Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) Technical Support
Project Challenge: NCELA supports state education agencies (SEA), local education agencies (LEA), and local schools to build their capacity for serving English learners. The clearinghouse provides innovative, diverse, and interactive modes of communicating with key stakeholders to build their capacity for serving learners (ELs).
LMCi Approach: The U.S. Department of Education selected LMCi to provide comprehensive logistical, administrative, and technical support for NCELA. LMCi will bring innovative thinking about managing NCELA, maximizing services through technology, and improving Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title III outcomes in a cost-effective manner. LMCi will
- Maintain and enhance the existing website to reflect 21st century technology and provide an effective technical assistance (TA) tool that goes beyond a repository of resources.
- Collect, analyze, and disseminate information through tasks involving research, accountability systems, academic progress, academic content and assessments from nonprofit organizations and other federally funded sources and systems.
- Provide logistical support for a variety of professional events such as webcasts, national conferences, directors’ meetings, focused dialogues, and forums designed to convene numerous stakeholders.
- Prepare SEA and LEA data reports, Annual Performance Reports, summaries, reports to Congress, topical practice and resource briefs, and discretionary grants reports.
- Provide electronic and print products and services, including webinars, to enhance the academic achievement of ELs from cradle to postsecondary environments.
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), Comprehensive Centers Program Grant Review
Project Challenge: The U.S. Department of Education (ED) Comprehensive Centers Program includes 16 regional centers and 5 content centers. Grantees are required to develop 5-year plans for carrying out authorized activities that address State and regional needs. The regional centers provide services primarily to State educational agencies to enable them to assist school districts, regional education agencies, and schools, especially low-performing schools,
LMCi Approach: ED selected LMCi to support a wide range of tasks related to peer review for discretionary grant applications submitted through the Comprehensive Centers Competition. LMCi supports all elements of a grant review that involves about 70–75 reviewers reading approximately 75 applications across 14 panels consisting of 6-7 content centers and 8 regional centers.
This short turnaround review involves pre-, onsite, and post-conference logistical support. Support services being provided by LMCi range from identification and confirmation of expert reviewers to post-review closeout services. LMCi prepares and produces technical review forms and other review related documents, provides G5 support to peer reviewers, and selects and negotiates rates for hotels. Additionally, LMCi conducts an initial administrative screening of all submitted applications. LMCi provides onsite logistical support such as coordination of travel arrangements, collection/verification of scores of technical review documents and OESE required documentation.
Project Challenge: The U.S. Department of Education (ED), Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) needs full support for as many as 25 grant/peer-review programs each year. This involves about 800+ reviewers reading approximately 3,000 applications. Most of the reviews are conducted electronically using the departments G5 e-Reader system, but a small number are conducted onsite. Additionally, OII requires assistance with pre-conference, onsite and post-conference logistical support for up to 10 project director meetings, technical assistance workshops, and special conferences. Programs supported include Teacher Quality Partnership, Parental Options and Information, Voluntary Public School Choice, Charter Schools Program, Investing in Innovation (i3), Teaching American History, and, in April 2008, the “White House Summit on Inner City Schools”.
LMCi Approach: LMCi provided full support for ED’s i3 review. The review was conducted electronically and involved 1,000 potential reviewers of which 230 were assigned to panels to read nearly 700 applications. LMCi staff provided the design of a customized database to assist the program staff with the selection and rating of reviewers, data storage, and extraction of applicant information for eligibility determination and selection. Special requests included a FOIA request of reviewer information and a reviewer database extract. Additionally, LMCi assisted with the reviewer survey collection and analysis, competition closeout assistance, application redaction and, because of the size of the project, staff augmentation and management.
In 2011, LMCi also supported SEI with ED’s Project Director Conferences for the Teaching American History and School Leadership Program. Support roles included database analysis, review and clean up, project budget analysis, logistics survey analysis, and final report review.
