A key challenge facing education today is to improve the way teachers teach and students learn in the context of declining public budgets, rapid technological advances, increasing global competition, and other large-scale social and political changes. State education agencies (SEAs) sit at the hub of this important work. SEAs are responsible for implementing federal and state education policies and helping districts and schools accomplish key goals. One way that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) supports SEA efforts is through the Comprehensive Centers (CC) program.
The CC program is designed to help SEAs acquire the capacity to undertake large-scale change and support district and school endeavors to improve outcomes for all students, narrow achievement gaps between student subgroups, and improve instructional quality. CCs provide SEAs with customized and collaborative technical assistance, training, information resources, tools, and opportunities to learn from experts and colleagues in the region and across the country.
The CC program supports 15 Regional Centers and 7 Content Centers. The priority for each Regional Center is to provide high-quality technical assistance that focuses on key initiatives, aligns with the work of the Content Centers, and builds the capacity of SEAs to implement, support, scale up, and sustain initiatives statewide and to lead and support their districts and schools in improving student outcomes. Each of the 7 Content Centers focuses on one of the following key initiative areas and coordinates efforts with the Regional Centers:
- implementing college- and career-ready standards and aligned, high-quality assessments for all students;
- identifying, recruiting, developing, and retaining highly effective teachers and leaders;
- turning around the lowest-performing schools;
- ensuring the school readiness and success of preschool-age children and their successful transition to kindergarten;
- building rigorous instructional pathways that support the successful transition of all students from secondary education to college without the need for remediation, and careers;
- identifying and scaling up innovative approaches to teaching and learning that significantly improve student outcomes; and
- using data-based decision-making to improve instructional practices, policies, and student outcomes.