Future Ready Schools® Announces Five Regional Institutes for District and School Leaders

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Posted:
June 28, 2018 10:21 am

Institutes Provide Support for Districts Transforming Teaching and Learning

WASHINGTON, DC—Future Ready Schools® (FRS) today announced a series of free regional events to support school and district leaders in creating policies, procedures, and practices that transform teaching and learning. These five FRS “institutes” will feature professional learning for superintendents, district leaders, principals, teacher leaders, and instructional coaches, IT directors, and librarians/media specialists. To date, FRS has held more than thirty institutes serving more than 650 school district teams and more than 2,100 educators.

“FRS institutes bring together teams of educators taking steps toward true systematic change in their districts,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), which leads FRS. “This year’s FRS institutes will continue to grow a strong community committed to changing culture, instructional practice, and ultimately, improve learning outcomes for their students.”

FRS is working with an advisory board of education experts to create the research-based, two-day agenda filled with personalized professional learning opportunities for educators led by expert facilitators. Each FRS institute will launch ongoing regional networks of enthusiastic implementation experts who will act as mentors to support and host follow-up activities to ensure districts have the resources needed to create customized, actionable personalized learning plans.

The 2018 FRS institutes are FREE, but space is limited. Dates and locations are as follows:

Sept 10–11: Mansfield, OH

Sept 17–18: Chicago, IL

October 25–26: Atlanta, GA

November 12–13: Portland, OR

November 29–30: Ashburn, VA

Registration is open to up to five members per district at www.futureready.org/institutes.

The institutes are based on the FRS framework and include differentiated sessions for district team members, along with extensive training for FRS project managers on the FRS interactive planning dashboard, a free online tool that serves more than 1,000 school districts and 15,000 educators. Through the dashboard, school district leadership teams develop plans to effectively use technology and improve learning outcomes. Aligned with Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act, district leaders use the FRS five-step planning process to set a vision for student learning, assess their needs, identify gaps, obtain strategies, and plan and track their progress over time. This process begins before districts invest valuable resources to purchase laptops, tablets, and other technological devices.

“In the rush to purchase the latest device, some districts skip over the vision and planning steps—sometimes resulting in devices being left on the shelves or awkward fits into instruction,” said Wise. “FRS institutes will help school district leaders plan and strategize while also connecting them with a support network of individuals who have overcome—or are facing—the same challenges they are.”

A project of All4Ed, FRS helps school districts develop the human and technological capacity needed to personalize student learning and prepare students for college, a career, and citizenship. Over the last three years, 3,200 school districts’ superintendents—representing more than 19 million students—have signed the Future Ready District Pledge, committing to personalize learning by tailoring instruction to students’ strengths and needs while engaging them in challenging, standards-based academic content, with the help of effective digital learning strategies.

All4Ed and FRS appreciate its corporate partners, including McGraw-Hill Education, AT&T Aspire, Follett Software, Amazon Web Services, bulb Digital Portfolios, Pearson, and Discovery Education, for their generous program support. Due to their participation, FRS can offer free webinars, planning tools, and events at no charge.

To learn more about the FRS institutes, visit www.futureready.org/institutes.

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The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.

www.all4ed.org

Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a bold effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship. FRS provides districts with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities. FRS is led by the Alliance for Excellent Education alongside a vast coalition of organizations. www.FutureReady.org

 

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Future Ready

Statement from Gov. Bob Wise in Support of Senate Bill to Rewrite Career and Technical Education Act

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June 26, 2018 11:08 am

WASHINGTON, DC—This afternoon, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) is scheduled to consider a bill to rewrite the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) supports the bill and released the following statement from All4Ed President Bob Wise:

“School is out for summer, but it is great to see senators from both sides of the aisle continuing to work to improve educational opportunities for students. This legislation shows that bipartisanship can lead to better policy.

“By emphasizing quality and equity, this legislation provides state and district leaders with an important array of tools to ensure students graduate from high school ready for college and a career.

“Across the country, states and districts are providing students with the chance to achieve their full potential through pathways that integrate career and technical education (CTE) and academics, work-based learning, and opportunities to earn credit toward a college degree. In California, for example, 300,000 students attend high schools that offer Linked Learning, which has been found to increase high school graduation rates and prepare students for college. This legislation will support these and similar efforts nationwide by placing a greater emphasis on the quality of students’ CTE experience and prioritizing work-based learning and dual enrollment.

“Just as important, the legislation targets high-quality opportunities toward historically underserved students by specifically including their performance in state systems of accountability and improvement. This comes at a critical time, when students of color comprise a majority of students enrolled in public school, and two-thirds of the nation’s jobs require a postsecondary credential.

“No legislation is perfect, and I look forward to working with members of Congress on both sides to strengthen the bill.”

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The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

Categories:
Career & Technical Education, Career and Technical Education

Future Ready Schools® Announces New Program for School and District Technology Leaders

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Posted:
June 25, 2018 10:56 am

In Collaboration With Amazon Web Services, Future Ready Technology Leaders™ Empowers School Leaders to Implement a Vision for Personalized Learning

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Future Ready Schools® (FRS)—led by the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed)—announced Future Ready Technology Leaders™ (FRS Tech Leaders)—the latest expansion of the FRS initiative—aimed at empowering school and district technology leaders to better connect their practices, policies, and procedures to educational innovation in schools.

