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Demonstrating The Role Of Data And Technology In High School Improvement

Event:


Sponsored by:
The Honorable Rush Holt (D-NJ)

Over one hundred educators, policymakers, and other key stakeholders gathered July 23 on Capitol Hill to attend a forum addressing the role of data and technology in high school improvement. The event—sponsored by Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ), and co-hosted by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) and the Alliance for Excellent Education—showcased a number of state and local initiatives that have successfully utilized these tools to improve teaching and learning. It was a great opportunity to hear about programs that have produced significant, tangible results in schools, districts, and states across the country.

Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, opened the forum, discussing the crisis that exists in America’s high schools and how innovative approaches are needed to alleviate chronic underachievement and bring high schools into the twenty-first century, stressing that fundamental goals of high school education must be met.

“If we’re truly going to solve the problems in our nation’s high schools we need a national effort on two fronts,” Governor Wise commented. “First is to stop the current bleeding by applying what we know about high school improvement from best practice and research in every high school in the nation.

“But we will also need to address Bill Gates’ assertion that high schools are obsolete by creating innovative schools, programs, and practices and implementing new strategies to help make every child a graduate.”

Mary Ann Wolf, SETDA’s executive director, pointed out that education is an industry that has yet to embrace the use of data and technologytools which other fields use routinelyciting a U.S. Department of Labor study indicating that education ranked last of 55 industries in the use of technology. Dr. Wolf, however, also identified pockets of proven excellence with exemplary models that demonstrate the successful use of these tools.

“We do know that there are programs out there that are working. It’s not the big mystery that we sometimes think it is; we have facts and data that show what can make a difference,” she said, noting that a critical common component of all successful programs is the systemic nature of their approaches: doing far more than simply sticking a piece of software in the classroom.

Ciara Belle, a recent high school graduate and valedictorian of her class, described McKinley Technology High School in Washington, DC as one such comprehensive model. She shared the positive experiences of learning in a technology-rich environment and discussed the positive effect it had on many students who were unengaged or underachieving before coming to McKinley.

Jeanie Gordon, a district superintendent from Missouri, followed up by discussing the success she has had implementing similar initiatives at the district level, particularly with the Enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies (eMINTS) model. Data shows that eMINTS frequently helps districts improve student outcomes and close the achievement gap by up to 50 percent, and as a result, the model has now been adopted in nine different states. While it was originally designed for elementary or middle grade settings, Dr. Gordon implemented the program in high schools, demonstrating that eMINTS could be a valuable tool for high school reform as well.

Bruce UmpsteadFrances Bradburnand Lan Neugentdirectors of state data and technology initiatives from Michigan, North Carolina, and Virginia, respectively, each discussed the ways in which the systemic use of high-quality data and technology has been critical for both high school improvement and achieving other important statewide goals. By scaling good school and classroom models, they were able to meet the demands of students at the state level. Mr. Umpstead and Mr. Neugent each spoke to the integral role data must play both in the state decisionmaking process and in providing timely information in order to inform school and classroom level decisions. Ms. Bradburn focused her remarks on the way in which technology, particularly in the IMPACT model that several North Carolina schools have implemented, has not only improved student outcomes, but truly changed the culture of the school environment.

All of the speakers provided valuable insight into practices that work, reaching out to educators by demonstrating best practices for improving student outcomes in the classroom, and to policymakers by identifying models and initiatives that need support to ensure that every student across the nation can succeed.

Governor Wise closed the forum with a reminder that a federal investment in data and technology will not only affect educational change, but will show the exact return being made on investments in education, thus driving further crucial reform.

“For relatively few federal dollars, we can get an incredible bang for the education buck,” he said.

I. Welcome and Opening Remarks

Bob Wise
President, Alliance for Excellent Education and Former Governor, West Virginia

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

 

II. Remarks and Introductions

Mary Ann Wolf
Executive Director, State Educational Technology Directors Association

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

 

III. Local Initiatives

Ciara Belle
Recent Graduate, McKinley Technology High School, Washington, DC

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

Jeanie Gordon
Superintendent, New Franklin School District, Missouri

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

 

IV. Statewide Initiatives

Bruce Umpstead
Director of Educational Technology and Data, Michigan Department of Education

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

 

Frances Bradburn
Director of Instructional Technology, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

 

Lan Neugent
Assistant Superintendent, Virginia Department of Education

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

 

V. Question & Answer

Question & Answer

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

 

 

 

VI. Closing

Bob Wise
President, Alliance for Excellent Education and Former Governor, West Virginia

Video  Audio (MP3)*

 

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