The Great Lakes East Comprehensive Center (Great Lakes East) provides technical assistance designed to build the capacity of the state education agencies (SEAs) in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. The regional comprehensive center is committed to assisting its SEAs in establishing policies and practices that are tailored to the needs of each individual state and the priorities of the U.S. Department of Education. Great Lakes East accomplishes this mission by establishing high-integrity relationships and by focusing on state capacity building to improve student performance. Great Lakes East staff work closely with other federally funded programs, including the national content and regional comprehensive centers and the regional educational laboratories, to assist Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio in (1) assessing the improvement needs of districts and schools, (2) developing solutions to address these needs, (3) building and sustaining systems of support for districts and school improvement efforts, and (4) improving the tools and systems for the state’s accountability. Great Lakes East focuses technical assistance efforts on assessment and accountability, educator quality, and school and district improvement, which includes high school improvement, standards and instruction, and statewide systems of support. For more information, visit www.learningpt.org/greatlakeseast.
The Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center (Great Lakes West) provides technical assistance designed to build the capacity of the state education agencies (SEAs) in Illinois and Wisconsin. The regional comprehensive center is committed to assisting its SEAs in establishing policies and practices that meet each state’s student achievement goals. Great Lakes West staff work closely with other federally funded programs, including the national content and regional comprehensive centers and the regional educational laboratories, to assist Illinois and Wisconsin in (1) assessing the improvement needs of districts and schools, (2) developing solutions to address these needs, (3) building and sustaining systems of support for districts and school improvement efforts, and (4) improving the tools and systems for the state’s accountability. Great Lakes West focuses technical assistance efforts on educator effectiveness, assessment and accountability, standards and instruction, and high school improvement. For more information, visit www.learningpt.org/greatlakeswest.
The National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR) serves as a central source of information and expertise on high school improvement for the regional comprehensive centers (RCCs) and the states they serve. Jointly funded by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education, the National High School Center identifies effective research, programs, and tools and provides high-quality technical assistance to support the use of research-based high school improvement practices. In addition, the National High School Center offers free, user-friendly products—such as an early warning system tool for identifying and monitoring students at risk of high school dropout, guiding strategies for high school tiered interventions, and a self-assessment tool for analyzing school improvement planning and implementation efforts, among others—to help RCCs, states, districts, and schools address the needs of their high school students. A significant aspect of the National High School Center’s work includes identifying strategies that have a proven track record of assisting students with disabilities and English language learners. Through our work, we aim to ensure that all students perform to their fullest potential and are adequately prepared for college, work, and life after high school. For more information, visit www.betterhighschools.org.
The National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (TQ Center) was created to serve as the national resource to which the regional comprehensive centers, states, and other education stakeholders turn for strengthening the quality of teaching—especially in high-poverty, low-performing, and hard-to-staff schools—and for finding guidance in addressing specific needs, thereby ensuring that highly qualified teachers are serving students with special needs. The TQ Center is a collaborative effort of ETS, Learning Point Associates (an affiliate of American Institutes for Research), and Vanderbilt University. Integral to the TQ Center’s charge is the provision of timely and relevant resources to build the capacity of regional comprehensive centers and states to effectively implement state policy and practice related to the evaluation, support, development, and equitable distribution of quality, effective teachers. For more information, visit www.tqsource.org.
States and districts need substantial knowledge and skills to fully implement, evaluate, and improve their assessment and accountability systems so that all students reach challenging academic proficiency goals. WestEd and the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST) joined together to form the Assessment and Accountability Comprehensive Center (AACC) to help students meet high expectations as exemplified by the Common Core State Standards. AACC offers the regional comprehensive centers and states a national perspective on research-based resources and access to established collections of effective models, processes, research syntheses, toolkits, software systems, products, and strategies to fulfill specific state assessment and accountability needs. For more information, visit www.aacompcenter.org.
The Center on Innovation & Improvement (CII) supports regional centers in their work with states to provide districts, schools, and families with research-based information and skills and tools to support school improvement and student learning. CII’s priorities include school and district improvement, statewide systems of support, extended learning (supplemental educational services and tutoring), families and schools, and charter schools. CII maintains a vibrant website with free, downloadable resources, including thousands of vetted reports and briefs, a library of CII briefs, books, handbooks and guidebooks on current topics and CII priorities, PowerPoint presentations and recorded webinars (including a series on SIG topics), and a database of state policies, programs, and progress. CII also provides Web-based planning and monitoring systems (Indistar, Parent Involvement Analysis), the National Network of State School Improvement Leaders (with the Council of Chief State School Officers), and monthly e-newsletters and resource spotlights. For more information, visit www.centerii.org.
The Center on Instruction (COI) supplies research-based products, information, and guidance on instruction in the areas of literacy, mathematics, science, special education, response to intervention, and English language learners. In addition, COI provides general information on e-Learning and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics initiatives to regional comprehensive centers (RCCs) to increase their capacity to assist state education agencies and districts and schools in need of improvement to raise student achievement, reduce achievement gaps, and improve the quality of teaching and learning for all students. COI provides free materials that include syntheses of recent research, practitioner guides, professional development materials, tools for educators, and examples from the field not only to RCCs and state departments of education but also to a much broader audience that includes schools, districts, and technical assistance providers. For more information, visit www.centeroninstruction.org.
