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College of Ed shares learning expertise with K-12 districts

MTSU’s College of Education is reaching out to area school districts with training aimed at helping administrators meet the challenges of the state’s First to the Top initiative to improve student performance.

The university recently hosted a professional development training session with about 30 administrators from 11 southern Midstate public school districts to help them establish or improve their own systems’ Professional Learning Communities.

Staffers from 11 public school districts in the southern Midstate discuss implementing Professional Learning Communities within their own systems at a March 27 training session on the MTSU campus. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Staffers from 11 public school districts in the southern Midstate discuss implementing Professional Learning Communities within their own systems at a March 27 training session on the MTSU campus. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Professional Learning Communities, or PLCs, focus on student learning and results by creating better collaboration and more accountability for teachers and administrators.

Under the direction of President Sidney A. McPhee and Dean Lana Seivers, the MTSU College of Education has been partnering with surrounding school districts on a number of school improvement initiatives, including PLCs.

Dr. Bob Eaker, a professor in the university’s Womack Family Educational Leadership Department, conducted the March 27 training session in the McWherter Learning Resources Center. It was recorded by the Center for Educational Media and will soon be available for other school districts’ training on the center’s website, www.mtsu.edu/education/cem.php.

Joe T. Wood, the Tennessee liaison for education consultant Battelle for Kids, attended the training session, which included school district directors and central office staff. Another daylong training session for principals is scheduled for May.

Battelle is a national not-for-profit organization that provides strategic counsel and solutions for school improvement efforts. The organization has worked with school officials in more than 19 states, including California, Georgia, Ohio, Oklahoma, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Battelle logo for webUsing First to the Top funds, Battelle for Kids is coordinating services with school districts through the state Department of Education’s eight Centers for Regional Excellence, or CORE.

The recent training targeted the south central CORE district, which includes Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry and Wayne counties and city systems in Manchester, Tullahoma and Fayetteville.first to the top logo web

“MTSU wanted to expand out into the region and support the districts in the region,” said Wood, a former district director in West Tennessee. “Our role has been to coordinate these efforts between the districts and MTSU to make sure that everything was coming together properly.”

Wood emphasized the importance of such training being available and archived on MTSU’s website so districts throughout the state can access it at any time.

For more information about the MTSU Center for Educational Media, visit www.mtsu.edu/education/cem.php; for more on the Womack Family Educational Leadership Department, visit www.mtsu.edu/edu_leadership.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)