English Learners


The SECC will continue to provide TA in expanding state support to school districts in the area of ELs. SECC will assist Mississippi EL personnel and other key MDE staff in building the state’s internal capacity to (a) Implement Title I and Title III EL requirements; and (b) facilitate the state’s provision of evidenced-based support to schools and districts serving EL students. The SECC will provide TA to broker relationships with other SEAs for the development of training, instructional support, and the above referenced capacity building.

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

English learner (EL) guidelines will be updated to include new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title III and Title I requirements as well as the EL standards implementation plans. As of September 30, EL standards are under review.


Previous Updates:

English learner (EL) guidelines will be updated to include new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title III and Title I requirements as well as the EL standards implementation plans. As of September 30, EL standards are under review.

At the Year 6 planning meeting, MDE requested support in the area of English learners (ELs) with a focus on teacher quality and preparation. For this Year 6 Educator Quality project, SECC will provide technical assistance to develop resources and strategies that address the needs of newcomer secondary students with interrupted schooling in low-incidence high school settings. The MDE has requested this work as a fast response activity. Also under this project, SECC will co-facilitate professional development (PD) on state English language proficiency standards with MDE EL staff.

The MDE also requested support for the Talent Management project wherein SECC and the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform Center (CEEDAR) will work together to develop partnerships with teacher preparation programs in Mississippi. This joint effort will support teacher preparation programs with the integration of EL pedagogical content with curriculum designed for pre-service teachers in Mississippi. In addition, SECC will provide MDE with technical assistance to develop resources and training related to quality EL programming and high student expectations for the EL students at various levels.

SECC staff met with the NCDPI Title III specialist July 27 to discuss the state’s upcoming 2017 English Learner (EL) Support Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, August 8–10. One SECC staff member will attend the conference where two strands are being offered, co-teaching and integrating technology in the classroom. SECC staff will review the 2017 conference survey created by the department and identify strategies for designing an implementation follow-up survey for the fall. After the conference in August, the team will reconvene to discuss how SECC can coach the Title III office through the development of its Implementation Science Practice Profile for Growing Success for ELs, an implementation rubric it began developing in 2014. This tool will facilitate making positive impacts on EL student and educator success, as it addresses the following critical components: infrastructure, data-based decision-making, professional development and coaching, and academic language development for EL students.


On December 27, the Title III state director at MDE and SECC project lead scheduled a third MDE EL Advisory Panel meeting for February 8, 2017. MDE staff shared a preliminary agenda that included sharing stakeholder feedback on ELPA 21 standards, brainstorming how to frame ELPA 21 standards training, discussing key elements of the ESSA state plan regarding ELs and accountability and exit criteria, and sharing EL and migrant resources. Next steps are to schedule a conference call in early January to discuss details regarding the agenda.

On November 2, SECC project staff Heidi Goertzen and Ramona Chauvin cofacilitated the MDE EL Advisory Panel meeting in Jackson, Mississippi, with the MDE Title III director. The director began the meeting with a review of the work completed during the prior panel meeting and explained how that work would segue into the rest of the day’s activities. SECC staff then led the panel members through an instructional task analysis for determining language demands for a particular lesson activity. The materials they used were developed by the ELPA 21 consortium as part of their online tools and resources for implementing the ELPA 21 standards. During these activities, the panel members were able to review and discuss an instructional task analysis, observe teachers online who were proceeding through the task analysis steps,

and practice the process in grade band teams.


During the second part of the activity, SECC staff walked panel members through the process of identifying the state and ELPA 21 standards that align with the instructional tasks presented in the modules. SECC then led the panel through a reflective activity to discuss their thinking about the ELPA 21 standards implementation processes. The panel’s next steps were to consider the kinds of resources teachers would need to effectively teach the standards, identify potential benefits of the ELPA 21 Standards, and determine whether the standards would need to be augmented to better align with the state’s EL student context. The Title III director requested that the panel members provide feedback to these questions at the next meeting which is slated for late January 2017. SECC staff sent three EL related resources throughout the month to the MDE Title III director. The first included a webinar titled Supporting English Language Learners with Close Reading: Acquiring Vocabulary, sponsored by the Center for English Language Learners at AIR; the second were resources on ELL newcomer centers developed by CSAI; and the third included a REL Northeast and Islands bridge event webinar titled “How Long Before English Learner Students Take to Reach English Proficiency?”

SECC project staff met on October 4 with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Title III director to discuss plans for the upcoming MDE EL Advisory Panel meeting where members would have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with ELPA 21 online professional development (PD) materials. During this meeting, the team finalized the facilitators agenda, determining the duration of each session, roles and responsibilities, and materials needed. SECC staff then planned and prepared the training session, which was designed to demonstrate how the ELPA 21 online training materials and resources could be used for implementing the standards at the local level. The project team met once again on October 27 to finalize plans and walk through the presentation prior to the November 2 meeting.