Projects

Educator Equity

Background

The SECC will continue to provide technical assistance to the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) with implementation of its educator equity plan at both the state and local levels. SECC also will provide assistance with gathering stakeholder input via stakeholder groups and with the revision of MDE’s teacher recruitment and retention plan.

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

MDE and SECC staff met virtually to debrief on the July focus group meetings, to identify next steps, and to review a draft logic model for the ATISL work. The newly formed Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) recently formed a statewide OTL Solutions Group to obtain stakeholder feedback on OTL issues and requested that the Solution Group be used to obtain information on the assessment of teachers’ impact on student learning, instead of proceeding with additional focus group sessions. OTL will ensure that teachers of non-tested grades and subject areas will have adequate representation on the Solutions Group. To further the work, MDE will request ATISL steering committee members and designated teacher leaders to gather data and provide examples of teachers’ assessment of student learning and to submit such examples. The Mississippi National Board Certified and Teachers of the Year also will be invited to share exemplars of teachers’ assessment of student learning. SECC and MDE will analyze the results to share at the next ATISL Steering Committee meeting. To ensure alignment of this work with Mississippi’s current Professional Growth System (PGS), MDE and SECC will participate in a follow-up virtual meeting on September 5 to review current and future components of the PGS.

A virtual Mississippi Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy (T4TLA) back-to-school check-in meeting was conducted. The T4TLA districts provided updates, followed by a discussion regarding Year 6 planning and TA support needs. MDE and SECC continue to work with the T4TLA districts to complete the T4T Year 6 TA Planning Template. SECC also is working with MDE to coordinate a meeting of various TA providers to promote consistency of services, without overlap and duplication.

SECC is collaborating with the Center on Educational Equity (CEE) community of practice of effective teachers’ planning team to coordinate Mississippi’s participation in CEE’s October webinar. The CEE is interested in learning about the 2016 Mississippi Equity Lab work and has invited MDE to participate.

SECC supported the attendance of an MDE eight-person team, including two OTL members, at the Center on School Turnaround’s Four Domains Workshop. Future agency-wide efforts will focus around the four domains, namely Turnaround Leadership, Talent Development, Instructional Transformation, and Culture Shift. The focus on Talent Development is particularly pertinent to current and future work in which SECC is assisting the Office of Teaching and Learning. The MDE team developed next steps during the Four Domains meeting and later refined these steps during a team follow-up GoToMeeting. An implementation timeline for August–November 2017 was developed, with “persons responsible” and “needed resources” identified for each action step. The first face-to-face post-workshop team meeting is scheduled for September.

Additionally, SECC met with a twelve-person MDE team, including OTL staff, to initiate discussions for the Year 6 Work Plan. Three state priorities were identified by the Mississippi team: early childhood, educator quality/equity, and federal programs/ESSA. Challenges, needs, activities, expected district/school impact, and critical SEA staff were discussed for the state priorities. Follow-up work on the Year 6 Work Plan will continue through September 2017.

 

Previous Updates:

MDE and SECC staff met virtually to debrief on the July focus group meetings, to identify next steps, and to review a draft logic model for the ATISL work. The newly formed Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) recently formed a statewide OTL Solutions Group to obtain stakeholder feedback on OTL issues and requested that the Solution Group be used to obtain information on the assessment of teachers’ impact on student learning, instead of proceeding with additional focus group sessions. OTL will ensure that teachers of non-tested grades and subject areas will have adequate representation on the Solutions Group. To further the work, MDE will request ATISL steering committee members and designated teacher leaders to gather data and provide examples of teachers’ assessment of student learning and to submit such examples. The Mississippi National Board Certified and Teachers of the Year also will be invited to share exemplars of teachers’ assessment of student learning. SECC and MDE will analyze the results to share at the next ATISL Steering Committee meeting. To ensure alignment of this work with Mississippi’s current Professional Growth System (PGS), MDE and SECC will participate in a follow-up virtual meeting on September 5 to review current and future components of the PGS.

