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TCEP Launching Southern Virginia Alliance for College and Career Readiness Through New Contract

The Center for Educational Partnerships (TCEP) at Old Dominion University is an official partner with the Center for Naval Analyses, through CNA's education subdivision, on the recently awarded five-year, $28 million federal contract to operate the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Appalachia.

REL Appalachia, which serves the applied education research needs of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, conducts empirical research and brings evidence-based information to policymakers and educators as they strive to improve education practice.

ODU's role in the lab contract, along with the American Institutes for Research and Vanderbilt University, will be to implement the research tasks proposed in the contract, which include "fast response" studies to meet the needs of educators in the region and rigorous randomized control trials of promising educational models and policies.

As part of the lab contract, TCEP is launching the Southern Virginia Alliance for College and Career Readiness in collaboration with several school divisions in the Hampton Roads area and in south central Virginia, said John Nunnery, TCEP executive director. The alliance will assist in formulating REL Appalachia's research and technical assistance agenda for Virginia, with a focus on ensuring that students graduate on time with the skills and qualifications necessary to enter the workforce or pursue higher education.

Shanan Chappell, a TCEP research assistant professor, is leading the effort to launch the new alliance with REL Appalachia and area school divisions. The alliance is an outgrowth of partnerships forged through collaboration of TCEP and other Darden College of Education faculty members, the lab and numerous Virginia school divisions, which has focused on key educational priorities of the commonwealth: dropout prevention, on-time graduation, and preparing traditionally underrepresented students to pursue careers in science, math, technology and engineering (STEM) fields.

Commenting on ODU's role as part of the contract, Nunnery said, "We will be implementing a number of fixed-price contracts over the next several years. The likely main benefit will be to steer some resources, primarily technical assistance, networking, information and professional development, to our Hampton Roads school divisions and school divisions we work with in south central Virginia. We should be able to create some good opportunities for faculty research and visibility as well."

The primary goal of The Center for Educational Partnerships, a division of ODU's Darden College of Education, is to make the best possible ideas and resources available to Virginia public school educators so as to fulfill the mutual mission of ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed in school and beyond.

Darden College Dean Linda Irwin-DeVitis commended TCEP for its work, noting that it continues to be recognized and funded to provide rigorous and relevant research that benefits students and schools. Commenting on the center's latest contract, she said, "As schools and divisions engage in the daily work of planning and implementing school improvement, The Center for Educational Partnerships, collaborating with REL Appalachia, will be able to provide quality research options, reliable evaluation of interventions and support practitioners in improving student achievement and outcomes."

This article was posted on: January 30, 2012

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