New All4Ed Report: How Students Learn as Important as What Students Learn

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Posted:
December 06, 2018 11:33 am

WASHINGTON, DC— During adolescence, students confront a variety of issues as their bodies and brains undergo rapid transformations—more so than any other time outside of birth to early childhood.

A new report released today from the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) underscores the importance of culture, experiences, and environments during this period of life and explains why adolescents need to learn in safe, supportive, and culturally responsive environments. The report, which includes recent findings from neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychological research, also examines how culture and multiple environmental factors—from community values and social expectations to poverty, prejudice, and inequity—influence classrooms, schools, and student learning.

“During adolescence, trying to learn is like crossing a busy New York City street,” said Bob Wise, president of All4Ed and former governor of West Virginia. “Only for the students, the buses, cabs, and electric scooters are the rapid body and brain changes, peer pressure, and everything else coming at them during adolescence.

“That’s why research tells us that the environments where students learn and the conditions under which they learn are crucial, especially for historically underserved and marginalized students who frequently face challenges outside the classroom from prolonged exposure to stress and inadequate access to nutrition and health care. For students, supportive educators and environments can turn that New York City street into a well-run intersection with a veteran traffic officer.”

According to the report, Science of Adolescent Learning: Valuing Culture, Experiences, and Environments, adolescence is not only a time for increased opportunity for learning, it also is a period of heightened stress due to the many biological and social changes students face, including physical maturation, drive for independence, increased sensitivity to social interactions, and brain development. These various stressors not only impact physical health, they can both directly and indirectly disrupt learning processes in still-developing adolescent brains.

Particularly at risk are historically underserved and marginalized students who often experience additional learning obstacles because of stressful experiences related to poverty and inequity, including the impact of prolonged exposure to stress, inadequate access to nutrition and health care, and more. “Poverty-related stress contributes to worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety, delinquency, attention problems, and poor physical health, each of which can affect school attendance, academic engagement, and learning,” the report notes.

Inequality, bias, and the persistence of structural discrimination also constitute serious hazards to the positive development of all adolescents, the report notes. And while all adolescents must examine and confront these issues, historically underserved students disproportionately experience stress related to these pernicious aspects of society.

Making adolescence more complicated for all students, educators, and parents is the rise of the internet, social media, and smart phones, which have changed the way adolescents learn, play, and interact with each other. And while this digital revolution has enabled anytime, anywhere learning, the report finds that it also offers new challenges for adults as they seek to keep adolescents both physically and psychologically safe while simultaneously allowing the adolescents the opportunity to use digital technologies to explore and interact with others in ways that benefit their social, emotional, and cultural development.

Science of Adolescent Learning: Valuing Culture, Experiences, and Environments offers several recommendations and strategies for educators, policymakers, and parents as they seek to better engage, motivate, and prepare middle and high school students for future success. One key strategy focuses on school culture—the shared values and norms of a school.

“When students feel that their schools recognize and value their cultural and community beliefs, their motivation to engage in academic and extracurricular activities increases,” the report notes. “Culturally responsive practices also support historically underserved and marginalized students in coping with the bias, discrimination, and negative stereotypes they too often face because of their cultural, racial, and socioeconomic identities.”

The report also recommends that policymakers and educators capitalize on the learning opportunities that diverse cultures and communities offer. They can do this by incorporating aspects of out-of-school learning environments, such as technology and current and historically relevant connections to academic work, in school experiences.

Science of Adolescent Learning: Valuing Culture, Experiences, and Environments is the third of four reports in All4Ed’s Science of Adolescent Learning Consensus Statement series. The first report examined changes in the body and brain while the second report focused on adolescents’ risk taking, peer dependence, and changing motivations. The fourth report will cover how identity and empowerment influence student learning.

Science of Adolescent Learning: Valuing Culture, Experiences, and Environments is available at https://all4ed.org/science-of-adolescent-learning-valuing-culture-experiences-environments/.

For more information on All4Ed’s Science of Adolescent Learning initiative, visit all4ed.org/SAL.