A virtual Mississippi Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy (T4TLA) back-to-school check-in meeting was conducted. The T4TLA districts provided updates, followed by a discussion regarding Year 6 planning and TA support needs. MDE and SECC continue to work with the T4TLA districts to complete the T4T Year 6 TA Planning Template. SECC also is working with MDE to coordinate a meeting of various TA providers to promote consistency of services, without overlap and duplication.

SECC is collaborating with the Center on Educational Equity (CEE) community of practice of effective teachers’ planning team to coordinate Mississippi’s participation in CEE’s October webinar. The CEE is interested in learning about the 2016 Mississippi Equity Lab work and has invited MDE to participate.

SECC supported the attendance of an MDE eight-person team, including two OTL members, at the Center on School Turnaround’s Four Domains Workshop. Future agency-wide efforts will focus around the four domains, namely Turnaround Leadership, Talent Development, Instructional Transformation, and Culture Shift. The focus on Talent Development is particularly pertinent to current and future work in which SECC is assisting the Office of Teaching and Learning. The MDE team developed next steps during the Four Domains meeting and later refined these steps during a team follow-up GoToMeeting. An implementation timeline for August–November 2017 was developed, with “persons responsible” and “needed resources” identified for each action step. The first face-to-face post-workshop team meeting is scheduled for September.

Additionally, SECC met with a twelve-person MDE team, including OTL staff, to initiate discussions for the Year 6 Work Plan. Three state priorities were identified by the Mississippi team: early childhood, educator quality/equity, and federal programs/ESSA. Challenges, needs, activities, expected district/school impact, and critical SEA staff were discussed for the state priorities. Follow-up work on the Year 6 Work Plan will continue through September 2017.

On July 11–12, Assessment of Teachers Impact on Student Learning (ATISL) focus groups were co-facilitated by SECC and Mississippi ATISL-trained teacher leaders. The purpose of the focus group sessions was to gather information from teachers and principals to inform the development of ATISL for teachers of non-tested grades and subject areas, a new component of the Mississippi Educator Professional Growth System (PGS). The July 11 two-hour separate teacher and principal focus group sessions were conducted in Jackson, Mississippi. The same schedule was followed on July 12 in Petal, Mississippi. The July 11–12 focus groups scheduled for Oxford and Greenville, respectively, were cancelled due to insufficient registration numbers. MDE and SECC currently are reviewing the focus group feedback from the four sessions (two teacher and two principal) that were conducted, to determine if the necessary information was received, and if there is an alternative way to collect the data that will garner more input from teachers of non-tested grades and subject areas. Both teacher and principal feedback are critical to MDE to ensure that teachers’ voices are infused throughout the 2017–2018 design and 2018–2019 implementation of the ATISL component of the PGS.

In preparation for the July 26 national Talent for Turnaround (T4T) regional comprehensive center (RCC) meeting, SECC updated Holmes County’s and Yazoo Municipal’s “snapshots” of progress to date, to help guide the school districts in moving the T4T work forward in their respective districts. Additionally, SECC completed a T4TLA RCC Lead Year 6 Planning Template to identify the districts’ Year 6 prioritized talent management challenges; the short-, medium-, and long-term outcomes of SECC TA support of the MDE and school district T4T teams; and the inputs and outputs, with timelines, required to achieve these outcomes. The RCC Year 6 planning template was shared with the Mississippi teams during the July 21 Mississippi T4T virtual meeting, with a request for MDE and district review and feedback on the template’s contents. A highpoint of the meeting was the identification of MDE T4TLA liaisons to each of the two T4T districts (Holmes County: Dr. Tarance Hart; Yazoo Municipal: Dr. Sonja Robertson). Subsequent to the July 21 meeting, as a result of the feedback received during the July 26 RCC leads meeting, the SECC Year 6 Mississippi TA template was revised and will be shared with the MDE and district teams for input.

