructional practices.
  • Focus professional learning on the gaps identified in instructional processes.
  • Use instructional process data to make the connection with student performance.

Project Leader

Liesel Carlson


Using the EduSnap* in grades PreK – 3 as the classroom observation instrument, trained data coaches gather information about the students’ experience in the classroom and organize the percentage of “time spent” in 25 variables that describe activity settings, content areas, teaching, and learning approaches.

*Snapsht: Ritchie, S., Weiser, B., Mason, E., & Holland, A. (2015). EduSnap. Durham, North Carolina.


The CLASS* instrument is used in grades PreK – 12 and looks at the relationship between the teacher and student, and the instructional environment created by the teacher.  Each classroom is quantified on a 7 point scaled rubric for classroom quality in three domains: Emotional Support, Classroom Organization, Instructional Support, and includes Student Engagement. Each domain is comprised of dimensions such as positive climate, regard for student perspective, behavior management, productivity, and higher level thinking.

*CLASS:  Pianta, R., Hamre, B., LaPar,K. (2008). University of Virginia.

External LinkDistrict of Distinction Recognition