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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. all4ed.org

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SAL, Science of Adolescent Learning, Science of Learning

Future Ready Schools® Announces Two California Workshops for District and School Leaders

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Posted:
November 27, 2018 04:27 pm

Free Workshops to Provide Opportunities for California’s Educators to Learn, Network, and Collaborate

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Future Ready Schools® (FRS)—led by the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed)—announced two free workshops in December that will bring together educators from across California to learn how to create more engaging learning environments for students. Supported by Discovery Education, a leading provider of digital content and professional development for K–12 classrooms worldwide, the workshops will provide California’s school and district leaders with the opportunity to learn from each other and nationally recognized education experts on how to leverage technology to personalize learning for students, engage teachers, and improve student learning outcomes.

“Through these workshops, FRS crowd-sources expertise and connects similarly situated individuals within schools and districts in California who share skills and face similar challenges,” said Bob Wise, All4Ed President and former governor of West Virginia. “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.”

Scheduled for December 6 in Rancho Cucamonga and December 7 in Woodland, these workshops will help educators create systemic action plans for student-centered, personalized learning that leverage the power of technology while considering a district’s unique challenges and strengths. By developing these plans prior to purchasing additional technology, educators can ensure a smoother implementation and better integration with existing efforts to improve teaching and learning.

“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. “These FRS workshops will help California’s school and 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.”

During the workshops, school district leaders will examine curriculum, instruction, and assessment; personalized professional learning; innovative learning spaces; community partnerships, and other research-based areas. Leaders will receive free tools and resources to empower them to transform their schools into ones that better prepare students for the world they face tomorrow.

The workshops 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 use technology effectively and improve learning outcomes. Meanwhile, the FRS five-step planning process, which is aligned with Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act, allows district leaders 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.

As an additional feature, the two California workshops also will demonstrate the alignment between the FRS planning process and California’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). LCAP is a three-year, district-level plan that describes a school district’s key goals for students, as well as the actions, services, and expenditures necessary to meet the goals while also addressing state and local priorities.

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 district 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.

To learn more about the FRS workshops, visit https://futureready.org/events/caworkshops/.

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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. 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. FutureReady.org  

About Discovery Education
As the global leader in standards-based digital content for K–12 classrooms worldwide, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional learning, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the United Kingdom, and more than 50 countries around the globe. Inspired by the global media company Discovery Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement.
DiscoveryEducation.com

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Future Ready

In Roughly 1,300 High Schools Across America, On-Time Graduation Still Elusive

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Posted:
October 04, 2018 02:40 pm

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Ellie Manspile, emanspile@civicenterprises.net
Daria Hall, dariah@americaspromise.org

New GradNation Report Takes a Closer Look at What it Would Take to Provide All Students with Access to a “Great American High School”

 Number of Low-Performing Schools Continue to Decline, Targeted Approach Designed for the Highest Need High Schools Required for Further Progress

After more than a decade of progress in improving high school graduation rates, there remain about 1,300 traditional high schools in need of serious improvement and redesign, according to new research from the GradNation campaign. Among them are more than 800 low-graduation-rate high schools with an average graduation rate of 49 percent.  From the inner city to the heartland, these high schools sit at the fault lines of race, class, and inequity in America.

The Great American High School report, authored by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University, was released today in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, the four leading organizations of the GradNation campaign working to increase the national on-time graduation rate to 90 percent.

“In spite of a decade’s worth of progress in reducing the number of low-performing high schools, we continue to live in two educational nations where a student’s chance at graduating high school varies wildly based on the school they attend,” said John Bridgeland, president & CEO, Civic Enterprises. “Most students attend schools where the average graduation rate has already reached the national goal of 90 percent and dropping out is rare. In the remaining schools, however, on-time graduation for students is only a 50-50 proposition.”

The research, which analyzes five national data sources from graduation rate data to Census data, identifies the progress made and remaining challenges in enabling all students to graduate from high school ready for college or career; documents the scale, scope, and location of the remaining low-performing high schools; shares the challenges these schools face; details what we know about effective and evidence-based high school reform; and lays out a path forward for supporting high school redesign in the communities and school districts that have not continuously improved.

