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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
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Posted:
November 18, 2014 01:22 pm
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Core of the Matter: English Language Learners in Secondary Schools Access the Core! (#CoreMatters)

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The following blog post is another in the Alliance’s “Core of the Matter” blog series focusing on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and struggling students. It was written by Dr. Margarita Calderón, professor emerita at Johns Hopkins University and principal partner/professor emerita learning sciences at The Learning Sciences Calderón Center for Language and Literacy. 

Teachers always ask, “What do I need to do to reach my English learners and cover my content and standards?”

The response to this frequent question is not a quick fix.  It must go beyond traditional approaches. It does not involve English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers working alone to meet the needs of all of the students in a school. Rather, it is a whole-school approach for integrating academic vocabulary, oracy, discourse, reading comprehension, and writing into math, science, social studies, language arts, and electives.

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Adolescent Literacy, Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, English Language Learners, Literacy
Posted: November 24, 2014 12:17 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Texas’ State Board of Education approves history books

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Posted:
November 24, 2014 12:17 pm
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Texas’ State Board of Education has approved new history textbooks, but only after defeating six and seeing a top publisher withdraw a seventh — capping months of outcry over lessons that some academics say exaggerate and poorly depict aspects of history. The New York Times

Protests are flaring up in pockets of the country against the proliferation of standardized tests. For many parents and teachers, school has become little more than a series of workout sessions for the assessment du jour. And that is exactly backward, research shows. Tests should work for the student, not the other way around. The New York Times

Tennessee’s backtracking on the Common Core State Standards puts teachers in a precarious position. Teaching to a new set of more rigorous standards is tough enough. But in Tennessee, where an educator’s evaluation, and in some cases compensation, is based on student test scores, teaching to the Common Core while not aligning tests to those standards is problematic. The Hechinger Report

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Posted: November 17, 2014 12:26 pm

Afternoon Announcements: FCC Chairman Wheeler set to strengthen access to #Internet4Schools

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Posted:
November 17, 2014 12:26 pm
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Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, is expected on Monday to propose a 62 percent increase in the amount of money the agency spends annually to wire schools and libraries with high-speed Internet connections in efforts to increase students’ access to the internet and provide a Wi-Fi connection in every classroom. The New York Times

Today, the Alliance and the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission released a new report which finds inequities in students’ access to high-speed broadband. Namely that African American, Latino, low-income, and rural students are more likely to be in schools with slow internet access than their peers and less likely to be in schools with high-speed broadband internet.

The Department of Education and advocates have said “tracking” – designating students for separate educational paths based on their academic performance as teens or younger – perpetuates a modern system of segregation that favors white students and keeps students of color, many of them black, from long-term equal achievement. Now, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights is trying to change the system, one school district at a time. Quartz

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Posted: November 14, 2014 12:00 pm

To BYOD or Not To BYOD: Industry standards coming to a school near you… (#FutureReady)

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Posted:
November 14, 2014 12:00 pm
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The following blog post is part of the Alliance’s Future Ready blog post series. The Future Ready initiative working to support school district superintendents and their leadership teams on district-wide transformation. This blog was written by Sandra Paul, Chief Technology Officer at Sayreville Public Schools in Sayreville, NJ. It originally appeared as part of a collaborative post titled, “To BYOD or Not To BYOD: that isn’t the question,” on the blog,  The Road to Learning.


Sayreville is a suburban and a “blue collar” school district in New Jersey. Over the years, many school budgets have failed to pass and therefore the first thing that was usually cut was the technology budget. Over the past nine years at Sayreville I have been in charge of both the infrastructure as well as the instructional sides of technology. I initiated the “Sayreville Technology Academy” where teacher turn-key teaching other teachers on integrating technology in the classroom.

But with all the purchase there never seemed to be enough technology time and devices for students and teachers to really integrate the use of technology in the classroom. The option was to go 1-1 but the community could never afford to purchase a device per student for the school district. At an Edscape conference, Lisa Neilsen, in her session, talked about students using their personal cell phones in the classroom. This sparked the idea that maybe if students use their own device in the classroom, then it would be like have 1-1 but students would be using their own device, BYOD.

