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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 30, 2014 01:45 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Maryland delays test requirement for graduation

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Posted:
October 30, 2014 01:45 pm
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The Maryland State Board of Education voted on Tuesday for a two-year delay in requiring that high school students pass new standardized tests in order to graduate. Under the new plan, students still will have to pass English 10 and Algebra I courses to graduate, but will not have to pass the tests, state officials said. The Washington Post

There is no question that some teachers, principals, and district leaders have made considerable progress in using technology to transform learning. But here exists a major challenge: Few school systems have found a way to create a sustainable, digitally-enabled “ecosystem.”eSchoolNews

The Blueprint for College Readiness is a new report and online database released Wednesday by the Education Commission of the States that provides a national snapshot of how states are working to prepare students for college, with a look at where states stand in implementing what the report calls the 10 most “critical” policies that promote college readiness and success.

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Posted: October 29, 2014 03:00 pm

Future Ready Means Focusing on a Connection to People, Planet and Place (#FutureReady)

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Posted:
October 29, 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 Robert Dillon, the director of Technology and Innovation for Affton School District in St. Louis, MO. It originally appeared on Dillon’s blog, PRINCIPALLY SPEAKING.


Connected Learning may some day devolve into a buzz word, but the need for connection in learning will never diminish. It has been with us since the earliest learning, and it will remain a part of the learning in whatever form it takes in the future. Connection takes on different forms in our learning ecosystem including connection to people, planet, and place. Connection allows us to find our tribe and grow our tribe in diverse ways. This connection to people, both near and far, tempers the loneliness that can come from the vastness of our global society. This personal connection is also a key to the sustainability of the learning that is taking place inside the classroom and beyond.

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Categories:
Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Digital Learning Series, Education Technology, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, Gear: Infrastructure & Technology, Project 24, Technology
Posted: October 29, 2014 01:35 pm

Afternoon Announcements: States show Common Core State Standards are working.

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Posted:
October 29, 2014 01:35 pm
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As states have begun to implement Common Core State Standards in earnest, controversy around the initiative has swelled. What is apparent amid the clamor, and what the evidence from states that have embraced the standards continues to underscore, is that the Common Core standards are working. The Washington Times

Take Kentucky, for example. The state was the first to implement the new set of standards and might be the perfect example of what the Common Core can do for student achievement. Four years after Kentucky adopting the benchmarks for what students should know and be able to do in reading and math, about 62 percent of students are considered ready for college or a career when they graduate — up from 38 percent in 2011.

California officials have identified many schools that will have difficulty offering online statewide tests scheduled in the spring unless their Internet capacity is improved. A group of technology experts winnowed down the initial list of eligible schools from more than 600 to 304. EdSource

A school district serving two suburban communities in New Jersey has agreed to expand access to Advanced Placement classes and other higher learning opportunities to African American students, following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education, where Secretary Arne Duncan warned that his agency will investigate districts and states that are not providing poor and minority students with access to strong teachers. The Washington Post

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Posted: October 29, 2014 10:15 am

School District Transformation through the Future Ready Initiative (#FutureReady)

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Posted:
October 29, 2014 10:15 am
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The Future Ready Schools Initiative is a bold new initiative, led by the Alliance for Excellent Education, supported by the US Department of Education, and in partnership with the LEAD Commission and a vast coalition of organizations, working to support school district superintendents and their leadership teams on district-wide transformation. The vision of this new initiative is for district leaders to develop and implement a sustainable, forward thinking roadmap for effective digital learning transformation. This transformation ensures that an effective technology deployment aligns with instructional best practices and is implemented by highly trained teachers, so that the learning is effectively personalized for every student. In turn, students will experience greater success and ultimately be better prepared to succeed in the competitive global workforce that they will face upon graduation.

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Connected Learning, Digital Learning, Digital Learning Day, Digital Learning Series, Education Technology, Expanded Learning Opportunities, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, Gear: Infrastructure & Technology, Project 24, Technology
Posted: October 28, 2014 12:35 pm

Afternoon Announcements: LA school district officials order review of seniors’ transcripts

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Posted:
October 28, 2014 12:35 pm
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Reacting to ongoing problems with a new computerized student data system, Los Angeles school district officials have ordered a review of every senior’s transcript and brought in counselors and administrators to ensure those records won’t hurt students’ chances to graduate or apply to college. The LA Times

Time Magazine’s latest cover story details the efforts of certain Silicon Valley investors to derail teacher tenure practices. Teachers unions, however, are taking particular issue with the story’s associated cover art, a gavel smashing an apple, and text that says, “It’s nearly impossible to fire a bad teacher.” The Huffington Post

Every year, low-income students in the United States overcome long odds and do well enough in high school to show they can thrive in college. Nevertheless, many never receive a bachelor’s degree. What can colleges and universities do different to stop this trend? The UpShot – The New York Times

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Posted: October 27, 2014 12:30 pm

Afternoon Announcements: LAUSD students could soon be taking their iPads home

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Posted:
October 27, 2014 12:30 pm
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Los Angeles Unified students could take school-issued iPads home as soon as next month under a new plan that officials say has dealt with security concerns. The issue has been much debated, as part of a $1.3-billion plan to provide a computer to every student in the nation’s second-largest school system. The LA Times

A new report by the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness found that the number of homeless kids in public city schools has jumped 63 percent in the last five years, with the borough of Queens experiencing an alarming 90 percent spike. Most of those students inhabit neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens known to house middle-class families.

The dropout rate for Latino students, 14 percent, is the lowest it’s been in three decades and has been cut in half since 2000.  About a fourth of the people who took the GED test in 2013 were Latino, the largest share since 2003. From the economy to policies instituted, many factors play into these promising numbers for the largest growing population in US public schools. NBC News

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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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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.