“Far from just counting boxes and wires, school and district technology leaders play a huge role in supporting schools in their transition to digital learning,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “From creating open, flexible, and robust digital environments that support teachers to creating anywhere, anytime learning for students, technology leaders hold the key to unleashing the power of digital learning for students and teachers alike.”

Acknowledging the various roles of technology leaders within schools and districts across the country, the FRS Tech Leaders framework provides guidance around the action steps necessary to ensure that all students, especially students of color and students from low-income families, have equitable access to qualified technology leaders, digital researchers, and innovative learning environments.

In collaboration with Amazon Web Services, FRS Tech Leaders focuses on how these leaders can support schools in their transition to digital learning by:

  • making anytime, anywhere, anyhow learning a reality;
  • supporting an open, flexible, robust digital learning environment;
  • ensuring data safety and privacy while promoting best practices in digital citizenship;
  • planning for future innovation and technology that supports learning and teachers; and
  • creating a transparent environment that communicates to all stakeholders.

During five upcoming FRS institutes in Fall 2018, FRS Tech Leaders will tap an active network of like-minded educators beyond their own school, district, and state to share ideas and examples to overcome barriers to implementation, and for help and advice when challenges arise.

A project of All4Ed, FRS helps school districts develop the human and technological capacity needed to personalize student learning and prepare students for college, a career, and citizenship.

Over the last three years, 3,200 school districts’ superintendents—representing more than 19  million students—have signed the Future Ready District Pledge, committing to personalize learning by tailoring instruction to students’ strengths and needs while engaging them in challenging, standards-based academic content, with the help of effective digital learning strategies.

Future Ready Technology Leaders™ joins FRS program strands already underway for district leaders, principals, instructional coaches, and librarians.

“Through its various program strands, FRS crowd-sources expertise and connects similarly situated individuals within schools and districts who share skills and face similar challenges,” said Wise. “The end result is a powerful network of passionate educators who are maximizing student-centered learning opportunities and leveraging technology to prepare students for success in college, a career, and citizenship.”

More information on Future Ready Technology Leaders is available at http://futureready.org/program-overview/techleaders/.

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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a bold effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship. FRS provides districts with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities. FRS is led by the Alliance for Excellent Education alongside a vast coalition of organizations. www.FutureReady.org

Categories:
Future Ready

Key Strategies for Science of Adolescent Learning Should Guide Education Decisionmaking, Says New All4Ed Report

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Posted:
June 13, 2018 02:17 pm

Researchers, Practitioners, and Policymakers Must Constantly Interact and “Broker” Implementation Actions to Infuse Science of Adolescent Learning into Education Policy and Practice

WASHINGTON, DC—Over the next two years, public education faces a critical moment created by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act requiring states and school districts to identify underperforming schools and create evidence-based plans to improve learning experiences and academic performance of all students. A new report by the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) recommends key strategies for ensuring that science of adolescent learning principles move from established research findings to actual implementation in these schools through coordinated efforts among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

In addition to examining why now is a moment of significant opportunity and challenge in education, the report, Synapses, Students, and Synergies: Applying the Science of Adolescent Learning to Policy and Practice, reviews why adolescence is a critical period of development. It also highlights how organizations, including All4Ed, are making connections between researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to ensure that research on the science of adolescent learning (SAL) informs practice and policy.

According to the report, research and modern technical advances have resulted in a dramatic increase in the quality and quantity of knowledge about how adolescent students learn and develop. However, research on how best to improve learning outcomes and close opportunity and achievement gaps for historically underserved students, including students of color and students from low-income families, too often fails to reach school districts, schools, classrooms, and communities in concrete and deliberate ways.

To ensure that SAL research informs education decisionmaking and teachers’ practice, the report makes two major recommendations. First, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers should participate in a continuous interactive triangle in which research supports good practice, good practice influences sound policy, and sound policy leverages and expands practice to inform further research. Second, the numerous organizations advancing and applying research should develop “brokering” strategies that move beyond simply translating academic findings into language for educators and policymakers and result in implementation.

“Traditionally the researcher and the practitioner are actively communicating, but the policymaker is largely left out,” says report author Bob Wise, president of All4Ed and former governor of West Virginia. “If science is to drive crucial education decisions, then all three must continuously interact. Adding brokering with school and district leaders about how to implement SAL in their unique situation avoids important research getting lost in translation or another unread book on an educator’s crowded shelf.”

Through its well-established relationships with researchers, practitioners, and policymakers, All4Ed is working to ensure that SAL findings reach secondary school education leaders positioned to implement innovative and effective education practices and policies that align with SAL research. Specifically, All4Ed, in collaboration with other SAL leaders, is

  • translating the academic language of SAL research for practice and policy audiences to inform decisions related to school improvement and effective implementation;
  • communicating translated SAL research to practitioners and policymakers through a variety of multimedia formats and networks to maximize its reach and impact;
  • developing brokering strategies resulting in education leaders fostering adoption of SAL approaches within the context of their schools and districts;
  • supporting practitioners in applying well-accepted SAL research in their schools as part of their school improvement strategies; and
  • identifying areas of need for further research on issues that disproportionately influence historically underserved students.

