On February 8, SECC staff communicated with Rachel Burns and Tria Grant, SCDE staff from the Office of Educator Effectiveness (OEE) who work directly on Strategy 1, Substrategy 2 of the equity plan, regarding the IHE Equity Survey (a survey to be used with IHEs to elicit their input regarding their practices for preparing teacher candidates and supporting new teachers for work in diverse contexts, particularly rural, high-poverty and high-minority contexts) disseminated to 30 college of education deans on January 30 who were to share the survey link with key teacher preparation personnel for their participation. The purpose of the meeting was twofold: to inform Burns and Grant that 31 participants had completed the survey and 21 had partially completed the survey and to encourage them to send participants a reminder email to bolster the rate participation. They were pleased with the interim completion rate and committed to send a reminder email.
On February 24, SECC staff provided the IHE Equity Survey results to Burns and Grant in the form of a PDF SurveyGizmo document. The survey completion rate was 66%, with deans, assistant and associate deans, directors/chairs of teacher education, field placement coordinators, teacher preparation program faculty composing more than 90% of participants. The survey examined the ways in which candidates are being prepared to plan for, teach, and assess learning in high-poverty, high-minority, and rural contexts; how diversity and inclusion are imbedded into preparation program coursework; the districts in which candidates are most and least likely to be placed for practica and internships; how practica teachers and cooperating teachers are selected; how and why candidates are placed in the districts where they are placed; and how practica teachers and cooperating teachers prepare candidates to work with diverse students.
Following the January 31 meeting with Karla Hawkins, deputy state superintendent of the Division of Federal, State, and Community Resources, and later with Jennifer Morrison, chief strategy officer, regarding the particulars of the ESSA request and the context that informed it, the SECC team developed a plan for addressing a number of questions perceived as foundational to the SCDE ESSA planning process. The plan involved the identification and review of key resources and contact with experts from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL Center), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the National Center for Teacher Residencies (NCTR). First, SECC staff met with GTL Center ESSA expert, Alex Berg-Jacobson on February 6 regarding potential GTL Center resources as well as opportunities for SCDE to engage with GTL Center experts around the issues raised. Based on the conversation with Berg-Jacobson, it was determined that some pertinent information could be shared across personnel representing various SCDE offices/units who were also engaged in an ESSA Work Group convened by CCSSO in partnership with the GTL Center. In mid-February, the SECC team also collaborated with other AIR staff—Ellie Fullback and Ellen Sherratt— regarding pertinent TA efforts, recent AIR and GTL Center publications, and national experts on teacher residency programs as well as the range of supports available for preparing, recruiting, and retaining educators. The collaboration produced informational resources from AIR, GTL Center, and NCTR to be reviewed and synthesized by SECC. In addition, SECC is pursuing an opportunity for SCDE staff to have a teleconference with NCTR staff regarding what other states are doing to finance teacher residency programs beyond the use of Title II funds. The timeline for SECC to deliver the resources and additional information to SCDE is mid-March.
On February 27, SECC received news that Kris Joannes of OEE was leaving SCDE. In light of previous losses in staff to this office, the new development posed a number of challenges. As such, work in the area of educator effectiveness not specifically tied to equity or ESSA was temporarily placed on hold until further notice from Jennifer Morrison.