Category: Uncategorized

Student Voices: Moving Beyond “When I Grow Up…”

August 18, 2016 by

Student VoicesThis post originally appeared at Getting Smart on July 25, 2016.

A major task for high schools today is to guide students toward postsecondary opportunities. In the best schools, a strong college and career office develops relationships with students and families, presenting them with possible postsecondary pathways and helping them secure opportunities that are a good fit.

But when should a school start this work? At Springpoint, we believe that strong school design includes a plan for college and career support even before freshmen step into the building. And students should be exposed to this in their very first year.

Equipping students to forge their own path is crucial given today’s rapidly shifting economy—according to one study, 40% of America’s workforce will be self-employed by 2020. So young people will increasingly need to independently seek out and take advantage of opportunities. We must enable them to connect their interests to possible career paths, and to develop relationships with leaders in their chosen field.

We spoke with a small group of enterprising, resourceful high school students about how they are leveraging in-school supports to forge a path toward their college and career goals. All of these students are enrolled in new, innovative high schools designed as part of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Opportunity by Design initiative. The initiative focuses on creating small, competency-based and student-centered school models. In addition to sharing their own stories, these students also had some advice for their peers.

At The Urban Assembly Maker Academy, Amanda, a rising junior, began to consider a career in communications after realizing she enjoys public speaking and mentoring others. Amanda told us, “I’m an extrovert,” and in response, her teachers and principal gave her opportunities to present at national conferences and act as an ambassador for the school. Last fall, Amanda presented on a panel about new school start-up at iNACOL’s annual symposium, and she has spoken about her school with leaders of Parsons School of Design. Amanda’s teachers have helped her collect these outreach experiences into a portfolio she can take to colleges. (more…)

Vote for Pop Up Problems of Practice in CBE

August 15, 2016 by

Screenshot 2016-08-15 10.49.52We need your help between now and September 1. Virgel Hammonds, KnowledgeWorks, Susan Patrick, iNACOL and I have submitted a proposal for SxSWedu called Pop Up Problems of Practice in Competency Ed. I’ve become enamored with Problems of Practice as a way to unpack issues so that we better understand the assumptions we hold about how to solve problems and to push our thinking about how to be student-centered in thinking about solutions. So we are going to use a fun, rapid problem of practice approach where a problem is introduced and two of us give a quick analysis and solution and then we ask all the other participants (not audience) to pop up with their ideas as well.

The reason I think this is important is that competency education has not been a major part of the discussions at SxSWedu yet (it’s definitely been on their agenda but could be a lot stronger) and it’s time to engage that network as allies.

So when you want to procrastinate about something else….go to Panel Picker and create an account and then go to Pop Up Problems of Practice in Competency Ed to give us a thumbs up.

What’s New in K-12 Competency Education?

July 27, 2016 by

What's NewNews

Thought Leadership

  • By moving to a competency-based learning system, we can naturally embed the development of grit in students, as explained by Michael Horn in this article.
  • Thomas Arnett describes how technology alone does not yield sustainable improvements in student learning outcomes. It is about redesigning models and shifting instructional practices first, then applying new technologies to enable personalized learning at scale.
  • How can better community and stakeholder engagement support innovation and deeper learning? CCSSO’s Joey Hunziker shares how states should define clear state/local roles in decision-making under ESSA.
  • In this Mind/Shift KQED article, Katrina Schwartz makes the case for aligning school discipline practices with a school’s learning philosophy.

Grading & Assessment

  • Here are 3 ways performance-based assessments address 3 important critiques of standardized assessments.
  • The Washington Post recently published an article criticizing schools shifting toward no-zero grading policies. Julia Freeland Fisher penned a response to this article, describing how students can be held to high standards with the right amount of supports through carefully designed and thoughtfully implemented competency education.

Innovative Practices

  • Maine’s Lewiston Schools are offering summer camps, as an alternative to summer school, with hands-on learning and weekly field trips allowing students to experience what they’ve studied in the classroom.
  • At the Education Writers Association’s National Seminar, high school students described how student-directed learning inspire curiosity and spur motivation.
  • Bronx Arena is trying to reach high-needs students by replacing the traditional classroom with personalized, competency-based learning.
  • Maine’s Casco Bay High School lets students develop their skills and passions simultaneously through their proficiency-based education system.
  • After moving to a proficiency-based program, more than 180 of Frisco ISD’s students received national accolades for the 2016 National Spanish Examinations.
  • In Massachusetts, a consortium of 9 districts are teaming up to develop a new assessment model that includes multiple measures of student progress and school quality.
  • Badging is one way to provide evidence of mastery across a wide variety of disciplines and scenarios that can allow learning to take place anywhere and at any time. This article looks at the current state of badging in K-12 education and explores potential obstacles and promising practices.

(more…)

What’s New in K-12 Competency Education?

June 7, 2016 by

What's NewTeacher and Ed Leader Insights

Thought Leadership

Assessments for Learning

Movement in the States

(more…)

Not Your Grandpa’s Voc Ed: Rigorous Career and Technical Education in Henry County, Georgia

May 7, 2016 by

RoboticsThis post originally appeared on the New England Secondary School Consortium on behalf of Great Schools Partnership. It also appeared on Students at the Center

When many of us think of “career and technical education,” we likely recall dusty wood shops, half-finished projects, and cantankerous teachers with untamed hair and maybe a missing finger or three. Or we might envision a class of students and teachers corralled in a section of rooms, walled off from the rest of the school like the two Berlins of old. Or perhaps we think about students who choose career and technical courses because the perception is that they’re “easy electives.”

