[Updates from Members and Friends]
Fordham's Terry Ryan recaps California site visits in recent blog post: Peering into the future of blended learning
This May, members of CEE-Trust's Next Generation Working Group gathered in Oakland for two days of school visits and meetings with ed tech providers. The group not only had the opportunity to step inside classrooms and connect with leaders from Aspire ERES Academy, Downtown College Prep and KIPP Bridge, but also met with leadership teams from Rocketship, Junyo, and Ed Elements. It was an inspiring 48 hours.
Click here to read Terry Ryan's thorough recap of our trip, along with some candid reactions and thoughts on the future of the blended learning space.
The Mind Trust announces two winners of $1 million Charter School Incubator awards
Last week The Mind Trust announced the George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies and Christel House International as the first winners of its Charter School Incubator awards. Through the Charter School Incubator, The Mind Trust grants $1 million to teams of innovators to start or expand networks of some of the nation's best public charter schools in Indianapolis. The Mind Trust also will provide the schools with startup support that could include identifying board members, connecting them with experts for advice or securing facilities.
The George and Veronica Phalen Leadership Academies will launch five "blended learning" schools that will utilize cutting-edge online learning tools and other innovative techniques so that teachers can focus on helping each student succeed. Christel House International will launch a four-school network that includes two types of schools: one model designed to help low-income K-12 students achieve outstanding results and another helping adults who didn't complete high school attain their diploma and transition into the workforce.
Applications for TMT's next round of awards are due November 2, 2012 and winners will be selected in February, 2013. Visit the website for more application information.
Twelve breakthrough models for college readiness and completion receive NGLC funds
Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC), an initiative dedicated to improving college readiness and completion, recently announced $1.2 million in grants to eight new whole-school blended learning models. The eight new grantees will receive $150,000 pre-launch planning grants, and all will be eligible for up to $300,000 in one-to-one matching funds. They include:
· Academy 21 at Franklin Central Supervisory Union (VT)
· Cornerstone Charter Schools(MI)
· Da Vinci Schools (CA)
· Education Achievement Authority (MI)
· Match Education(MA)
· Schools for the Future (MI)
· Summit Public Schools (CA)
· Venture Academies (MN)
To learn more about NGLC and the winners, click here.
Rogers Family Foundation and Oakland Unified School District partner on blended learning pilots
The Rogers Family Foundation (RFF) has teamed up with several other foundations and the Oakland Unified School District to pilot personalized blended learning models in four OUSD schools during the 2012-2013 school year. The pilot program is being led from outside the district by Carrie Douglass, Senior Director of Strategy & Innovation at RFF, and from within OUSD by Project Manager Tracey Logan.
According to Logan, the pilots took root from a bottom-up approach, being driven by the schools' desires to introduce blended learning. The RFF-OUSD partnership was forged as a way of authentically supporting the four schools in their approaches to innovation. Their unique relationship began when, in February 2012, Logan saw Douglass knocking on doors at the district in an attempt to build buy-in for the pilot. "I really saw the need for a champion within the district who had project management skills. I spoke with my supervisor and we determined that someone needed to be the internal point person to coordinate the work with Carrie and move this forward."
The four pilot schools - Elmhurst Community Prep (6-8), EnCompass Academy (K-5), Korematsu Discovery Academy (K-5), and Madison Middle School (6-8) - are now in their final stages of instructional design. Douglass and Logan are still working through several key challenges, primarily around the types of support each school will need from both a technology and an instructional standpoint, and who will provide that support.
We will certainly be following the blended learning pilot closely throughout the 2012-2013 school year. Learn more about the blended learning pilot by clicking here or through contacting Douglass or Logan directly.
A Better Chicago announces new "Project Impact" initiative
On June 4, A Better Chicago announced their new Project Impact initiative - a national social innovation competition that will provide $100,000, management support and networking opportunities to an early stage nonprofit that is using an innovative approach to improve the lives of low-income Chicagoans.
Project Impact aims to enable high potential, early stage nonprofits to access the resources, visibility and support they need to scale up their operations. Chicago-based organizations can use this award as a means to accelerate their growth locally, while nonprofits from elsewhere can use Project Impact as a way to launch their presence in Chicago.
The competition launched in June and will involve a three-step selection process, culminating with finalists presenting to a live audience in Chicago on November 14, 2012. Visit www.abetterchicago.org/projectimpact for more information and application guidelines.
EdNewsColorado features commentary from CEE-Trust members on Denver's SchoolChoice system
EdNewsColorado last week published a commentary co-written by Get Smart School's Amy Slothower and the Donnell-Kay Foundation's Tony Lewis on Denver's new SchoolChoice system. While Slothower and Lewis seem to agree that the streamlined system worked well this year, they also know that there is room for improvement.
"Last year parents and families in Denver Public Schools were subjected to over 60 separate choice processes, deadlines and forms if they chose to enroll their child in a school different than their neighborhood school. This year? One process. One form. And overall, 85 percent of DPS students who participated in the new SchoolChoice process were matched with one of their top three choices," they write.
More than 22,000 students participated in the process, and there was a huge jump in choice participation among the "transition grades" of kindergarten, sixth and ninth grades. More than two thirds of participating students received their first choice. (Read more details on the success here.)
While the process worked well, there is still work to be done. Slothower and Lewis agree that "...there are far too few quality seats in the existing system. It's a logical next step now that we have an equitable choice process, to ensure the best schools exist in every part of the city - not just affluent neighborhoods." Click here to read the full article.
Thomas B. Fordham Institute hosts Charles Murray for Lunchtime Lecture event (TODAY!)
Today at noon, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute will feature Charles Murray in a discussion of U.S. class divisions and their impact on education. The event, titled, "Is American Education Coming Apart?" will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. EST at Fordham's D.C. office, and will also be streamed live via Fordham's website. If you happen to be in D.C., register here to attend.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson elected Second Vice President of US Conference of Mayors
On Saturday, June 16, 2012, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was elected Second Vice President of the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) by his mayoral peers at the 80th annual USCM meeting held in Orlando, Florida. At the meeting, Mayor Johnson led a bipartisan coalition of more than 20 mayors in the proposal and passage of four substantive policy resolutions for education reform. To find out more about the resolutions and what Mayor Johnson's new position means for mayoral engagement in education view the full press release here.