Project: Year 7 2018–2019

Alabama Low-Performing Schools

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) is supporting the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) with implementing a strategic plan and performance management tools for its Office of Student Learning and providing related professional development (PD) to state school turnaround staff. The SECC is continuing to support the state with scaling up its School Improvement Grant (SIG) program using the Center on School Turnaround's Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement framework.

Technical Assistance Approach

The SECC is continuing to support the department in developing a performance management system for monitoring the implementation of the statewide system of support (SSOS) for principals of low-performing schools. As such, SECC will facilitate cross-office collaboration in the refinement of its logic model and SSOS. SECC also will assist in the development and use of metrics for evidence of impact related to how the state supports principals of low-performing schools. In addition, SECC will support the department by providing PD and resources related to evidence-based practices for school improvement.

Impact
  • Increased state education agency (SEA) and local education agency (LEA) knowledge of evidence-based school improvement strategies and materials 
  • SEA consensus on elements of an SSOS plan
  • Structured system for providing support to low-performing districts/schools 
  • Processes for monitoring the effective implementation of the SSOS
Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: 2019 | June

The state has identified five staff at a minimum to receive geographic information systems (GIS) mapping training to support the department with tools that allow them to identify community-based patterns that impact student outcomes. The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) is arranging to train these state staff members on GIS in August at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). On next month, SECC and Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) staff will support ALSDE with GIS training as a tool to support performance management and continuous improvement of its low-performing schools. 

 

Previous Updates:

The state has identified five staff at a minimum to receive geographic information systems (GIS) mapping training to support the department with tools that allow them to identify community-based patterns that impact student outcomes. The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) is arranging to train these state staff members on GIS in August at the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). On next month, SECC and Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) staff will support ALSDE with GIS training as a tool to support performance management and continuous improvement of its low-performing schools. 

The state has identified two staff to receive geographic information system (GIS) mapping training to support the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) with tools that allow them to identify community-based patterns that impact student outcomes. There is a possibility of training these two staff in Texas, along with the Texas Comprehensive Center, or a separate training might be scheduled in Alabama. The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC)  is arranging to train two ALSDE staff members on GIS in June in Texas. If the dates do not align, SECC will work to provide the GIS training in-state.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) has made plans internally to support the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) with geographic information system (GIS) mapping training. The training will support the department with tools that allow it to identify community based patterns that impact student outcomes. SECC plans to provide GIS training that has been successfully used in other states that are addressing equity and school improvement. SECC will discuss plans in May for providing the GIS training to the deputy superintendent and his school improvement and data teams.

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) staff met internally to make plans for providing a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) expert at American Institutes for Research (AIR) to train the state on using GIS data with school and demographic data to identify patterns within the state to inform school improvement supports. The SECC team will meet in April to make plans for working with data staff from the Alabama State Department of Education on GIS supports for school improvement.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) will support the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) with 2 days of professional development (PD) for districts serving large English learner (EL) populations. The first training will be in mid-April, and the second will be at the end of July. This milestone will be moved under the EL project for Alabama.

During the month of March, SECC will collaborate with the department on the planning and preparation of the EL support and PD. The state is addressing equity in terms of its targeted support to districts and schools serving large populations of EL students.

The state is addressing equity in terms of its targeted support to districts and schools serving large populations of EL students.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC)  co-developed a training evaluation survey with the School Improvement Grant (SIG) coordinator for the SIG school training held in late January. In addition, at the request of the school improvement team, SECC compiled a resource list of college- and career-readiness materials and English learner (EL) resources. 

During the month of February, the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and SECC will schedule a meeting to discuss plans for supporting ELs in districts serving large EL student populations. SECC is working on plans for providing ALSDE with a demonstration on how layers of geographic information system (GIS) data work and for importing data based on concerns and questions related to equity in low-performing schools and schools serving ELs.

After the SECC Equity Summit held in November 2018, Alabama has requested priority support with GIS, ELs, and high schools. The technical assistance related to this milestone is still being requested and includes continuation of work on a logic model for Alabama’s statewide system of support.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) met via conference call with the School Improvement Grant (SIG) coordinator to act as a thought partner with regard to the state’s upcoming SIG school training in January 2019. The SIG coordinator expressed the need for focusing on culture and climate and requested related resources. As such, SECC shared tools and resources by the American Institute for Research (AIR) in the area of social emotional learning, which will serve as a research backdrop for a SIG school counselors’ presentation session in January. The resources will be presented to the SIG teams during the training before the school counselors’ session begins. SECC also worked with the state equity team that participated in the SECC Equity Summit to schedule a planning meeting, which was postponed until early January. They will discuss needs for supporting districts serving English learners and using geographical information systems (GIS) data to gather trend data related to equity.

The SECC will co-develop a training evaluation survey for the SIG training in January. The SECC also will meet with the state equity team in January to resume planning.

As evidence of impact, the SIG coordinator commented on how SECC has built state capacity in planning with deliberation for district and internal meetings and trainings. They now consistently consider meeting and training outcomes and use tools/graphic organizers to help them with planning and related needs.

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) project team provided feedback and input on the state’s existing School Review Evaluation Rubric. The state indicated this month that it no longer needed support with resources and samples of standard operating procedures; however, since SECC already began compiling samples, we will share them with the state in December. The SECC Equity Summit was held in Jackson, Mississippi, and provided the state with expertise in topics that promote equity, including the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to identify areas in the state in great need of state support, as well as English learners (ELs), talent management, and other salient topics.

Staff from ALSDE who attended the SECC Equity Summit requested follow-up technical assistance with training districts who support high concentrations of EL populations as well as with GIS training related to low-performing schools.

As evidence of impact, following the Equity Summit, state staff’s knowledge of high-quality practices for school improvement is increasing, as they have indicated interest and readiness in learning how the state can implement those practices at state and district levels (e.g., GIS, talent management and ELs).

The Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) met with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) in late-October to confirm milestones, outputs, and outcomes for the Low-Performing Schools project. Some changes were made to refine the plan. During the meeting, the state made specific technical assistance requests that were a priority. Thus, milestone timelines were adjusted to reflect the need. The SECC team met with the state low-performing schools team to discuss the need for SECC expertise with a review of the state’s existing School Review Evaluation Rubric, which is based on the Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement framework developed by the Center on School Turnaround. During that meeting, the state also requested resources on what other states are doing in terms of using a similar type of rubric. The SECC team also began its review and feedback process and began searching for other state resources. SECC will share its feedback and state resources with the ALSDE in early November.