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Categories:
Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Education Technology, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Future Ready Blog Series, Technology
Posted: November 14, 2014 11:30 am

Morning Announcements: President Obama pushes for greater access to #Internet4Schools

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Posted:
November 14, 2014 11:30 am
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President Obama will host school superintendents from across the nation next week, seeking to follow through on a pledge to have nearly all of the nation’s students connected to high-speed Internet in four years. Some 125 superintendents attending Wednesday’s summit will take their own pledge to have their districts connected, and to help others achieve the goal as well, administration officials said. USA Today

States can continue to apply for federal waivers to avoid compliance with a tough Bush-era law on student achievement, the U.S. Education Department said on Thursday. The waivers allow states to avoid the 2002 No Child Left Behind law that requires all students to be proficient in math and reading by 2014, or schools face heavy sanctions, such as paying for students to transfer to better schools. The Wall Street Journal

In the federal Bureau of Indian Education system, about 185 congressionally funded schools in 23 states is in the midst of a broad overhaul, but decades of neglect have left reservations with schools where students struggle to meet academic standards, turnover among educators is high and the buildings are often in decay. The New York Times

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Posted: November 13, 2014 03:00 pm

To BYOD or Not To BYOD: Moving 88 miles per hour, both in and out of school… (#FutureReady)

ipad
Posted:
November 13, 2014 03:00 pm
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The following blog post is part of the Alliance’s Future Ready blog post series. The Future Ready initiative working to support school district superintendents and their leadership teams on district-wide transformation. This blog was written by Ross Cooper, Elementary Assistant Principal for Williamsport Area School District in Williamsport, PA. It originally appeared as part of a collaborative post titled, “To BYOD or Not To BYOD: that isn’t the question,” on the blog,  The Road to Learning.


As of last year, the East Penn School District – a suburban school district located about an hour north of Philadelphia – had experienced such progressive initiatives as project-based learning, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and makerspaces. The seven elementary schools contained a decent amount of technology: a few white clamshell MacBook carts per building, some primary level rooms with a handful of PCs towards the back, the occasional Windows laptop cart that was well past its prime, and some iPads here and there.

However, despite all of these tools, there was a glaring need for the progressive district to do a better job of getting technology in front of its students on a more frequent basis. With so many of these students possessing their own mobile devices, BYOD was the obvious answer in order to assist students in moving 88 miles per hour, both in and out of school!

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Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Education Technology, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Future Ready Blog Series, Technology
Posted: November 13, 2014 12:00 pm

To BYOD or Not To BYOD: A financial, inventory solution, that was so much more (#FutureReady)

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Posted:
November 13, 2014 12:00 pm
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The following blog post is part of the Alliance’s Future Ready blog post series. The Future Ready initiative working to support school district superintendents and their leadership teams on district-wide transformation. This blog was written by Sharon LePage Plante, director of technology at Eagle Hill Southport School for students with learning disabilities in Southport, CT. It originally appeared as part of a collaborative post titled, “To BYOD or Not To BYOD: that isn’t the question,” on Plante’s own blog The Road to Learning.


This is not a post that’s going to guide you and your questioning as to why or why not to go BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and is not going to provide you definitive answers as to the pros and cons. It is reflections of the BYOD process by some who have been through the implementation and truly what the answers were that it provided.  It is a collaboration of how educators led their schools to be #futureready in this time of flux and the need for leadership to benefit student engagement and learning.

For public schools, there is a movement to embrace the Future Ready Pledge….as an independent school educator personally, I think it is crucial for the larger education community, public and private, to come together to do what is best for our students through the modalities that best engage them. In this post, it is a refection on what the three of us have to share about our experiences in going BYOD to limit the financial burden, but realize the greater educational implications that coincide in part with the @All4Ed momentum.