Doing What Works (DWW) is a website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of DWW is to create an online library of resources that may help teachers, schools, districts, states, and technical assistance providers implement research-based instructional practice. DWW provides examples of possible ways that educators might apply research findings, but these are not necessarily the only ways to carry out these teaching practices. DWW is led by the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development (OPEPD) at the U.S. Department of Education. OPEPD relies on the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) at the U.S. Department of Education (and occasionally other entities that adhere to standards similar to those of IES) to evaluate and recommend practices that are supported by rigorous research. Much of the DWW content is based on information from the IES What Works Clearinghouse (WWC). WWC evaluates research on practices and interventions to let the education community know what is likely to work. For each practice, it issues a guide and/or an intervention report that describes what the practice involves and what the research says. In addition, some DWW content is based on other information and materials from IES. For more information, visit www.dww.ed.gov.
The IDEA Partnership is a collaborative of more than 50 national organizations. Working together, the IDEA Partnership creates bridging tools that are based on the work of the federal technical assistance investments and customized to help practitioners and families work across groups on the issues they share. Modeling the national collaboration, the IDEA Partnership supports the development of communities of practice that bring decision makers, practitioners, and consumers into shared work. For more information, visit ideapartnership.org.
The Illinois Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Network is an Illinois State Board of Education initiative that promotes the systematic use of effective behavioral and academic practices in schools. Funded by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Network’s focus is building the capacity of schools, families, and communities to ensure the social/emotional and academic success of all students, including those with emotional/behavioral and other disabilities. As a response to intervention (RTI) application, PBIS includes prevention-based schoolwide systems of positive behavior support, data-based decision making for instruction of behavior and academics, wraparound planning for students with complex emotional and behavioral needs and their families, and community-based supports for families, youth, and schools. The Illinois PBIS Network is a demonstration site and partner with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs National PBIS Center (www.pbis.org). For more information, visit www.pbisillinois.org.
The National Center on Response to Intervention is a central source of knowledge, expertise, and research-based information on response to intervention (RTI). Housed at American Institutes for Research and in conjunction with researchers from Vanderbilt University and the University of Kansas, we identify and evaluate RTI components for identifying and serving students with or at risk for learning disability identification; provide ongoing technical assistance to states and support the implementation of RTI in classrooms, schools, and local districts across the country; and disseminate information about proven and promising RTI models to interested stakeholders across the country. For more information, visit www.rti4success.org.
The North Central Regional Resource Center (NCRRC) is one of six centers of the Regional Resource Center Program (RRCP) funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). NCRRC assists state education agencies in the systemic improvement of education programs, practices, and policies that impact infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities and their families. An important role of an RRC is to identify and broker integrated solutions through ongoing state needs assessment, consultation, information dissemination, and technical assistance activities. For more information, visit www.rrcprogram.org/content/blogsection/9/55.
Programs for Educational Opportunity, the regional U.S. Department of Education-funded race/ethnicity, gender, and national origin Equity Assistance Center (EAC), serves public schools in the Great Lakes states. Based at the University of Michigan’s School of Education, The Center has provided technical assistance to schools for more than 40 years, including in-depth services, needs assessment, group facilitation, model program development and dissemination, and community engagement. The Center provides resources, professional development, and consultation to K–12 public and charter schools working to close achievement gaps, reduce segregation, and promote race/ethnicity, gender, and national-origin equity in school experience and outcomes. The Center also is the headquarters of the Great Lakes Girls Collaborative Project, which promotes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics success and involvement for underrepresented students. For more information, visit peo.soe.umich.edu.
The Wisconsin Family Assistance Center for Education, Training, and Support (WI FACETS) serves as the Region 4 Parent Technical Assistance Center for the Office of Special Education Programs-funded parent centers (Parent Training and Information Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers) in a nine-state region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin). This assistance includes serving as a resource to boards of directors and program staff; providing targeted technical assistance related to content, management, outreach, and technology; and linking parent centers to national and regional resources (including TA&D centers). For more information, visit www.region4ta.us.
Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest is one of 10 regional educational laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Under the direction of Matt Dawson, Ph.D., REL Midwest serves the educational needs of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. REL Midwest does this by assessing regional needs, developing and delivering technical assistance, engaging in state policy outreach activities, hosting events that connect research to practice, and conducting both short-term applied research projects and long-term research studies. To browse and download reports that result from projects of all the RELs, visit ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs. REL Midwest’s Connecting Research to Practice events are designed to provide opportunities for practitioners and policymakers to hear about the most recent research evidence and for educators to engage with researchers and each other on how to improve practice and close the achievement gaps. Visit www.learningpt.org/rel/eventsArchive.php for archived materials from completed events. To see how data on high school dropout rates are linked to particular locations, check out the Midwest Education Atlas (www.learningpt.org/REL/atlas). Geographic data displays in this online repository have mapped dropout rate data across several district-level background variables, such as poverty level, minority enrollment, and mother’s education level. Need information on a current education issue? Contact REL Midwest through Ask A REL (www.askarel.org/midwest). This collaborative reference desk service functions as a technical reference library and can provide links to pertinent websites and resources, referrals to IES research projects and federally funded education organizations, and region-specific education information. For more information, visit www.learningpt.org/rel.
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) operates Great Lakes East, Great Lakes West, the National High School Center, and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Established in 1946, AIR is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts behavioral and social science research and delivers technical assistance both domestically and internationally in the areas of health, education, and workforce productivity. For more information, visit www.air.org.