One significant outcome of the Mississippi T4T work is that Holmes County developed an Educator Exit Survey, which was administered to all teachers at the end of the 2016–2017 academic year. Those educators who were planning not to return to the district were interviewed by the superintendent, who was able to address and resolve issues identified in the Educator Exit Survey. As a result of the interviews, four of the Holmes County teachers who intended not to return for the 2017–2018 school year, committed to return. Still another outcome of the Mississippi T4T work is the commitment of the MDE T4T contact person (Dr. Tarance Hart, director, Office of Educator Accountability) to participate in the August 2017 Center on School Turnaround’s School Improvement Conference, as a member of an MDE eight-person cross departmental team.

Staff from MDE and SECC conducted two (June 1 and June 15) virtual GoToMeetings (GTM) to continue planning for the June 16 Assessment of Teacher’s Impact on Student Learning (ATISL) steering committee meeting and the July focus group meetings. During the June 1 GTM, the content of the steering committee meeting was finalized, with extended discussions of the steering committee’s involvement in the ATISL process, as well as steering committee meeting logistics, participant materials, and resulting timeline. The July 2017 regional focus groups also were discussed—location, staffing, dates, participant recruitment, and protocols. During the June 15 GTM, MDE and SECC reviewed the June 16 steering committee meeting agenda, logistics, and the facilitation of the table groups. The facilitation process was explained in detail, as both MDE staff and SECC staff were to serve as table facilitators to obtain and record participate feedback on the teacher and principal focus group protocols. On June 16, MDE and SECC co-facilitated the 30-member steering committee meeting, consisting of teachers, principals, district administrators, institutions of higher learning (IHL) representatives, and teacher advocacy organizations. Topics covered during the meeting included steering committee goals, scope, roles and responsibilities; teacher leaders’ roles and responsibilities; and teacher and principal focus group protocols. MDE and SECC staff recorded and compiled steering committee feedback on the teacher and principal focus group protocol documents.

Following the meeting, SECC compiled the feedback from the various table groups and presented the information to MDE for a final consensus for use in the July regional focus group meetings. The revised protocol documents will be used to gather information from teachers and principals to inform the development of the assessment of teacher’s impact on student learning (ATISL) for teachers of non-tested grades and subject areas, a new component of the Mississippi Educator Professional Growth System. SECC staff also conducted teacher leader virtual trainings on June 26 for those teachers interested in assisting MDE in the further development and roll-out of the ATSL process. The MDE intends to engage teacher leaders over time to help inform, refine, and co-lead sessions on this new ATISL component, thereby ensuring that teachers’ voices are infused throughout the design and implementation process.

Additionally, SECC staff reviewed Mississippi’s combined Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy (T4TLA) action plan and excerpted content to compose two separate action plans for the Holmes County School District and the Yazoo City Municipal School District. Furthermore, in an effort to inform the T4TLA network’s next steps and to summarize Mississippi’s progress SECC compiled information to provide a high level “snapshot” of progress to date, namely challenge, root cause, strategy selected, implementation status, team’s next steps, and supports/resources needed to move implementation forward. The district action plans will help guide the school districts in moving the T4T work forward in their respective districts, namely in developing strategic communications plans to support turnaround and talent management, enhancing current data systems, and reviewing and implementing districtwide equity policies.

The Mississippi Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy (T4TLA) team participated in the T4TLA National Meeting 2 on May 11–12. The Mississippi team had a total of five participants form the Mississippi Department of Education (two), Holmes County School District (two), and Yazoo City Municipal School District (one). The team participated in the following sessions: team check-in poster session/museum tour, four domains of rapid improvement, bold talent management benchmarks, concurrent breakouts, and team action planning. SECC staff members Tammie Causey-Konate´, Deanna Hill, and Debra Meibaum provided on-site technical assistance and support to the Mississippi team.

