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Momentum: A Newsletter of the ARCC
December 2014
In This Issue
New ARCC Regional Initiatives
Formative Assessment in Virginia
College & Career Readiness & Success Center

 Resources & Opportunities   

Seeking to ensure equitable access to excellent educators for students of color and students from low-income families? See the U.S. Department of Education FAQ guidance and Equitable Access Toolkit launched by the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders to support states in this work. 

Looking for a new tool to improve special education planning? Early next year SEAs begin phase one of their State Systemic Improvement Plans. To assist, the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center has created a rubric-based tool: 

Systemic Improvement in the State Education Agency


Wondering how well high school graduates do in college? The Data Quality Campaign finds that 41 states now report how well each class of high school graduates does in college: Data for Action 2014-Paving the Path to Success.

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Editor: Kimberly Hambrick



Just in time for your holiday reading, the December 2014 issue of ARCC Momentum looks at our new regional initiatives, exciting work in Virginia on formative assessment instructional practices, the College & Career Readiness & Success Center, and an array of other resources for education reform
Keep Your Eyes Open for Regional News    

The ARCC is pursuing three new initiatives to bring together the leadership of the state education agencies of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia to address urgent concerns and encourage more frequent communication and long-term collaboration on regional issues.

"Our regional offerings equal free professional development for state education agency staff," notes ARCC director Caitlin Howley. "You can meet with peers from other states to talk about how they deal with issues you deal with too. Or you could join an online book study to learn about emerging issues in school turnaround, or participate in a group exploring novel ways to help non-college bound students become career ready. We're planning lively, interactive projects, and hope that state staff join in to learn alongside us!"


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Executive Connections.The ARCC is collaborating with state education agency (SEA) executives across the region to structure opportunities to communicate with one another more frequently about current challenges and related best practices. The ARCC will facilitate a spring 2015 meeting and support the creation of an online forum to serve as a personal/professional development learning community for these SEA executives. Concerns on the agenda include improving organizational effectiveness through attention to increased engagement of personnel, burnout mitigation, succession planning and sustainability, and strategic planning.


Enhancing Career Readiness of Non-College Going Students. The ARCC is leading this initiative to enhance the capacity of SEA staff to address the career readiness of non-college going students across the region. The ARCC will partner with SEAs to identify representatives from the private sector, career and technical education, and SEAs to participate in an Appalachian Career Readiness Collaborative working group. Next, the ARCC will compile research-based best practices, emerging practices, and novel strategies to inform a series of planned webinars and to identify state-specific strategies.


Instructional and School Improvement Interventions for Underserved Populations. The ARCC is offering SEAs several opportunities to learn about instructional and school improvement interventions for underserved student populations. In collaboration with the Center on Innovations in Learning, the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center, and The Center on School Turnaround, our team will work with the SEAs we serve to explore various state strategies, including promising turnaround practices and the use of mobile applications for English language learner instruction.

Virginia Begins Formative Assessment Professional Development Pilot


The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is partnering with the ARCC to help teachers and school division staff understand and apply effective formative assessment instructional practices in the classroom to enhance student learning. VDOE is conducting a two-year pilot of formative assessment professional development modules beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. Virginia school division map


"We are fortunate to have the ARCC's assistance during the formative assessment pilot," observes Holli Cook, VDOE Assessment Specialist. "Their work with us has been instrumental in the successful launch of this project."


Six school divisions will take part in this first year of the pilot, each fielding a team from one elementary school. Each school team includes a principal, a group of teachers, and a school division administrator. (Some teams also include an assistant principal.) The teams meet at least every two weeks either in-person or online to work through activities from the formative assessment modules developed by the Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation, implement activities in classrooms, and reflect or report results online.


The ARCC will assist VDOE in designing and implementing strategies--such as teacher learning communities, check-ins, webinars, guest speakers, and other resources--to support the participation of teachers and administrators in their study of the formative assessment training modules. VDOE will use the pilot results to inform the expansion of formative assessment professional development opportunities to school divisions throughout the Commonwealth. The ARCC will also advise VDOE of additional training opportunities for VDOE staff to build their capacity to assist local school divisions in adopting formative assessment practices. 


The Comprehensive Center network is augmented by seven Content Centers, which provide resources, tools, and training to regional centers and states. Each Content Center specializes in a key area of reform. This quarter, we introduce the  College and Career Readiness and Success Center (CCRS), which delivers a range of differentiated services that both build capacity and generate new knowledge and resources. The Center's mission is to help states and other stakeholders better inform, align, and support efforts to ensure that all students are ready for success in college and careers. The ARCC has partnered with the CCRS Center on several initiatives, including the regional initiative to enhance the career-readiness of non-college going students, discussed above.


Visit the CCRS Center's website for more information about its services and products, including new research-based products, tools, and professional development resources, developed by the CCRS Center and its partners.