Title III and English Learner Readiness Matters


SECC staff will assist ALSDE Title III and State EL staff with developing resources and training tools to help build LEA capacity to select and implement the Core English as a Second Language (ESL) program and maintain compliance with federal programs.

This project is in the following state: Alabama.

This project relates to the following ED Priorities:

  • Implementing college- and career-ready standards and aligned, high-quality assessments for all students
  • Turning around the lowest-performing schools
  • Ensuring the school readiness and success of preschool-age children and their successful transition to kindergarten
  • Identifying and scaling up innovative approaches to teaching and learning that significantly improve student outcomes
  • Using data-based decision-making to improve instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes

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Previous Work Updates

2016

September

This month, SECC staff completed a draft of the report of the state Title III networking webinar, which they facilitated on July 19 among four SECC states that shared a 15-minute presentation of their EL support systems for technical assistance and professional development. The report includes a description of each state’s support system captured through narrative and summary tables. On September 20, the SECC team sent an email to SEA participants that included a draft of the report requesting feedback by September 28. The email also included a poll for scheduling the next webinar and a request for each state to provide possible topics. Next steps for SECC are to finalize and disseminate the state Title III networking webinar report to each participating state and schedule the second webinar.

August

During the SECC Year 5 work plan meeting held on August 19 in Montgomery, Alabama, members of the ALSDE leadership team requested continued SECC support with the EL Readiness Matters project through year 5. In light of ESSA, the state will be modifying accountability processes for the EL subgroup. Education leaders at ALSDE are interested in finding where gaps occur, exploring current student English proficiency attainment, and determining resource needs. A significant outcome of the Year 5 planning discussion was that the EL Readiness Matters project would need to be integrated with the state’s other SECC project, Plan 2020, in terms of exploring and predicting EL achievement in third grade reading and math. During the Year 5 planning meeting, the leadership team explained that the state’s top priority is to improve achievement in reading and math for all students in Grade 3. Thus, the Plan 2020 Year 5 project team will advance its capacity and efforts in using predictive data analytics that will provide the state leadership team with information on the progress EL students and educators are making with regard to performance on third grade achievement goals. This information will allow for enhanced decision making at the executive level.

July

On July 19, SECC staff facilitated its state Title IIII networking webinar in which ELL coordinators and specialists cross-collaborated with counterparts from Mississippi, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Each state discussed past and current approaches to ELL professional development and support for LEAs and schools serving this population of students. They shared and learned about SEA contexts for EL education in the Southeast, processes SECC states use to provide EL PD for administrators and ESOL and classroom teachers, successes and challenges, as well as their respective processes for systems of support. At the conclusion of the conversation, SEA staff were able to ask questions of their colleagues, and they expressed an interest in scheduling a second networking session. One staff member from Alabama suggested visiting other agencies’ events to learn more about their work on ELL systems support. Next steps are for SECC staff to compile and disseminate a report of the webinar, review survey results, and plan for session #2.

June

SECC project staff prepared for its upcoming SECC state networking webinar whereby Title III coordinators and collaborating colleagues at their departments will be participating. State education agencies planning to engage in this event include those from Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina. SECC staff sent an email to participating staff at ALSDE on June 29 with details on how to prepare for the event. Next steps are for the SEA to complete its 15-minute presentation and send it to SECC staff by July 14. SECC staff will compile each state’s presentation slides into one file, which will be used during the July 19 webinar. Anticipated outcomes for the event are for SEAs to share and learn (a) about SEA contexts for English learner education in the Southeast, (b) about processes SECC states use to provide EL professional development for administrators and ESOL and classroom teachers, (c) about successes and challenges SEAs face, and (d) to reflect on their own processes for systems of support.

May

SECC project staff sent an announcement to all SECC states’ Title III staff on May 6 regarding the center’s plans to host and facilitate a networking webinar where each state with an interest in participating will share their experiences with providing EL professional development and technical assistance to LEAs. After receiving feedback from the EL Readiness Matters team, SECC continued to work on coordinating dates for hosting and facilitating the EL webinar. The Title III coordinator at ALSDE will be participating in this cross-state collaborative to share its successes, lessons learned, and to network with other states in the Southeast. Next steps are to share details with each state about planning and preparing for the webinar and to determine the date.