Hosts of the T4TLA National Meeting 2 were the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center), Center on School Turnaround (CST), Northeast Comprehensive Center (NCC), and West Comprehensive Center (WCC). Meeting objectives were as follows: (a) inform and learn from colleagues from other states and districts about work being done to identify and address talent management challenges in high-need schools, (b) learn about and apply knowledge of developing the educator workforce needed for turning around our highest need schools, (c) use boldness benchmarks to assess and strengthen plans, and (d) develop and share action plans that incorporate monitoring benchmarks and relevant new information that will guide future work. During the T4TLA meeting, MDE posted two documents, Action Plan and Step 3 Addressing the Challenge. Two documents also were posted for Yazoo City School District, namely an action plan and monitoring plan. Next steps are to continue development and implementation of the Georgia and Mississippi T4TLA action plans.

Additionally, MDE and SECC staff met virtually May 8 to continue working on the development and rollout of a new component of the Mississippi Educator Professional Growth System, the Assessment of Teachers' Impact on Student Learning (ATISL), for teachers of non-tested grades and subject areas. During the meeting, the team reviewed and provided feedback on draft ATISL documents for MDE's June 16 steering committee meeting. Team members provided updates on materials development, participant selection and recruitment, and meeting logistics. Next steps to continue to move the work forward were identified and assigned to both MDE and SECC staff. Refinement of the ATISL steering committee documents were a major team focus during May, and documents were revised and reviewed. On May 18, SECC staff met with MDE's director of Educator Accountability to review his feedback on the documents. Proposed revisions were discussed and will be incorporated into the documents.

MDE and SECC staff participated in a follow-up April 12 GoToMeeting (GTM) #4 to continue discussions of Mississippi’s plan to develop and implement its statewide assessment of teachers’ impact on student learning (ATISL). The team discussed various facets of upcoming ATISL technical assistance, including the ATISL steering committee and regional focus groups meetings. June 16 was identified by MDE as the best date for the steering committee meeting, with July as the preferred month for the regional focus groups meetings. MDE provided initial feedback on a draft steering committee roles and responsibilities document that SECC shared during the GTM. Steering committee membership, maximum/minimum size, use of teacher leaders, and a meeting time frame were discussed. SECC agreed to send an updated electronic version of the roles and responsibilities document, incorporating recommended revisions, to MDE staff for review. MDE requested a similar roles and responsibilities document for teacher leaders. As next steps, MDE will work on a system for scheduling the regional focus groups meetings. SECC will craft a goals and responsibilities document for teacher leaders and a draft agenda for the steering committee meeting. SECC also will identify potential dates for the next MDE/SECC GTM (#5) and share with MDE for input.

In continuation of the Mississippi regional T4TLA initiative, SECC assisted Holmes County on its district T4TLA action plan. Also, in preparation for Mississippi’s participation in the May 11–12, second national T4TLA meeting, SECC worked with MDE and its two participating school districts, Holmes County and Yazoo City, to register and make travel logistics for the Scottsdale, Arizona, trip. Additionally, MDE and SECC collaborated in developing the content for Mississippi’s poster presentation as part of the “Breaking News” poster session at the upcoming national meeting. Next steps include participation of the Mississippi team at the second T4TLA national meeting and continued work on the participating districts’ action plans.

MDE staff verbally confirmed that its chief academic officer has approved the proposed revisions to the Year 5 Educator Equity Project Work Plan and agreed to email SECC written confirmation of the approval.

MDE and SECC staff participated in follow-up March 9 (#2) and March 29 (#3) GoToMeeting (GTM) sessions to continue discussions of Mississippi’s plan to implement statewide assessment of teachers’ impact on student learning (formerly known as student learning objectives). MDE requested technical assistance (TA) from SECC with conducting needs assessment of school readiness for data driven instruction and the assessment of teachers’ impact on student learning as well as with facilitation of regional focus groups to collect successful school protocols and processes. MDE tentatively identified early June for the initial steering committee meeting, and late June-July for the regional focus group meetings. The Year 5 Educator Equity Project Work Plan was revised to reflect this request. As next steps, MDE will review the proposed revisions with its chief academic officer and provide feedback to SECC by April 10. MDE also will initiate a process to identify steering committee and focus group participants. The next GTM session #4 is scheduled April 12.

