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Center Ideas: Capacity-Building Services: Do You Really Need It? This Will Help You Decide!

The charge of the Comprehensive Center program is to support State education agencies (SEAs), regional education agencies (REAs), local education agencies (LEAs), and schools so they can improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, and improve the quality of instruction. The U.S. Department of Education defines capacity-building (CB) services as assistance that strengthens an individual’s or organization’s ability to engage in continuous improvement and achieve expected outcomes. Given the range of CB services that Regional Comprehensive Centers can provide to SEAs, REAs, and LEAs, a needs assessment can help Regional Comprehensive Center staff understand recipients’ needs as well as clarify how the stakeholder will benefit from the Center’s services. 

To get the big picture, or what is often referred to as viewing a situation at the 30,000-foot level, Region 5 staff developed the Preliminary Capacity-Building Needs Assessment to quickly assess where core components of capacity-building services may be warranted and beneficial to support a program, project, or topical focus area of SEAs, REAs, or LEAs. It is meant to inform a joint needs assessment by focusing interactive discussions on core components of capacity-building and corresponding needs. And, in short, the needs assessment can help Centers and stakeholders decide whether CB services are needed and, if so, which components are crucial.