Building Capacity to

Make a Difference

The North Central Comprehensive Center is one of 15 regional centers across the nation that are funded by the U.S. Department of Education to provide assistance to and build capacity in state education agencies (SEAs) in the implementation of federal initiatives and programs.
Operated by McREL International, the North Central Comprehensive Center serves
Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
The North Central Comprehensive Center's region is a geographic area of 318,833 square miles (8.6% of the nation’s geographic area) serving approximately 946,246 children under the age of 18 (1.3% of the national population of children). Although there are urban and suburban areas, the North Central Region is predominantly rural.
The North Central Comprehensive Center provides technical assistance to help state education agencies build their capacity to implement state-level initiatives and support district- and school-level initiatives that improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, and improve the quality of instruction. Building capacity includes helping SEAs with the the following:

Organizational Capacity:

The SEA's systems, policies, procedures and processes that enable the SEA to share information internally; link together different divisions or departments; or collaborate with internal stakeholders.

Human Capacity:

The ability of SEA staff to develop skills and experience, apply what has been observed or learned, or develop content-related proficiency.

Fiscal & Material Capacity:

The SEA's systems, policies, procedures & processes in order to enable the SEA to better leverage or streamline fiscal, material, and other technology resources.

Structural Capacity:

The SEA's systems, policies, procedures and processes, and practices in order to enable the SEA to be high-functioning and engage in continuous improvement.

Political Capacity:

The ability of SEA leaders to translate organizational goals into effective action; navigate the dynamic, ever-changing educational and political landscape; and engage external stakeholders in an institutionalized and ongoing manner.

The U.S. Department of Education has established a network of centers to provide resources and other support to state and local decision makers. The network includes the comprehensive center system made up of the regional educational laboratories, fifteen regional comprehensive centers and seven national content centers, and other specialized centers. The centers work together to help policymakers and practitioners make evidence-based decisions at all levels of the system with the goal of improving student outcomes.


Together, the seven Content Centers cover a spectrum of school improvement and technical assistance areas. Each of them is responsible for providing in-depth knowledge, expertise, and analyses in its focal area to Regional Centers and the States they serve. Content Centers disseminate information about scientifically based research on effective practice and research-based products in their area of specialty and provide expertise that Regional Centers can use in delivering technical assistance to States.


Reciprocal Teaching
In Action

Research in education offers compelling evidence that suggests language is at the root of learning in mathematics. Reciprocal Teaching in mathematics provides a structure for students to engage in discourse through the four roles: summarizer, planner, clarifier and questioner.


Wyoming Digital
Learning Plan Update

After spending several months gathering stakeholder input, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) Digital Learning Advisory Panel, has posted a draft of its digital learning plan. Check out this short video to see how WDE and NCCC worked together to create a plan to ensure high quality teaching and learning for all Wyoming students


Closing the American Indian Opportunity Gap

A historic meeting took place in Phoenix, AZ to discuss the promise that the Every Student Succeeds Act – ESSA – holds for improving Indian education across the United States. Check out this short video to hear perspectives on the historic nature of the meeting and the opportunities for improving outcomes for American Indian students.





Developing Regional Academic Language Cohorts

In an effort to develop student capacity to increase academic language, South Dakota Title III Director Yutzil Becker teamed up with the NCCC to train a cohort of educators preparing to deliver targeted professional development to teachers across South Dakota. For more information, please contact Jane Hill at or call 303-632-5529.

Read More



Listening to the Wind River Reservation

In May, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE), in collaboration with North Central Comprehensive Center (NCCC), conducted six listening sessions at three school districts on the Wind River Reservation. For more information on this project, contact Dr. Terri Bissonette  or call 303-632-5652.



Fifteen regional centers provide training and technical assistance to state education agencies in implementing and administering programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Regional Educational Laboratories work in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students. The U.S. Department of Education supports all of the comprehensive centers and labs.




© 2015 McREL International

This website was funded wholly or in part by the U.S. Department of Education under cooperative agreement S283B120018. The views expressed in this report do not necessarily reflect the position of the U.S. Department of Education and no official endorsement should be inferred.

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