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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
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Posted:
October 21, 2014 10:27 am
Featured Entry:

At the Core of Common Core: Fostering Academic Language in Every Lesson for Every Student (#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 Kenji Hakuta, professor of education at Stanford University, and Jeff Zwiers, a senior researcher with Understanding Language at Stanford University.

We are specialists in language.  One of us (Hakuta) is an experimental psycholinguist who specializes in the relationship between human language and cognition as applied to education.  The other (Zwiers) is an educational researcher and professional developer who works with teachers and practitioners on strengthening students’ abilities to use academic language.  We live, breathe, and swim in the complexity of language every day of our professional lives.  Both of us believe that language sits at the core of the Common Core and the variants of the college- and career-ready standards across the disciplines.  And we think that this is a real opportunity to enhance educational equity for all students, especially English Language Learners.

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College & Career Readiness, Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, English Language Learners
Posted: October 24, 2014 12:00 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Virginia school district pushes back start time for high school students

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Posted:
October 24, 2014 12:00 pm
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Educators, researchers, and policymakers at the state and national level are keeping close tabs on Pittsfield Middle High School in rural New Hampshire, which has become an incubator for a critical experiment in school reform. The goal: a stronger connection between academic learning and the kind of real-world experience that advocates say can translate into postsecondary success. The Hechinger Report

Fairfax County, VA  teens will get extra sleep next fall under a new initiative approved late Thursday that will push back the first class of the day in high schools to 8 a.m. or after. The school board voted 11 to 1 to delay start times to between 8 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. in the county’s 22 high schools and three secondary schools. The Washington Post

The answer to ensuring that all students have equitable access to the courses that will prepare them to be college- and career-ready could be found in a state policy known as Course Access, according to a new report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). Course Access policies, funded by public education dollars, would ensure that all students have equal access to the online, blended, and face-to-face educational opportunities that help them become college and career ready.

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Posted: October 24, 2014 11:45 am

Deeper Learning Digest: Broader visions of accountability can support higher and deeper levels of learning for students

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Posted:
October 24, 2014 11:45 am
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The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a weekly roundup of articles, blog posts, and other content around deeper learning. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed to stay up-to-date on all deeper learning news. Please be sure to follow @deeperlearning on Twitter for more on deeper learning.


Highly effective educators know what deeper learning is; it is rich core content, delivered in engaging ways that allow students to learn and apply their learning and enable them to graduate from high school ready for college, a career, and life. On October 16, the Alliance hosted a webinar in conjunction with a new report issued by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) and the Center for Innovation in Education at the University of Kentucky that focused a broader vision of accountability to support higher and deeper levels of learning for all students. Check out the archived webinar, “Rethinking Accountability to Support College and Career Readiness,” to hear from experts in education on rethinking accountability in schools.

CompetencyWorks, a collaborative project that pulls together multiple organizations to advance competency education as a replacement for “seat-time” schooling, published a new report that points to many of the learning practices around the world that the organization feel improve education. Many of these reflect the very trends we now see in the United States towards personalized education, including curriculum redesign and the integration of performance-based learning assessments. Read the report, An International Study in Competency Education: Postcards from Abroad, to find out which countries are setting the bar for competency education.

When it comes to classrooms today, students want more than the lectures and quiet classrooms of the past. They want technology to use as learning tools, they want to collaborate, and they want to work on projects that are relevant to their learning and the real world. Through project-based learning (PBL), students achieve a deeper understanding of lessons as they investigate and attempt to solve real-world problems. eSchoolNews

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Accountability, Assessments, Blended Learning, California, College & Career Readiness, Deeper Learning, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, High School Reform
Posted: October 23, 2014 12:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Students are achieving more with Project-Based Learning

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Posted:
October 23, 2014 12:30 pm
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New York City lawmakers introduced a slate of legislation Wednesday meant to prod the administration to boost diversity in the city school system, which is among the most segregated in the country. One resolution urges state lawmakers to pass a bill amending the admission policy for the city’s most selective schools, which admit few black and Hispanic students. Chalkbeat NY