Low-Performing High Schools Across the Nation. Great progress has been made in turning around low-performing high schools over the past decade, but to finish the job efforts must rise to serve students facing the greatest challenge.

  • A relatively small number of schools—1,329 in total—have a low-graduation-rate (below 67 percent) or weak promoting power, which compares the number of seniors in a high school to the number of freshmen four years earlier, continues to drive much of the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color. This number represents only 10 percent of all traditional high schools enrolling 300 or more students—illustrating how targeted the problem remains.
  • There are 800 high schools educating 50 percent of the nation’s African American and Hispanic students who are still off-track to graduate.
  • The remaining low-graduation-rate and weak promoting power high schools are concentrated in districts with some of the highest rates of children living in poverty, as well as neighborhoods facing the double burden of being low-income and living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.
  • Half of these high schools educate essentially only students of color (90 percent minority). Three-fourths of these high schools are majority minority. Only a quarter of the low-graduation-rate and weak promoting power high schools are majority white.
  • Among the remaining low-graduation-rate and weak promoting power high schools, most are district-operated (76 percent), but nearly a quarter are charters (24 percent).
  • The remaining low-graduation-rate and weak promoting power high schools are concentrated in a subset of 18 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

In most cases, the challenges these high schools encounter are not confined within the walls of the school but are shaped and heightened by the challenges faced by the school district and community in which they are located. Overall, data show that the identified low-performing high schools are tasked with educating high concentrations of the most at need and struggling high school students in the nation. (Click on the map below for a larger version.)

GAHSMap

Five Archetypes and Similarities. To illuminate the intersection of school and community needs, the report describes five archetypes of the 1,300 low-graduation-rate high schools: a large urban fringe high school with a heavily Hispanic student body; an iconic big city neighborhood school; a rural high school educating an increasing number of poor, white students; the only high school in an economically distressed rust belt city; and an impoverished Southern school with an entirely Black student body.

While these archetypes emphasize the importance of local context in designing solutions, they also share similarities: intense concentrations of student need; limits on their organic capacity to respond to that need and bring additional resources into their schools, in part because the district, community, and school are all struggling to meet high levels of student need; attempted reform without sustained success, notwithstanding external pressure to improve; and proud histories.

“The nation’s remaining low-performing high schools have not been swept up in the first waves of reform. They often have proud histories and are located in communities with economic challenges,” said Bob Balfanz, director, Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education. “As states begin to act on their ESSA plans, the time is now to organize support for the neighborhoods and communities most in need, and to redesign their high schools to become engines of community development, growth, and cohesion in the 21st century.”

“Improving the remaining low-performing high schools in the United States should be an urgent priority for communities, states and the nation,” said former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  “With 50 percent of off-track African-American and Latino students found in just 800 schools, we have an opportunity to focus like a laser on achieving educational equity.”

Policy and Practice Recommendations. As a result of ESSA, all states must identify these low-performing schools very soon, which presents an opportunity for stakeholders to better support them. The report presents a path forward through high school redesign that includes (but not limited to): tightly aligning redesign efforts with state ESSA plans for low-performing high schools; getting the needs assessment right; gathering authentic community input; building and pairing school networks with technical assistance providers to develop capacity and spread know-how; and using a common set of on-track indicators for tracking results.

“The nation has made good progress in reducing the number of low-performing high schools over the last decade. This report shows us just how close we are to the finish line,” added John Gomperts, president & CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “Research and practice has helped us to identify what works. With the right resources, support and relationships in place, more schools, together with their communities, can make more progress to help more young people reach their full potential. Let’s get the job done.”

Authors. The Great American High School report is co-authored by Robert Balfanz at the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education and Jennifer DePaoli, John Bridgeland and Matthew Atwell of Civic Enterprises.

Full report. To read the full report, access state-by-state data and other resources, visit: http://gradnation.americaspromise.org/resource/great-american-high-school.

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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.civicllc.net.