To support and facilitate the alignment of policy, research, and practice, All4Ed is collaborating with a group of world-class researchers, expert practitioners, and policymakers to create a set of SAL consensus statements that represent common agreements among leading researchers and their specific areas of study. In the coming months, All4Ed will release a series of SAL reports to introduce the consensus statements, provide supporting research, and identify implications for policy and practice around adolescent learners.

All4Ed also will highlight the work of these researchers and their perspectives through a forthcoming podcast and webinar series. As with all of All4Ed’s work, the research base developed and recommendations made through the SAL initiative will highlight unique lived experiences and implications of this knowledge for historically underserved students, specifically students of color and students from low-income families.

Learn more about All4Ed’s SAL initiative at https://all4ed.org/SAL.

Download Synapses, Students, and Synergies at https://all4ed.org/synapses-students-and-synergies-applying-the-science-of-adolescent-learning-to-policy-and-practice/.

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The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

Categories:
Science of Adolescent Learning, Science of Learning

After 15 Years of Gains, For the First Time No State is Below 71 Percent, A Sign of Progress Toward Raising the National High School Graduation Rate

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Posted:
June 05, 2018 10:05 am

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Tonya Williams, tonyaw@americaspromise.org, 202-657-0644
Daria Hall, dariah@americaspromise.org, 202-657-0621

Grad Nation Report Highlights Progress and Challenges Facing Key Student Subgroups and Low-Graduation-Rate Schools in the New ESSA-Era

 Examines Connections Between High School and Postsecondary Education as Nation Remains Off Pace to Reaching Goals

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In 2001, the national high school graduation rate stood at 71 percent. Fifteen years later – and for the first time ever, no state in the nation has a high school graduation rate below 71 percent and there are now 39 states above 80 percent, a major milestone toward reaching the country’s goal of a 90 percent graduation rate, according to the latest Building a Grad Nation report.

However, even with clear progress – and an additional three million students graduating rather than dropping out over that same time period – the country has more work to do to finish the job to reach its goal.

The 2018 Building a Grad Nation report is authored by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, and released today in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. Together, the four organizations lead the GradNation campaign, a nationwide effort to boost the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the workforce. This year’s report, presented by lead sponsor AT&T and supporting sponsor Lumina Foundation, is the ninth annual update on the progress and challenges in raising high school graduation rates.

“Thanks to the hard work taking place inside classrooms, living rooms, and boardrooms across the country, the nation continues to see steady growth of high school graduation rates on the state level, with most of those increases being driven by the increasing education attainment of Black and Hispanic students,” said John Bridgeland, president & CEO, Civic Enterprises. “But this year’s report comes at a turning point for the nation as the Every Student Succeeds Act becomes a reality and the power of accountability shifts from the federal government into the hands of states. We have work to do to ensure every student receives a quality education that prepares them for college, work, and civic engagement.”

“The high school graduation rate is still the best on-track indicator for young adults and remains a major milestone on an education continuum that starts at birth and lasts a lifetime,” said Jennifer DePaoli, senior researcher and policy advisor at Civic Enterprises and lead author of the report. “We’ve seen clear growth, but in this new age of ESSA, if we ever want to reach a more equitable path for all, we must make sure states continue to do the more challenging work of raising graduation rates for key groups of students that are still behind the national average.”

The report examines three key areas: high school data trends across the country, the state of high school graduation rates for the largest historically underserved student subgroups and the lowest performing high schools, and recognizing that high school graduation is a milestone rather than the final destination, the connection between high school and postsecondary pathways.

High School Graduation Trends Across the Nation.  Since the change to the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate in 2011, the country has seen continuous growth over the past five years, nearly cutting in half the number of states below the 80 percent mark. State-level progress over that time period is demonstrated in the following comparisons:

  • In 2011, five states reported graduation rates below 70 percent. In 2016, no state had a graduation rate below 71 percent.
  • In 2011, no state had achieved a 90 percent graduation rate, and only nine had a graduation rate above 85 percent. In 2016, two states reached the 90 percent goal (Iowa and New Jersey), and 25 other states reported a graduation rate above 85 percent.
  • The states with the lowest graduation rates in 2011 (62-73 percent) all experienced growth greater than the national average (5.1 percentage points), and the gap between the states with the highest graduation rate and the lowest has been reduced by six percentage points.
  • Overall, 18 states – many with large populations of Black, Hispanic, and low-income students – have largely driven progress nationally since 2011 and helped narrow national racial and income graduation rate gaps.

Reaching a 90 Percent Graduation Rate for Key Subgroups. While there has been steady growth across the board, each of the five key student subgroups – Black and Hispanic students, low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, and students who attend low-performing high schools – are still significantly lagging behind the rest of the nation. States and districts have the power to address the needs of each subgroup and provide a fair, comprehensive and equitable education.

