Project: Year 7 2018–2019

Alabama English Learners

In this project, the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) is collaborating with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) to collect stakeholder feedback for refining the state’s English learner (EL) professional development (PD) plan. The SECC is supporting the Title III and EL staff with resources and tools designed to measure the effectiveness of PD it provides to local education agencies (LEAs).

Technical Assistance Approach

SECC will provide technical assistance and resources to ALSDE to support the analysis of stakeholder feedback related to the state's English learner system of support, the refinement of its system based on feedback, and with developing performance management tools for continuous improvement of its support processes.

Impact
  • Increased capacity to measure effectiveness of EL support systems for schools and districts 
  • Improved organizational structures and processes
Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: 2019 | August

As part of the pilot English learner (EL) instructional audit, Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) EL experts conducted a virtual focus group interview with principals from the pilot district. Questions posed during the interview focused on the extent to which ELs have meaningful access to and participation in the standard instructional program, the extent to which the system tracks language and content mastery data, and questions related to equity and learning. With principals’ permission, SECC staff recorded the interview to be used later in the month for training the state department. At the end of the month, SECC held a training session with the state where state staff learned about elements of a language instruction educational program (LIEP) that should be reviewed in an audit, a framework for conducting an audit, and the types of data sources to collect that focus on ELs. They learned about the process for reviewing the district’s current LIEP, including collecting data, analyzing data, and recommending solutions.

As the SECC grant comes to a close, the state now has guidance and resources in place for conducting EL instructional audits. This fall, they will continue the pilot audit with the district that requested the evaluation and will have plans in place for the next comprehensive center that serves them in completing the audit and conducting new ones in priority districts.

The state has improved its organizational structures and processes for supporting districts through its participation in trainings on evidence-based practices for ELs and on conducting EL focused needs assessments. They also reorganized their EL offices to better support the instructional aspect of the state EL program. The SECC trainings have increased staff knowledge about the kinds of metrics and data collection tools needed to conduct needs assessments at both the state and district level. The state is now ready to begin developing a system for conducting needs assessments for targeted districts, which will help them determine the types of supports that are most needed.

 

Previous Updates:

As part of the pilot English learner (EL) instructional audit, Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) EL experts conducted a virtual focus group interview with principals from the pilot district. Questions posed during the interview focused on the extent to which ELs have meaningful access to and participation in the standard instructional program, the extent to which the system tracks language and content mastery data, and questions related to equity and learning. With principals’ permission, SECC staff recorded the interview to be used later in the month for training the state department. At the end of the month, SECC held a training session with the state where state staff learned about elements of a language instruction educational program (LIEP) that should be reviewed in an audit, a framework for conducting an audit, and the types of data sources to collect that focus on ELs. They learned about the process for reviewing the district’s current LIEP, including collecting data, analyzing data, and recommending solutions.

As the SECC grant comes to a close, the state now has guidance and resources in place for conducting EL instructional audits. This fall, they will continue the pilot audit with the district that requested the evaluation and will have plans in place for the next comprehensive center that serves them in completing the audit and conducting new ones in priority districts.

The state has improved its organizational structures and processes for supporting districts through its participation in trainings on evidence-based practices for ELs and on conducting EL focused needs assessments. They also reorganized their EL offices to better support the instructional aspect of the state EL program. The SECC trainings have increased staff knowledge about the kinds of metrics and data collection tools needed to conduct needs assessments at both the state and district level. The state is now ready to begin developing a system for conducting needs assessments for targeted districts, which will help them determine the types of supports that are most needed.

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) staff collaborated with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) to develop an agenda for the upcoming English learner (EL) training for administrators in April. During the morning session, SECC EL experts will provide evidence-based practices for serving ELs. In the afternoon, they will lead administrators through a discussion on building a state support system for serving ELs. In April, two SECC EL experts will provide a training to district administrators from throughout the state on evidence-based practices, and they will lead a discussion on building a state support system for serving ELs.

Leadership at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has requested professional development from the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) to support the state with building capacity of district administrator teams (e.g., district leaders and principals) to develop and implement effective language instruction programs for English learners (ELs). SECC will provide a 2-day training (one in April, the other in July) with topics covering culturally responsive teaching practices under a tiered instructional framework; content area teaching and grading strategies for secondary level teachers (Day 1); and supporting administrators with effective leadership practices for identifying, implementing, and continuously improving language instruction programs (Day 2).

SECC will meet with ALSDE to begin planning for the first training day in April and will determine logistics for the second training day in July.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) provided the Title III office with resources developed by the REL Northeast and Islands (REL NEI) related to the evaluation of professional learning. These resources include a three-part webinar series entitled Planning for High-Quality Evaluation of Professional Learning. The third session focuses on using the results of an evaluation to inform decisions, which addresses Milestones 2 and 3, with guidance in analyzing and responding to stakeholder feedback on the state’s English learner (EL) professional development plan.

The project closed on December 31, 2018; however, the SECC state manager will communicate with and share the EL Professional Development (PD) Plan project draft deliverables and project status with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) leadership team when they meet in January 2019 as part of the state equity planning and request for technical assistance in this high-need area.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) shared sample infographics and a preliminary stakeholder feedback survey with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) English learner (EL) team in October; however, state EL staff were in the field this month and were unable to review and provide input on the deliverables SECC shared.

The SECC will follow up with the state EL team to determine next steps for developing the stakeholder feedback survey. In addition, the SECC will provide guidance on analyzing survey data and developing metrics and data collection tools for measuring impact related to how the state supports districts and schools serving EL students.

 

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) team shared the English Learner (EL) Professional Development (PD) Plan stakeholder survey draft and sample infographics developed at American Institutes for Research with the Title III office in October. At that time, SECC requested a meeting to work on next steps. SECC staff shared the sample infographics with the Title III office to give them ideas for showcasing the department's EL PD support system. The infographic the state develops will serve as a convenient reference for stakeholders when providing survey feedback.  

In November, SECC will have a follow-up meeting with the Title III staff to discuss the survey and steps that need to occur to disseminate the survey.