Donna Brown serves as the Region 6 Comprehensive Center SEA Principal Liaison for North Carolina. Prior to joining the RC6 team, Donna served as the Director of Federal Program Monitoring and Support for the NC Department of Public Instruction. She has worked thirty-seven years in education, beginning her career as a third grade teacher in the Foothills of NC. She has served in multiple leadership roles focusing on instructional excellence, continuous school improvement, and services to underserved populations. In her free time, Donna enjoys spending time with her granddaughters and working on home improvement projects.
The Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) provides state-level support to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI),as well as to some of the 116 Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) throughout the state. NC DPI’s vision is for every public-school student to graduate ready for post-secondary education and work, and to be a globally engaged and productive citizen.
To assist in achieving this vision, and to address key High-Leverage Problems (HLPs) in the region, RC6 builds capacity at multiple levels through technical support and consultative services created with key issues in mind: low-performing schools, more equitable access to quality educators and state-level policy implementation.
Building Collaborative Structures Around ESSA Implementation
RC6 provides individualized consultative services over five years to assist NC DPI in improving lines of communication across divisions to more effectively serve low-performing schools. The avenue for this work opens up within the SEA’s implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the needs of NC DPI as it identifies and aligns program initiatives at the state level.
NC DPI has Regional Support Teams and a cross-agency leadership team, the Guiding Coalition, to help improve its services to schools and reduce internal silos within the SEA. RC6 is conducting a needs sensing through interviews with key NC DPI staff to understand state-level challenges in coordinating support across the various SEA divisions for two categories of low-performing schools: Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools and Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) schools.
Important RC6 services for this initiative include facilitating meetings of the Guiding Coalition and developing a data profile template to illustrate Title I resource allocation at the LEA level within the Regional Support Team system. RC6 will also explore the training needs and consistency of roles across the Regional Support Teams to provide feedback to the ESSA implementation group.
Supporting CSI Schools Implementing Innovative Partnership Grants (IPGs)
RC6 provides support effective implementation of IPGs in 20 CSI schools in North Carolina. NC DPI established a competition to award IPGs to CSI schools in the spring of 2020. This grant provides additional fiscal resources, technical support, and site visits to improve student achievement and, ultimately, to assist these schools with exiting the federal identification/status of CSI.
RC6 will conduct an analysis of the approved applications to explore the consistency of important roles in the grant program: the IPG school coaches and school principals. As well as helping NC DPI explore the costs of the program, RC6 is partnering with the Academic Development Institute to provide two days of professional development to teams from the 20 IPG-funded schools.
LEA Strategies to Reduce Inequitable Access
RC6 supports the NC DPI Director of Human Capital and the Director of Federal Programs as the SEA encourages more strategic use of data and planning to develop evidence-based strategies for addressing inequitable access to effective teachers. This work involves conducting needs sensing meetings with HR Directors of rural and urban LEAs to obtain their feedback on data visualization tools developed by the NC DPI Director of Human Capital. RC6 will be able to provide a feedback loop from LEAs to NC DPI by relaying how districts use the tools to understand and monitor progress on indicators of equitable access.
RC6 will support LEAs as they search for and implement innovative and evidence-based strategies for retaining and strategically deploying their effective teachers. Public Impact, a school improvement organization in North Carolina, will partner with RC6 to develop lessons learned from the organization’s “Opportunity Culture,” which involves maximizing the use of experienced and effective teachers across multiple classrooms in a school. Public Impact and RC6 will invite interested LEAs to an Innovative Strategy Sharing Meeting in summer 2020 to discuss their implementation experiences along with any emerging evidence of the impact of “Opportunity Culture” at CSI/TSI or rural schools.
Support for Alternative Learning Programs and Schools in North Carolina
The RC6 supports to NCDPI in helping alternative learning program principals and teachers develop a Community of Practice that includes problem solving, professional development, and data driven conversations to strengthen the improvement plans of alternative schools. The goal of the project is to build capacity at both the SEA and LEA level by supporting and expanding the ALPS network to include all Alternative Schools within the state.
The goals of the network are to allow Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) alternative schools and programs to network and share in a Community of Practice that encourages collaboration and problem solving with research-based strategies specific to the alternative setting.
This project began in Year 2, offering monthly workshops on topics that surfaced from the principals focus group. Workshop topics for the 2020–21 school year include trauma-centered instruction, building connections and relationships, and building a culture of inclusiveness. The project will also provide state-level support to NCDPI, as well as to the Superintendent of the Innovative School District, who oversees all Alternative Programs and Schools within North Carolina.
The RC6 will partner with RTI International to provide professional development to the ALPS in addition to offering a two-day virtual conference. RC6 will also develop a virtual Community of Practice, allowing network participants to share resources and to connect virtually.
Statewide Support to Low-Performing Schools-
Emphasize collaborative work across SEA units to deliver evidence-based programs to CSI and TSI schools.
Building capacity to address High-Leverage Problems(HLPs) drives much of the workofthe Comprehensive Center Network and its 19 Regional Centers.The Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) addresses HLP 1 in North Carolina by building collaborative structures around ESSA implementation and supporting CSI schools as they implement their awarded Innovative Partnership Grants.
Equitable Student Access to Effective Teachers and Principals-
Develop innovative strategies and knowledge sharing to reduce inequitable access.
Building capacity to address High-Leverage Problems(HLPs) is integral to the mission of the Comprehensive Center Network and its 19 Regional Centers. The Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) addresses HLP 3 in North Carolina by focusing on LEA strategies to reduce inequitable access, including co-hosting an Innovative Strategy Sharing Meeting in summer 2020.