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Announcing the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality

February 21, 2006

National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Learning Point Associates has been awarded a five-year contract for $12 million to establish the new National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. The center is part of the U.S. Department of Education's comprehensive center program that includes 16 regional centers and 5 national content centers. The mission of National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality is to ensure a highly qualified teacher in every classroom.

Learning Point Associates, a nonprofit educational organization, forged a partnership with the Education Commission of the States (ECS), ETS, and Vanderbilt University to establish the center as a national resource for regional centers, state education agencies, and other educational stakeholders. The center will provide guidance for strengthening the quality of teaching—especially in high-poverty, low-performing, and hard-to-staff schools—as well as schools that serve students with special needs. The website, http://www.tqsource.org, provides interactive databases, comprehensive research studies, publications, and other resources.

Sabrina Laine, Ph.D., has been appointed as National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality director. She has a diverse background in the areas of educational policy research and teacher quality and experience managing state and federal contracts to conduct research and development on topics such as school reform, technology evaluation, data-driven decision making, and closing achievement gaps.

"Research has convincingly shown that the teacher is the most important variable influencing student learning in the classroom, yet study after study demonstrates that the students with the greatest need are most often taught by teachers with the least experience," said National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality Director Dr. Sabrina Laine. "National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality will facilitate access to evidence-based information to ensure that policymakers create policies and programs focused on providing all students, but especially students with special needs, access to the very best teachers."

National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality replaces the National Partnership for Teaching in At-Risk Schools, which was established in 2004 by Learning Point Associates, ECS, and ETS and chaired by Virginia Governor Mark Warner. By partnering with Vanderbilt University, the four organizations are poised to continue and extend the work begun by the National Partnership.

"In far too many of our underperforming schools, the teachers are more inexperienced and generally less qualified than the teachers in more successful schools," said Governor Warner. "I am confident that the new National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality will be able to successfully advance solutions toward the lofty goals of No Child Left Behind [NCLB], specifically for a highly qualified teacher for every student, in every classroom."

The management team, led by Dr. Laine, includes Amy Jackson, Learning Point Associates; Dan Reschly, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; Tricia Coulter, Ph.D., ECS; and Carol Dwyer, Ph.D., ETS. An advisory board will oversee the work of National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality, and a coordination panel will help coordinate its efforts with other organizations engaged in NCLB efforts specific to teacher quality.

About Learning Point Associates
Learning Point Associates is a nonprofit educational organization with more than 20 years of direct experience working with and for educators and policymakers to transform student learning using research-based strategies and services. Committed to high-quality research, development, and evaluation services as well as on-site technical assistance, Learning Point Associates builds on more than two decades of research and development conducted by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory® (NCREL®). Learning Point Associates focuses on the identified needs and critical education issues of K–16 practitioners and policymakers at the school, district, state, regional, and national levels.

Learning Point Associates has effectively secured, staffed, and managed a variety of awards since 1984, ranging from individual consulting contracts to multimillion-dollar federal grants and contracts. Our goal is to build the capacity of our clients to be good consumers, practitioners, and advocates for educational excellence. Our areas of expertise include data-driven decision making, information systems for school improvement, teacher quality, literacy, evaluation and policy research services, afterschool programming, comprehensive school improvement support, and educational applications of technology. Our professional staff of 150 continues to grow as our work expands both nationally and internationally with offices in Naperville, Illinois; Chicago; and Washington, D.C.

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