Office of Innovation and Improvement
G. Improvement Programs
Improvement Programs, headed by a Director, reports to the Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary for Improvement and Reform. The Office oversees Department activities that support and test innovations throughout the K-12 system. This Office practices “venture philanthropy” by supporting and evaluating promising innovations in education. Specifically, it has lead responsibility for the following discretionary programs:
- Excellence in Economics Education
- Arts in Education
- Educators: Professional Development
- Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Program
- Reading is Fundamental
- Close-Up Foundation
- Exchanges With Historic Whaling and Trading Partners
- Women's Educational Equity
Improvement Programs also administers congressional earmark projects that are usually tied to the mission of the office.
The administration of these programs involves the development of legislative proposals; formulation of program regulations and policies; the establishment of management goals and priorities; the provision of leadership and information to the education community and others concerned with the issues addressed by the programs; the design and conduct of grant selection procedures; the selection of grant recipients; technical assistance for prospective grant applicants; project monitoring; technical assistance and guidance to grant recipients to promote project success; and directing the teams and staff responsible for conducting program and management tasks.
The Office develops guidance and procedures that leverage competitive grant programs to support innovative approaches and rigorously evaluate their impact, and shares this expertise with other Offices with responsibility for overseeing competitive grant programs. It works with the Center on Education Evaluation in IES to coordinate rigorous evaluations of a select number of the Office’s programs. It also widely disseminates the findings from evaluations to other offices and the field.