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Your daily serving of high school news and policy.
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Posted:
September 02, 2014 01:00 pm
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Core of the Matter: School Supplies, Facebook and the Common Core (#CoreMatters)

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I was the fourth one in line. Standing directly in front of me were two moms that were obviously out shopping for school supplies. It is that time of year. Three-pronged folders, marble notebooks, some pens, a few book covers, a handful of binders, and some loose leaf paper was what I could see. What struck me most was how similar school shopping must have been twenty years earlier when that mom’s mother or father had taken her to the local store for back to school shopping. It struck me how as much as things in education seem to change; some things often remain the same. I began to ponder what year those teachers and schools were preparing those kids for. Were those the necessary materials that today’s third graders, the class of 2024, needed to be ready for college or a career upon graduation?

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Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards
Posted: September 11, 2014 02:04 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Interactive technology ‘substantially improves’ academic achievement for underprivileged youth

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September 11, 2014 02:04 pm
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Interactive technology that allows students to create and explore substantially improves academic achievement, particularly for underprivileged youth, according to a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education which reviewed more than 70 studies on the use of technology in the classroom. EdSource

About 70 percent of America’s elementary schools still rely on slow Internet connections. But in rural areas, the challenges—and costs—make getting broadband particularly complicated. How some districts are getting creative and skirting the digital divide. The Hechinger Report

D.C. is monitoring “in-seat attendance” — a measure that shows how many kids are actually present on any given day and it’s helping Public Schools and the D.C. charter school board figure out which schools have the biggest attendance challenges overall, and also flags days or weeks when attendance falls off. The Washington Post

Musical training doesn’t just improve your ear for music, it also helps your ear for speech. That’s the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years had a greater ability to process language. NPR

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Posted: September 10, 2014 12:32 pm

Afternoon Announcements: West Virginia starts a statewide efforts put personalized learning within students’ reach with Project 24

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September 10, 2014 12:32 pm
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Education leaders in West Virginia are moving forward with an ambitious plan to bring personalized learning to students in a statewide effort under the Alliance’s initiative Project 24. With all 55 counties in the state participating, every student in the state has a chance at experiencing purposeful and effective use of technology and digital learning.  eSchoolNews

While you’re reading that, be sure to check out the Alliance’s Sept. 4 webinar, “West Virginia: First State to Implement Project 24 at the State Level to Personalize Learning for All Students” to learn more on the implementation of personalized learning in the state.

Most of the states that originally adopted the Common Core are standing by the standards as national debate rages on, though they’re calling them something different. The Common Core State Standards by any name still equips students with college and career readiness. The Washington Post

For more than a decade, Newsweek has published an annual list of America’s Top High Schools, ranked primarily according to a ratio of AP/IB exams to the number of students graduating. This year the publication released two lists – an absolute list and a relative list they’re calling “America’s Top High Schools for Low-Income Students.” Check out the two lists to see what high schools ranked.

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Posted: September 09, 2014 12:37 pm

Afternoon Annoucements: Secretary Duncan and First Lady stop in Atlanta for Dept. of Education’s “Partners in Progress” tour

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September 09, 2014 12:37 pm
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The U.S. Department of Education’s “Partners in Progress” back-to-school bus tour kicked off Monday with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visiting Spelman College, America’s first historically black college for women, in Atlanta. Duncan was joined by Michelle Obama at nearby Booker T. Washington High School, where the First Lady urged African American teenagers in a tough Atlanta neighborhood to push ahead with their studies and make it to college, whatever hardships they face on the way.

A number of elite colleges in the U.S. have changed policies and made compromises elsewhere to recruit the kind of talented low-income students who have traditionally excelled in high school but not gone to top colleges, recruiting a more economically diverse student body. The UpShot – The New York Times

A survey conducted by Harris Poll for Pearson found 90 percent of students said tablets will change the way they learn and 89 percent said the devices would make learning more fun. The survey also found 79 percent of student respondents said they felt the devices would help them do better in class. Check out the poll of some 2,252 students in grades 4-12 to see more results on their feelings towards mobile learning.  Pearson Student Mobile Device Survey 2014

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Posted: September 08, 2014 03:19 pm

Afternoon Announcements: D.C. gets one-year extentsion of its waiver from key parts of NCLB law

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September 08, 2014 03:19 pm
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The Obama administration on Friday approved the District’s request for a one-year extension of its waiver from key parts of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law.  The extension includes provisions that expand support for schools that are struggling the most and push back the use of science tests in determining a school’s performance. The Washington Post

For a number of students in California’s public schools, the implemented Common Core math standards are adding up to big changes in learning – which students calling the new lessons more fun and easier to learn. The SFGate

New Jersey continues a tug-of-war over implementing the Common Core State Standards. However, according to education official, lost in the controversy is a lack of understanding of the actual standards and the knowledge that the rigorous standards have been part of the state’s education landscape for nearly two decades. The NJ Spotlight

Officials in Philadelphia say the opening of three new high schools shows the troubled district is trying to innovate even while massive layoffs loom. The new schools are housed in existing buildings and aim to provide small, supportive environments. Superintendent William Hite will help unveil one called. The Huffington Post

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Posted: September 05, 2014 12:38 pm

Deeper Learning Digest: How deeper learning practices have redesigned the role of the teacher to that of facilitator

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September 05, 2014 12:38 pm
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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.