April

SECC staff shared resources related to ELs and ESSA with the Alabama EL Readiness Matters State Team. One resource was an event hosted by AIR's Education Policy Center in which panelists discussed ESSA and high-quality education for English learners. The other resource was a CCSSO document, Major Provisions of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Related to the Education of English Learners, which explores key ESSA provisions as they relate to ELs, and focuses on important implementation issues, including assessment for SEAs.

March

The Title III director is reviewing the September 12 and 13 dates for the ALSDE Career and Technical Education new teacher institute to be held on September 12 and 13 in Montgomery to determine the feasibility of having a Title III staff member coplan and present an EL training session. Once this determination is made, next steps will be to schedule a planning meeting.

February

A member of the EL Readiness Matters committee invited SECC staff to provide PD on ELs to teachers new to the education field in the area of Career and Technical Education. These teachers are participating in a licensure program through the ALSDE and will be attending a training institute in early Fall 2016 in Montgomery. During the institute, time will be scheduled for an EL session. SECC staff reached out to the Title III director at ALSDE so they could work collaboratively to plan and co-present at this training session.

January

The EL Readiness Matters state team met on January 19 to share current data and program updates from various state offices, including the Learning Supports program, Title III, Equitable Access to Excellent Educators, and Career and Technical Education (CTE). SECC staff contributed relevant information regarding other states’ teacher preparation requirements for general education teachers serving ELs and approved teacher preparation programs and IHE course offerings within those states. The CTE staff member suggested that CTE teachers who are new to the teaching field could benefit from EL training as part of their CTE teacher training and licensure program. Her plans are to connect SECC staff with her training coordinator. During the meeting, the state equity plan coordinator provided the team with the most recent version of the plan and asked Title III staff to recommend four school districts with a large or high-need EL population that could be included as partners who will receive state support in addressing their educator equity related issues. The Title III staff’s next steps are to provide the school list to the equity plan coordinator while CTE staff will be contacting SECC to discuss future training needs. The committee will be reviewing EL student outcome data, and a meeting poll will be distributed to the team to schedule its next meeting.

2015

December

SECC staff continued working on information requests regarding research and equity as they relate to the instruction of English learners. This information will be shared and discussed with the EL Readiness Matters state team on January 19, 2016, in Montgomery, Alabama.

November

The lead for the EL Readiness Matters state team sent out a scheduling poll in November for possible meeting dates in January and early February 2016. They plan to collect and analyze data related to ELs to examine equity for this particular student population. To gear up for this meeting, the team lead requested information from SECC staff regarding resources on current research and data pertaining to equity for ELs. To prepare for the meeting, SECC staff will conduct searches on this topic to share with the team. The director of educator preparation at ALSDE made a similar request during the SECC/TXCC 2015 Regional Institute, Promoting Equitable Access at the State and Local Levels, held in Atlanta in November. She requested information on IHEs that offer coursework focusing on EL instruction for general education teachers. Thus far, SECC staff located six IHEs nationally that are required by their respective SEAs to provide coursework on EL education. Their next steps are to review and create a crosswalk of these IHE programs to provide to both the director and to the EL Readiness Matters state team.

October

The October 2 EL Readiness Matters Committee meeting was postponed to a mid- to late-November date. The committee chair disseminated a scheduling poll in October and will schedule the meeting once she has the results from the team. The proposed topic for the meeting is the collection and analysis of data related to ELs.

September

The October 2 EL Readiness Matters Committee meeting was rescheduled for dates in either later October or early November. In preparation for the meeting, which will focus on EL data, SECC Sr. TA Consultant Heidi Goertzen shared a data analysis planning tool with the EL Readiness Matters Committee chair. This resource may facilitate the process by aligning the committee’s questions and concerns about ELs with data sources, data collection, and analyses.

August

Members of the EL Readiness Matters Committee, including SECC/AIR Senior TA Consultant Heidi Goertzen, convened to share updates from their respective program areas and to begin planning committee activities. As the new school year begins in Alabama, the committee’s focus is to collect and analyze English learner data. As such, SECC staff will create a data summary table to document and facilitate the collection and analysis of relevant data needed to examine equitable practices and student outcomes. Meanwhile, SEA staff will begin collecting available data. The next committee meeting is scheduled for October 2.

July

SECC staff will continue to support the English Learner (EL) Readiness Matters committee by sharing resources and serving as a thought partner as the SEA gears up for its upcoming August meeting.

May

This month, the ELL Readiness Matters Committee chair scheduled the next meeting for August 4 at the Alabama State Department of Education. SECC staff member Heidi Goertzen shared resources of interest with SEA staff.

