Projects

South Carolina Educator Effectiveness

Background

The SCDE has developed and continues to administer, maintain, and make ongoing refinements to the ADEPT and PADEPP systems. These evaluation and support systems provide effective and consistent methods for evaluating and supporting all educators across the state’s school districts. This project will develop a system to measure student growth and incorporate that measure into the current evaluation systems.

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

On September 19, the SECC South Carolina liaison met with the project lead at the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) to capture details essential to finalizing Year 6 planning. SECC used thought partnering grounded in implementation science to arrive at the problem to be addressed as well as the purpose and four key milestones to be accomplished throughout Year 6. On September 20, the SCDE project lead reviewed and confirmed the accuracy of the content of the plan.

 

Previous Updates:

On September 19, the SECC South Carolina liaison met with the project lead at the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) to capture details essential to finalizing Year 6 planning. SECC used thought partnering grounded in implementation science to arrive at the problem to be addressed as well as the purpose and four key milestones to be accomplished throughout Year 6. On September 20, the SCDE project lead reviewed and confirmed the accuracy of the content of the plan.

The South Carolina Educator Effectiveness project team met via GoToMeeting. The purposes of the meeting were to take stock of Year 5 accomplishments, clarify the status of remaining Year 5 work (including work related to the SCTS Observation of Practice Process Manual in particular and the educator evaluator systems in general), and to discuss updates from the U.S. Department of Education that are likely to inform planning for Year 6 work. All SCDE team members participated in the meeting. The team noted a number of areas for Year 6 work and, through conversation, narrowed the focus to only those with which the South Carolina team would need support from SECC. Support with work involving technical assistance from SECC on ADEPT/PADEPT training modules, data systems to support the gathering and analysis of evaluation systems for impact, data literacy, and formative assessments were among the Year 6 work possibilities discussed.

The Year 6 planning meeting took place with the South Carolina Department of Education chief strategy officer. It was noted that the South Carolina Educator Effectiveness team lead had kept her abreast of the team’s priorities for Year 6, including those continuing from Year 5. 

During early July, SECC team members met to plan the feedback session with SCDE staff on the draft table of contents for the SCTS Observation of Practice Process Manual. The SECC team drafted a list of questions to frame the feedback to be provided during the meeting. The questions were focused on clarifying the contextual underpinning of the manual and the agency’s vision for its use. In particular, considerations regarding administrator burden with regard to utilization of the manual, how the manual might be used to support teachers’ professional growth, and separation between existing teacher practice and practice according to manual implementation expectations were raised and discussed at length with the South Carolina Educator Effectiveness Team, Lilla Toal-Mandsager, and Claire Murray. At the end of the meeting, the full team agreed that detailed written feedback on the document would be essential to the refinement process. The team agreed upon a quick turnaround for the more detailed review.

On July 13, the SECC team forwarded the educator effectiveness project team members written feedback on the manual draft. The content feedback was infused throughout the draft using track changes and comments. Additional information regarding formatting, etc., was provided separately. To allow time for the team’s review of the feedback, a follow-up meeting date of July 17 was agreed upon.

On July 17, the full educator effectiveness project team met via GoToMeeting. The team continued its discussion of feedback on the South Carolina Observation Process Manual, discussed ideas for the alignment of related resources to the manual, and brainstormed potential evidence of impact linked to South Carolina Student Learning Objectives (SLO) Implementation and data collection processes. Sarah Beck, SECC evaluator, attended the meeting to assist the team in thinking through potential measures of impact relevant to SLO implementation and data collection. Beck posed a number of questions to help guide the team’s thinking and planning regarding evidence of impact. In addition, a number of  hot-button issues (e.g., communication related to the manual, system efficiency and time requirements for utilizing the manual, data management) and strategies for proactively addressing them within the body of the manual were discussed. At the end of the meeting, the team agreed upon a tentative meeting date to take place during the week of August 21.