  • Black and Hispanic Students. Black and Hispanic students continue to make graduation rate gains greater than the national average, but their overall graduation rate (76.4 and 79.3 respectively) is still below 80 percent. More states are increasing graduation rates for these students than ever before, but the gaps between them and White students remain significant (11.9 percentage points between Black and White students and 9 percentage points between Hispanic and White students).
  • Low-Income Students. While gaps between low-income and non-low-income students have decreased in the majority of states over the past six years, 16 states have actually seen the graduation rate gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers increase.

Furthermore, under ESSA, all states are now required to report disaggregated graduation rates for homeless students, a growing population. Reported rates for homeless students are among the lowest in the nation. Currently, eight states have publicly released those numbers, with the rest expected to follow in the next year.

  • Students with Disabilities. In 2016, just 65.5 percent of students with disabilities graduated in four years—making it the largest student subgroup with the least amount of growth since 2011 and the subgroup with the lowest graduation rate. Students with disabilities comprise significant proportions of the students not graduating on time in nearly every state and 26 states have graduation gaps between students with disabilities and general population students greater than the national average.
  • English Learners. English learners make up a small but fast-growing group of students, and their graduation rate (66.9 percent) continues to languish near the bottom of all student subgroups. A handful of states – New Mexico, California, Colorado, and Hawaii – had significant concentrations of English learners among their four-year non-graduates.
  • Low-Performing Schools. The number of low-graduation-rate high schools, schools with a graduation rate of 67 percent or below with at least 100 students enrolled, now stands at 2,425 in 2016. These schools represent 13 percent of all high schools and enroll approximately 7 percent of high school students. Low-graduation-rate high schools can primarily be found in urban and suburban areas, and within their student populations, Black, Hispanic, and low-income students are largely overrepresented. Interestingly, the report looks at types of schools producing the greatest numbers of four-year non-graduates in each state to provide a road map for states on where the majority of their non-graduates can be found – and, in some cases, where high graduation rates may be hiding them. ESSA requires states to identify low graduation rate high schools and districts must have plans to reform these schools.

“As states begin to act on their ESSA plans, they must be aware that in a growing number of cases, many of their non-graduates are not coming from low-grad-rate high schools, but from some of their better performing schools. This new data brings to light for state and district leaders a greater need to watch where their non-graduates are coming from and focus on enforcing accountability measures that support those schools,” said Bob Balfanz, director, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education. “It also reinforces the point that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to graduating more students on time, and that even the highest performing schools may be contributing to lower graduation rates.”

Examining the Connection between High School and Postsecondary. As states work to ensure more equitable outcomes for students that increase graduation rates, data affirms that a quality, postsecondary credential is increasingly essential on the path to adulthood. Since 2008, the share of Americans ages 25 to 64 that hold a credential beyond high school has increased 9 percentage points to a record high of 46.9 percent. However, the nation remains off-pace to reaching a 60 percent postsecondary goal by 2025. Young people’s experience during the high school years – through rigorous coursework and exposure to postsecondary options – is instrumental for them to access and succeed after high school.

Policy and Practice Recommendations. To help improve graduation rates, the authors recommend that policymakers and practitioners: 1) Continue to improve graduation rate data reporting and collection; 2) Promote policies and practices that reduce harmful disparities; 3) Align diplomas with college and career ready standards; 4) Support schools and districts with comprehensive support and improvement plans; 5) Avoid and eliminate practices that reduce expectations for students; 6) Create state-specific high school graduation plans; and 7) Strengthen the transition from high school to postsecondary and careers. The report also indicates the need for a deeper understanding of the use of credit recovery programs and alternative schools.

“A high school diploma is essential for young people to stay on track to successful life outcomes.  The progress we’ve seen on graduation rates is heartening. More and more young people are attaining this necessary credential. But the job isn’t done yet,” said John Gomperts, president & CEO of America’s Promise Alliance. “To accelerate progress and help more young people reach their full potential, states, districts and communities must make high school graduation part of a clear pathway to success in school, work and life. Furthermore, accountability must be taken seriously so that inequities along that path do not persist unchecked.”

The Road to 90 and Beyond. The 2015-16 national high school graduation rate now stands at 84.1 percent – an all-time high. But this year marks the third consecutive year the country has not been on track to reach its 90 percent goal – a goal that would require graduating about 219,000 more young people on time than in 2016 and nearly doubling the annual rate of gain in recent years through 2020. To get on track, the national graduation rate must increase by 1.4 percentage points annually. In 2016, the rate went up just 0.9 percent.

“Reaching our goal is in the best interest of everyone. High school graduates are less likely to be unemployed, less likely to fall into the criminal justice system, and more likely to have positive life outcomes, including better health and a longer life span,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, which just released new data on the economic benefits of graduating. “A high school diploma is not an end point, but a jumping off point to greater things—college, a career, or additional training—that benefit the individual, community, and the greater economy.”