April

Heidi Goertzen, SECC program associate, provided supportive feedback regarding English learner (EL) resources that the committee chair shared with her and other members. Until the next scheduled meeting, the committee planned to continue the conversation about a system of support for ELs via emails and through the exchange of relevant, research based resources.

March

During this month’s EL Readiness Matters Committee, Heidi Goertzen, SECC program associate, shared the "EL Pocket Guide" that describes how states and districts can support E learners through the ESEA Flexibility Waiver per the first three principles. The Title III director shared program updates and exchanged information from the CCR director on logistics for the EL coaches who will be presenting at the next CCRS quarterly meeting. Next steps include briefing senior leadership on the committee’s progress and getting feedback on the direction the committee will take.

February

SECC Program Associate Heidi Goertzen selected and reviewed salient resources to support the English Learner (EL) Readiness Matters Committee. As such, she outlined key ideas found in these resources and generated related questions for ALSDE staff members to consider as they advance college and career readiness for ELs. She will share this guidance at the March committee meeting.

January

Heidi Goertzen, SECC state liaison, attended the monthly English Learner (EL) Readiness Matters Committee meeting at ALSDE and provided information on what other states are doing to make the College- and Career-Readiness Standards (CCRS) accessible to English learners. Toward that end, Goertzen presented on actions taken nationally, the research behind those actions, and examples of what providing ELs with access to the CCRS looks like in practice. State department staff plan to share these informational resources with their CCRS design team.

2014

December

To apprise members of the English Learner Readiness Matters Committee at ALSDE of what other states do to ensure that the College and Career Readiness Standards are accessible to English learners, SECC staff collected and reviewed information to share on that topic. Some of these items include online reports and briefs that the College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center provided. As a result of this collaboration, the CCRS Center scheduled a monthly conference call to provide SECC and Alabama with more related resources and information. In addition, SECC staff will provide a brief presentation of this information at the next EL Readiness Matters Committee meeting in January 2015.

November

In preparation for a January EL Readiness Matters committee meeting, SECC Program Associate Heidi Goertzen collected information resources regarding how other states address the integration of English learners with college- and career-readiness standards. Goertzen will provide an overview of this topic during the meeting.

October

During this month’s EL Readiness Matters Committee meeting, state administrators for Career Tech Education and the Office of Learning Support provided an overview of their programs and activities. The committee discussed ways these offices can strengthen their support for serving the English learner population. In November, a program administrator from Special Education Services will provide an overview of the program activities conducted by that office and it will hear from SECC Program Associate Heidi Goertzen about how other states are addressing college- and career-readiness standards as they impact English learners.

September

SECC and ALSDE held their Year 3 Work Plan meeting in September to discuss current and future projects. An outcome of this meeting was to expand the EL Readiness Matters Committee to include additional special populations. The next committee meeting is scheduled for October 10.

August

The English Learner Readiness Matters Committee meeting took place on August 7 at the Alabama State Department of Education. Staff from the Title III office presented a snapshot of the state and Title III EL program for committee members representing other departmental offices in efforts to apprise them of the state of the program. The committee discussed the need for SECC Program Associate Heidi Goertzen to support the College- and Career-Readiness Standards (CCRS) professional development design team with technical assistance on making the CCRS accessible to English learners. The next EL Readiness Matters Committee meeting is scheduled for mid-October.

July

SECC Program Associate Heidi Goertzen met with ALSDE staff on July 30 to help prepare for the English Learner (EL) Readiness Matters Committee meeting scheduled for early August. During the meeting, Title III staff members provided an overview of the EL/Title III program, which included demographic and procedural information for serving English learners. Upon discussing this information, the team decided on items to include in the agenda for the following week in August.

June

Heidi Goertzen, SECC program associate, met with the ALSDE EL Readiness Matters Committee in June to reflect on the Readiness Matters: State Collaboration for Success convening held in Atlanta last May. The team reviewed notes from the meeting and discussed important preliminary steps, which include the opportunity for Title III staff to provide an overview of the current state of ELs in Alabama. As such, staff will have the opportunity to describe the Title III program so that committee members from various offices within the department are abreast of EL policies and practices. The committee also discussed appointing an EL specialist to the Alabama College and Career Readiness Core Team. The next meeting is scheduled August 7.