On June 9, the South Carolina Educator Effectiveness project team met via GoToMeeting. The meeting was the first full team meeting since November 2016 and followed the substantial re-staffing of the Office of Educator Effectiveness. The meeting offered an opportunity for the team to set expectations for moving forward following the lengthy lull in the work due to staff turnover and for the “rebooting” of the project. The context for current and future work was established; an overview of the SECC theory of action was provided; the current work plan was reviewed and revised for feasibility and relevance; roles, tasks, and timelines were assigned, and expected outcomes were clarified. It was established that Kim Howard, who is leading the South Carolina Teaching Standards (SCTE) Observation of Practice Process Manual development task, would share the draft outline/table of contents with the group within the next 2 weeks. In addition, the team tentatively agreed to early- to mid-July as the time frame for the next team meeting.

Immediately following the meeting, SECC provided the team lead with meeting summary notes and the updated Year 5 Work Plan for review.  On June 19, SECC provided the full team the updated work plan with meeting action items infused. On June 23, Howard provided the first draft of the outline/table of contents for the SCTS Observation of Practice Process Manual for team review. The agreed upon goal of the review by SECC was to offer the project team feedback to support the alignment and coherence of the manual and its components with the SC educator evaluation systems and other related resources and professional learning opportunities for educators, particularly educator evaluation team members. Another key focus was to ensure that the manual serves as a conduit for supporting educator professional growth for improved student outcomes. The team set July 3 as the meeting date to discuss SECC’s feedback on the draft table of contents for the manual.

On May 9, SECC staff met with new Educator Effectiveness Project Lead Lilla Toal-Mandsager for an initial discussion of expected scope changes to the SECC Year 5 Work Plan. The plan was adjusted to focus on the following key areas of work:

  • Supporting the development of the Observation of Practice Process Manual (Contact - Kim Howard)
  • Providing initial resources on formative assessment
  • Sharing the GTL Center's Implementation Guide and other resources useful for student learning objectives (SLO) monitoring (Contact - Claire Murray)

SECC also provided Toal-Mandsager with links to the GTL Center's website as well as to the Implementation Playbook, which includes a resource on monitoring. Additionally, SECC provided a summary of the action steps agreed upon in the meeting and potential dates to initiate monthly, full-team meetings. June 9 is the tentative date for the full-team meeting.

On May 5, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Jennifer Morrison requested an overview of the results of the South Carolina Institutions Of Higher Education (IHE) Equity Survey results to be presented by SECC to the South Carolina State Human Capital (SCSHC) Committee.  On May 18, SECC provided the web-based overview of the February South Carolina IHE Equity Survey results to the SCSHC Committee, the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement (CERRA), and the Alliance (a grant-funded national group). A one-page handout and a PPT were provided. The SCSHC Committee is working on ways that the state can better support recruitment, retention, and equitable distribution of educators in South Carolina.  SECC's presentation focused on data relevant to IHE’s preparation of candidates for rural, high-poverty, and high-minority context as a way to inform the state’s talent management. Possibilities for district connections with IHEs for the purpose of educator recruitment were identified by the committee as a key area of interest.

Also, CSO Morrison was nominated by SCDE leadership during the month of May to serve as an board member for the SECC Advisory Board. She accepted the nomination and participated in the May 23 meeting in New Orleans.

In early April, SECC staff met with Jennifer Morrison, chief strategy officer (CSO) at the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE), to discuss the status of the SECC’s South Carolina Year 5 Work Plan and potential adjustments to be made in light of challenges with staffing at SCDE. Based on the considerations discussed and on other changes at the agency, the CSO submitted recommended revisions to the scope of work for the work plan on April 14. Following another routine check-in meeting with the CSO, Morrison provided a virtual introduction to Lilla Toal-Mandsager, the new project lead for the South Carolina Educator Effectiveness project. During the virtual introduction, the SECC team scheduled a meeting with the new project lead to review the Year 5 Work Plan and begin negotiating necessary adjustments to the scope of work. This meeting is scheduled to take place May 9.