Authors and sponsors. The 2018 Building a Grad Nation report is co-authored by Jennifer DePaoli, John Bridgeland, and Matthew Atwell of Civic Enterprises and Robert Balfanz at the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. AT&T, lead sponsor, has supported the Building a Grad Nation report series since its inception through AT&T Aspire, the company’s $400 million commitment since 2008 to graduate more students from high school ready for college and career. Lumina Foundation, which has been a leader in the field on postsecondary education, is a supporting sponsor.

Full report. To read the full report, access state and district data and other resources, visit: http://gradnation.americaspromise.org/2018-building-a-grad-nation-report.

Join the Livestream. Tune into Facebook Live on June 5 from 10-11:30 AM ET to watch leaders of the campaign and experts in the field discuss the report findings and latest developments.  Join the conversation here.

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Civic Enterprises is a public policy and strategy firm that helps corporations, nonprofits, foundations, universities, and governments develop and spearhead innovative public policies to strengthen our communities and country. Created to enlist the private, public and nonprofit sectors to help address our nation’s toughest problems, Civic Enterprises fashions new initiatives and strategies that achieve measurable results in the fields of education, civic engagement, economic mobility, and many other domestic policy issueswww.civicenterprises.net

The Everyone Graduates Center at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education seeks to identify the barriers to high school graduation, develop strategic solutions to overcoming these barriers and build local capacity to implement and sustain the solutions so that all students graduate prepared for adult success. www.every1graduates.org

America’s Promise Alliance leads the nation’s largest network dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. www.AmericasPromise.org

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenshipwww.all4ed.org

Categories:
High School Graduation Rates and Secondary School Improvement

New All4Ed Report Asks Congress to Allow Federal Pell Grants to Support High School Students

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Posted:
April 26, 2018 03:24 pm

Allowing Students to Use Their Pell Grants to Pay for Early College High Schools and Dual-Enrollment Programs Could Boost College Enrollment and Completion

WASHINGTON, DC—Early College High Schools (ECHSs) and dual-enrollment programs allow students to take college courses while still in high school. Research shows that students participating in these programs are more likely to enroll in college, post higher college grade point averages, persist, and ultimately graduate from college. Too often, however, costs associated with these courses are prohibitive for students from low- and middle-income families.

To reduce the cost burden associated with these courses, while increasing college enrollment and persistence rates for students from low-income families, students of color, and other historically underserved students, a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) recommends that the U.S. Congress include a pilot program in the Higher Education Act (HEA) that allows high school students to use their Federal Pell Grant awards to pay for college-level credit-bearing courses. Such a program could build on the Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment initiative that the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is currently implementing.

“Early College High Schools and dual-enrollment programs give high school students a jump start on a college education,” said Bob Wise, president of All4Ed and former governor of West Virginia. “The programs are especially effective for students who traditionally face long odds of earning the postsecondary creditial that is so important in today’s economy. Unfortunately, not all high school students have access to these programs. Including a pilot program in an updated Higher Education Act could ensure that more historically underserved students graduate from high school ready for college—and with college credits to prove it.”

ECHSs and dual-enrollment programs enroll high school students in a variety of settings, including at traditional comprehensive high schools or on college campuses, notes the report, Now’s the Time: Early College and Dual-Enrollment Programs in the Higher Education Act. These programs, which were available at 53 percent of postsecondary institutions in the 2010–11 school year, also require high school–college partnerships to ensure the credits high school students earn count toward postsecondary credits.

According to one study cited in the report, students of color in ECHS programs are nearly 10 times more likely to obtain a college degree than comparison students, while low-income students in these programs are 8.5 times more likely to obtain a college degree. Despite this success, only 10 percent of high school students participate in programs that offer college-credit courses.

As predecent for permitting high school students to use Federal Pell Grant funds, the report points to ED’s Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment. Created in 2016, the program gave waivers to forty-four institutions nationally to allow high-need high school students to use Federal Pell Grants to take dual-enrollment and early college courses at their institutions.

As Congress works to rewrite HEA, the report recommends that Congress consider a pilot program based on ED’s Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment that contains the following student-level protections:

  • Ensure that students and their families are not responsible for any remaining institutional charges resulting from enrollment in the dual-enrollment pilot program.
  • Offer participating students the opportunity to earn the equivalent of at least twelve postsecondary education credit hours.
  • Offer participating students support services, such as academic tutoring, guidance counseling, assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), high school-to-college transition support, and other services designed to increase preparation for, and success in, dual-enrollment programs.
  • Ensure that students’ participation in the pilot program would not count toward the twelve-semester limit for receiving Federal Pell Grants.

The report also includes recommendations focused on equitable opportunity for historically underserved students—including incarcerated juveniles, homeless students, and students in foster care; positive student outcomes and program quality; and accountability mechanisms and guidance for states, districts, and postsecondary systems.

“Opportunities for students to earn college credits while enrolled in high school can alter academic trajectories in a significant and positive direction, particularly for students from historically underserved backgrounds,” the report notes. “These efforts need continued attention from federal policymakers to improve access and affordability to open more pathways toward degree and credential attainment and expand opportunities for students to receive the education necessary for economic and personal success.”

Now’s the Time: Early College and Dual-Enrollment Programs in the Higher Education Act is available at https://all4ed.org/early-college-high-schools-dual-enrollment-pell-grants-hea/.

