For Immediate Release - November 13, 2009

GOVERNOR PATRICK JOINS WITH COMMUNITY AND EDUCATION LEADERS TO LAUNCH SIX REGIONAL READINESS CENTERS

Centers to improve teaching and learning from Pre-Kindergarten though Higher Education

SALEM - Friday, November 13, 2009 - Governor Deval Patrick today joined with education and community leaders to launch the state's first-ever Readiness Centers at a gathering at Salem State College. The six regional centers will help address key priorities of improving teacher quality and bridging the achievement gap across the Commonwealth.

Readiness Centers, first announced by the Governor in October, will focus on enhancing the quality of teaching across the education continuum from early childhood through higher education and offer services and activities that address local and regional educational needs as well as statewide priorities.

"Readiness Centers will ensure that our teachers are well prepared, fully supported and actively encouraged in their daily work to inspire, educate and cultivate the imaginations and minds of students across our Commonwealth," said Governor Deval Patrick.

Readiness Centers will help improve the theory and action of teaching by providing educators with greater access to established classroom teaching practices, proven strategies in the use of student data to help inform instruction and increased and more focused professional development opportunities. For example, the Centers will provide teachers access to technology and efforts to review student performance data in light of alignment to curriculum.

"Readiness Centers represent a new step forward in the Governor's Education Action Agenda," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "The core work of education is classroom interaction between teacher and student in the presence of content. Readiness Centers will help improve every aspect of that work."

Readiness Centers are a key component of the Governor's Education Action Agenda to ensure that all students are prepared for a future of success through improvements in public education. This week, the Legislature's Joint Committee on Education took the next step toward realizing the Governor's vision for public education by reporting out their updated version of the Governor's Education Reform legislation designed to more rapidly turn around low performing schools and provide innovation opportunities for educators and choice for families. The legislation will also help strengthen the Massachusetts application for the $4 billion federal Race to the Top competitive grant program that the US Department of Education released guidelines for on Thursday, stipulating that states must demonstrate action toward improving schools through turnaround strategies and options for students and their families.

Salem State College President Patricia Maguire Meservey spoke at the event today and noted the powerful partnerships developing throughout the Readiness Centers.

"We are both honored and proud to be a lead partner in the development of the Commonwealth's Readiness Centers with a keen focus on developing the talents of our committed and dedicated teachers," said President Meservey. "At Salem State, we pride ourselves on helping our students attain the knowledge and aptitude necessary to help them prepare future generations of students in classrooms across Massachusetts. Working with our regional colleagues in higher education, both public and private, we are confident that we can contribute greatly to the improvement of teaching and learning efforts while supporting our educational professionals."

The six Readiness Centers will each be managed by a regional consortium that includes institutions of higher education, educational collaboratives, educational services providers and business and community partners. These entities will work in partnership with early education and care providers, school districts and other stakeholders to deliver a broad array of targeted, aligned and coherent instructional and professional development services.

First announced in October, Readiness Centers were established through an RFP process that began over the summer, and after rigorous review of responses by a committee comprised of representatives from Executive Office of Education, the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the Department of Higher Education (DHE) before final approval by Secretary Reville.

Over the coming year, the EOE will work with EEC, ESE and DHE to support the efforts of the regional partners to implement their proposed plans.

The six Readiness Centers and the primary partners are as follows.

Berkshire Readiness Center: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Berkshire Community College and the Berkshire Compact for Higher Education.

Central Massachusetts Readiness Center: Fitchburg State College, Massachusetts Elementary School Principals' Association and Worcester State College.

Greater Boston Readiness Center: Framingham State College, UMASS Boston, Wheelock College, Massachusetts Bay Community College and the Greater Boston Regional Collaboratives Organization.

Northeast Regional Readiness Center: Salem State College, UMASS Lowell, North Shore Community College, Middlesex Community College, Northern Essex Community College, Merrimack College, Endicott College and Gordon College.

Pioneer Valley Readiness Center: Westfield State College, UMASS Amherst, Hampshire Educational Collaborative and the Lower Pioneer Valley Educational Collaborative.

Southeastern Massachusetts Readiness Center: Bridgewater State College, UMASS Dartmouth, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massasoit Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Brockton Workforce Investment Board, New Bedford Workforce Investment Board, Southeast Collaboratives Regional Organization, Lighthouse Superintendents' Group and the Lighthouse Assistant Superintendents' Group.

In some cases, the Readiness Center will be housed at a host site and satellite sites will offer additional services and activities; in other regions, the primary partners will all serve as host sites for the Readiness Center.

For more information on the Executive Office of Education, please visit www.mass.gov/education.

###