But in Henry County, Georgia, career and technical education isn’t easy at all: it’s all about challenging students academically.

At the New England Secondary School Consortium’s 2016 High School Redesign in Action conference, Sharon Bonner and John Steiner of the Henry County’s Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) program guided participants through their district’s experiences in a session entitled, “Creating Competencies for Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education.”

The Henry County Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education program will provide a rigorous, relevant, and technologically advanced curriculum that will be available to all Henry County students, teaching them how to be lifelong learners while preparing them for the transition to secondary, postsecondary, and employment endeavors. Remarkably, Henry County’s CTAE program currently serves 82% of the students in the school district, and just over 11,000 high school students are taking at least one CTAE pathway course this academic year.

(more…)

How Might We Ensure Quality and Value Across a Larger Landscape of Learning?

May 6, 2016 by

Design Thinking

For those of you interested in out-of-the-box innovations using elements of competency education, you’ll be interested in this update on Donnell-Kay’s ReSchool Colorado initiative. See Thinking Way, Way, Way Outside the Box at the Donnell-Kay Foundation and Insights from ReSchool Colorado: Ensuring Quality and Equity

We know that Colorado kids and young adults are already learning in many places and in many ways beyond the formal school environment. We also know that often these experiences are not coordinated or valued in the same way as school-based programs. This summer we want to get smarter about how we can determine quality and value to the learner across a larger landscape of learning and how we might be able to capture a cohesive learning journey that ensures every learner is prepared to engage in a dynamic future.

This first stage of working with a larger landscape of learning opportunity for 15-21-year olds is currently in the research phase. Our work has typically followed a design process that begins with investigating assets and gaps that exist currently with partners that find the opportunity to learn together as mutually beneficial.

The main goals of this phase include:

  • Goal One: Gain greater insight towards the needs and interest of learners from ages 15-21 and how those needs are currently being met
  • Goal Two: Begin to understand how learning providers define and ensure success
  • Goal Three: To identify the attributes of a quality learning provider based on alignment towards a set of outcomes that include learning goals, satisfaction of the learner and the culture of the learning environment
  • Goal Four: Advance our understanding of the role the ReSchool Framework for the Future of Learning plays in supporting a shared commitment to student learning and preparation for success

(more…)

The Personalized Learning Mindset

April 28, 2016 by

RocksThis post originally appeared at Education Elements on April 5, 2016. 

I recently attended Carolina Blends, an event which brings together educators from the region to tour schools and learn from each other. After touring three schools with about 50 educators, I came to believe that before you go on a school tour, you need the “PL Mindset.”

On the tours, I noticed a difference in the educators who already had a the PL Mindset. They understood that we were seeing one short snapshot of a classroom with the good, the bad and the ugly. They asked questions which helped them understand what happens in the classroom week after week. They asked how decisions about what happens in the classroom are made. They asked about how the school was different than before, and what changes they made year-over-year.

The educators without the PL Mindset often asked about which digital content was being used and if the content worked. They often criticized what was happening in the classrooms and said they were doing it better at their own schools. They said they couldn’t do this work because of bell schedules, resources, lack of infrastructure, etc. (more…)

Why This Experienced Teacher Believes in Mastery Education

February 20, 2016 by
Kelly Brady

Kelly Brady

This post originally appeared at the Foundation for Excellence in Education’s The EdFly Blog on January 19, 2016. Kelly Brady is the Director of Mastery Education for the Idaho State Department of Education. 

In my thirty years as an educator, I had the privilege of working with a wide range of learners in many different settings. I worked in public and private schools, with highly-gifted students and special education students, and in wealthy areas and areas of high-poverty. Yet in all those classrooms, one thing held universally true: kids learn best when their individual learning needs are met.

Good teachers know how to personalize instruction based on what they’ve learned about each student. The best way to motivate students is to get to know them personally by building relationships that reveal their unique learning needs. But it’s impossible to do that all the time, for every kid, in every lesson. Until now.

Thanks to advances in technology and new student-centered models of teaching and learning, we now have the tools to meet the needs of every learner! My role as Director of Mastery Education in Idaho is to get these tools into the hands of teachers and school/district leaders so they can customize learning for every student.

Why am I excited about Mastery Education?

(more…)

Calling All CompetencyWorks Readers

November 17, 2015 by

SixWe need your help! Although many of you were at the iNACOL Symposium, not everyone could make it. So please take ten minutes to answer six questions. By gathering the voices from all over the nation, we can build on our strengths, make sure we are doing the best job we can in curating resources, draw on knowledge in our networks, and make sure that we are focusing on the things you think are important.

  • What is your elevator speech?
  • What is your biggest AHA! (i.e., insight) about competency education and its implementation?
  • Who have you talked to or listened to who has influenced your thinking? (The question is based on the iNACOL Symposium, but don’t worry about that. We want to find out who is making a difference.)
  • What issue or topic do you think needs us to direct our collective knowledge and creativity as a field to figure it out so that we can unleash the full potential of competency-based education?
  • What resource, paper, video, podcast, or blog have you found particularly helpful that you would recommend for those just starting out on the path to competency-based education?
  • Educators, are you using an information system to support tracking student progress and standards-based grading? If so, what product and what are the strengths and weaknesses of the product?

Just go to Getting Smart’s Voices Hub and you’ll see a link for CompetencyWorks. Or you can go directly to the questions by clicking here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera