Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia

Our Initiatives

The ARCC provides capacity building technical assistance to state education agencies in our region. We collaborate with education leaders and policymakers on an array of initiatives, focusing on issues as diverse as college and career readiness and educator effectiveness. Read further to learn about our current initiatives in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and across the region.

Our 2016-2017 Work

KY-01: KY Next Generation Professionals

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), in collaboration with the ARCC, will design and implement a comprehensive human resource management system, with an emphasis upon equity, which ensures that all students are taught by highly effective teachers in schools led by highly effective principals and other support personnel. KDE will acquire the latest information on effective human resource management systems, professional educator evaluation systems that include student growth as one measure of performance, and knowledge of best practices related to ongoing, personalized professional development structures and processes. ARCC and KDE staff will collaborate with relevant partners to determine parts of the current human resource management system that need revision and plan for those revisions and assess the current online professional development system. Other partners include the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders and the Kentucky Leadership Academy. Ultimately, KDE will establish a vision for effective human resource management, professional evaluation, and professional development systems.

KY-02: Next Generation Support Systems

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has invited the ARCC to partner in its efforts to increase the effectiveness of its statewide capacity building approach to improving student achievement, which seeks to establish systems to help schools and districts effectively use innovative best practices. The ARCC will engage in five primary activities to assist KDE: (1) to identify and report exemplary models of support to low-performing schools, particularly in urban and rural areas, and review the research on closing achievement gaps and improving student outcomes; (2) to build capacity to utilize more effective practices to close achievement gaps and create sustainability within the Rural Low Income Program; (3) to create an online organizational tool that allows districts and schools to share innovative practices and strategies; (4) to share innovative learning resources and tools with schools and districts, including the recently created innovative learning sites; and (5) to share exemplary programmatic strategies for dual language immersion and develop a peer support network for these programs.

TN-01: Personalized Learning Plan

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDE) is continuing to emphasize the importance of effectively using and expanding personalized, online, and blended learning to improve student outcomes and streamline professional development for teachers. TDE has identified three new needs for assistance from the ARCC for this year: (1) data dashboards, (2) micro-credentialing, and (3) competency-based education. The state would like to gain an understanding of best practices, explore development of a supportive policy environment, and develop new structures supporting effective use of personalized, online, and blended learning. By the end of the year, TDE will further develop their definition of personalized learning and expand their repertoire of related initiatives; access resources that will enable informed decisions regarding personalized learning pilots; roll out local activities and implementation of personalized, online, and blended learning; and establish effective state supports that align with requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. TDE and ARCC will also partner with the Center on Innovations in Learning.

TN-02: Social and Emotional Learning

The Tennessee Department of Education (TDE) will continue its partnership with the ARCC and the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (CGTL) to develop a collection of online resources addressing ten evidence-based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) practices assessed via the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model. TDE will consult with ARCC and CGTL as the state develops the remaining eight of ten modules on SEL practices, posts the modules to the TDE website, and provides professional development to school districts. ARCC will also assist TDE in developing 16 video clips (two for each module) illustrating SEL practices. ARCC will help TDE plan and evaluate professional development for local educators on the SEL modules. The modules will be the first professional development available online for educators to use in self-directed ways. The intent is that district and school personnel understand the value of SEL and know how to use the SEL modules.

TN-03: Early Foundations

Tennessee Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen has prioritized early foundations as an area for improvement, and the Tennessee Department of Education (TDE) has begun the development of new policies and structures to improve the quality of programming and outcomes for children in pre-K through the early grades. TDE has requested assistance from the ARCC to (1) roll out a new kindergarten entry assessment, (2) develop and implement policy changes in pre-K licensure and educator preparation, and (3) develop and implement a network of reading coaches. The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes will also partner on this initiative. In addition to consulting with TDE on the roll out of the kindergarten entry assessment, the ARCC will conduct a landscape scan of strong pre-K licensure practices from other states and compare in-state and out-of-state standards and program structure. ARCC will also provide information and consultative technical assistance on the TDE’s implementation of a successful instructional coaching network in reading.

VA-01: Supporting the Use of Formative Assessment Instructional Practices

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) continues to expand its promotion and support of effective formative assessment instructional practices in the classroom, in order to increase the high-quality implementation of formative assessment practices throughout the state. The ARCC will continue to assist VDOE in planning and facilitating initial meetings for teachers and administrators of schools participating in the implementation of formative assessment modules and in supporting these teams throughout the training. The ARCC will also advise and assist VDOE in developing strategies to expand the use of the formative assessment training modules and other online resources to a larger group of educators throughout the state. Lastly, the ARCC will advise and assist VDOE as it seeks to embed formative assessment instructional practices in a coherent, balanced comprehensive assessment system, ensuring that VDOE staff have the knowledge, skills, and resources to help educators understand and use effective formative assessment instructional practices.

VA-02: College and Career Readiness for Students with Disabilities

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has requested assistance from the ARCC to identify and support effective dropout prevention and college and career readiness strategies for students with disabilities. The ARCC will help VDOE determine ways to use information on promising practices employed by other states to support school divisions in implementing services designed to improve graduation rates among students with disabilities. The ARCC also will continue to assist VDOE in identifying other accountability challenges of high schools with low graduation rates for students with disabilities. ARCC and VDOE will partner on this initiative with the Center for College and Career Readiness and Success.

VA-03: School Climate and Social-Emotional Support

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has requested the ARCC’s assistance to identify and support use of effective practices for measuring and utilizing school climate data to improve the social and emotional well-being of students and teachers in Virginia’s most vulnerable communities and schools. The ARCC will help VDOE identify promising practices for supporting school divisions in implementing preventative measures designed to improve the well-being of students and teachers, with an emphasis on supporting students who live in high-poverty areas, have experienced trauma, or are exposed to other high-risk factors. ARCC staff will help VDOE explore practices reported by other state school climate surveys, including training school division teams to use and respond to the resulting data and capacity building for principal and teacher professional development. VDOE and ARCC will partner with the Center on School Turnaround on this initiative.

VA-04: Improving Post-Graduation Outcomes for Virginia Students

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has asked for the ARCC’s assistance to improve the agency’s ability to analyze and use data on college and career readiness outcomes among Virginia students. Specifically, VDOE, ARCC, and the Center for College and Career Readiness and Success will collaborate to enhance staff members’ knowledge and skills to track and contribute to better post-graduation outcomes for Virginia students. ARCC staff will also collaborate with VDOE to determine potential structures or processes to support the implementation of effective practices for tracking and improving post-graduation outcomes and help VDOE begin to plan for the implementation of support structures.

WV-01: Building a Rigorous Early Learning Trajectory for College- and Career-Readiness

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has requested assistance from the ARCC to articulate a statewide vision for what it means to be literate by third grade, including the development of children’s social, emotional, and executive functioning. WVDE plans to use established processes and structures to measure achievement toward select Early Learning Advisory Committee logic model outcomes and develop feedback loops that inform initiative operations. WVDE will partner with national, state, and local literacy leaders to provide technical assistance and resources needed for counties across the state to implement successful grade-level reading campaigns. Ultimately, WVDE’s goal is to conduct sufficient capacity-building of districts to promote and support a comprehensive approach to early learning that results in closing the reading achievement gap by third grade. WVDE and ARCC will also partner with the Center for Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes.

WV-02: Improving Teacher Preparation and In-Service Programs

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) has asked for technical assistance from the ARCC to cultivate a statewide vision for professional learning and support county-wide implementation of the Learning School concept. WVDE plans to develop a statewide logic model and implementation plan, help schools that successfully piloted the Learning School concept share effective strategies with other schools, support implementation in individual districts and schools, and identify expertise within the RESA (Regional Education Service Area) Collaborative Network to strengthen implementation strategies. The ARCC will participate in the monthly Educator Effectiveness and Professional Learning Advisory Council meetings and consult on state-level structures, processes, procedures, and strategies to promote and support implementation of the Learning School model statewide. The ARCC will also assist WVDE in developing training and resources to help schools schedule time for professional learning. Lastly, ARCC staff will help WVDE share success stories from schools that balance time for teacher and student learning and identify professional learning guidance, resources, and examples for Learning Schools.

