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K-12Lead of the Week

Some RFPs should be seen primarily as opportunities for winning future work.

From the October 15 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Services Markets Report

Announcement: Promote Quality Middle Grades Teachers Training Programs Due November 2, South Carolina Education Oversight Commission

Their Description: To promote the development of high quality middle grades teacher training programs, the Middle Grades Initiative has worked with the State Department of Education (SDE), the Commission on Higher Education (CHE), and other stakeholders to organize support for the IHEs’ efforts to initiate middle grades programs. Starting during FY’02 the Middle Grades Initiative began preliminary deliberations with the IHEs, the SDE, and middle grades stakeholders on program quality, growth, and development through a contract with the SC Middle School Association. From FY’02 through FY’07, the Middle Grades Initiative vigorously promoted quality teacher preparation programs with the continuing assistance of middle grades stakeholders and a qualified contractor. During this time, middle level teacher training programs increased from the existing two to fourteen IHEs; and the concerns of the middle level were brought to the forefront in discussions with the SDE, CHE, EOC, IHEs and other stakeholders....

The contractor must....

• collaborate with SDE Division of Educator Quality and Leadership and the Commission on Higher Education;

• assist IHEs which have started new programs; and provide support as IHEs prepare to meet new NCATE guidelines;

• provide priority support to those IHEs which are the most likely to start middle grades programs and have the best capacity to train the most teachers in both undergraduate and graduate programs;

• assist the remaining IHEs to investigate and plan start-up of middle grades programs at undergraduate and graduate levels;

• collaborate with middle grades partners to estimate the annual hiring needs of middle schools as compared with likely production of graduates from in-state IHEs plus predicted hires from out-of-state; and assist IHEs in increasing their production of graduates to meet local educational agencies hiring requirements;

• monitor impact of the No Child Left Behind Act and the progress of the Success in the Middle Bill of 2007;

• hold quarterly face-to-face and/or electronic meetings for IHEs, SDE, CHEs, and other stakeholders to discuss the challenges and possibilities for creating quality middle grades programs (additional meetings may be required as conditions present);

• identify needs and challenges of IHEs in developing quality middle grades programs so that the middle grades stakeholders in South Carolina can address them;

• make stakeholders aware of successful middle level teacher education program models and highly effective middle level schools;

• support networking of middle level professors and other stakeholders through professional activities that promote the development of quality middle level teacher education programs....

Maximum budget allocated to this project is $37,500 per year.

Our Thoughts:
This RFP certainly reads like someone has a winner in mind - too much work for too little money.

Nevertheless, this kind of project could hold a lot of potential. Middle grade teacher preparation across the state; an outside contractor (so outsourcing is already happening); and all kinds of ties to schools, teachers’ colleges and state education agencies. A professional development provider in the region might do well to devote an existing staff member to the project and see where it leads. ••••

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