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ARRA Dialogue Series

Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West hosted a series of web conferences in order to find ways to provide information, tools, and resources to help educators and policymakers in the Great Lakes region track ARRA developments and establish a regional network of information sharing. Each event in the four month series looked at a different aspect of ARRA, and provided SEA’s opportunities to network with other states and experts on each topic.

May 28, 2009: On Communication Strategies
The first Web conference, titled “Communication Strategies for State Education Agencies,” featured two guests who helped provide a look at communications from the state perspective and the district perspective.
Jann Jencka, educational advisor with the Michigan Economic Recovery Office, shared information from a state perspective and Mary Kusler, assistant director for advocacy and policy at the American Association of School Administrators, spoke from a district perspective.
The Web conference also gave the participants the chance to highlight and discuss effective communication strategies in the Great Lakes region and provided some specific examples from the Colorado and the Oregon departments of education.

June 16, 2009: On Waiver Strategies
The second Web conference, “Waiver Strategies for State Education Agencies,” was designed to assist SEAs in increasing their general knowledge about ARRA and waivers. The event provided specific examples of state approaches to waivers, responded to specific SEA questions and concerns regarding waivers, and continued to foster conversations across the states through an informal network.

Discussing ARRA waivers were three featured guests. Andrew Brownstein, editor of the Title I Monitor at Thompson Publishing; and Trish Boland, Ph.D., Title I coordinator of the Office of Federal Program Administration, and Cheryl Miller, Ed-Flex coordinator, both from the Colorado Department of Education.

July 10, 2009: On Guidance from the Office of Management and Budget
The third Web conference, “How Much Does OMB’s Guidance Really Tell Us?” reviewed the latest information about the recently released timeline for ARRA reporting guidance. Trish Brennan-Gac, counsel and senior policy advisor at Learning Point Associates also provided additional information about the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)-sponsored webinars in late July on the implementation of the reporting guidance.

Also featured at the event was Cynthia Brown, deputy director of the Risk Management Service of the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education.

August 5, 2009—On New ARRA Programs
On August 4, 2009, the U.S. Department of Education hosted an invitation-only Education Stakeholders Forum. Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West representative Trish Brennan-Gac, counsel and senior policy advisor at Learning Point Associates, attended the event and spoke to Education Department representatives about the questions and concerns raised by SEAs in the Great Lakes region regarding the recently released Race to the Top and other ARRA program draft materials.

Great Lakes East and Great Lakes West hosted a Web conference on August 5, 2009, the day after the Education Stakeholders Forum, to share the information and insights that were provided by the Education Department in response to the state questions and concerns. Brennan-Gac facilitated the Web conference, titled “Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation Fund, and State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Phase II.”