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Categories:
Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Education Technology, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Future Ready Blog Series, Technology
Posted: November 13, 2014 11:45 am

Morning Announcements: What the Congressional shift in leadership might mean for education funding

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Posted:
November 13, 2014 11:45 am
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When the 114th U.S. Congress gets underway this January, Republicans will hold majorities in both the House and the Senate for the first time since 2006. With the shift in leadership, Republicans will now decide which legislation is considered – including bills affecting student loans. Student Loan Ranger – U.S. News & World Report

The Common Core State Standards are changing reading instruction in many schools. And that means new challenges for lots of students, even traditional high achievers. In the past, a lecture about boundary politics might have taken up the entire class period. But one goal of the Common Core is for students to spend more time reading and analyzing complex texts. NPR

Borrowing for U.S. colleges declined for the third year in a row as the federal government clamped down on for-profit schools and families became more cost-conscious.  Federal and private-loan lending totaled $106 billion for the 2013-14 academic year, down 8% from the prior year, according to a report to be released Thursday by the nonprofit College Board. The decline marks a significant reversal in borrowing, which peaked at $122.1 billion in 2010-11 after rising for years. The Wall Street Journal

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Posted: November 12, 2014 03:00 pm

19 Ways to use blogs with students (#FutureReady)

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Posted:
November 12, 2014 03:00 pm
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The following blog post is part of the Alliance’s Future Ready blog post series. The Future Ready initiative working to support school district superintendents and their leadership teams on district-wide transformation. This blog was written by Starr Sackstein, New York director for the Journalism Education Association. It originally appeared on Sackstein’s own blog, Starr Sackstein, MJE, NBCT


Ever want to try out blogging with your students, but you weren’t sure how? Well it’s never too early to start. Currently my students are using Blogger (for the ease of its connection with Google) and the kids have taken to it much better than I would have thought. Last year, I tried it out with my advisory, a test case if you will. Just one class, specifically chronicling their senior year of high school and write through their transitions. It was a successful and so this year, I wanted to push a little farther.

Here are some suggestions for all ages and content areas.

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Categories:
Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Education Technology, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Future Ready Blog Series, Technology
Posted: November 12, 2014 01:45 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Common Core changing the way students read in school

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Posted:
November 12, 2014 01:45 pm
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The Common Core State Standards are changing what many kids read in school. Teachers and districts still have great latitude when it comes to the “how” of reading instruction, but… The Core standards explicitly require students to read “complex” material, and the fact is, many kids simply weren’t doing that before the Core. So what were they doing? NPR

President Obama thinks there should be no gatekeepers between you and the Internet. Adding his voice to the 3.9 million comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the past six months, the president urged the agency to “implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality,” including a ban on prioritization or blockage of service to different websites based on payment or other reasons. EdSurge

Running a school on $160. That was the total discretionary budget handed to the new principal of Anna Lane Lingelbach Elementary, a public school in Philadelphia’s Germantown. That’s all he’d have to pay for a whole year’s books, supplies, staff training, after-school activities, and incidentals — small but important items like postage and pizza parties. But a newly elected Governor could bring the change that could finally address years of Philadelphia School District cuts. Philly.com

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Posted: November 12, 2014 11:00 am

Why #Internet4Schools matters

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Posted:
November 12, 2014 11:00 am
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This blog was written by Tom Murray, the state and district digital learning director for the Alliance for Excellent Education. It originally appeared on SmartBlogs.com


Personalized learning. One-to-one implementation. Bring your own device initiatives. All of these, when combined with high-quality instructional practice, can systemically change a classroom learning environment. However, these instructional practices and tools are essentially useless without an infrastructure that can properly support them.

Although the topic of E-Rate has come to the forefront in recent months, in the not-too-distant future the program will turn 20 years old. Section 254 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, expanded the traditional goal of universal service to include increased access to both telecommunications and advanced services, such as high-speed Internet, at “just, reasonable and affordable rates.”

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Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, E-Rate, Education Technology, Project 24, Technology
Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.