On April 27, communications between the SECC staff and the South Carolina Equity Subcommittee members (Rachel Burns and Tria Grant) revealed that the results of the Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) Equity Survey conducted in February were being utilized by the CSO as part of the agency’s ongoing work to further educational equity. Additional utilization of the IHE Equity Survey results is anticipated.

In addition, the CSO was nominated by SCDE leadership to serve as a member of the SECC Advisory Board. Morrison accepted the nomination and intends to participate in the May 2017 SECC Advisory Board Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

On March 3, SECC provided Rachel Burns and Tria Grant, SCDE staff from the Office of Educator Effectiveness full IHE Equity Survey results in the form of a Word document, which included the multiple-choice item survey results as well as participants’ open-ended comments. SECC also indicated availability to debrief the survey results and next steps with SCDE.

On March 17, SECC staff had a teleconference with SCDE Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Morrison to provide a response to SCDE’s ESSA-planning related query. Following the teleconference, SECC provided a collection of resources (including articles, legislations, key findings, technical assistance responses, and a teacher residency program funding map) in response to the three original questions and related sub-questions raised by SCDE. SECC also indicated availability to debrief the responses to the questions and arrange for SCDE staff to meet with NCTR staff to get additional clarification regarding the mechanisms for financing of teacher residency programs across the nation.

During the March 17 meeting with Morrison, she indicated that all educator effectiveness work beyond equity and ESSA would remain on hold until further notice from her office. Morrison is working with Ursula Hill, SECC state liaison for South Carolina, regarding substantive changes that will need to be made to the Year 5 Work Plan due to the staffing challenges.

 

Equity

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.  

 

On January 6, SECC staff met with Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Jennifer Morrison regarding the status of her team’s review of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) resources and related needs. During the meeting, SECC staff also discussed the Educator Effectiveness project’s progress and any potential adjustments to be made in light of staffing vacancies in the Office of Educator Effectiveness (OEE); work on the Extended ADEPT Observation Modules and assessment literacy remains temporarily suspended.

On January 10, SCDE Education Associates Tria Grant and Rachel Burns provided SECC staff with Institution of Higher Education (IHE) Equity Survey feedback from SCDE senior staff and external stakeholders. Following final revisions to the survey, it was disseminated to deans and associate deans at 30 EPPs in the state with the expectation that it be shared with appropriate faculty as well. SCDE staff plan to have the survey remain open 2 to 3 weeks to allow for optimal participation.

On January 27, SECC staff met with the CSO regarding an ESSA-related request originally submitted to the School Support Network. Immediately following the meeting, SECC staff provided the CSO a number of ESSA-related resources, including a resource library on social and emotional learning (SEL) to assist with establishing non-academic measurements for SEL and a collection of draft  ESSA Consolidated State Plans from various states across the nation. As a next step, a meeting regarding the particulars of the ESSA request and the context that informs it will take place on January 31.

The two-fold focus of the Educator Effectiveness project for the month of December was equity and ESSA. The chief priority for the SCDE Equity Plan Strategy 1 team was the dissemination of the IHE survey to educator preparation unit personnel across the state. Following the SCDE equity team’s internal review of the IHE survey on December 7, SECC staff refined the survey for final review by SCDE senior leadership. A link to the revised IHE survey was sent to SCDE leadership on December 13. Pending their approval, the survey is set for dissemination to college of education deans and select faculty and administrators charged with teacher preparation. On December 6, to support SCDE’s ESSA planning process and in response to a key element of the ESSA coaching model that evolved from Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Morrison’s initial ESSA-related request, SECC staff provided Morrison information regarding the status of ESSA planning in other states, SEA strategies linked to teacher recruitment and retention, and related logic models in the form of draft ESSA plans from three states. On December 16, AIR’s Catherine Barbour of the State Support Network (SSN), Ursula Hill, SECC South Carolina state liaison, and other SECC staff met with key personnel, including Sheila Quinn, Jennifer Morrison, and Karla Hawkins, who are guiding SCDE’s ESSA plan development. The goal of the meeting was threefold: to announce the newly launched network and its ESSA Plan Community of Practice (CoP) and to invite SCDE to participate as a member of the CoP. SCDE responded favorably to the invitation and committed to participating in a collaborative support process in which SEAs will meet with, share, and benefit from the sharing of other agencies represented in the CoP regarding ESSA planning experiences and related knowledge. Specifics regarding which other states will participate in the CoP are anticipated.

