Promoting Equitable Access at the State and Local Levels Regional Institute

Each year, the SECC provides a regional institute in an identified priority area for SEAs. The SECC will support the attendance of a team from each state for the institute. Additional follow up will take place after the institute to aid statewide implementation efforts.

This project is in the following state: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina.

This project relates to the following ED Priorities:

  • Identifying, recruiting, developing, and retaining highly effective teachers and leaders
  • Turning around the lowest-performing schools
  • Building rigorous instructional pathways that support the successful transition of all students from Secondary education to college without the need for remediation, and careers




Previous Work Updates



Two SECC states, Georgia and Mississippi, were selected to participate in the Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy’s first cohort, which will allow them to collaborate to design and implement innovative talent management strategies to attract, support, and retain excellent educators in the highest need, lowest performing schools. The states were notified that the first T4TLA national conference will be December 1–2, with the introductory T4TLA webinar for RCC/SEA/LEA teams set for November 1. The two states were asked to work closely with SECC to ensure that they named and confirmed district partners and named a complete team of staff to participate. Submission of completed tables to the Great Teachers and Leaders Center (GTL) at AIR was requested by October 14. In support of the cross-department collaboration encouraged by T4T, states were asked to identify a minimum of two SEA staff and two LEA staff from each participating district, with a focus on staff who are responsible for school improvement and educator effectiveness/equitable access.


SECC staff shared information with its five SEAs regarding the September 16 Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy (T4TLA) informational webinar for SEAs, regional comprehensive centers, and national partners. SECC state liaisons emailed a webinar invitation to SEA staff members responsible for educational equity and effectiveness and school improvement. During the September 16 webinar, participants collaborated with colleagues from RCCs, other SEAs, and districts to link talent management systems to school improvement efforts to attract, support, and retain effective educators in the states’ highest need schools and districts. Participants learned about the T4TLA’s purpose and structure, previewed the criteria and expectations for T4TLA participation, and discussed other aspects of the T4TLA. Subsequent to the webinar, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi indicated an interest in participating in the T4TLA. The corresponding state liaisons worked with the Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi SEAs via onsite meetings, conference calls, and emails, to complete their self-assessments for submission to the T4TLA planning team by September 30.


SECC staff participated in planning regarding the proposed follow-up national activity, Talent for Turnaround Leadership Academy (T4TLA), from the June 20 T4T meeting. The T4TLA is a multiyear initiative designed to help academy participants link equitable access and school improvement efforts at the state and district levels through development of coherent and aligned talent management systems that attract, support, and retain effective educators in high-need schools and districts. Year 1 proposed short-term outcomes are twofold: increasing participants’ knowledge and capacity to design and implement talent management systems in the lowest performing schools and districts and developing and using research-based tools and resources to support talent management in the lowest performing schools and districts. Staff from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, the Center on School Turnaround, and regional comprehensive centers will collaborate to provide strategic support to participating state education agencies and districts in attracting, supporting, and sustaining educator talent in high-need, low-performing schools. In preparation for an August 23 conference call with the SECC director, SECC state liaisons reviewed documents regarding the proposed T4TLA including the following: (a) T4TLA concept paper, (b) PDF of the August 17 webinar presentation, (c) draft Word version of the T4TLA readiness self-assessment rubric, (d) sample language for Year 5 work plans, and a (e) draft memorandum of understanding. SECC staff also provided feedback on the state T4TLA readiness self-assessment rubric to the GTL Center. As a follow-up to the August 23 conference call, SECC staff will review the readiness levels of its states for potential inclusion in the T4TLA.


SECC staff reviewed and provided feedback on WestEd’s draft framework for the T4T Leadership Academy. SECC also participated in the annual Joint Center Planning Meeting: Year 5 for content and regional comprehensive centers on July 20–22 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. During the meeting, potential follow-up activities to the June 2016 T4T national meeting were explored for inclusion in the centers’ Year 5 work plans. Collaboration between the content and comprehensive centers was repeatedly emphasized during the meeting to ensure effective T4T follow-up in Year 5.