The Everyone Graduates Center at the Center for Social Organization of Schools at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University 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 workforcewww.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

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New All4Ed Report: Embracing Adolescents’ Risk Taking, Peer Dependence, and Changing Motivations Can Improve Educational Outcomes and Academic Engagement

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Posted:
September 28, 2018 10:17 am

WASHINGTON, DC—Ever wonder why teenagers are so quick to adopt Instagram, Snapchat, and other forms of social media? Or take up X Games sports such as skateboarding and snowboarding? Released today at the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society (IMBES) 2018 Conference, a new report by the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) explains how changes in the brain make adolescents more likely to be influenced by their peers, take risks, and even become disengaged in school as their motivations change.

“Unlike younger students, adolescents are not motivated by stickers and extra time at recess,” said Bob Wise, All4Ed President and former governor of West Virginia. “Additionally, the opinions of their peers become more important and adolescents increasingly seek novel and thrilling experiences—all while the role of adults shifts from a providing role to a supporting role. By understanding these changes in adolescents, educators, parents, and policymakers can ensure that students are engaged in their education, motivated to succeed, and take positive risks that further their education, as well as their development as individuals.”

According to the report, Science of Adolescent Learning: Risk Taking, Rewards, and Relationships, changes in the adolescent brain affect what motivates adolescents and, subsequently, how they learn. Specifically, adolescents are more sensitive to social recognition, which leads them to higher instances of reward-seeking and sensation-seeking behaviors, especially if peers support that behavior.

But while adolescents’ “risky” behaviors often are associated with negative choices such as crime or drug use, educators can provide adolescents with school-based opportunities to take risks associated with positive academic and social outcomes—such as trying out for the school play or starting a business.

To help educators and policymakers navigate the changes students experience during adolescence, the report offers several recommendations. For example, to help build supportive relationships with students, educators can use lunch time, student advisory periods, and other less structured time to build supportive relationships with students separate from discussions about classes and homework.

School and district leaders can provide opportunities for students to engage in high-quality service learning and work-based learning that motivate students and provide them with opportunities to build positive relationships with peers and adults in their community. Policymakers can promote diversity and prevent racial isolation, incentivize teen mentorship programs, and encourage schools to offer college courses and provide pathways for students to earn industry credentials and obtain work experience while in high school.

Science of Adolescent Learning: Risk Taking, Rewards, and Relationships is the second of four reports in All4Ed’s Science of Adolescent Learning Consensus Statement series. The first report in the series examined changes in the body and brain while future reports will focus on valuing culture, experiences, and environments and how identity and empowerment influence student learning.

Science of Adolescent Learning: Risk Taking, Rewards, and Relationships is available at https://all4ed.org/science-of-adolescent-learning-risk-taking-rewards-and-relationships/.

For more information on All4Ed’s Science of Adolescent Learning initiative, visit all4ed.org/SAL.

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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. all4ed.org

Categories:
Science of Learning

Governor Bob Wise, CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education, to Step Down in 2019

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Posted:
August 08, 2018 10:26 am

All4Ed Will Conduct Nationwide Search to Find Next CEO

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) announced that Gov. Bob Wise plans to step down as chief executive officer (CEO) on January 31, 2019. All4Ed’s board of directors will conduct a nationwide search for the organization’s next CEO, assisted by the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.

“On behalf of the All4Ed board of directors, we have tremendous respect, admiration, and gratitude for the outstanding contributions Bob has made to federal and state policies that have improved the high school experience for millions of students,” said Dan Leeds, chairman of the All4Ed board. “All4Ed’s next CEO will have very big shoes to fill, but we are confident that we can find an individual who can match Bob’s passion, vision, and drive. And when paired with a supportive board and the tremendously talented team that Bob has built, All4Ed’s new CEO will have every tool and resource necessary to further All4Ed’s mission to ensure that all students—particularly those underperforming and those historically underserved—graduate from high school with the skills necessary to succeed in college and a career.”

