NORMAN — Grants from the U.S. Department of Education will allow the University of Oklahoma to provide advice and expertise to departments of education in seven states, officials say.
The department awarded two grants totaling $20 million to OU Outreach, department officials announced last week.
The grants will establish two centers designed to offer technical support and guidance to state departments of education.
A five-year, $10.9 million grant establishes the South Central Comprehensive Center, which will work with education departments in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
A second grant, totaling $7.9 million, establishes the Central Comprehensive Center.
That center will offer guidance to education departments in Colorado, Kansas and Missouri.
The centers are part of a national network of 15 regional centers that provide similar services in states across the country.
How will it work?
Belinda Biscoe Boni, associate vice president of OU Outreach's public and community services division, said the centers will help states in their efforts to carry out education initiatives.
The centers will help connect education officials in those states with resources, including subject matter experts and information, which pertain to their initiatives, she said.
In many cases, Boni said, that coordination could mean organizing meetings with education officials from multiple states to talk about changes or initiatives each state is adopting.
In other cases, she said, the centers would make sure state education officials have access to the best research regarding education priorities, like making sure students are ready for citizenship, college and careers, improving school leadership and ramping up early childhood education.
Boni said she hopes to see the centers play a major role in states' efforts to overhaul teaching and learning.
“We really want to roll up our sleeves and do the deep, transformational work,” she said. “We have already hit the ground running.”
We really want to roll up our sleeves and do the deep, transformational work. We have already hit the ground running.”