When it comes to classrooms today, students want more than the lectures and quiet classrooms of the past. They want technology to use as learning tools, they want to collaborate, and they want to work on projects that are relevant to their learning and the real world. Through project-based learning (PBL), students achieve a deeper understanding of lessons as they investigate and attempt to solve real-world problems. eSchoolNews

Barbara Byrd-Bennett,  CEO of Chicago Public Schools said at a board meeting Tuesday that she is asking the Illinois State Board of Education and the federal government to let the district delay the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test. Byrd-Bennett told the board she wanted “concurrence from the federal government by Thanksgiving.” Catalyst Chicago

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Posted: October 22, 2014 11:45 am

Morning Announcements: New York City Council slated to examine student diversity in the city’s public schools

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Posted:
October 22, 2014 11:45 am
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in a brief visit to Los Angeles on Tuesday, met with newly installed L.A. Unified Supt. Ramon C. Cortines to talk about local technology problems and the state of local schools. Duncan’s visit coincided with the second day on the job for Cortines and with the school board’s formal approval of his contract. The LA Times

Members of the New York City Council will introduce a package of legislation on Wednesday to draw attention to what they described as a lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity in the city’s public schools, which by some measures are among the most segregated school districts in the country. The New York Times  

A new report by Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and the National Center for Innovation in Education at the University of Kentucky suggests overhauling how school and student success is measured in the United States, recommending alternatives to annual standardized tests. It says there should be far more emphasis on ongoing assessments of students as part of regular classroom instruction. EdSource

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the Alliance’s archived webinar, “Rethinking Accountability to Support College and Career Readiness,” featuring the report’s co-authors Gene Wilhoit and Linda Darling-Hammond.

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Posted: October 21, 2014 01:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: NY State Regents sign off on jobs-oriented diploma requirements

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Posted:
October 21, 2014 01:30 pm
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The New York State Board of Regents gave initial approval to a major change to high school graduation requirements on Monday, allowing students to earn their diplomas with one fewer test if they pass another assessment in a range of subjects like languages, the arts, hospitality management and carpentry. The New York Times

Results from the Consortium for School Networking’s 2nd Annual E-rate and Infrastructure Survey reveal gaps in U.S. school districts’ broadband and technology infrastructure. The report identifies affordability and adequate funding as the most significant barriers to delivering sufficient Internet connectivity to schools.

Nationwide, enrollments in university teacher-preparation programs have fallen by about 10 percent from 2004 to 2012, according to federal estimates from the U.S. Department of Education’s postsecondary data collection. California, New York, and Texas, among the largest producers of teachers, have seen steep drops. Education Week

DC officials announced Monday the opening of a new centralized office dedicated to helping young high school dropouts get back on track to earn a diploma or GED, as the latest effort to overhaul the city’s public education system by bringing back young adults who had given up on school. The Washington Post

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Posted: October 20, 2014 12:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: US Dept. of Ed. Secretary Duncan says ‘standardized tests must measure up’

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Posted:
October 20, 2014 12:30 pm
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In a weekend editorial for The Washington Post, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed how necessary it is that high-quality” standardized testing measure up and meet the needs of students, teachers, schools, and school districts. He adds all policymakers – himself included – bear the responsibility to provide support and assistance to state and district leaders as the work to make quality assessment available for all students.

With the implementation of the Common Core, College Board is making changes to most science and history AP courses in an effort to emphasize teaching college critical thinking in high school. The Hechinger Report

Federally owned schools for Native Americans on reservations are marked by remoteness, extreme poverty, few construction dollars, and are among the country’s lowest performing. The Obama administration is pushing ahead with a plan to improve the schools that gives tribes more control. The Associated Press

This election season, both Republican and Democratic candidates alike have made education issues a major part of their platforms for the mid-terms. But Republicans in some states including Florida, Kansas, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are on the defensive about education. Politico

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Posted: October 17, 2014 11:55 am

Kentucky’s Results Provide Strong Endorsement for Common Core State Standards

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Posted:
October 17, 2014 11:55 am
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In 2010, Kentucky faced a situation common to many states: its students were passing courses and scoring high on state tests, but evidence from other sources, including ACT scores and college-remediation rates, showed that too many students were not prepared for college or careers. These harsh truths provided the impetus for a major overhaul of the state’s education system. That same year, Kentucky became the first state to adopt the new Common Core State Standards, which are designed explicitly to chart a path toward college and career readiness, and ever since, school districts across the state have been doing the hard work of redesigning instruction, assessment, and teacher preparation to ensure that all students reach those benchmarks. In Kentucky, these standards are called the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS).

