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.