October 2013 Archives

Katie McNerney thinks about the future of education and the talent that will be required to unlock the potential. The CEO of EdFuel hangs out at 1776, a D.C. startup accelerator, with founder Kathleen deLaski, also the president of the deLaski Family Foundation.

When Collins-Maxwell began a 1:1 iPad initiative for all students in grades 6-12 in the fall of 2012, one of the largest concerns among teachers, parents, and board members was the management of the device. Teachers were worried that students would be off-task in class, refusing to do the assigned work.

School networks were the big K-12 development of the last decade. Managed networks including Achievement First, Aspire, DSST, IDEA, Success, Uncommon, and YES achieved scale and uniformly high performance. School developers like KIPP, New Tech Network, and Expeditionary Learning build national networks of schools that share a common model and some support services. Both CMOs and school developers made it easier to open and sustain a good school.

A state chief asked for a list of things that his state should try. With help from Eric Smith of Chiefs for Change, here's a list of the top ten list of things every state should do now:

The combination of energized knowledgeable teacher leaders and a grant program supporting new school development will change the K-12 landscape in Washington D.C.

For other ideas and strategies to prevent high school seniors and great numbers of at-risk students from dropping out, visit the Penn Foster Web site or The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Web site. We also invite you to join us at the 25th Annual National Dropout Prevention Center Network Conference, to be held November 3-6, 2013, in Atlanta, GA.

"Learning a second language is no longer a luxury," said Angela Jackson. We agree. She adds, "It is a necessary skill that students must have in order to compete in a global economy. It broadens their opportunities in higher education, and research shows that learning a second language helps children in their overall cognitive development."

In preparation for the 2014 ASU GSV Education Innovation Summit, Mike Moe and Deborah Quazzo invited a group of advisors to contemplate the burning questions about innovations in learning. We discussed 10 big questions.

In August of 2012, we embarked on a journey with John Bailey and Digital Learning Now! (DLN) to chart a course for leaders who were exploring new digital learning territory. Over the last year we brought 11 contributing authors on board. These thought leaders in online and blended learning--representing organizations like iNACOL, CompetencyWorks, The Learning Accelerator and Public Impact--expanded the expertise and experience of our crew.

"We moved our school from a "C" on our first progress report to an "A," thanks in no small part to the work we engaged in at SLN." This principal quote sums up the work of the School Leaders Network--results focused, collaborative learning for principals.

There are a couple dozen sophisticated and effective school leader preparation organizations (e.g., 28 members of the Alliance to Reform Education Leadership network). They typically supplement the haphazard and ineffective current landscape of degrees and credentials criticized by Arthur Levine in Educating School Leaders.

The Achievement School District was created to "catapult the bottom 5% of schools in Tennessee straight to the top 25% in the state." Like the Louisiana RSD and the Michigan EAA, the Tennessee ASD is the state turnaround district and it's posting promising results. The ASD seeks to "dramatically expand our students' life and career options, engage parents and community members in new and exciting ways, and ensure a bright future for the state of Tennessee."

Advanced Placement courses offer a great opportunity for rigorous college preparation. Successful completion (usually with a score of 3 or better on a 5 point scale) yields college credit in all the most selective colleges. However, AP courses can be difficult to staff and expensive to offer.

In contrast to top down stand-and-deliver professional development, professional learning communities (PLCs) are typically teacher created initiatives that extend learning opportunities and foster collaboration. PLCs often reflect disciplines, districts, projects, and policy responses. Schools are increasingly creating PLCs to organize teachers into working groups.


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