Project Challenge: In recent years, MNI has seen its business growth slow due to increased competition and sluggish sales. MNI asked LMCi to assist in drafting a strategic growth plan, with the aim of developing new markets. The project challenge was to establish a long-term sales generation strategy in order to build a sales opportunities pipeline to ensure a 75 percent growth over a 5-year period.
LMCi Approach: In phase 1, LMCi’s functional business consultants conducted an in-depth profitability analysis—including costs, revenue, and profit margins—of each of MNI’s service/product offerings at the aggregate level. This enabled us to identify revenue and cost drivers that underpinned MNI’s current operations. A key discovery was MNI’s overreliance on select service/product offering to a few strategic clients for more than 80 percent of its revenue stream and the inherent weakness of this position in a highly competitive and rapidly changing IT sector. Our recommendation was that MNI diversify its revenue stream by developing a new product offering in order to increase share of wallet of existing strategic customers and to appeal to a wider client base. Based on our analysis of MNI’s product portfolio, we felt that the basis of such a product already existed in MNI’s internally developed robust operation management system that integrated data generated from disparate systems ranging from help desk ticketing to project-based time tracking. This system could be further developed into a Service on Demand cloud application product offering that would help meet MNI’s vision for growth.
Our recommendations were accepted, which led to Phase 2 of our engagement, wherein LMCi assisted MNI in drafting a product commercialization plan. LMCi designed and conducted a survey of targeted customers and used the output to create a product requirements document as well as a product implementation plan. The feedback was positive and—seeing the value of the new offering—a number of existing MNI strategic clients agreed to participate in the upcoming pilot. As a next step, LMCi is currently working with MNI to develop a product launch plan.
21st Century Community Learning Centers Annual Summer Institute
Project Challenge: The Department of Education 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) project ensures that afterschool practitioners have the information necessary to build high-quality programs with a wide range of learning characteristics for their young students. In addition to maintaining a comprehensive interactive online technical assistance resource center, the program involves training sessions for program grantees, state coordinators, and program directors.
LMCi Approach: As a subcontractor to SEI, LMCi provided preconference, on-site, and post-conference services for the 21st CCLC Annual Summer Institute, which brought together an estimated 2,400 grantees for intensive training sessions.
LMCi provided speaker coordination services for a total of 110 agency sponsored participants, including VIPs, and presenters traveling from cities across the nation. This task required LMCi’s trained conference support personnel to provide detailed and courteous services to the sponsored travelers while ensuring that travel was made in a timely manner, within budget constraints and in compliance with the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR). Our staff reported to SEI’s Project Director to ensure that they followed the required communications protocols with the client.
LMCi staff set up an MS Access Database to maintain all information collected from the sponsored attendees, including their contact information, dates of travel, special needs, “call for speaker presentations,” speaker release forms, bios and final presentations and session descriptions. LMCi also worked with SEI to assign breakout presentations to rooms based on participant interest. LMCi’s IT professionals provided quality control and maintenance of the speaker database including coding to eliminate duplicate entries, automatic data dumps from the online registration portal of registered speakers, and an online review system for the client to view and score submitted “calls for speakers presentations.” Additionally, LMCi assisted with the design, layout, development, proofing, and printing of the 100-page Summer Institute program book.
Project Challenge: The Department of Education (ED) Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP) needed a one-stop Technical Assistance Center (TAC) that gives MSAP grantees access to guidance and strategies for implementing, evaluating, and sustaining programs; fostering family engagement; recruiting students; and integrating best practices into magnet schools program management. Prime contractor SEI engaged LMCi as a subcontractor on the MSAP TAC contract to provide data entry assistance, publication and graphics specialists, and IT specialists.
LMCi Approach: In 2010, LMCi provided data entry services for the needs assessment tool that SEI had developed for the MSAP Program. Survey data is used to identify available resources or to develop new tools to provide grantees with access to content that focuses on the best magnet schools practices and innovative approaches. Incorporating the latest technology, LMCi’s experienced team of Web portal developers assisted SEI in the design, development and maintenance of an interactive Web portal that serves as a virtual TA and dissemination center. The Web portal provides grantees with access to resources, including multimedia materials, toolkits, and guides.