Alabama/Mississippi Community of Practice


SECC staff will continue its Alabama/Mississippi interstate community of practice that focuses on sharing knowledge and expertise between state education agencies. The Alabama/Mississippi Community of Practice (AMCoP) will continue to provide a forum for Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) and Mississippi Department of Education representatives and stakeholders to interact and collaborate with national experts and staff from other SEAs.

This project is in the following state: Alabama, Mississippi.

This project relates to the following ED Priorities:

  • Turning around the lowest-performing schools
  • Ensuring the school readiness and success of preschool-age children and their successful transition to kindergarten
  • Identifying, recruiting, developing, and retaining highly effective teachers and leaders

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Previous Work Updates

2016

October

After the AMCoP planning meeting held on September 30, SECC state liaisons compiled the meeting notes and sent them to their respective states for feedback and any needed revisions. The meeting notes were finalized and sent to each state on October 31. The next AMCoP planning meeting is scheduled for January 4, 2017.

September

Last month, the AMCoP planning conference call was postponed due to the hiring of a new Alabama state superintendent. Following up on the postponement of this August 4 AMCoP planning conference call, SECC staff rescheduled the meeting with both SEAs with the support of a Doodle poll. It was determined that the meeting would take place on September 30 via GoToMeeting. To prepare for this planning meeting, SECC staff met internally on September 21 to develop an agenda and note-taking templates for use with GoToMeeting.   SECC state liaisons facilitated the planning meeting on September 30. The states discussed meeting logistics, potential agenda topics, and next steps. The states selected March 29–30 and April 4–5, 2017, as potential dates for Work Session #4 and are considering Starkville or Columbus, Mississippi, as possible locations for the meeting. Topics for discussion ranged from educator effectiveness to how states effectively communicate with teachers. The SEAs will share these potential topics and dates with other SEA staff to confirm them for Work Session #4. The next SECC facilitated planning call is scheduled for January 4.   In addition to preparing for its upcoming AMCoP planning meeting, SECC staff shared ESSA and STEM resources with the AMCoP team members this month.

August

In August, the Alabama State Department of Education selected a new state superintendent of education. Due to this leadership change, ALSDE requested that the September 20–21 AMCoP Work Session #4, and the corresponding August 4 planning conference call, be postponed until a later date. The rationale for postponement was that the ALSDE team wanted to ensure that the focus of the upcoming AMCoP session aligned with the educational direction of the new state superintendent. The Mississippi Department of Education agreed to the postponement. SECC will contact both ALSDE and MDE in September to reschedule the planning conference call to identify topics and dates for the AMCoP Work Session #4.

July

SECC staff developed an agenda to guide the discussion for the upcoming GoToMeeting (GTM) session scheduled August 4 to plan the September 20–21, 2016, AMCoP Work Session #4. Anticipated outcomes for the planning meeting are to discuss meeting logistics, identify SEA topics, and cocreate a draft of the work session agenda. SECC staff updated the calendar invitation sent to SEA staff to provide them with the GTM access codes and to get their input and feedback on the agenda.

June

SECC supported the participation of four ALSDE and three MDE staff members, who are responsible for equitable access and school turnaround initiatives, at AIR/WestEd’s June 15–17 national meeting, Talent for Turnaround: Support for Systemic Change. Several of these team members also are members of the AMCoP. Multiple times during the June 15–17 meeting, AMCoP issues were discussed by the teams. It was determined that the September 20–21 AMCoP Work Session #4 would proceed as planned and that the AMCoP work would continue in the ALSDE and MDE Year 5 Plans of Work. It also was confirmed that the August 4 date to plan for the September AMCoP work session would proceed as previously scheduled.

May

SECC staff shared resources with AMCoP members, including an Education Week webinar, ESSA Explained: Inside the Nation’s New K–12 Law,  which discusses key aspects of ESSA and what is in store for state and district leaders. A second shared resource was from the Center on Innovations in Learning, featuring its new tools for states on personalized learning. As the team heads into the summer season, SECC staff sent a reminder to SEA staff about the August 4 planning meeting.

April

During the February 8 AMCoP planning conference call, both ALSDE and MDE stated they would like the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to be a topic at the September AMCoP work session. In support of that request, SECC shared ESSA resources with both ALSDE and MDE. Another potential topic proposed by ALSDE was learning how MDE increased reading achievement in the state, as evidenced by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The MDE report, Strong Readers = Strong Leaders: Mississippi Turns Literacy-Based Promotion Act for Third Graders Into Action, was e-mailed to AMCoP members as an introduction to MDE’s literacy work.

