Archive for October, 2010

Continued from Welcome to a New Year and New Priorities

The purpose and mission of Great Lakes West has not changed—we will continue to work with the state education agencies (SEAs) and their stakeholders in Illinois and Wisconsin to build SEA capacity to serve districts and schools.

What will not change because of the new priorities? The center will not abandon current work with Illinois and Wisconsin, nor will it pressure or pursue work with the states to address comprehensive center priorities that are not aligned with state priorities for our work. As the center continues planned work alongside the SEAs, we also will continue working with the national content centers and rely on those centers as experts in their content area.

For the past four and one-half years, we have used the comprehensive center priorities as themes and organizers for a lot of our communication and planning. You will see a shift toward the new federal priorities in these areas. Following are several areas in which this change will be visible:

  • The resources on the Great Lakes West website are being reorganized and updated to be more closely aligned. If you know of a good resource related to one of the priorities that we might want to add to these resources, please e-mail us.
  • Newsletter resources, events, and news will be more closely aligned to the federal priorities. Across the Nation news will be organized by the new priorities, as they have been in the past.
  • Future blog posts will be organized by categories aligned with the new priorities.
  • Our upcoming Research Library also will reflect organization based on the new priorities. This will be a searchable online library of research that is relevant to our work and will be available to the public soon. If you know of high-quality research related to one of the priorities that we might want to add to the library, please e-mail us.
  • Finally, when we talk about our work, whatever the venue, we will talk about how that work relates to the priorities and how the priorities support increased state capacity to provide technical assistance to districts and schools.

Throughout the past five years, all of the comprehensive centers, Great Lakes West included, have worked to build an understanding of who we are and what work we do. As our priorities shift for the upcoming year, that goal has become even more important. If there are any questions about the priorities that these two posts have not answered, or anything else related to this topic that you would like information on, please submit a comment below, and we will do our best to respond with the most accurate information we have.

The Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center has started another program year, and with the new year comes a few changes. As we mentioned in the Request for Comments on New Federal Priorities post back in August, the U.S. Department of Education has new priorities for grantees, and that means new priorities for the comprehensive centers.

For Great Lakes West, this means a slightly different way of thinking and talking about our work, although the mission of the center remains unchanged:

Great Lakes West provides technical assistance to the state
education agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin. The assistance
is tailored to each state’s individual needs and addresses the
priorities of the U.S. Department of Education.

You may notice that it is closely tied to education priorities. The new administration and the administration’s A Blueprint for Reform already have been talking about the federal priorities throughout the past year. Going through the federal register process solidified the priorities somewhat and made it possible to update and align the comprehensive centers with new federal priorities.

Federal Priorities

There are six broad priorities for education in the United States. For the 2010–2011 program year, regional comprehensive centers have 10 priorities that provide greater focus to our work within each of the federal priorities. Each of the new comprehensive center priorities is described below, as it relates to the federal priorities. The new priorities create more of a connected system, almost like a web, with many strands connecting to several others; however, for clarity, ease, and brevity, each comprehensive center priority is discussed only once below.

College- and Career-Ready Students. Great Lakes West’s assistance will focus on helping the states improve postsecondary success and implementing internationally benchmarked college-and career-ready elementary and secondary academic standards with aligned assessments and instructional materials.

Great Teachers and Leaders. Great Lakes West’s assistance will focus on helping the states improve recruiting, hiring, and retaining great teachers and leaders.

Meeting the Needs of English Learners and Other Diverse Learners. Great Lakes West’s assistance will focus on helping the states improve meeting the needs of English learners and other diverse learners.

A Complete Education. Great Lakes West’s assistance will focus on helping the states improve school readiness and success and promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Successful, Safe, and Healthy Schools. Great Lakes West’s assistance will focus on helping the states improve data-based decision making and evidence-based decision making.

Fostering Innovation and Excellence. Great Lakes West’s assisstance will focus on turning around persistently low-achieving schools.

In combination with these federal priorities, Great Lakes West support also will focus on education systems to provide capacity-building support to the state education agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin. We are always striving to improve our resources and support to our states and the education community, particularly in this time of change, heightened pressure on education, and decreased funding. It is crucial that we are tackling the important issues and providing resources (such as this blog) to improve your access to information on those issues. Please share your ideas on how we can leverage these new priorities to further that aim.

Come back tomorrow to see how these priorities will affect Great Lakes West work in the next year.