In early June, SECC and the executive director of the Office of Teaching and Leading (OTL) at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) and his team met to continue working to preserve and tap the institutional memory of OTL to improve decision-making and increase the capacity to achieve priorities. During the meeting, the team reviewed and updated the OTL personnel profile, reviewed and revised the product inventory template, and initiated discussion about potential platforms and databases to be used to manage assets. As a next step, the team agreed to disseminate the inventory template to other OTL staff for them to add to the content. In mid-June, SECC met with the OTL team to begin compiling a product inventory of tools, resources, and deliverables developed by OTL staff. During the meeting, next steps for the follow-up meeting were determined, and SECC served as a thought partner to assist with planning an OTL presentation for the upcoming September State Board meeting. The meeting participants brainstormed the outline for the meeting and began to flesh that out in the form of a PowerPoint, which set out to do the following: clarify the vision of OTL; provide an overview of the work and accomplishments of OTL; take stock of the progression of the work over the course of 12 months; and demonstrate the utility, timeliness, and relevance of OTL processes, projects, and products.
Additionally, on June 18, the deliverologist for the Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) Diverse and Learner Ready Teacher (DLRT) initiative and the SECC Talent Management co-leads met with the MDE DLRT lead/executive director of OTL to discuss the status of the team’s work, to offer support in the way of resources, technical assistance (TA), and guidance on the development and implementation of the team’s action plan. Further, on June 25, MDE hosted the day-long Mentorship and Induction Workshop (M&I) 1.0. to M&I pilot districts and a host of other districts in Flowood, Mississippi. SECC presented a session titled, Mentoring and Induction Needs Assessment and Action Planning, and led the culminating roundtable activity, Anticipated Challenges and Barriers: Setting Conditions for Success. In addition, the lead from the Yazoo City pilot district shared lessons learned from her M&I launch experience and early lessons from the district’s emerging M&I program. Also, during the June MS M&I Affinity Group attended and participated in Workshop 4: Using ESSA Funding for Multiyear Mentoring and Induction webinar. The team acquired strategies and additional information for exploring options for funding the M&I program using ESSA funding. On the following day, SECC met with the MDE Talent Management lead to discuss the participation and takeaways of MDE and its local education agencies (LEAs); the pertinence of content to the M&I pilot, and strategies to bolster the engagement of the Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy (T4TLA) LEAs.
In July, SECC will continue work on fleshing out the OTL personnel profile, the OTL product inventory, and the State Board PowerPoint. Additionally, the MS DLRT team is set to meet in July for a stocktake meeting to provide an update on its progress. Also, OTL will host the Mississippi Elevate Teacher Conference on July 23–24 to promote equity and cultural competence in education. SECC’s deputy director will present a session titled, Closing the Opportunity Gap through Culturally Responsive Teaching.
As evidence of improvement, MDE has done the following: made current M&I research and updated materials and tools accessible to districts statewide through its June 25 Mentorship and Induction Workshop 1.0 and through its website; planned the Mississippi Elevate Teacher Conference, a two-day convening, to address the cultural competence needs of the state’s educators–a key priority of the DLRT initiative.