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The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

Categories:
College Graduation Rates, Higher Education, Pell Grants

Two Senior Obama Administration Advisors Join Alliance for Excellent Education’s Governing Board

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Posted:
March 14, 2018 12:10 pm

WASHINGTON, DC—The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) today announced the appointment of two outstanding individuals—Roberto J. Rodríguez and Leslie Cornfeld—to its governing board. Rodríguez is president and chief executive officer of Teach Plus and served for eight years in the White House as deputy assistant to President Obama for education. Cornfeld served in the Obama administration as special advisor to Education Secretaries Arne Duncan and John King.

“Roberto and Leslie share All4Ed’s commitment to improving the educational outcomes—and lives—of high school students, especially those underperforming and those historically underserved,” said Daniel H. Leeds, chair of the All4Ed board. “Having advocated on behalf of these students at the highest levels, Roberto and Leslie bring unique perspectives and invaluable expertise that will greatly inform All4Ed as it works to prepare every student for success in high school and beyond.”

Rodríguez spearheads Teach Plus’s work to grow and strengthen the teacher leadership movement by developing and advancing teachers as leaders in education policy and practice, and by supporting their contribution to educational innovation and change in classrooms and schools. Prior to serving President Obama, Rodríguez spent eight years as principal education advisor to the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Rodríguez is nationally recognized for his expertise in education policy and governance and has played a key role in the development of every major piece of education legislation over the last two decades, including the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, and the Head Start Act of 2007.

“I have long admired All4Ed’s leadership in advocating for the policies and practices in our schools that will ensure our students graduate ready to seize the future,” said Rodríguez. “I look forward to contributing to All4Ed in their mission to help every student succeed.”

Cornfeld has spent her twenty-five-year career advocating on behalf of the nation’s underserved populations through their schools, communities, and justice systems. As special advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education, Cornfeld oversaw public-private partnerships advancing education equity for the U.S. Department of Education and the White House. Prior to that, Cornfeld served for two terms as an advisor to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg where she led the design and implementation of policy and systems-level change in the areas of child welfare and safety, education, and civic engagement, which the Washington Post praised as “an example of what’s possible.” Previously, Cornfeld led a series of high-profile public corruption, police abuse, and human trafficking cases as a federal civil rights prosecutor. Since her early work with the late U.S. Senator Daniel Moynihan, she has been nationally recognized for designing and leading high-profile, cross-sector efforts to tackle pressing social and community challenges.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Cornfeld said, “Education is the civil rights issue of our time. All students, including those in our high-need communities, must have an opportunity to attend schools that prepare them to graduate ready for postsecondary education, a career, and productive citizenship. I am proud to join the board of All4Ed because of its commitment to advancing these outcomes for all students.”

“At All4Ed, we believe education is the key that unlocks the American Dream for all students,” said Bob Wise, president of All4Ed and former governor of West Virginia. “Unfortunately, far too many students—many of them students of color or from low-income families—lack access to the great teachers and rigorous content that form the foundation of a great education. As champions for these and other historically underserved students, Roberto and Leslie are a tremendous addition to the All4Ed governing board.”

For more information on All4Ed’s leadership and governing board, visit https://all4ed.org/about/leadership/.

# # #

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.www.all4ed.org

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Future Ready Schools® Releases New Guide for Districts Looking to Blend Teaching with Technology

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February 22, 2018 11:24 am

WASHINGTON, DC—In conjunction with the seventh annual Digital Learning Day, Future Ready Schools® (FRS), an initiative of the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), released a new guide for school districts interested in using “blended learning” to support their approach to instruction. Blended learning is a variety of practices and strategies that combine online learning with in-person instruction from classroom teachers to give students greater control over the pace, location, and path of their learning.

To provide a real-world example of how a school district uses blended learning to support instruction, the guide, Blending Teaching and Technology: Simple Strategies for Improved Student Learning, showcases Lindsay Unified School District (LUSD). In this highly mobile rural district in California’s Central Valley, 86 percent of students come from low-income families and more than half are English language learners.

“When people are buying a new car, they don’t ask how long it took to build,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Instead, they ask how well it performs. At Lindsay Unified School District, students benefit from a flexible, robust learning environment where teachers provide customized learning opportunities for each student. More school districts should examine such a model to see if it fits the needs of their students.”

At LUSD, each of the 4,191 students receives a unique learning experience every day customized to his or her specific needs. Students no longer progress from grade to grade at the same rate regardless of whether they have learned all or any of the content. Instead, the district implemented a performance-based system (PBS) of progression that gives all students the time and support they need to become proficient in all academic content before moving to new instructional material. After deciding to implement a PBS, LUSD needed a new vehicle for delivering instruction and chose blended learning.

To reach this point, LUSD first needed a clear vision for what district leaders hoped to accomplish instructionally and a plan for how they wanted to change teaching and learning. To guide other school districts through this process, FRS developed a research-based framework and five-step planning process to support school districts in leveraging digital learning strategies, like blended learning, that prepare all students for success in college, a career, and life.

