Projects

Alabama Educator Effectiveness

Background

The SECC staff will support SEA staff with tools and resources for developing and implementing student growth goals (SGGs).

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

During the Year 6 Work Plan meeting on August 24 with the ALSDE leadership team, the SEA decided to close the Educator Effectiveness project. SEA staff discussed the state's priorities with SECC, and determined that it would need to focus on English learners, developing a framework for a new office of professional development, and school turnaround efforts.

 

Previous Updates:

During the Year 6 Work Plan meeting on August 24 with the ALSDE leadership team, the SEA decided to close the Educator Effectiveness project. SEA staff discussed the state's priorities with SECC, and determined that it would need to focus on English learners, developing a framework for a new office of professional development, and school turnaround efforts.

During the Year 6 Work Plan meeting with the ALSDE leadership team, they decided to close the Educator Effectiveness project. The leadership team discussed the state’s priorities with SECC and determined that ALSDE would need to focus on English learners, developing a framework for a new office of professional development, and school turnaround efforts.

On July 25, the SECC educator effectiveness team met to discuss Alabama’s new state strategic plan for education, Alabama Ascending. In particular, they were interested in learning state goals for teacher effectiveness and preparation so they could consider how SECC could provide support on making impact in this area. The SECC team will be reviewing the state’s draft Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan which was recently posted for public comment, and they plan to meet again on August 14 to share insights.

During the current school year, 2016–2017, there have been significant staff changes in the educator effectiveness section as well as in executive leadership. While our momentum for the educator effectiveness project has stalled, we have maintained a relationship with the state coordinator of educator effectiveness and will continue to serve as thought partners to him and his colleagues as they navigate the leadership and policy changes that develop from these shifts.

On May 23–24 at the SECC annual Advisory Board Meeting in New Orleans, the SECC Alabama State Liaison Heidi Goertzen met with three new board members, including the new state deputy superintendent. During this meeting, the liaison provided board members with an overview of the state's Educator Effectiveness project as well as two other state projects. One board member, a high school principal, noted that he was interested in learning more about how SECC supports the agency with projects, and in particular, educator effectiveness. He was interested in receiving more communication about the work.

SECC continued to work with ALSDE staff to schedule a planning meeting to determine next steps for technical assistance support on the development and implementation of student growth goals at the local education agency (LEA) level. A meeting date is to be determined.

On March 24, Heidi Goertzen, SECC Alabama state liaison, met with staff from the Educator Effectiveness Office via conference call to discuss next steps for the student growth goals (SGGs) project. The state team is prepared to move forward with its educator evaluation initiative following a state memorandum sent to district superintendents in mid-March. The memo outlines state requirements and flexibility surrounding the state's teacher evaluation system. Districts will have three options to meet the third pillar of the system, impact on engagement and learning. One of those options is to develop and implement SGGs as a measure of teacher effectiveness. As such, the state has requested continued SECC support in this area. ALSDE met internally on March 30 to discuss its next steps and timeline and will follow up with scheduling a meeting with the SECC project team in April.

Currently, the Educator Effectiveness Office at ALSDE is waiting on executive approval to move forward with the student growth goals work as part of the state's third pillar of teacher evaluation.

The SECC student growth goals project team reached out to the ALSDE educator effectiveness team on January 18 to schedule a planning meeting for their next steps. Currently, the Educator Effectiveness Office is waiting on executive approval to move forward with the student growth goals work as part of the state's third pillar of teacher evaluation.

To follow up regarding the November 29–30 face-to-face meeting with the ALSDE Educator Effectiveness team in Birmingham, SECC staff shared various resources and materials to support ALSDE as it continues to build its final pillar of the state teacher evaluation framework. First, we offered to help the department brainstorm how to integrate teacher engagement with scoring SGGs. SECC also provided resources with content to support the state with writing the guidance manual for SGGs. Lastly, to support ALSDE staff’s conversations with leadership around the SGGs, SECC sent a report containing testimonials and quotes made by principals and teachers regarding benefits of the data analysis process. They also sent a link to an overview of SLO research titled, “The Art and Science of Student Learning Objectives: A Research Synthesis,” published by American Institutes for Research (AIR). Next steps include forwarding content on selecting among multiple measures, approaches to embedding instructional strategies into SLOs, and a state-level professional learning plan.

On November 16, the SECC and ALSDE educator effectiveness project staff met via GoToMeeting to discuss the state’s response to its review of the student learning objectives (SLO) materials that SECC shared on October 26. The team also discussed the state’s vision for rolling out the SLO work to pilot districts in the spring and finalized plans for the on-site meeting on November 2–30 in Birmingham. At this meeting, the project team spent the morning of the first day reviewing the state’s two pillars of the teacher evaluation model to help provide context and background for the third pillar, Impact on Engagement and Learning, in which SLOs will be integrated. ALSDE staff then provided an overview of the department’s concept for how pillar three would function. From there, SECC staff discussed the SLO evaluation cycle and approaches to SLO development and scoring. On Day 2, SECC shared sample decision-making manuals with the state to use as models in developing its own guidebook for districts. Last, SECC staff walked ALSDE staff through a decision-making chart, highlighting possible pathways and noting areas where the state showed interest. Next steps are to share research and literature on SLOs with ALSDE so it can make a case for implementing them to newly appointed executive leadership. The department also will be planning the design of a guidance and decision-making manual for supporting pilot districts during training and implementation. SECC staff will share the meeting notes with department staff members.

SECC staff met internally on October 5 to plan and prepare for an upcoming meeting on October 26 with the educator effectiveness project lead at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) to discuss the implementation of student growth goals (SGGs). Two new SECC and state education agency (SEA) staff members joined the educator effectiveness Year 5 project team and participated in the October 26 meeting. During this meeting, the state project lead provided background and context for the new SECC members. To support planning for November training of ALSDE staff on SGGs, SECC staff forwarded a suite of potential resources for use during the training and guiding questions to the SEA probing how the resources reflect the state’s vision for SGG statewide implementation, including its overall goals for teachers and students, training framework, theory of action, etc. ALSDE staff spent the day reviewing the student learning objectives (SLO) resources and responding to the guiding questions. The meeting resumed later that afternoon via conference call to discuss the state’s responses to the guiding questions and next steps. ALSDE staff needed more time to review the resources and have conversations about the direction the department wants to go with SGGs and teacher evaluation. The project team will meet again via conference call on November 16 once the SEA’s new staff members have had a chance to internalize the SLO process and are better positioned to make key decisions. The team will meet face-to-face on November 29–30 in Birmingham to plan for 2017.