Earlier this month, the Kentucky Department of Education released statewide college and career readiness rates for the 2013-2014 school year. The results speak volumes; over the past four years, the percentage of Kentucky high school graduates ready for college and careers has increased from 34 percent to 62 percent in 2014.

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Assessments, College & Career Readiness, Common Core State Standards
Posted: October 17, 2014 11:52 am

Deeper Learning Digest: Common Core means Deeper Learning, and district leaders get that

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Posted:
October 17, 2014 11:52 am
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The ‘Deeper Learning Digest’ is a weekly roundup of articles, blog posts, and other content around deeper learning. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed to stay up-to-date on all deeper learning news. Please be sure to follow @deeperlearning on Twitter for more on deeper learning.


A recent survey from the Center on Education Policy found that more than 75 percent of district leaders polled said the implementation of the Common Core would lead to improved skills among students, suggesting those leaders understand that the new standards represent different expectations for student learning. In recent blogpost, Alliance Senior Fellow Robert Rothman considers what those poll results mean for deeper learning. Rothman writes, “All students deserve to develop the deeper learning competencies they will need to succeed in college and the workplace, and now the Common Core State Standards make those competencies the expectations for every student in more than 40 states.”

Students are more engaged and excited when learning is project-based, advocates say, which gives students more “ownership” over their education, and asks for their ideas about ways to learn the concepts. eSchoolNews

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Assessments, Common Core State Standards, Deeper Learning, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, High School Reform
Posted: October 17, 2014 11:30 am

Morning Announcements: LAUSD Superintendent Resigns

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Posted:
October 17, 2014 11:30 am
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The Los Angeles Unified school board on Thursday officially accepted the resignation of Supt. John Deasy and voted to appoint his predecessor, Ramon Cortines, to fill the post on an interim basis. After three-and-a-half years, much of it mired in controversy over technology missteps like the rollout of a $1.3 billion iPad program and a court case that struck down teacher tenure laws in California, the schools chief and the board have agreed to part ways. But what’s truly at the heart of Deasy’s departure?

More than 100 educators in the District met for a day-long training Thursday on implementing the new Common Core academic standards.  The “Ahead of the Curve” conference offered an unusual opportunity for teachers and school leaders from charter and traditional schools to work together. The Washington Post

Charter schools in DC spent $18,150 per student during the 2011-2012 school year, while Prince George’s County Public Schools spent $10,408 on each child it served, a significant difference between the highest and lowest spenders in the Washington region, according to a study released Wednesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The Washington Post

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Posted: October 15, 2014 12:15 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Poverty strongest factor in whether high school graduates go on to college, report says

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Posted:
October 15, 2014 12:15 pm
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New data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) Research Center, a research organization that conducts longitudinal studies in American education, found school poverty – not minority level – continues to be the strongest indicator of college enrollment. College enrollment rates in the first fall after graduation for students from low income public high schools ranged from 47 percent to 58 percent. In comparison, students from higher income, low minority suburban high schools had the highest college enrollment rates — 73 percent according to the data.

Many colleges don’t mandate courses in core subjects like U.S. government, history or economics, according to the sixth annual analysis of core curricula at 1,098 four-year colleges and universities by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The analysis found that just 18% of schools require American history to graduate, 13% require a foreign language and 3% economics. The Wall Street Journal

The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $1.1-million plan to provide a longer school day, additional classes and tutoring to Thomas Jefferson High School students who lost instructional time as a result of widespread scheduling problems this semester. The proposed changes come on the heels of Jefferson students and teachers joining a lawsuit over non-academic classes. The LA Times

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.