“Effectively implementing a new instructional approach supported by blended learning requires more than online content and fancy devices,” the guide notes. “District leaders must identify the instructional goals and learning outcomes they want to accomplish to ensure that all students, particularly those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in postsecondary education, a career, and life. Once district leaders have a clear vision for how the district wants to transform teaching and learning, they can choose the blended learning strategies and related platforms, content, and devices that support those intentions.”

The guide notes that blended learning is not an end goal in and of itself—nor does it prescribe a specific instructional approach. Instead, educators can integrate blended learning strategies into a variety of educational models that prepare students for success after high school. LUSD illustrates that blended learning simply serves as the vehicle for delivering curriculum in innovative ways to achieve a district’s instructional goals and student learning outcomes.

Should a school district choose blended learning to support its instructional approach, the guide identifies potential challenges and opportunities the district may face and offers practical strategies for implementing blended learning aligned with seven key planning areas, known as the FRS “gears”:

  1. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  2. Personalized professional learning
  3. Budget and resources
  4. Community partnerships
  5. Data and privacy
  6. Robust infrastructure
  7. Use of space and time

“In the rush to purchase the latest device, some districts skip over the vision and planning steps—sometimes resulting in devices left on the shelves or awkward fits into instruction,” said Wise. “This guide, when combined with Future Ready Schools’s framework and planning process, gives practical advice for how school districts can give students greater control over their learning while freeing up teachers to give students more individual attention.”

Download Blending Teaching and Technology: Simple Strategies for Improved Student Learning at FutureReady.org/blendedlearning.

Webinar: On February 22, All4Ed and FRS will host a webinar featuring leaders from LUSD, Clayton Christensen Institute, and The Learning Accelerator. The webinar will spotlight Digital Learning Day events around the country, take a closer look at LUSD’s blended learning approach, and examine challenges and opportunities for other school districts that are considering a similar approach. The webinar will air at 12:00 p.m. (EST) at https://all4ed.org/webinar-event/digital-learning-day-2018-webinar/. Archived video will be available on demand immediately after the webinar airs.

# # #

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.www.all4ed.org

Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a bold effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship. FRS provides districts with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities. FRS is led by the Alliance for Excellent Education in collaboration with a vast coalition of organizations. www.FutureReady.org

Categories:
Blended Learning, Future Ready

Alliance for Excellent Education Receives $300,000 Contribution from AT&T to Support School Districts Serving Underserved Students

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Posted:
February 21, 2018 01:11 pm

Twelve School Districts Will Be Able to Better Plan and Implement Digital Learning Strategies That Improve Learning Outcomes for Students Thanks to Future Ready Schools Digital Equity Program

WASHINGTON, DC—The Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed), with generous support from AT&T, launched a new pilot program for twelve school districts enrolling high percentages of historically underserved students. The Future Ready Schools® (FRS) Digital Equity Program, led by All4Ed, will provide school district leaders with resources, leadership strategies, and other support to better plan and implement a digital learning strategy that improves learning outcomes for all students. The pilot program was announced today by FRS at a retreat involving senior-level leadership from the twelve districts selected.

“Leaders from the twelve school districts selected for the Future Ready Schools (FRS) Digital Equity Program have demonstrated their commitment to modernize their schools, support their teachers, and identify modern learning opportunities that engage their students and improve learning outcomes,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Thanks to a $300,000 contribution from AT&T, the FRS Digital Equity Program will help school district leaders identify their needs and craft a comprehensive plan that incorporates a research-based digital strategy and results in sound purchasing decisions. Such an approach ensures a smoother implementation and greater likelihood of success.”

The twelve school districts selected are in some of America’s smallest towns to its largest cities and represent rural, suburban, and urban districts. Districts range in size from Newport School District in Pennsylvania, which serves about 1,400 students, to Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland, which serves more than 130,000 students. Districts selected for the FRS Digital Equity Program include the following:

  • Colton Joint Unified School District (Colton, California)
  • Florence Township School District (Burlington County, New Jersey)
  • Harrison School District Two (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
  • Highline School District (Burien, Washington)
  • Newburgh Enlarged City School District (Newburgh, New York)
  • Newport School District (Newport, Arkansas)
  • Oceanside Unified School District (San Diego, California)
  • Pontotoc County School District (Pontotoc, Mississippi)
  • Prince George’s County Public Schools (Upper Marlboro, Maryland)
  • Rowland Unified School District (Rowland Heights, California)
  • Sioux City Community School District (Sioux City, Iowa)
  • Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District (Yucaipa, California)

In addition to today’s day-long retreat and subsequent face-to-face and virtual workshops and meetings, leaders representing these school districts will form a strong network that shares resources, captures best practices, and identifies additional support targeted to their specific needs. FRS will also assist these districts in completing customized, collaborative, and actionable implementation plans using the FRS interactive planning dashboard.

“On behalf of Future Ready Schools, we’re excited to work with these districts to identify practical ways to address challenges that often restrict students’ opportunities to engage in a rigorous, flexible, and engaging learning environment,” said Avril Smart, PhD, research and engagement manager for FRS. “This program will allow FRS to learn from experiences of district leaders who have begun to address digital equity in their schools and apply that knowledge to strategic planning for more successful digital transition efforts.”

