Full S.T.E.M. Ahead! Developing the Organizational Capacity of North Carolina Districts to Plan and Implement High-Quality STEM Education at the Elementary Level

Brief – March 2023 – PDF

In North Carolina, much has been done at the state level in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Career Technical Education to develop curricular opportunities for students in grades 6–12 in response to an explosion of highly sought after STEM careers. However, these statewide efforts to provide engaging and regular STEM curricular opportunities were not widespread at the elementary level. In 2021, the Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) began a project to supplement work underway at the SEA level for grades 6–12 with support for the implementation of rigorous, evidence-based, and project-based STEM education targeting K–5 students.

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Capturing the Opportunity: How ESSA Can Elevate Our Youngest Learners

White Paper – March 2024 – PDF

Equity begins with resources. To achieve this critical goal, states and communities have various resources, but do not always understand how funding can be used to ensure equitable access to high quality early learning environments, such as Head Start, state funded pre-kindergarten, child care centers, and family child care homes, or home visiting. Many communities overlook one important source of funding for early childhood services for children from birth through the age of school entry—the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This document highlights ways in which ESSA can help fund services for low-income children, children from multilingual households, children experiencing housing insecurity, and provides additional resources to support the social and emotional well-being of children.

Children Come First: Ensuring School Policies, Practices, and Strategies Lead to Positive 3rd Grade Outcomes

White Paper – November 2021 – PDF

In this white paper, the authors address the challenges of ensuring equitable student access to high quality early learning environments. The Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) assembled a team of early learning professionals, who determined the need for a statewide collaborative 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. Also included are innovative approaches using research-based, practices for working with young children as they navigate their school experiences. These approaches lead to  recommendations, which are interconnected and intended for administrators and teachers who work with children in preschool, kindergarten, first grade, and beyond.

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Children Come First: Using Research to Guide Practice: 7 Predictors for Positive 3rd Grade Outcomes

Brief – July 2023 – PDF

When making choices about instructional practices that best support the learning of young children, it is important to link practices to the research that supports their use and positive impact on test scores, and most importantly, support children’s development and learning.  Aligned practices are demonstrated within a dynamic coordinated continuum where physical environments, instructional approaches, learning and behavioral expectations, and content change gradually and seamlessly in response to children’s learning needs and developmental competencies.

In this brief, the authors highlight seven research-based practices that can help our youngest students  be successful and are predictive of 3rd grade outcomes.

Family Engagement Supports and Resources: South Carolina

Brief – March 2022 – PDF

Research suggests that no matter the socio-economic status or background of a student, if their parents and families are engaged in their education, they are more likely to do better in school and stay in school longer (Epstein and Associates, 2018). As a result, many educational leaders are deeply committed to supporting districts, schools, and communities to engage parents and families more actively in the overall development of their students.

The information in this document is intended as a resource for those in South Carolina doing the important work of supporting family engagement. That is, as State Education Agency (SEA) staff and others provide technical assistance to districts and schools, share research and best practices, and continuously reflect on and improve parental involvement policies/practices across the state, the RC6 at SERVE offers this document as a roadmap of who is doing what work.

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Georgia Dyslexia Pilot Program School-Level Implementation Analysis

Brief – May 2023 – PDF

The purpose of this brief is to provide information about school-level implementation of the three-year Georgia Dyslexia Pilot Program. In 2019, the Georgia Assembly passed Senate Bill 48 (Georgia Code §20-2-159.6 or S.B. 48) into law. Beginning in the 2024–25 school year, S.B. 48 and Georgia Board Rule 160-4-2-.39 will require local school systems to screen all kindergarten through grade 3 students for characteristics of dyslexia. To prepare for this statewide mandate, S.B. 48 also required the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) to conduct a three-year pilot program (2020–23) to screen students for characteristics of dyslexia, provide reading intervention services to those who need support, and monitor students’ progress to determine whether the intervention improved students’ language processing and reading skills.

Georgia Dyslexia Pilot Program Implementation Analysis: 2019-2020

Brief – December 2020 – PDF

The purpose of this brief is to provide information about the initial planning for the three-year Georgia Dyslexia Pilot Program leading up to the 2020-21 school year. The Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) at SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the RC6 partner, Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), developed this brief at the request of, and in collaboration with, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE).

The brief begins with a description of Georgia Senate Bill 48, which established the Dyslexia Pilot Program. Following this is a summary of how the GaDOE structured its leadership of the pilot, as well as a description of the work the GaDOE and the pilot districts performed prior to Year 1 (2020-21) of the three-year program. Important aspects of the districts’ planning for implementation of the dyslexia pilot are summarized, followed by challenges and needs expressed by the districts in interviews conducted by SREB for RC6. The brief concludes with future training needs and policy considerations.

Executive Summary of the Georgia Dyslexia Pilot Program Implementation Analysis 2020-2021

Brief – December 2021 – PDF

In 2019 the Georgia Assembly passed Senate Bill 48 into law. The bill requires school districts to begin screening all kindergarten students and students in grades 1–3 who have been identified through the Response to Intervention process for characteristics of dyslexia beginning in 2024–25 (Georgia Code §20-2-159.6 or S.B. 48). To prepare for this statewide mandate in 2024–25, the bill also requires that the GaDOE conduct a three-year Dyslexia Pilot Program.

