The Region 2 Comprehensive Center (R2CC), led by WestEd, works closely with its technical assistance partner, the Education Development Center (EDC) and its evaluation partner, Mathematica, to provide capacity-building technical assistance, content expertise, and other services to effectively support state education agencies (SEAs) and their regional and local constituents in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island.
R2CC staff provide individualized state support and facilitate regional collaboration among the three states. A key focus for R2CC is promoting collaboration among the region’s states by convening a Regional Advisory Board, designed to discuss potential solutions to shared problems of practice.
Unique to R2CC and its region is a commitment to achieving greater collective impact. Working closely with the Regional Educational Laboratory-Northeast and Islands (REL-NEI), R2CC leverages their capacity and expertise in research and data. R2CC also convened a Regional Coordinating Council that coordinated a group of leaders from other federally funded centers, including the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI), the Equity Assistance Center, and others.
In addition to supporting SEA staff in Region 2 states, as well as other key stakeholders and partners, R2CC supports improved educator and student outcomes through the following projects:
Supporting Connecticut in Developing a Statewide Social and Emotional Learning Framework
R2CC is supporting the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) with the development of a research-based and grade-level (or age-appropriate) aligned framework and system of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to help local education agencies meet the increasing needs of students across the state. REL-NEI will analyze results of the 2019–20 state SEL landscape survey and co-facilitate a stakeholder workgroup, which will inform multiple versions of the framework before it is finalized and approved by the Commissioner for statewide implementation. This endeavor will provide research-based guidance for educators to understand what social and emotional competencies students need to demonstrate throughout their educational careers in Connecticut schools.
Collaborating with Connecticut to Develop a Framework for District System Health
R2CC is supporting CSDE with the development, implementation, and launch of a statewide framework that will enable district leaders to understand, monitor, and evaluate the overall health of the district system. In Year 2, R2CC staff will collaborate with district and SEA leaders to co-develop and pilot the initial version of the framework with a small cohort of districts. Ultimately, this project will facilitate the use of evidence-based decision-making and practices, as well as support a scaled and sustained system for continuous improvement in high-leverage, high-impact priority areas.
Supporting Educator Diversity Efforts in Connecticut
In collaboration with the REL-NEI, the R2CC is assisting CSDE as it undertakes a multi-year process for supporting districts’ development of strategic plans for increasing educator diversity, in compliance with Connecticut Public Act 18-34. In Year 2, R2CC staff will develop a toolkit and provide coaching to districts to support the development of strategic plans. This project is intended to increase educator diversity and Connecticut students’ access to educators from diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds.
Strengthening Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Education in New York
R2CC is collaborating with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in efforts to strategically and systematically implement the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework. In Year 2, staff will support NYSED’s work with a group of key stakeholders in the development of a formal implementation plan and will support the initial phase of the plan. The short-term goal of the project is to build greater awareness and understanding of the Framework, as well as the meaning and significance of culturally responsive-sustaining education. Ultimately, this endeavor will result in LEA and school staff across NY having the knowledge, tools, and resources to support culturally responsive-sustaining education.
Supporting Implementation of the New York State (NYS) K–12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards
R2CC is supporting NYSED as it undertakes a multi-year adoption, rollout, and implementation of the state’s K–12 Computer Science and Digital Fluency Standards. In Year 2, staff will assist with developing an implementation plan and will support the initial phase of that plan to build awareness of the new standards by co-creating supplemental resources (e.g., FAQs, glossary of terms) and planning regional information sessions for educators. Collaboration with the SEA on this project will ultimately support its goal of preparing all of the state’s students to live and work in a dynamic, technology-driven 21st century world.
Supporting New York with Reviewing High School Graduation Measures
R2CC is supporting NYSED to increase its current knowledge and understanding of the research, policy, and practices related to graduation requirements. To achieve these goals, staff will conduct a literature review, a national and international policy and best practices scan, as well as a review, analysis, and synthesis of feedback/input obtained via multiple regional stakeholder meetings and data obtained via an online survey. Staff will prepare and submit to NYSED a comprehensive report and will present to the Board of Regents in fall 2021. This endeavor will result in greater knowledge about requirements for and measures of a graduate who is college, career, and civic ready as a result of their PK–12 schooling experiences. It will also provide greater knowledge and understanding about the perspectives of various stakeholders, including students, parents, and educators, in order to inform NYSED, the NY Board of Regents, and the Blue Ribbon Commission as they consider policy changes regarding graduation requirements in New York.