SECC participated in the American Institutes for Research/WestEd 2016 national meeting, Talent for Turnaround: Support for Systemic Change. The event was hosted by the Texas and West Regional Comprehensive Centers (RCCs) and the Centers on Great Teachers and Leaders (GTL) and School Turnaround (CST). The purpose of the meeting was to maximize the roles of highly effective teachers and leaders to promote systemic change in low-performing schools across state and local school turnaround efforts. The stated participant outcomes were to (a) increase knowledge about research and evidence-based practices for promoting educator equity and school turnaround, including practical strategies and tools, (b) explore and develop strategies that build upon current efforts for implementing and sustaining school reform and educator equity, (c) strengthen state and local efforts to ensure systemic changes in low-performing schools, (d) promote cross-state learning on efforts to improve low-performing schools, and (e) increase RCC capacity to support state and local talent development and school turnaround efforts through existing and new resources and tools. SECC supported the participation of state teams, comprised of individuals responsible for equitable access and school turnaround initiatives, from each of its five states, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  The state teams engaged in cross-team discussions to identify common goals within the state equity and school improvement efforts to leverage resources across initiatives and to employ ESSA to establish shared investment and accountability across stakeholders. Opportunities were provided for participants to learn about evidence-based practices and strategies, to share current best practices in states and districts, and to work collaboratively to apply that knowledge to the creation of plans and implementation strategies that are reflective of state and local contexts. The meeting started with a panel discussion regarding school improvements at the state level. During the meeting, state teams also participated in plenary, concurrent, and team-working sessions. The plenary sessions focused on school improvement efforts at the local level, the collective impact of school turnaround, and ESSA implications for talent for turnaround efforts. The following concurrent sessions enabled state team members to select those sessions that aligned with their current needs: turnaround leader competencies, talent development, maximizing federal funds to support school improvement, alternative staffing models, politics of school improvement, working conditions, social and emotional learning, and parent engagement. Additionally, participants partook in a series of three state team-working sessions, facilitated by SECC staff. Session 1 focused on the current implementation status and goal setting for the states’ school improvement and equitable access efforts. Session 2 centered on strategies for sustainable and systemic change. The final teamwork session, Session 3, assisted state teams in planning for sustained implementation of school improvement and equitable access within the context of ESSA. The Talent for Turnaround EventMobi assisted participants in setting up a personal profile, selecting sessions to add to their personal schedules, accessing session materials, participating in live polling, and locating logistical information.


SECC staff finalized the event webpage for its Year 4 institute, Promoting Equitable Access at the State and Local Levels. The event page includes an institute overview and outcomes as well as links to the agenda, presenters, program, presentations, photo gallery, participant list, and the evaluation summary. Additionally, an e-mail was sent to participants and targeted individuals thanking them for their participation and/or interest and advising them of the availability of the regional institute webpage. It can be accessed at   The Year 4 institute work is now completed, with this update being the final one for this project.


SECC staff focused their work on finalizing the regional institute event page. They reviewed the pool of institute photos, selected those for inclusion, and are in the process of publishing them on the event page. Other additions to the event page include the institute evaluation summary, presenters’ materials, and the participant list. An e-mail announcing the availability of the institute materials was created, and an e-mail campaign will be conducted in February 2016 to announce that the event page is available for viewing.



SECC and TXCC staff jointly led a discussion on the Year 4 institute, Promoting Equitable Access at the State and Local Levels, during the December 9 quarterly CC staff meeting. An overview of the regional institute was provided, including potential institute follow-up activities, with feedback solicited from staff members. A recommendation was made that early childhood be considered as a topic for the next institute. In December, state specific follow-up was initiated and will continue into 2016. A follow-up e-mail regarding the uploading of institute materials to the event site will be sent to participants, AIR, and U.S. Department of Education project staff in January 2016. CC staff also will receive the link to the institute materials.


The Year 4 institute, Promoting Equitable Access at the State and Local Levels, jointly led by SECC and TXCC, was conducted November 3–5 in Atlanta. Anticipated SEA outcomes were (a) increased knowledge of initiatives, strategies, and/or practices for supporting and sustaining equity at state and district levels; (b) increased understanding of opportunities and challenges in supporting and sustaining equity at state and district levels; and (c) increased awareness of national experts and other professionals who may be used as resources on issues around equitable access. All five of the SECC states and Texas sent teams, ranging in size from 2–5 participants, for a total of 19 SEA participants. The institute format included plenary and concurrent sessions, an SEA panel session, state team reflection times, and a Day 1 institute reflection session. Institute sessions focused on moving states forward on equity issues and strategies to aid equity implementation, including the following: (a) strategies for recruiting and retaining effective teachers; strategies to support LEAs in their efforts to improve educational equity; (b) strategies for promoting equity with diverse student populations; and (d) SEA strategies for promoting equity. Information on equitable access resources from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders and the Equitable Access Support Network also were shared to facilitate implementation of the above strategies. As follow-up to the institute, the participant list was updated to include job specific titles to facilitate future networking among the SEA participants. After receiving participants’ approval, the updated participant list was submitted to EASN so that the institute participants would be added to EASN’s mailing list and webinar invitations. State-specific follow-up also will be provided, as identified during the state team reflection times. During the next quarterly check-in call, staff will follow-up with the GTL Center regarding the regional institute and plans for future collaboration. Also, a follow-up e-mail will be sent to participants, AIR, and ED announcing the institute materials are available on the regional institute website.