February

In late January, MDE notified SECC of a scheduling conflict for the May 4–5 dates for the AMCoP Work Session #4. On February 8, ALSDE, MDE, and SECC staff participated in a planning conference call to discuss revised meeting logistics. The SEAs agreed to revise the meeting dates to Fall 2016. Even though both states stated that it would be best to wait until later in the year to identify and confirm work session topics, they specified that they did want to include the Every Student Succeeds Act on the agenda. Submission of former AMCoP work session documents to the CoP website also was discussed. Subsequent to the meeting, SECC e-mailed a poll to ALSDE and MDE to identify availability for meeting dates in late September to early October. On February 25, a poll summary e-mail was sent to the SEAs requesting their feedback by March 1. The team’s next steps are to confirm the date for Work Session #4. The group identified August 4 as the date for the next AMCoP planning call. Items to be discussed include meeting logistics, topics, and presenters.

January

During the October 2015 AMCoP work session, ALSDE and MDE requested from SECC a compilation of various TA providers available to each SEA. In January, SECC staff completed and shared this report with both SEAs. The report contains a website link, summary, description of services, and TA focus areas that will provide information to help MDE and ALSDE in leveraging TA. In addition, SECC staff added more documents to the AMCoP website, including sign-in sheets and the meeting agenda from the October work session.

2015

December

In December, SECC staff uploaded MDE’s presentation documents from the AMCoP Work Session #3 to the AMCoP website. Work was completed and submitted to ALSDE regarding its request for information about elementary school accountability indicators consistent across schools. Also, as requested during the October AMCoP work session, SECC staff initiated researching information on the list of ALSDE and MDE technical assistance providers. A brief summary, description of services, and TA focus areas will be compiled and submitted to ALSDE and MDE in January 2016.

November

SECC staff submitted ALSDE’s and MDE’s presentation documents from the AMCoP Work Session #3 to SECC’s senior communications specialist for posting to the AMCoP website. Copyright permission was obtained from both SEAs to allow online posting of their documents. During the work session, ALSDE staff requested information about elementary school accountability indicators consistent across schools, and SECC staff worked to research and collect resources to support the SEA in this area.

October

SECC and SEA teams from ALSDE and MDE participated in the AMCoP Work Session #3, held on October 28–29, in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Gulf Shores High School hosted the event and provided participants with a tour of its Career Academy where students rotate among 10 career academies to learn about each one. On Day 1, the morning sessions included topics on career and technical education, graduation requirements, and school counseling. During the afternoon session, SEA staff discussed accountability, internal communication structures, and leveraging assistance from external providers. Day 2 included a discussion of online providers and online course adoption policy, SEA TA providers, and ALSDE and MDE documents for posting to the AMCoP site. Additionally, the SEAs considered possible topics for Work Session #4, which will be held in Mississippi on May 4–5, 2016. Finally, the two SEAs shared their presentation documents with SECC staff who will post hyperlinks to these materials on the AMCoP site.

September

On September 9, SECC, ALSDE, and MDE staff participated in a virtual meeting to continue planning the AMCoP Work Session #3, to be conducted October 28–29, in Gulf Shores, Alabama. During the virtual meeting, the draft October agenda was reviewed. The Day 1 time frame was revised to include time to allow the state teams to tour the high school/academy site. ALSDE and MDE potential presentations were discussed, and the decision was made to identify the various SEA presenters after individual availability was confirmed. Additionally, the submission status of the SEA documents from the May 2015 work session #2 was reviewed. The next planning meeting was scheduled for October 1.

August

SECC staff met virtually to continue planning for the AMCoP Work Session #3, to be conducted in October 28–29 in Alabama. A draft agenda was developed for the next ALSDE/MDE/SECC planning meeting, which is scheduled for September 9. The draft agenda was emailed to our AMCoP contacts at ALSDE and MDE. Upon receipt of their feedback, the agenda will be finalized and resent to the planning meeting participants.

June

ALSDE and MDE staff participated in a conference call with SECC staff to continue planning for the AMCoP Work Session #3, to be conducted in October. Meeting logistics were confirmed, including date, location, and topics. A list was developed of the ALSDE and MDE documents discussed during the May 2105 AMCoP Work Session #2. ALSDE and MDE will email to SECC those documents for posting to the AMCoP website. A statement regarding copyright permission will be included in the email. The next planning conference call was scheduled for September 9.

May

SECC staff and SEA teams from ALSDE and MDE participated in the AMCoP Work Session #2, conducted May 20–21, at the Mississippi Department of Education in Jackson, Mississippi. During the work session, the teams discussed the following topics: regional planning teams, support for priority schools, support for principals and administrators, career and technical education, educator evaluation, and struggling students. The work session concluded with a discussion devoted to plans for the AMCoP Work Session #3. Potential dates, location, and topics were identified, as were ALSDE and MDE documents for posting to the AMCoP website.