The Biden-Harris Administration Announces Technical Assistance Centers to Accelerate Learning and Support Student Wellbeing

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This article was written and published by The United States Department of Education on October 6, 2023.

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today announced technical assistance centers to support state and local efforts to support and enhance student wellbeing, academic success, and school safety. These centers further the Department’s commitment to accelerate learning, meet students’ mental health needs, and expand academic opportunity and success inside and outside of the regular school day.

“To Raise the Bar in education, we must equip schools and districts with strategies backed by decades of experience and research to support students’ wellbeing and drive academic success,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Today, we are announcing new technical assistance opportunities that will help education leaders to hone their statewide literacy plans, respond to individual student’s needs and civil rights, and provide enriching out-of-school-time programs. Raising the Bar is about embracing what works so that students can thrive in the classroom and beyond.”

The Department is announcing the awarding of funds for technical assistance centers that will support the Department’s Raise the Bar: Lead the World initiative and build on announcements the Department made earlier in the year to accelerate learning and improve student achievement:

Comprehensive Literacy State Development Center ($760,619)

Beginning in November 2023, the Department will make the Comprehensive Literacy State Development (CLSD) Center available to expand support to state educational agencies (SEAs) that do not currently receive a CLSD grant. The center will help SEAs to revise, enhance, or create State Literacy Plans and support states, school districts, and communities in promoting equitable access to high quality literacy instruction and materials for every student.

National Technical Assistance Center for 21st Century Community Learning Centers ($18.3 Million)

The Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program provides essential out-of-school learning opportunities that help accelerate academic recovery and supports students’ social, emotional, and mental health. Out-of-school time opportunities are especially critical as students continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To support high-quality out-of-school learning time, the National Technical Assistance Center under the 21st CCLC program assists SEAs and their grantees that operate 21st CCLC programs in providing academic supports and other enrichment opportunities for students, and especially underserved students, during non-school hours.

This technical assistance center will focus on students’ academic and mental health needs in alignment with the traditional school day; academic recovery; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities; improving attendance and student engagement of middle and high school students; supporting multilingual learners; and financial literacy, among other technical assistance opportunities.

Student Support and Academic Enrichment (Title IV, Part A) and Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) Stronger Connections Technical Assistance Center (T4PA) ($5.6 Million)

A comprehensive education that provides students with well-rounded learning opportunities across subject areas in a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment is key to student success. The T4PA/BSCA Center provides high-quality technical assistance, training, and support to SEAs to increase their capacity to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) in implementing the Title IV, Part A program’s focus on student safety and well-being. This is the first time the center has received an award since the passage of BSCA, which provided $1 billion in new resources to support positive and safe learning environments.

The Center supports students’ academic achievement by enhancing state and community capacity to: (1) provide all students with access to a well-rounded education, (2) enhance safe and positive school conditions for student learning, and (3) foster the responsible use of technology to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students. In addition, the Center will provide technical assistance and capacity-building support to BSCA Stronger Connections grantees, all of which are high-need LEAs, as defined by states. The LEAs that received Stronger Connections Grants will be working to create positive and safe learning environments. The center will also provide targeted technical assistance to states, conduct needs assessments, develop customized training and resources, and convene communities of practice.