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.