Wise joined All4Ed in February 2005, after twenty-four years serving as governor, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and state legislator for West Virginia. He built a small federal policy shop into an organization that routinely writes and consults on federal legislation and expanded All4Ed’s policy support to state governments and school districts. Since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), All4Ed has been working with a variety of states to improve their ESSA plans. To assist district and school leaders in effectively using technology to personalize learning for students, Wise directed the expansion of Future Ready Schools®. Under Wise’s leadership, this network, launched by the U.S. Department of Education and now led by All4Ed, has grown to 3,200 school districts that educate nearly 40 percent of America’s students. Additionally, in 2018, Wise added a major new initiative connecting researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to ensure that the science of adolescent learning is an integral part of all education decisionmaking. Under his leadership, All4Ed has increased its number of funders and increased revenue by 300 percent and placed alumni and interns in key positions in government, policy organizations, and philanthropy.

“Although I am ending this chapter at All4Ed, I am not closing the book,” said Wise. “Thanks to the support of a tremendous staff and an engaged board, All4Ed has made many significant accomplishments during my fourteen-year tenure. During that time, I also have been privileged and honored to work with many devoted peers at the federal, state, and local levels in pursuit of an excellent education for all students. As I turn the page and enter the next chapter of my life—one that will be devoted to social service—I look forward to sharing the knowledge I have learned with others seeking to improve outcomes for all students.”

With support and guidance from the All4Ed staff and board, Wise’s many accomplishments at All4Ed include the following:

  • Advocating for a common calculation for high school graduation rates and raising awareness about the importance of increasing high school graduation rates, which have grown from a national average of roughly 73 percent when Wise joined All4Ed to more than 84 percent today
  • Working to ensure that the Every Student Succeeds Act includes appropriate accountability measures around low-performing high schools and high schools where historically underserved students underperform their peers
  • Increasing the amount of federal funding allocated to high schools
  • Expanding broadband access for 99 percent of students through the Federal Communications Commission’s increase in funding for the E-rate program
  • Promoting the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) among policymakers and the public to better understand how U.S. students compare internationally and to learn lessons from high-performing nations
  • Advocating for and supporting the adoption of college- and career-ready standards in all fifty states
  • Advocating for and securing federal funding for a comprehensive literacy program that serves children from birth through grade 12
  • Developing “The Graduation Effect,” a model to demonstrate the economic impact of increasing the high school graduation rate to 90 percent for the nation, all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and more than 140 metropolitan areas
  • Creating Digital Learning Day to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes
  • Building All4Ed’s in-house studio and pioneering the use of video advocacy, including webinars in education policy and practice to reach audiences beyond the beltway and throughout the United States

After stepping down as CEO of All4Ed, Wise plans to remain active in education. He will serve All4Ed as a nonresident senior fellow and will continue to serve on the board of the National Public Education Support Fund as well as on other boards.

Finally, in typical Bob Wise fashion, Gov. Wise recorded a short video to announce that he is stepping down, but also to thank the many individuals and organizations he’s worked with over the years in support of improved learning opportunities for all students. And he even found a way to use a potted plant as a prop. Watch the video below:

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

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Uncategorized

New All4Ed Report: By Understanding and Supporting Brain Changes During Adolescence, Educators Can Better Prepare Students for College and Adulthood

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Posted:
August 02, 2018 03:28 pm

Twenty-Two of World’s Leading Researchers on Adolescent Learning and Development Offer Essential Findings That Educators, Policymakers, and Parents Need to Know

WASHINGTON, DC—During adolescence, students experience a variety of biological changes in their bodies and brains. A new report released today by the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) argues that by understanding these changes—as well as the science behind student learning and development—education leaders can take advantage of this important developmental stage to support adolescent learning, close achievement and opportunity gaps, and ensure that students develop the higher-order thinking skills they will need in college, work, and adulthood.

“Early childhood has long been recognized as a key point for an individual’s development and learning, with positive effects lasting long into adulthood,” said Bob Wise, president of All4Ed and former governor of West Virginia. “Recently, however, research has identified adolescence as a second critical window of brain development. As such, adolescence represents a period of immense opportunity and vulnerability, so it is essential for educators to provide students with engaging, rigorous, deeper learning opportunities during this time to maximize their learning and development.”

The report, Science of Adolescent Learning: How Body and Brain Development Affect Student Learning, stresses that the more students engage in challenging learning experiences, when paired with the appropriate support, the more their brain cells grow. For example, working memory skills strengthen when students engage in assignments and assessments that require that they solve complex problems and connect information to their own experiences, rather than simply regurgitate memorized information.

