What will next generation districts do well? In the last week I've had the opportunity to discuss that question with hundreds of school board members and superintendents.
"Houston, unlike other cities, is insanely entrepreneurial and optimistic. It incubates the hell out of new ideas," said nonprofit leader Rhetta Detrich. She would know; she helped build Education Pioneers national network. Lacking the provinciality of East Coast cities, "Houston exists because it was founded on the premise of outsiders bringing good ideas and industry."
Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were the top megatrend of 2012. MOOCs made the shift from curiosity to employability. Antioch University is proving that it's getting easier to convert a MOOC experience into college credit. ACE is close behind, evaluating Coursera courses for credit. EdX and the Gates Foundation partnered this month to offer MOOCs at MassBay Community Colleges, proctored through Pearson VUE.
Two decades of experience with performance contracting in the delivery of public education has wrought some hard earned lessons. We know what good authorizing looks like. We know how to open great new schools.
Annually, for more than 45 years, the city of Reynoldsburg, Ohio has celebrated the Tomato Festival-- a nod to its heritage as the birthplace of the commercial tomato. This middle-America town also boasts one other claim to fame: A so-called "traditional" LEA, namely Reynoldsburg City Schools (RCS), which is poised to be a breakout star among serious implementers of thoroughly re-engineered conceptions of learning and schooling.
Five big trends that will shape education for the next decade became fully evident this year.
School improvement is more about execution than innovation, but doing what works -- like tutoring struggling students -- consistently across a network seems pretty innovative in education.
10 Things School Board Members Should Do in 2013. 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.
Two years ago I made 40 predictions. I said, "The education sector has not historically been very dynamic, but this year (2010) things changed. Despite the recession, we have seen more start-ups and more cool applications than ever before."
Social emotional learning "teaches the skills we all need to handle ourselves, our relationships, and our work, effectively and ethically," says Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).