As part of a $300,000 contribution from AT&T, the FRS Digital Equity Program will ensure that these districts create more equitable opportunities for all students to access benefits that digital learning provides.

“Technology is making it easier for students—regardless of age, gender, income, or geography—to learn anytime, anywhere,” said Nicole Anderson, AT&T ‎assistant vice president of corporate social responsibility. “Through our collaboration with the Future Ready Schools initiative, we’ve seen firsthand the powerful role technology can play in personalizing learning and improving student outcomes. The new Digital Equity Program will bring that power to even more underserved students and help us identify and scale best practices across the country.”

For more information on the Future Ready Schools® Digital Equity Program, visit futureready.org/equity.

# # #

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those historically underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

 Future Ready Schools® (FRS) is a bold effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship. FRS provides districts with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally underserved communities. FRS is led by the Alliance for Excellent Education alongside a vast coalition of organizations. www.FutureReady.org

About Philanthropy and Social Innovation at AT&T: AT&T Inc. is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities, and improving lives. We have a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities, promote academic and economic achievement, and address community needs. Our AT&T Aspire initiative uses innovation in education to drive student success in school and beyond. With a financial commitment of $400 million since 2008, AT&T is leveraging technology, relationships, and social innovation to help all students make their biggest dreams a reality.

Categories:
Digital Equity, Equity, Future Ready

Gov. Bob Wise Comments on New Jersey’s High School Graduation Rate Data, New District- and State-Level School Performance Reports

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Posted:
February 16, 2018 02:04 pm

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the New Jersey Department of Education released new data on high school graduation rates, as well as new state and school district report cards. In response, Bob Wise, president of the national Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, offered exclusive data demonstrating the economic gains associated with improvements in New Jersey’s graduation rate and made the following statement:

“Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have the opportunity to put forward a bold vision for educational success. New Jersey is one of very few states that have seized this opportunity and one of the first states to put its plan into action; I hope other states will follow this important example.

“New Jersey’s high school graduation rate goal of 95 percent by 2030 is higher than nearly every other state. And by applying this goal to specific student groups defined by race, disability, English language capability, and income status, New Jersey ensures that the performance of historically underserved students is not hidden from parental and public view. The data released today shows that New Jersey’s approach to improving education opportunity is working, and policymakers and educators should stay the course to see continued success.

“Thanks to recent gains New Jersey has made in its high school graduation rate, more of its students are earning diplomas, benefitting themselves and the state’s economy. According to an analysis by the Alliance for Excellent Education, New Jersey improved its graduation rate and produced an additional 2,718 high school graduates between School Years 2012–13 and 2015–16. With these additional graduates, New Jersey’s economy will likely see the following benefits:

  • $44.6 million in increased income annually;
  • $33.1 million in increased spending annually;
  • $11.3 million in increased tax revenues by the midpoint of the additional graduates’ careers;
  • $162.1 million in increased home sales by the midpoint of the additional graduates’ careers;
  • $6.6 million in increased automobile sales by the midpoint of additional graduates’ careers;
  • $70.5 million increase to gross regional product made by the additional graduates by the midpoint of their careers;
  • 130 new jobs created as supported by increased spending and investment by the midpoint of the additional graduates’ careers; and
  • $82.4 million in health-care cost savings over the course of the additional graduates’ lives.[1]

“Through its new education plan developed under ESSA, New Jersey demonstrates its commitment to excellence and equity. Its plan provides comprehensive support to each of New Jersey’s thirteen high schools with graduation rates at or below 67 percent; this is a very important policy because low-graduation-rate high schools disproportionately enroll students of color and students from low-income families. For example, African American students comprise nearly 16 percent of the student population in New Jersey, but on average, they comprise 50 percent of the students in one of New Jersey’s low-graduation-rate high schools.

“In New Jersey’s system, individual schools and districts are unlikely to get high ratings unless all students are performing well. That’s because the performance of historically underserved students counts for 50 percent of school and district rating, which is more than the majority of states. I encourage New Jersey to maintain this policy and report these outcomes on its school and district report cards for parents.

“New Jersey is also making sure that more African American, Latino, English learners, students with disabilities, and other historically underserved students count in its accountability and support system by lowering its ‘n-size,’ the minimum number of students needed to trigger accountability and reporting requirements, from 30 students to 20 students.

“New Jersey’s report cards acknowledge that a high school diploma is important—but not enough in today’s economy—by providing important information on the percentage of high school students who progress to college.

“In future years, I encourage New Jersey to continue its commitment to transparency by noting on its report cards for parents whether a school is identified for comprehensive or targeted support.

“Finally, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) was a significant upgrade in assessments and helping to measure the strengths and needs of all students. As New Jersey considers a move away from PARCC, it must continue to ensure that its assessment measures what students need to know to succeed in the twenty-first century, not the last one.”

[1] Information on how these benefits were calculated is available at http://graduationeffect.org/TechnicalNotes.

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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC–based national policy, practice, and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring all students, particularly those traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship. www.all4ed.org

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