Engaging Stakeholders to Inform NYSED Regulations Regarding the Process to Determine Substantial Equivalency of Education in Non-Public Schools in New York
Collaborating with NYSED, R2CC will plan and convene a series of virtual stakeholder meetings — for educators representing both public and nonpublic schools, as well as a dedicated meeting for parents, students, and alumni — to determine the process and indicators by which LEAs can make a determination that the education provided in a nonpublic school is substantially equivalent to that provided in a public school, as required by state statute. Staff will provide planning and technical support for all stakeholder meetings, organize data obtained through these meetings, and provide a comprehensive report to NYSED. This project will result in greater understanding of the perspectives of both public and nonpublic school educators, as well as students and families, regarding considerations for determining substantial equivalency.
Collaborating with Rhode Island to Support Diverse and Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Educators in the State
R2CC is collaborating with the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) and key stakeholders to increase the racial diversity of the educator workforce and ensure that all educators implement culturally responsive-sustaining practices. Staff will co-facilitate development of an agencywide equity decision-making tool and develop RIDE expertise and capacity to facilitate accompanying professional learning that guides quality implementation of the tool and other equity-related initiatives. This effort will result in an increased capacity to develop, implement, and monitor new and existing RIDE programs, policies, and practices and confirm they are in alignment with RIDE’s culturally responsive and sustaining efforts and prepare SEA staff for the next phase of work.
Assisting RI with the Implementation of the New Site-Based Management System
Collaborating with RIDE, R2CC is working to design a system for school-based autonomy in which increased, rigorous accountability is paired with increased autonomy in decision-making at the school level. R2CC will provide a guidance document for school improvement teams and a corresponding online learning module. Additionally, staff will work with RIDE to support a school-based autonomy structure to be used in Providence Public Schools. Each of these tasks will empower school leaders — both principals and school improvement teams — to have greater agency in decisions made at the school level and in the outcomes the decisions produce for students.
Supporting RI with the Development of a New District Accountability System
Staff supported RIDE in the development of a new district accountability system in Year 1. In Year 2, R2CC will support RIDE to pilot the system in the 2020–21 school year, including developing communication and training materials, facilitating district leader trainings, and making model refinements for a full implementation in the 2021–22 school year. These efforts will ultimately result in improved understanding and awareness of the district accountability model and its relationship to the existing school accountability model.
Blueprint for Multilingual Learner Success
R2CC is assisting RIDE with the development of a Blueprint for Multilingual Learner (MLL) Success and the implementation of elements of its strategic plan. In Year 2, R2CC will continue to work with RIDE to fine tune the Blueprint and provide implementation support that leverages existing strengths, identifies and prioritizes improvement areas, supports installation and communication processes, addresses sustainability, and supports and reflects on effective stakeholder engagement. The ultimate goal of this collaboration with the SEA is to solidify systemic improvement of policy, regulations, guidance, services, resources, and supports at the state, district, school, and classroom levels.
Strengthening Coherence Around RIDE’s Blueprints for Success
This project provides technical assistance to RIDE to strengthen coherence across multiple instructional blueprints for student success. In Year 2, the Center will conduct a crosswalk of existing instructional blueprint documents for ELA, math, and multilingual learners to develop a common template for refining existing work and informing future blueprints, which will then be used to drive the design of a blueprint for differently abled students. R2CC staff will also assist RIDE with revising the Social Studies standards. The intended result of this work is strengthened coherence regarding standards, curriculum, and high-quality instruction.
Supporting Region 2 States with COVID-19 Challenges
R2CC staff will provide technical assistance to the NYSED, RIDE, and CSDE to address complex policy and practice issues related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In collaboration with R13 and 15 CCs, staff will develop and deliver virtual learning opportunities that address identified COVID-related needs. R2CC staff will also respond to SEA requests for information related to COVID-19 or challenges resulting from COVID-19 (e.g., increased need for SEL, addressing equity gaps, support for distance learning). As a result of this work, the SEAs will be better equipped to address challenges resulting from COVID-19.
Collaboration with Other WestEd-led Comprehensive Centers
Resource Allocation Reviews
Coordinating with R13 and R15 CCs, also led by WestEd, staff will support a series of three virtual cross-state convenings among SEAs served by these CCs to develop a process for periodic resource allocation reviews (RARs) as required by ESSA. R2CC will support teams from the CSDE and RIDE. Participants will develop processes for gathering data and facilitating discussions with LEAs, charters, and school leaders, using student demographic, performance, and per-pupil expenditure data. Further, R2CC will provide additional, individualized support to build the CSDE and RIDE’s capacity to conduct this work independently. While RARs are required by ESSA in comprehensive support and improvement (CSI) and targeted support and improvement (TSI) schools, the ultimate goal is to build SEA and LEA capacity to implement these processes more broadly across Connecticut and Rhode Island, beyond those required to do so under ESSA.