Implementing Research-Based Initiatives
Like our Texas Comprehensive Center, SEDL’s Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) is one of 15 regional comprehensive centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Much of the work our SECC performs in the five states it serves is focused on supporting programs authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waivers. In addition, the SECC assists with the implementation and sustainability of evidence-based school improvement reforms for School Improvement Grant (SIG) schools.
When state departments of education or state school boards begin to develop state-wide initiatives, they want to know what the research shows. In the initial stages of most projects, the SECC provides research-based evidence through our Information Request program. Through a rigorous quality assurance process and with the assistance of SEDL’s Research and Evaluation staff, we are able to ensure that the information we provide has a strong evidence base, can be tied to a measure of effectiveness, and is current and relevant.
Two of the SECC’s highest priority focus areas, low-performing schools and educator evaluation systems, are supported by a strong research base. In November 2013, the SECC and the Texas Comprehensive Center, both at SEDL, hosted a regional institute, Supporting Sustainability Efforts in School Turnaround. This institute provided the opportunity for state educators working in school turnaround to network and learn about the research supporting effective school turnaround. This research is essential for SIG schools, because the grants required the implementation of evidence-based school reform models. Ongoing professional development is key to the success of these reforms, and sustainability will be a major focus as this
The SECC is also involved in ongoing work with states in our region to design, pilot, and scale up educator evaluation systems that include professional growth, professionalism, and student growth measures to meet the requirements of the individual states and of the federal requirements of the SIG programs and ESEA Flexibility Waivers. Both federal programs require the use of research to put evidence into practice in the educator evaluation systems that are being piloted and will be implemented in the next 2.2 years.