Diverse Learners


The NCDPI has developed an extensive array of support services for LEAs and teachers that provide instruction for EL students. Professional development for teachers and school teams in the use of SIOP, WIDA standards, ExCELL and Linguafolio as instructional tools has been offered throughout the state for a number of years. During Year 4, SECC assisted in refining and testing evaluation tools to improve PD and the selection of training providers.  In addition, SECC began conversations with NCDPI staff regarding successful strategies for American Indian students. In Year 5, SECC will assist in designing data collection processes to examine implementation practices for EL PD and for student and parent perceptions regarding academic barriers for American Indian students.

Success Story: North Carolina Partnership Supports Stronger Teaching for English Learners

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

The SECC Diverse Learners team has worked with the NCDPI English learner (EL) Support Team to develop a draft peer rubric, which is in its final stages of development. During Year 5, an AIR success story was completed about the ELL Support Team and the technical assistance provided by SECC staff.


Previous Updates:

The SECC Diverse Learners team has worked with the NCDPI English learner (EL) Support Team to develop a draft peer rubric, which is in its final stages of development. During Year 5, an AIR success story was completed about the ELL Support Team and the technical assistance provided by SECC staff.

SECC staff attended the state’s English Learner Support Conference: Growing Success for ELs. This year, the North Carolina Department of Instruction (NCDPI) modified its conference design to offer two strands, co-teaching and technology for the classroom. Past conferences included several major state training initiatives, whereby SECC co-developed training evaluations and implementation evaluations with NCDPI staff. This summer, the NCDPI EL team developed training evaluations independently and will use evaluation strategies learned through SECC for continuous improvement of its technical support.

During a conference call, the Title III specialist at NCPDI expressed the need and interest in taking a deeper dive into using data to evaluate its state support team processes. As part of the SECC Year 6 Work Plan, SECC will support NCDPI with the development of more advanced evaluation processes.

On June 28, the Title III office shared a copy via email of its new draft Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan with its State English Learner (EL) Support Team staff and the SECC project team. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) indicated that the draft ESSA plan also was posted on the state’s website for its 30-day public review. Recipients of the email were asked to review the plan and to consider submitting comments via instructions on the state EL Wiki page. Upon review of the draft ESSA plan, SECC noted that the State EL Support Team is listed as a promising practice (page 10), which is being implemented to support teachers, schools, and districts close the achievement gap for ELs in Grades K–2 by 12 points over the next 10 years. SECC will continue to support NCDPI with this endeavor through its EL evaluation project to help impact student learning for the 6 percent (95,905) of EL students in North Carolina.

SECC staff shared information about a Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest webinar bridge event with the Title III office at MDE. The event takes place on May 18 and is titled Research Discussion: Studies on the Academic Progress of English Learners. The studies of interest are English Learner Student Characteristics and Time to Reclassification: An Example from Washington State and Advanced Course Enrollment and Performance in Washington State: Comparing Spanish-Speaking Students with Other Language Minority Students and English-Speaking Students.

On April 19, SECC hosted a cross-state assessment and accountability conversation that focused on English language (EL) assessment. North Carolina state staff participated in that discussion and shared with their counterparts how they plan to address EL accountability under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

SECC staff shared two resources with the new director of American Indian Education at the North Carolina Department of Instruction (NCDPI) on April 27. The first was a copy of the REL Southeast’s report entitled “The Characteristics and Education Outcomes of American Indian Students in Grades 6–12 in North Carolina”. The second resource was an information request completed by SECC on support and strategies for enriching achievement of Native American students. The SECC shared these documents to provide the new director information about the research activities that have occurred in North Carolina.

Last, SECC staff updated the Year 5 Work Plan to include the peer observation rubric as an expected output as part of its EL Evaluation project.

SECC staff held a working conference call with English language learner (ELL) team members from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) on March 17. During this call, the team collaborated to identify sections of the appraisal rubric that can be a part of a peer observation tool. Members of the ELL support team may be called upon to observe workshops of their peers, therefore, a peer observation tool will be created. Also, the team discussed the upcoming Summer ELL conference, which will be held August 8–10, and the evaluation procedures that should occur during the conference. The department invited SECC staff to attend that conference. A follow-up meeting was held  March 22. 


On March 28, SECC staff shared three English learner (EL) related resources with the Title III office. Two of the resources were embedded in an email disseminated by the REL Midwest. The first provides a report on a study regarding ELs and graduation rates in New York City schools. The second included a free downloadable Home Language Survey Data Quality Self-Assessment. The third shared resource included a recent Information Request published by SECC that reports on best practices for dual language programs in secondary schools.

The ELL support team continues to use the appraisal rubric for observing and evaluating ELL trainers. NCDPI would like to develop a companion rubric for peer trainers to conduct observations. Efforts are being made to schedule a March conference call between SECC and NCDPI staff.  

On January 23, SECC staff participated in the SEA Indian Education Director Community of Practice Virtual Meeting. This meeting included a panel of SEA staff from various states who shared their state’s progress on American Indian education strategic plans and tribal consultations as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Next steps are to schedule a meeting with the NCDPI Title III Office to discuss the survey results and training implementation data.

To support the Title III staff at NCDPI, SECC staff shared the updated EL Toolkit with ESSA references from the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) on December 5. The project team will schedule a meeting in January 2017 to discuss the survey results and to assess participants’ implementation of training in their classrooms.

On November 14, SECC staff attended the meeting of SACIE. During the meeting, there were discussions of policies regarding educating Native American students in North Carolina as well as ESSA requirements. SECC staff will continue to maintain contact and assist the new state liaison to SACIE. The report titled "The Characteristics and Education Outcomes of American Indian Students in Grades 6-12 in North Carolina” was released by the REL Southeast during November. On November 21, SECC staff participated in a conference call with NCDPI ELL Support Team leadership to discuss summer conference survey data results. The team also discussed next steps for assessing conference participants' implementation of training into their classrooms.

On October 20, SECC staff held a conference call with NCDPI staff Maria Pitri-Martin, chief academic and digital learning officer; Lou Fabrizio, director of Data, Research and Federal Policy; Mike McLaughlin senior policy advisor to the state superintendent; and Rebecca Garland, deputy state superintendent. During this call, the team discussed the State Advisory Council for Indian Education (SACIE) technical assistance for Year 5. The group was informed that the current SEA contact for SACIE will be retiring on December 1. A replacement has not been named but will be determined soon. The next SACIE meeting will be held on November 14 at the state agency. SECC staff will attend this meeting. SECC staff worked to schedule a conference call to discuss the ELL technical assistance for Year 5. On October 28, SECC and NCDPI project staff met to discuss Year 5 needs in support of the ELL Support Team.