INSIDE MTSU: College of Education shares expertise

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Lana Seivers
The College of Education at Middle Tennessee State University 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.

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.

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,

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 nonprofit 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.

Using 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 (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.

“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; for more on the Womack Family Educational Leadership Department, visit
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College of Education, Inside MTSU, Lana Seivers, MTSU, Murfreesboro
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