“Adolescence is a ‘use it or lose it’ period when an absence of engaging, rigorous, deeper learning opportunities can restrict students’ brain development now, with implications for the rest of their lives,” Wise said.

The report recommends ways education practitioners and policymakers can support adolescent learning for all students, including historically underserved populations. For instance, educators can positively impact brain development by providing rich learning experiences that connect academic learning to students’ personal interests, prior knowledge, and current events, capitalizing on adolescents’ increased ability to remember personally relevant information. Meanwhile, district and school leaders can provide teachers and counselors with support and professional learning necessary to provide students with guided opportunities to develop social and emotional skills and emotion-regulation strategies as they navigate increasingly complex social environments.

For policymakers, the report notes that Title I, the federal government’s primary source of financial support for students from low-income backgrounds, is allocated disproportionately to elementary schools. It recommends that school districts use new flexibility provided under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to target Title I funds toward high-poverty high schools. Additionally, the report suggests that states use new flexibility provided under ESSA to embed complex performance tasks into statewide assessments to encourage students to develop critical-thinking skills. The report also notes that states can use new opportunities in the recently passed rewrite of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act to develop partnerships among school districts, institutions of higher education, and employers to provide historically underserved students with opportunities to participate in college and career pathways that include work-based learning to develop students’ higher-order thinking skills while preparing them for postsecondary education.

Science of Adolescent Learning: How Body and Brain Development Affect Student Learning is the first in a series of four reports informed by All4Ed’s Expert Advisory Group, composed of twenty-two experts and researchers in adolescent learning and development. Together, these researchers have agreed upon a set of twenty essential findings, or consensus statements, that educators, policymakers, and parents need to know about how adolescents learn and develop. The report lists all twenty consensus statements, but focuses on the five statements centered on changes in the body and brain. Future All4Ed reports in the series will focus on consensus statements related to risk taking, rewards, and relationships; valuing culture, experiences, and environments; and how identity and empowerment influence student learning.

Science of Adolescent Learning: How Body and Brain Development Affect Student Learning is available at https://all4ed.org/science-of-adolescent-learning-body-brain-development/.

For more information on All4Ed’s Science of Adolescent Learning initiative, visit all4ed.org/SAL.

Categories:
Science of Adolescent Learning, Science of Learning

Statement from Gov. Bob Wise in Support of New Career and Technical Education Law

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Posted:
July 31, 2018 12:35 pm

WASHINGTON, DC—Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, President Trump on July 31 signed a bill to rewrite the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. In support of the bill, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise today offered the following statement:

“Both common sense and the science of learning show that students learn best by doing; quality career and technical education (CTE) engages students’ interests while preparing them for meaningful careers.

“The economic success of the nation depends on a qualified and competent workforce that demonstrates advanced levels of knowledge and skill along the education continuum. Ensuring that all students are prepared for both college and a career to meet these demands comes by giving all students access to high-quality CTE programs that are integrated with rigorous academics and real-world learning experiences.

“By emphasizing quality and equity, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act provides state and district leaders with an important array of tools to ensure students graduate from high school ready for college and a career while demonstrating the nation’s commitment to elevating the quality of local CTE programs and addressing the performance of individual groups of students.

“The new law broadens accountability at the secondary school level to measure students who have attained postsecondary credit, a recognized postsecondary credential, or a work-based learning experience upon graduating from high school. It also provides support for state and school district work underway across the country to provide students with the chance to achieve their full potential through pathways that integrate CTE and academics, work-based learning, and opportunities to earn credit toward a college degree through dual or concurrent enrollment.

“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 new law will support these and similar efforts nationwide by placing a greater emphasis on the quality of students’ CTE experience and prioritizing partnerships with postsecondary institutions and employers.

“Just as important, the new law 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.

“By updating the federal law supporting career and technical education, Congress completed an important summer homework assignment. I applaud their bipartisan work and I look forward to supporting states, school districts, institutions of higher education, and employers, as they implement this new law.”

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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, Linked Learning

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

 

Categories:
Future Ready

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

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Posted:
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