Collaborating across states to close achievement gaps
The MACC@WestEd helps education leaders in the five-state Mid-Atlantic region collaborate to advance high-priority education improvement initiatives. The Center offers expert consultation on relevant and timely topics, access to research and coaching on best practices underway nationally, and opportunities to convene and partner with peers in other states in the Mid-Atlantic region through in-person and virtual activities. We collaborate with national experts and leaders in our five states to identify and design the areas of support to be offered regionally.
Featured Projects & Publications
Diverse and Culturally Responsive Teacher Workforce
Today, for the first time, students of color make up more than half of our public school population, and that number is only growing. In 2026, White students are projected to make up only 45 percent of total enrollment in our nation’s schools while the enrollment of students of color, particularly Hispanic, Black, and Asian/Pacific Islander students, is expected to increase. Yet while student demographics are shifting, the makeup of the educator workforce is not. In contrast, 84 percent of teachers are White. In fact, more than 40 percent of public schools in the United States today do not have a single teacher of color. Research strongly suggests that while all students benefit from being educated by teachers from a variety of different backgrounds, races, and ethnicities, students of color experience particular benefits when they have opportunities to learn in classrooms led by teachers from their own racial or ethnic group. Positive exposure to individuals from a variety of races and ethnic groups can help break stereotypes, increase comfort with differences, reduce implicit biases, and lead to innovation and greater social cohesion among students and teachers alike. Additionally, there is an emerging research base that links culturally responsive teaching to positive student academic and behavioral outcomes.
The MACC Regional Initiative Diverse and Culturally Responsive Teacher Workforce will support each state and the group collectively to:
- Identify common challenges for increasing the diversity of the teacher workforce and ensure teachers enact culturally responsive practice;
- Problem-solve and learn about research- and evidence-based best practices to achieve these goals;
- Develop measurable goals and implement strategies to achieve them; and
- Establish progress monitoring routines and assist with tracking success toward achieving goals.
Building a Foundation for School Discipline Reform
Access to high-quality data on school discipline is essential for eliminating disparities in school discipline practices and for developing policies that maximize student outcomes. State education agencies (SEAs) can play important leadership roles in helping schools and districts gather these data and in advancing equitable, data-driven approaches to school discipline.
Read this brief to learn the five key steps that state education agencies (SEAs) can take to improve how they collect, publicly report, and use school discipline data.
Implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Across the Mid-Atlantic
The MACC@WestEd is working both individually and collectively with states in the region to align state priorities with new opportunities to rethink supports for districts and schools through ESSA. This work incorporates a range of strategic activities, from stakeholder training to engagement of local education agencies (LEAs). Specific projects related to this work include:
- Co-developing and facilitating LEA meetings to train and support staff on evidence-based implementation activities
- Refining state education agency (SEA) needs-assessment tools to support school improvement
- Helping SEAs best utilize the consolidated grant applications submitted by their LEAs as tools for alignment of services and supports
- Facilitating needs assessment and strategy co-development around educator retention
Increasing Equity Through High-Quality Charter Schools
With the understanding that high-quality authorizing practices are critical to the charter-school sector, this initiative focuses on emerging policy areas that also hold promise for creating more equitable access to high-quality charter schools. The February 2018 kick-off event highlighted several policy features for federal, state, and local policymakers to consider when designing policies that supporting equitable access to charter schools. These policy features include weighted lotteries, unified enrollment systems, and comprehensive transportation access, all of which can be best implemented when supported by strong district-charter collaborations. Our ongoing support for the Mid-Atlantic states leverages opportunities to enhance equity in the charter sector through these emerging areas of policy and practice, as well as in other areas of challenge identified by each state.
Fostering Collaboration Between District and Charter Schools
How can state and local leaders facilitate collaboration between traditional public schools and charter schools? This toolkit, developed by the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center at WestEd, helps state and local policymakers learn from documented successes, address potential barriers, and facilitate cross-sector initiatives to improve education quality in both traditional public schools and charter schools.
Drawing from interviews with experienced leaders in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, as well as a review of research on collaboration between the traditional public school and charter school sectors and on collaboration in general, this toolkit provides guidance, practical tools and templates, and links to resources for the five stages of the collaborative process.
Supporting Early Learning and Beyond Through Trauma-Informed Practice
This initiative aims to create a better understanding of how stress and trauma affect students’ early learning, ongoing development, and continued learning and progress in school. The initiative also works to better equip state leaders to support educators in responding to students’ needs. Our collaboration with state leadership aims to:
- Strengthen the continuum of services between early learning programs and K–12 educational settings
- Examine opportunities to connect early learning to the larger college- and career-readiness agenda in each state through the Every Student Succeeds Act
- Address the role of school principals in integrating trauma-informed practices into the broader approach to social-emotional learning