Technology alone won’t be enough to improve teaching and learning to where it needs to be for 21st century skills, according to education strategist Monica Martinez and sociologist Dennis McGrath.  In the recent article, “Technology alone won’t transform teacher to facilitator,” Martinez and McGrath discuss how deeper learning practices have redesigned the role of the teacher to that of facilitator who uses technology as a tool in their educational aims, leading to a more collaborative education environment.

Be sure to sign up for the Alliance’s webinar Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m. EST featuring Dr. Monica Martinez, who will share findings from her latest book, Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Schools Are Transforming Teaching and Learning.

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College & Career Readiness, Deeper Learning, Teachers & Leaders
Posted: September 05, 2014 12:36 pm

Afternoon Announcements: California Higher Education Systems Pledge Common-Core Support

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Posted:
September 05, 2014 12:36 pm
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The Common Core is a work in progress. There’s an adjustment period to anything new, and teachers, students and parents will all experience growing pains as they adjust to changing standards. But the outcomes of college and career readiness make it working out the kinks. In the latest blog entry from our Core of the Matter series, Tom Murray, the Alliance’s State and District Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Director, reflects on the tools and technology used to prepare students in past decades compared to the incredible work he’s seeing today as students learn and why the road to preparing student for the future runs through the Common Core.

The leaders of the four branches of California’s public and private higher education establishment have proclaimed their support of the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced tests, saying that they are adjusting admission requirements and teacher-preparation programs to line up with the new expectations. Education Week

The expulsion rate for in the past school year was about half of what it was two years before, and the rate of out-of-school suspensions decreased by about 20 percent in one year, according to a report released Thursday. The Washington Post

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Posted: September 04, 2014 12:34 pm

Afternoon Announcements: State awards Common Core test contract with nine more states expected to sign on

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September 04, 2014 12:34 pm
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Over the last two years, the bipartisan coalition that brought the Common Core State Standards into being has been supplanted by a growing movement of activists who variously claim that they are too tough, too easy, too liberal, too invasive, too extensive, or all of the above. But, regardless of the debate (or the polls over the Common Core continues, the glass remains 35 states full as many educators remain committed to college and career prep for students – and not the political battle.

California became the ninth state Wednesday to award a contract to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for the standardized tests in the Common Core that students will take next spring. Another nine states are expected to sign on, making 18 states committed to give the Smarter Balanced version of the standardized tests in math and English language arts. EdSource

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Posted: September 03, 2014 02:16 pm

Former Alliance Intern Discusses his Teaching Experience with the Common Core State Standards

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September 03, 2014 02:16 pm
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Former Alliance policy intern Joshua Delaney experienced first-hand what the Common Core State Standards could do in the classroom. As a high school algebra and special education teacher in the metro-Atlanta area in 2012, Delaney watched students who had previously struggled in his classroom engage critically and collaboratively in learning under the new standards.

In a video interview with Elizabeth Schneider, the Alliance’s senior vice president of strategic initiatives, Delaney further discusses his “Core of the Matter” blog focusing on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and struggling students.

“Finally, our students were held to the same high expectations as their peers across the country,” Delaney wrote in his blog. ”This was particularly meaningful to them given most were English language learners, had learning disabilities, and/or were eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches, all of whom have historically been held to lower expectations. The fact that they would be held to the same academic expectations as their more affluent peers inspired us to work even harder to ensure they had the same opportunity to achieve as any other student in this country.”

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Categories:
Common Core Equity Series, Common Core State Standards, Georgia, Teachers & Leaders
Posted: September 03, 2014 12:27 pm

Afternoon Announcements: Florida school district board rescinds vote to opt-out of Common Core exams

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September 03, 2014 12:27 pm
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The trend away from classes based on reading and listening passively to lectures, and toward a more active role for students, has its most profound effects on black students and those whose parents did not go to college, a new study of college students shows. The New York Times

Los Angeles schools Superintendent John Deasy on Tuesday issued his most extensive and passionate defense yet of his actions involving Apple and Pearson, asserting that he did nothing improper before or during the bidding process for his district. The LA Times

The Lee County School Board in Florida voted 3-2 on Tuesday to reverse the decision it made last week to reject all state-mandated testing tied to the Common Core or any end-of-course exams for the district of some 90,000 students. Florida Today

High school students in California would have more access to apprenticeships in high-demand fields under a bill that was forwarded to the governor last week. Senate Bill 923 would create a grant program called the Educational Apprenticeship Innovation Prize to allow school districts and community colleges to expand apprenticeship programs. EdSource

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Posted: September 02, 2014 12:20 pm

Afternoon Announcements: A state-by-state look at the Common Core standards

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September 02, 2014 12:20 pm
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50 state, a District, and one set of standards. Here’s a state-by-state look at the Common Core and how it has played out across the U.S. The Associated Press

A new report released Tuesday by national and state initiative group Attendance Works exams the effect school absenteeism has on student perform. The state-by-state analysis includes findings such as performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Follow the link to view the report, “Absences Add Up,” and see just how much of a difference attendance can make.

Governor Jerry Brown has appealed a California judge’s sweeping ruling that threw out teacher job protection laws on the ground that they deprived students of their constitutional rights. The New York Times

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced in late August that states could delay the use of test results in teacher-performance ratings by another year, an acknowledgment, in effect, of the enormous pressures mounting on the nation’s teachers because of new academic standards and more rigorous standardized testing. Following an open letter to Teachers and School Leaders, Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement only sheds light on the whirlwind of activities teachers have faced surrounding a ‘rating system,’ proving the evaluation system is not without flaw.

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