At the end of November, the final draft of the IHE survey was completed and configured by SECC Researcher Kathy Terry for dissemination through SurveyGizmo. Following a final review by SCDE staff and SECC staff, the survey will be disseminated to a group of South Carolina IHE deans and select faculty and administrators. Early to mid-December has been targeted as the time for survey dissemination. The South Carolina Expanded ADEPT Support and Evaluation Guidelines document review was conducted by SECC staff and submitted to Joseph Tadlock and Kris Johannes at SCDE on November 18.

On November 21, AIR content reviewers, Catherine Jacques and Doug Fireside, met with SCDE’s Joseph Tadlock for a debrief of the content review. The debrief served as an extended opportunity for continued thought partnering with SCDE around the ADEPT Guidelines and previous insights gleaned from related Year 4 work. Next steps for this work will include a review of an outline of the ADEPT Observation Modules. On November 18, SECC staff submitted the first key elements of an ESSA-related request made by Morrison The elements included questions central to understanding ESSA and related guidance resources and material. The questions represented various aspects of ESSA, including the communication plan, ESSA terminology, equitable access requirement, educational stability for children in foster care, school quality or student success measure, N-size, participation rate, school summative ratings, ELs, student assessment, standards comprehensive support and improvement, data reporting, Title II, and early childhood. The assortment of resources provided included a web page link to the U.S. Department of Education’s ESSA web page and links for SCDE to access updates, guides, frameworks, and tools provided by the CCRS Center, the Education Commission of the States, CSAI, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and AIR’s Center for English Language Learners. In addition, the SC Educator Effectiveness Project Lead Tammie Causey-Konate connected the SECC ESSA Lead Debra Meibaum with SCDE Chief Strategy Officer Jennifer Morrison through a virtual introduction. During the introduction, Morrison extended her ESSA request to include samples of strong logic models and/or innovative SEA strategies related to teacher recruitment and retention.

During October, a number of meetings took place to continue to flesh out the details of the Year 5 Work Plan in the area of educator effectiveness. SECC staff met with Tria Grant and Rachel Burns, South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) staff from the Office of Educator Effectiveness, regarding the status of the institutions of higher education (IHE) survey that grew out of the work of the SCDE Equity Plan Strategy 1 Team’s Sub-strategy 2. The discussion yielded information regarding the refinement of the survey and tentative dates and logistics for disseminating the survey and collecting and analyzing resulting data. On October 27, SECC staff met with other SCDE Office of Educator Effectiveness personnel, Kris Joannes and Joseph Tadlock, to clarify additional project task priorities. The ADEPT work was the primary focus of this meeting, and the team set a tentative date of November 4 as the agency’s submission date of the ADEPT Guidelines document for SECC review, with the expectation that SECC review of the ADEPT Observation of Practice Process Manual would follow. SECC staff also met with Karla Hawkins, deputy state superintendent of the Division of Federal, State, and Community Resources, to discuss progress on the state’s implementation of its equity plan and related ESSA needs. In addition to providing updates on the Strategy Teams for the state equity plan, Hawkins helped to arrange a meeting with Jennifer Morrison, SCDE chief strategy officer, to discuss specific needs related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). SECC staff met with Jennifer Morrison on October 28 to clarify SCDE’s equity and ESSA-related needs. Morrison proposed plans for a coaching model for the department’s ESSA knowledge and plan development. The plan included a listing of ESSA-focused questions, related literature and resources, information regarding other states’ ESSA work, and a follow-up opportunity for SCDE to engage with someone knowledgeable of ESSA in a Q&A. A mid-November timeline was established for providing the questions and ESSA resources.