WV-03 Building the Capacity of the West Virginia Board of Education

The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) has asked for ARCC support with several activities related to best practices for state boards and board professional development, improved collaboration with the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE), and partnership with Imagine WV to plan a revision to the leadership model. The ARCC will advise WVBE in its work with Imagine WV to build the capacity of school administrators to serve as instructional leaders. The ARCC will also assist the WVBE in scheduling a return face-to-face visit with the Kentucky Board of Education for a follow-up discussion to address implementation of new policies and procedures. WVBE staff and the ARCC will collaborate to plan, facilitate, and evaluate a joint WVBE and WVDE professional development retreat to improve inter-organizational teamwork, communication, and collaboration. Lastly, WVBE staff and ARCC will partner to identify, develop, and implement a capacity-building approach to professional development for the WVBE.

WV-04: Using Data-Based Decision-Making to Improve Instructional Practices, Policies, and Student Outcomes

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will partner with the ARCC to refine its integrated ZoomWV and Early Warning System statewide training plan for districts and begin development of a blended suite of training resources for each data tool. WVDE plans to work with Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) and local education agencies (LEAs) to enhance stakeholder awareness and access to ZoomWV and fluency in making informed decisions in conjunction with the Early Warning System. The ARCC will partner with WVDE to develop an integrated training plan for both tools and allocate suitable resources and materials for subsequent data training implementation. The training resources will be designed for use together, separately, or differentiated according to the purpose of training or needs of each user. The purpose is to help RESAs, LEAs, and schools better understand, access, and use WVDE data tools for continuous improvement.

Regional-01: Executive Connections

The ARCC will collaborate with state education agency executives and state board personnel from the four states in the ARCC region to increase opportunities for education leaders to communicate with one another about challenges and promising practices; improve organizational effectiveness, including increased engagement of personnel, burnout mitigation, succession planning and sustainability, and strategic planning; and enhance professional efficacy through a participant-driven professional development learning community. The ARCC will facilitate face-to-face, peer-to-peer, and online discussion and work sessions with state commissioners and assistant commissioners to enhance executive leadership networks, knowledge, skills, and professional support. Secondly, the ARCC will facilitate a follow-up regional peer-to-peer information exchange to discuss common state board challenges and potential solutions. Lastly, the ARCC will offer a suite of customized organizational development services for commissioners and assistant commissioners. Topics may include organizational culture, organizational change, employee engagement, burnout mitigation analyses, and staff training and development strategies.

Regional-02: Beyond College: Enhancing Career Readiness

ARCC advisory board members and state coordinators suggest that state education agencies (SEAs) across the Appalachian region could benefit from additional support to devise and implement strategies to enhance the career readiness of students (other than college)—such as apprenticeships, internships, and job shadowing—including strategies to market and communicate to students more effectively. This initiative expands upon efforts last year to introduce SEA staff to promising career and technical education strategies employed in other states and engage with a network of SEA CTE staff to discuss shared successes, issues, and challenges. The ARCC will continue its CTE webinar series, in collaboration with Advance CTE, and coordinate with regional SEAs to identify SEA representatives and other stakeholders to participate in peer-to-peer discussions about CTE in the Appalachian region.

Regional-03: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Support

State education agencies (SEAs) in the ARCC region face a variety of technical assistance needs as they plan their transitions to implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). These range from shorter-term needs, such as ad hoc questions about specific provisions, to longer-term needs, such as support for stakeholder engagement; review, refinement, and alignment of existing programs; and implementation planning. The ARCC will identify, broker, organize, and provide information and expertise to enhance SEA staff knowledge of ESSA. The ARCC will also assist SEAs in the region to enhance their capacity to review, refine, and establish ESSA implementation support structures by consulting, advising, and facilitating peer-to-peer information exchanges and work sessions.