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.
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.
Improved, Equitable Early School Experiences
The RC6 will provide resources, leadership, and mentoring for a professional development initiative focused on ensuring equitable access to high quality early learning environments. Support will be provided to participants in a P-3 Leadership program as they develop next steps for their communities along with a focus on prioritizing ESSER funds to support early learning.
The RC6 assembled a team of early childhood experts and practitioners at the state, local, and school level who determined the need for a statewide collaborative in this early childhood area because of the challenge to ensure school policies, practices, and strategies for our youngest learners encompass what research and data tell us is essential to their successful development and learning. Thus, the RC6 will provide resources, leadership, and mentoring for a professional development initiative focused on the development and implementation of early learning recommendations.
Beginning with a cohort of elementary and early learning leaders, the RC6 will provide support as this group participates in a P-3 Leadership Certificate program through the National P-3 Center at the University of Colorado Denver, and subsequently, as the cohort members individually develop next steps for their local communities. Support will include strategies and resources to rethink early learning policies and practices and to prioritize federal funding (including from the state’s ARP) in order to ensure equitable access to learning opportunities for our youngest learners and their families. In addition, leaders will increase knowledge and grow abilities to understand development and content across domains and subject areas thus resulting in improved child outcomes, including the elimination of achievement and opportunity gaps in literacy and mathematics.
Building Engineers in K-5 Classrooms
In alignment with the North Carolina Standard Course of Study, the RC6 is developing implementation plans that, along with statewide support systems, build LEA/school capacity to ensure effective STEM education via the engineering design process within regular K-5 classroom instruction.
The RC6 will support the facilitation of a leadership team in the process of creating a 2-year plan to spread high-quality STEM practice throughout their elementary classrooms. These plans will be driven by local context and strategic plans. Six LEAs chosen for the initial cohort will receive in-district professional development as well as ongoing support throughout implementation.
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 work of the 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.
Positive School Climates- Focusing on the best use and measurement of data to improve student motivation, social emotional development and behavioral engagement. Also working to empower families to support their student's engagement.
The Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) addresses HLP 4 by implementing a customized annual plan of support for each SEA in using School Climate data; designing and implementing a system of support to LEAs and CSI/TSI schools on evidence-based practices to improve behavioral engagement; and working with SEAs to support LEA/CSI school use of EBPs to empower families to choose high quality education settings and opportunities.