How do we improve educator effectiveness in Appalachia?

Building capacity in educator effectiveness through Region 5’s Comprehensive Center


The Comprehensive Center Network (CCNetwork) provides capacity-building services to regional educational agencies (REAs), state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools that improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, and improve the quality of instruction.

The CCNetwork represents 5-year grants, awarded by ED. Awardees include 19 Regional Comprehensive Centers and 1 National Comprehensive Center. These 5-year grants provide services to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Bureau of Indian Education, and U.S. Territories and outlying areas.

The Region 5 Comprehensive Center (R5CC) includes the Appalachian states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The team works with these Departments of Education and provides needs assessments to determine the biggest challenges to pinpoint the root cause. The state and subject matter experts collaborate with education leaders to support policy change, resource development, and continuous improvement.

One of the universal challenges is educator effectiveness. Like the rest of the nation, the Region 5 states have experienced educator shortages, which often impact rural and economically disadvantaged districts the most. So, how can states fill these gaps, while ensuring they’re getting high-quality candidates from diverse backgrounds to best meet the needs of students?


The R5CC has specific projects with the states, geared toward educator effectiveness. Each project is curated to the unique needs and contexts of the state, while tapping best practices and exemplar programs from across the nation.

For fuller project summaries, check out the Center Projects webpage:

  • In Kentucky, the R5CC team is focused on several educator effectiveness efforts, including supporting the implementation of multitiered systems of support; facilitating Networked Improvement Communities, designed to help educators create a more “vibrant experience” for online learning students; and providing coaching to the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) team.
  • In Tennessee, the efforts are focused on annual teacher evaluation as well as teacher recruitment and retention. The team is collecting and analyzing teacher vacancy rate data, while considering teacher-to-student demographics. They’re using the results to develop best practices and help strengthen and diversify the Tennessee educator workforce.
  • In Virginia, the SEA is moving from a compliance approach to a continuous improvement model. The R5CC team supports this initiative through a Networked Improvement Community. This work involves strengthening communication among teams at the SEA, LEA, and school level, orchestrating a professional learning community with other states in Region 5, finding solutions to problems of practice, and more.
  • In West Virginia, the R5CC team is helping the SEA enhance its teacher leadership programs, looking at Grow Your Own, teacher residency, and teacher apprenticeship models. Additionally, the team is supporting educators with professional learning strategies, resources, and communities to help educators better instruct students with dyslexia and dyscalculia, as well as students with adverse childhood experiences.

For more information about our projects, states, and resources, visit the Region 5 Comprehensive Center website.


With the R5CC’s support, current and future educators are gaining meaningful benefits in the Region 5 states. Here are just some of the impacts achieved so far:

  • The Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia Networked Improvement Communities are growing rapidly, doubling in size, providing more participants with improved communication and collaboration across systems and evidence-based problem-solving strategies fueled by continuous improvement.
  • Policy changes have led to a $10,000 salary increase for starting teachers.
  • Professional development opportunities are encouraged and developed using proven adult-learning strategies thanks to new resources.
  • Teacher Residency, Teacher Apprenticeship, and Grow Your Own programs are on the rise, recruiting hundreds of diverse candidates and providing high-quality learning opportunities with mentorship—strengthening the educator workforce.

The R5CC combines thought partnership, research, and subject matter expertise to make positive, impactful changes in education that benefit educators, education leaders, and students. When new ideas emerge and states see results, the R5CC amplifies the success stories, championing the exemplar work coming from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, so other states can advance as well.

Learn more about the exciting work happening in the R5CC by watching the R5CC Difference: Making an Impact in Education YouTube video.


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