In continuation of the Mississippi regional T4TLA initiative, SECC met March 30 with the MDE and representatives from the two participating school districts, Holmes County and Yazoo City. The meeting began with thoughtful reflections on developing systems that attract, retain, and support the talent necessary to accomplish the work. Following the reflective discussions, updates on the T4TLA work that had been achieved since the January 2017 meeting were provided by MDE, Holmes County, and Yazoo City School Districts. MDE provided an interactive discussion on MDE’s data systems and its relationship to the T4TLA work. December 2016–March 2017 T4TLA milestones were reviewed, followed by a discussion of talent challenges, including teaching conditions. Participants identified a key priority for future T4TLA work and began work on completing their team action plan templates, as groundwork for the upcoming national T4TLA meeting. Next steps include MDE and the two districts continuing work on their T4TLA action plans in preparation for the second national T4TLA meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 11–12. Upon receipt from the national T4TLA committee, SECC will share pre-work assignments with the team.

MDE and SECC staff participated in a February 9, GoToMeeting session to discuss Mississippi’s plan to implement student learning objectives (SLOs). The group explored a 2018–2019 timeline, incorporation of an SLO task force/stakeholder group, and areas of additional focus. As next steps, SECC will outline a concrete Mississippi SLO implementation path, building on the GTL Center’s SLO Implementation Path, and will email it to MDE by February 28. SECC also will share an SLO business rules document with MDE by February 28. An SLO follow-up GTM session is scheduled for March 9 for MDE and SECC staff.

SECC followed up on the MDE December 2016 request for technical assistance with its educator equity stakeholder engagement work group. On January 5, SECC and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center ) collaborated with the MDE’s director of Educator Accountability in the facilitation of the stakeholder group. The purpose of the work group was to obtain stakeholder input on developing the Supporting Excellent Educators component of Mississippi’s consolidated state plan. The majority of the meeting was devoted to exploring options to assist with Mississippi’s definition of an ineffective teacher. Content from AIR’s Teacher Effectiveness in the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Discussion Guide provided the basis of the work group discussions. As per MDE’s request during the post-meeting debriefing, SECC shared the U.S. Department of Education’s December 8, 2016, PowerPoint, Overview of Final Regulations: Accountability, Data Reporting, and State Plans, and GTL Center provided a copy of the session’s PPT.

 

In preparation for the Mississippi regional T4TLA meeting, SECC collaborated with the GTL Center to develop the work session and to prepare graphic visualizations for data currently available from the two participating school districts, Holmes County and Yazoo City. On January 20, the Mississippi T4TLA SEA and LEA teams met with SECC and the GTL Center for a full-day work session. To set the stage, refresher activities for the December 2015 T4TLA national meeting were provided. In Part 1 of the work session, the SEA and district teams participated in small group work in analyzing talent management data and subsequently identified and prioritized their key challenges. Teams identified key talent management policy questions, reviewed supporting data, and analyzed the data to identify strengths and challenges. Part 2 of the work session was focused on understanding the challenges. The team identified and prioritized perceived causes/reasons for the key talent challenges using the “5 Whys” approach. Next steps include an MDE face-to-face meeting in February to address data needs and a second SECC regional meeting to maintain the momentum in moving the T4TLA work forward.

On January 23, SECC, GTL Center, and MDE initiated collaboration on future support with student learning objectives. Follow-up conference calls are scheduled for February 9 and 21. Additionally, various ESSA resource information was shared with the director of Educator Accountability, including the schedule for the U.S. Department of Education’s ESSA webinar series, Center on Standards and Assessment (CSAI) ESSA resources, and information on evidence-based interventions from the School Turnaround Learning Community for developing and providing guidance to Mississippi’s schools and districts.