May

Heidi Goertzen, SECC program associate, and a team of ALSDE staff members attended the Readiness Matters: State Collaboration for Success convening in May, which was cosponsored by the Hunt Institute, the National Council of La Raza, and the Southern Regional Education Board. During each day of the convening, the state team was provided time to reflect on and discuss issues related to topics that were shared by national experts in English learner education, assessment, and college readiness. This state team has scheduled its first meeting in June to begin designing a plan of action to ensure that all children in Alabama are college and career ready.

April

Heidi Goertzen, SECC program associate, met with ALSDE staff to help plan and prepare for attending a convening in May cosponsored by the Hunt Institute, the National Council of La Raza, and the Southern Regional Education Board. The convening, entitled Readiness Matters: State Collaboration for Success, will provide the opportunity for state teams to hear from national experts on English learners (ELs) and related topics, and to have focused conversations on goals and plans to ensure ELs are prepared for college and careers. The team from Alabama is composed of specialists with backgrounds in special education, English learners and migrant students, early childhood and preK, curriculum and instruction, literacy, and educational support systems. During the planning meeting, the team reviewed the convening agenda, considered possible data sources needed, and created a repository for resources on ELs for the team to share.

March

Heidi Goertzen, SECC program associate, met with the ALSDE English learner coaching team in mid-March to assist them with further development and refinement of a concept map that visually captures and documents the state EL coaching program, providing them with a clear focus. After developing the concept map, staff engaged in a planning session and created a facilitator’s agenda for an upcoming meeting with Montgomery County Public Schools’ Title III administrative team. ALSDE staff considered the development of the concept map an effective strategy for focusing their program efforts and decided to use this approach with MCPS staff as they build a partnership for an EL coaching program. This partnership was confirmed at the meeting in late March, and a strategic planning meeting is scheduled for late spring.

February

Heidi Goertzen, SECC program associate, met with the ALSDE English learner (EL) coaching team to share a concept map that visually captures and documents the EL coaching program. The team discussed the need to further develop this concept map to better understand the direction of the state’s coaching program and scheduled a meeting in mid-March to address this need. The EL coaching team also considered this tool a useful strategy for conceptualizing and planning for the EL coaching program that will be piloted this fall in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS); they requested support from SECC with this work. The team plans to involve MCPS Title III/ESL (English as a second language) staff and other stakeholders with developing the concept map of the district EL coaching model. A meeting is scheduled for late March to begin that work.

January

The SECC staff and its partner staff from American Institutes for Research (AIR), met with ALSDE English learner (EL) coaching staff during one of their planning meetings to discuss needed support for their EL coaching program. The team also planned for their professional development workshop known as Student Assistance Meetings for Understanding English Learners (SAMUEL), scheduled for early February. During this meeting, SECC staff gave the team a tour of the SEDL website, sharing background information and types of support and services available. The SECC staff and AIR partner staff then met with the EL team to discuss their current program processes and needs. The team requested assistance with providing evidence-based resources to inform their SAMUEL training as well as support development of an EL coaching model in Montgomery Public Schools.

2013

December

Staff from SECC and its partner, AIR, met with ALSDE staff to discuss data sources and collection processes to improve evaluation practices of their migrant education program. The team also made plans for collaboration with ALSDE English language coaching staff in January to determine needs and a possible models of support.

November

Staff from SECC and its partner, AIR, reviewed Title III AMAO LEA Improvement Planning templates developed by different states to use as models for ALSDE staff as they revise their state template. The ALSDE plans to modify its current template with a design that supports LEAs with implementing a core language acquisition program. Upon reviewing and selecting templates from different states, SECC and AIR staff included a brief, written synopsis of each and shared these with Title III and Migrant staff at ALSDE for review.

October

The SECC staff and its partner, AIR, reviewed past evaluations of the Title III program as part of their support to ALSDE on designing an effective program evaluation. A meeting was scheduled for December to finalize plans for technical assistance and training on LEA AMAO Improvement Planning and support with Migrant and Title III program evaluation.

September

The SECC staff and its partner, AIR, met with ALSDE Title III and Migrant staff to discuss technical assistance on program evaluation and Title III initiatives. Specifically, ALSDE staff requested support in developing an appropriate evaluation design for its Title III and Migrant programs and for developing an LEA Improvement Plan template for districts not meeting Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives (AMAOs). The design of this improvement planning tool should guide LEAs in the development and implementation of an effective core language acquisition program. As such, ALSDE requested support with training regional English learner (EL) coaches on these continuous improvement processes. The EL coaches will then build LEA capacity using these tools and training.