10 Things School Board Members Should Do in 2013
1. Set a high bar
- Adopt the EPIC definition of college/career ready knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
- Insist on evidence of real college and career ready standards.
- Showcase examples of student work at board meetings.
2. Start a conversation about next generation learning
- Hold a work study on Innosight's report on blended learning.
- Hold a work study on OpportunityCulture: strategies to extend the reach of effective teachers.
- Read the profiles of Next Generation Learning Models.
- Ask teachers and community members what they are excited about and what they are concerned about (here's an example of a Rhode Island conversation).
3. Take a field trip to a next generation schools
- Visit a school in the Innosight or NGLC reports.
- Elementary: KIPP Empower, Rocketship.
- High school: Carpe Diem, Nexus, Silicon Valley Flex, Summit Prep.
- Districts: Mooresville, Riverside, NYC iZone.
4. Model tech-based learning and management
- Use social media to gather input and communicate.
- Run transparent digital meetings.
- Post policy proposals and ask for comment.
- Support district community communications.
5. Ask for a plan to provide universal access to digital learning
- Read and discuss Funding the Shift: Three Strategies for Funding Sustainable High-Access Environments .
- Adopt a Bring-Your-Own-Device policy ( here are 6 reasons).
- Support partnerships for improved broadband access.
6. Ask for an online learning plan
- As recommended by Digital Learning Now!, states and districts should expand access to full and part time online learning.
- The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (where I'm a director) offers great policy advice on online learning.
- There's no reason that every high school student in the U.S. shouldn't have access to every AP course, every foreign language, and every high level STEM course taught by an expert.
7. Ask for a blended learning plan
- Every school should receive support in adopting or developing a blended learning model that extends the reach of great teachers and personalizes learning for every student (watch for a January SmartSeries paper on this topic).
8. Ask for a one room schoolhouse plan
- It is now quite possible to run a great school for 50 or 100 students. Flex model secondary schools.
- There are at least 10 Reasons Every District Should Open a Flex School .
- District can also issue an NGLC-like RFI for new models.
9. Ask for a zero base the budget
- Shift to digital materials by 2015.
- Reallocate $250 per student for universal access by 2015.
- Fund new school/program development.
- Apply for waivers (innovation/charter status).
10. Ask your state for a new funding model
- Districts/networks should receive equalized and weighted funding.
- Funding should be portable for students.
- Funding to districts/providers should have a small performance-based component to incentivize completion and achievement (watch for a February SmartSeries paper on this topic).