On December 1–2, the GTL Center, the Center on School Turnaround, and the Northeast and West Comprehensive Centers hosted the national meeting of the first cohort of the Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy. T4TLA district teams from Holmes County and Yazoo City in Mississippi were part of Cohort 1. The goal of the T4TLA meeting was to build a shared understanding of how coherent and aligned systems of talent management can be leveraged to attract, support, and retain excellent educators in the highest need and lowest performing schools. T4TLA meeting activities were focused on identifying, understanding, and addressing challenges related to talent management. A follow-up debriefing for the Mississippi team was conducted December 9. During the meeting, the T4TLA national meeting was debriefed (impressions, needs, and aspirations), ideas for continued professional learning were discussed, updates on data requests and data collection plans were shared, and SEA and LEA priorities were shared. Next steps include a face-to-face meeting for the entire Mississippi team (SEA and district teams) in January 2017. Additionally, MDE requested SECC assistance in developing the agenda for its January 5 ESSA work group meeting to obtain stakeholder input on developing the Supporting Excellent Educators component of the consolidated state plan. MDE and SECC participated in a December 16 GoToMeeting session to develop the agenda for the work group meeting, with a critical portion of the meeting devoted to defining an ineffective teacher. SECC shared a copy of AIR’s Teacher Effectiveness in the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Discussion Guide with MDE’s educator quality director. At the director’s request, SECC followed up with the guide’s author to identify the feasibility of his attending the January 5 work group meeting.

In support of MDE’s November 7 Mississippi Equity Institute, SECC worked with MDE to develop an interactive Gallery Walk plenary session focusing on teacher retention. Gallery Walk topics were identified as was the process to be followed. Additionally, SECC conducted a session on Teaching Conditions with the priority schools of the Mississippi Delta region at the Mississippi Equity Institute. SECC also worked intensively (via virtual meetings, conference calls, and emails) with MDE to prepare for the upcoming December 1–2 national meeting, T4TLA. Mississippi’s state team was identified as were the two participating district teams. Members of the T4TLA Mississippi team attended the November 1 T4TLA kick-off webinar to receive updates and foundational information about the national meeting, pre-meeting resources and expectations, and related modes of communication.

 

A virtual November 11 T4TLA Mississippi Team Orientation Meeting provided an overview of the upcoming talent for turnaround national meeting, anticipated outcomes, and related pre-meeting expectations. SECC and MDE staff met virtually on November 21 to discuss the content of the data templates submitted by the state and one of the school districts. During the meeting, a strategy for MDE support of the districts in acquiring additional data needed for the meeting was discussed. On November 29, a follow-up virtual team planning meeting was conducted to discuss the status of pre-meeting requirements and to finalize key logistical information regarding the posting of pre-meeting data templates, strategic plans, and equity plans.

On October 5, SECC participated in a virtual meeting with MDE and the GTL Center regarding an equity institute MDE is planning for administrators in the Mississippi Delta region at Mississippi Valley State University. The session will focus on research on eight conditions leaders can influence to foster the cultivation of strong leaders who will strive to achieve equity as well as related easy-to-use tools and resources. Draft session ideas will be shared with MDE for review and feedback prior to finalization. Subsequent to the October 5 meeting, GTL Center staff identified the session presenter, and MDE selected November 7 as the date for the equity institute. MDE and the presenter communicated regarding logistics. A follow-up conference call between SECC and the presenter occurred October 28. Additionally, Mississippi was selected to participate in the T4T Leadership Academy, which will allow Mississippi to collaborate to design and implement innovative talent management strategies to attract, support, and retain excellent educators in its highest need, lowest performing schools. SECC notified MDE of the SECC staff member who will be supporting the department in the T4TLA work. Furthermore, SECC shared with MDE the new GTL Center resource, Defining Ineffective Teacher Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): A Discussion Guide.