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Building State Capacity for Stellar School Performance

SEDL equips state leaders to take on critical education challenges. Our Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers partner with education leaders in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas to build capacity to support struggling schools, meet federal expectations, and ensure that all students receive an A+ education.

Strained by limited resources, states face immense challenges in providing the crucial and extensive support schools and districts need. SEDL’s Southeast and Texas Comprehensive Centers provide technical assistance and professional development to boost the capacity of our states to meet their unique education challenges. To achieve results, we use a capacity building model developed and refined at SEDL. This model encompasses a dynamic process for collaborating with states to plan, implement, and evaluate projects to ensure success. Throughout the process, we expand educators’ knowledge and skills, streamline and coordinate efforts, and push the envelope to help states solve tough school improvement issues.

Virtual Learning Courses

Texas Comprehensive Center work in 2011 included assisting the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in strengthening its statewide system of support for schools in need of improvement. Our staff collaborated with TEA to design and develop online training courses for professional service providers (PSPs) and state support teams (SSTs), who work with schools and districts to improve student and school performance. elopment, adapts an in-person 3-day training into online lessons teams can access whenever they want. Using our capacity building model, we began by meeting with TEA to discuss their goals, collaborated to craft an efficient plan to achieve them, and then took the lead during development to model skills and techniques. The courses are being housed on Project Share™, TEA's online learning platform. Through this process, TEA staff gained expertise and skills they are now applying as they take the lead in developing other online courses.

School Improvement Grants

The Southeast Comprehensive Center work in 2011 included building the capacity of Alabama and Mississippi to plan, implement, monitor, and evaluate School Improvement Grants (SIGs). In Mississippi, for example, we assisted the Office of School Recovery with developing a comprehensive plan of support for SIG districts and schools. This work involved collaborating with the Center on Innovation & Improvement to support the use of Indistar©, an online tool to plan and track improvement. We also assisted with on-site monitoring at six schools. The data informed Mississippi about the progress of SIG schools and 2011–2012 needs.

Effective and Exceptional Services

A final evaluation report (August 2011) of the Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers found the network effective in building state capacity for school improvement, particularly with regard to statewide systems of support for schools. The Institute of Education Sciences produced the evaluation, which covered 2006 to 2009.

  • State managers rated the comprehensive centers' support as moderate to high for quality, relevance, and usefulness.
  • 82% indicated that the centers' assistance expanded state capacity in developing and managing statewide systems of support.
  • 62% rated the centers as the top external source for technical assistance.


2,835 e-bulletin/briefing paper subscribers
E-Bulletin/briefing paper subscribers
6,685 educators and administrators directly served
Educators and administrators directly served


Quote from Kim Benton, Director of the Office of School Recovery, Mississippi Department of Education. I feel that we have made significant progress because of the partnership we enjoy with SEDL. Because frankly, we have a small office, a very small office, and without being able to plug in additional resources from SEDL, there is just no way that we would be as far along. We have the vision; you all [the Southeast Comprehensive Center] have helped put seed to the vision to make it a reality.