This executive summary highlights information collected through virtual interviews with pilot district leaders. Findings relate to the following four areas: implementation approaches, screening, instruction and intervention, and progress monitoring and data-based decision making.

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Implementing MTSS in Secondary Schools: Challenges and Strategies

Brief – Revised January 2023 – PDF

The purpose of this brief is to provide information about and practical strategies to help secondary schools implement a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) with an academic focus. The Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) at the SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and RC6 partner, Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), developed this brief at the request of, and in collaboration with, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE).

The document begins with a short definition of MTSS, followed by a description of the main challenges secondary schools report facing when implementing MTSS. It then offers possible solutions for secondary schools who are in early implementation phases. These strategies come both from research and from practice in secondary schools that have implemented MTSS.

Implementing Trauma-Informed Practices in Rural Schools

Brief – September 2021 – PDF

Children and youth in rural areas represent a substantial proportion of U.S. students. More than 9.3 million students—or nearly one in five students in the U.S.—attend a rural school, and nearly half of those rural students live at or below the poverty line (Showalter et al. 2019). Given the increased levels of stress, anxiety, and trauma experienced as a result of the pandemic, by both children and adults, many educators are seeking guidance to support students by implementing trauma-informed (TI) practices in schools.

School communities in both urban and rural settings need TI supports; however, the adversities experienced and access to student supports may be unique to rural school communities. In addition, the contextual challenges experienced by rural schools and communities, as well as the strengths that can be drawn from them, will require adaptations of the TI approaches. Therefore, this research brief seeks to highlight the need for, and the importance of, implementing TI approaches in rural school communities, and shares recommendations for planning and implementation by schools and districts. The brief is intended for educators, leaders, and practitioners at the school, district, and state level who are in the initial stages of considering TI approaches and/or planning the implementation process.

NC Equity Plans: Proposed District-Level Strategies

Report – December 2020 – PDF

This document is an exploratory review of district-level equity plans that are publicly available in the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s web-based management system. The purpose of this review is to gain a better understanding regarding the various types of equity strategies proposed by local education agencies (LEAs) across the state.

The first two sections of this report (I and II) provide context regarding the need for equity plans at both state and local levels and the third section (III) provides an overview of the various types of strategies proposed by the LEAs. The final section (IV) discusses considerations regarding North Carolina’s LEA equity plan development, implementation, and monitoring process for future years.

Informational Resources on Improving Social and Emotional Learning and Outcomes

Rapid Response – June 2020 – PDF

Because the area of improving students’ social and emotional outcomes is of such interest to so many (and the reports/publications/online resources are so numerous), this document attempts to organize the information into categories for more streamlined sense-making. In generating this reading/resource list, we started with a searchable database of resources at the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety (a U.S.-Department-of-Education-funded national center at WestEd). We expanded this list as other resources were referenced by initial documents and then as several experts in the SEL area suggested additional references to include. The reports/resources are free and easily accessible online (links provided).

Lessons Learned Around Reducing Inequitable Access to High Quality Teachers

Brief – October 2020 – PDF

In July 2014, the U.S. Department of Education launched the Excellent Educators for All Initiative to address the struggles low-performing schools often experience with both teacher and principal hiring issues. The initiative was intended to encourage states and districts to develop and implement plans to increase access to excellent educators. In 2016, the North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) developed the Teacher Compensation Models and Advanced Teaching Roles (ATR) pilot program. Initially, a three-year pilot, the program was revised in 2018 to become an eight-year pilot through the 2024-2025 school year. This document provides insights into some of the early lessons learned in implementing the program.

Better Together: A Coordinated Response for Principals and District Leaders

Brief – August 2020 – PDF

It is no secret that successful school leadership starts with the principal. But who is taking care of school principals and ensuring their well-being? A principal’s needs must be addressed before they can effectively address the needs of their school community. District leadership must prioritize the needs of principals who in turn, will empower the school-based crisis response teams to address the needs of the school community. The purpose of this brief is to provide readers with a structured approach to manage the social-emotional well-being of the adults in the school building, post COVID-19 closures. The phrase, “better together,” has never been truer as school communities embark on the uncharted territory of virtual, hybrid and/or physical re-entry after an extended school closure.

How Pandemic Relief for K-12 Education Can Support Early Childhood

Brief – July 2021 – PDF

Congress has made three separate appropriations from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to schools, all of which include allowable uses of funds for early childhood activities:

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (ESSER);
  • Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act of 2021 (ESSER II); and
  • American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 (ESSER III).

This brief offers information about the allowable uses of funds as well as the continued need and multiple opportunities to prioritize early childhood education to ensure the youngest learners and their families are supported and included in all local education planning.


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This website was developed under a grant from the Department of Education through the Office of Program and Grantee Support Services (PGSS) within the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), by the Region 6 Comprehensive Center (RC6) at the SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro under Award #S283B190055. This website contains resources that are provided for the reader’s convenience. These materials may contain the views and recommendations of various subject matter experts as well as hypertext links, contact addresses, and websites to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of any outside information included in these materials. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Education. No official endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education of any product, commodity, service, enterprise, curriculum, or program of instruction mentioned in this document is intended or should be inferred.

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