Implementation Science in Iowa

Project State(s)

Project lead: Marie Husby-Slater (

Like many states, Iowa is facing shrinking resources and increasing demands on the state education agency. However, as the Iowa Department of Education (IDE) begins to implement its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan, staff have an opportunity to modify their approach for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

To take advantage of the opportunity, the IDE Division of Learning and Results is focusing on building staff capacity to use implementation science—a research-based framework that aims to improve policy implementation. In 2017–18, the Midwest Comprehensive Center (MWCC) facilitated trainings and developed resources on implementation science for the division. This year, MWCC is deepening this work and is offering intensive support to select IDE projects that are positioned to take advantage of implementation science approaches in their work.

What Are We Doing?
  • Providing facilitation, thought partnership, and access to tools and resources to help select project teams deepen their use of implementation science
  • Sharing effective practices through Division of Learning and Results quarterly trainings
  • Facilitating communication and knowledge management for the benefit of all projects within the division
Expected Outcomes
  • IDE staff members report that projects throughout the division begin to or further use implementation science as an approach to their work. Projects new to implementation science create a formal approach, and projects already using implementation science refine their approach.
  • IDE staff members report that peer learning and resource sharing create an improved sense of common understanding around implementation science.
  • IDE staff members report that increased use of implementation science practices is leading to efficiency and fidelity in IDE project implementation.
  • ESSA
  • State capacity and productivity