[Updates from Members and Friends]
Conversation Continues Around The Mind Trust's Opportunity Schools Plan
The discussion continues about how to restructure Indianapolis' largest school district as The Mind Trust's plan, "Creating Opportunity Schools: A Bold Plan to Transform Indianapolis Public Schools," continues to make headlines. Last week, Superintendent Dr. Eugene White and the IPS district released a 31-page formal response to The Mind Trust's 160-page plan.
Click here for an editorial on the IPS response that appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal, and here for a column in Sunday's Indianapolis Star by The Mind Trust's CEO, David Harris. Read another editorial from the Indianapolis Star here, and a column from the Indy Star's Matthew Tully here. Last, listen to a recent follow-up interview with Dr. White on Amos Brown's popular radio show, "The Light."
RIMA CEO Mike Magee Writes Opinion Piece for GoLocal Providence; Announces Positive Gains in NECAP Scores for Blackstone Valley Prep
Mike Magee, the CEO of Rhode Island Mayoral Academies, says it's time to put aside politics and start focusing on improving outcomes for kids across the state. In an April 14th article, entitled "Save Rhode Island: Do the Math," Magee calls attention to Rhode Island's dismal math scores on the October NECAP test, connecting the poor performance of the state's 11th graders to a much larger problem: the lack of STEM-focused education.
"We hear more about STEM every day, and yet the rhetoric is not matching our practices. With the second highest unemployment rate in the nation, persistent in a way that defies the recovery of neighboring states, Rhode Island simply must adopt bold and proven educational strategies to improve outcomes for our kids," Magee writes.
On a related and more positive note, Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP), a Rhode Island Mayoral Academy Middle School located in Cumberland, RI is being applauded for their scores on the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) test. NECAP teaching year data revealed that 86 percent of BVP 6th graders scored proficient or better in English Language Arts (ELA) while 89 percent of the 6th graders scored proficient or better in math. When compared to the results from their 5th grade year, these 6th graders have shown a 25 percent growth in ELA and 48 percent growth in math over just one year.
In a recent press release, Magee states, "We're so proud to be a small part of this amazing success. We are confident that Blackstone Valley Mayoral Academies will continue to enjoy more significant growth in the years ahead."
Donnell-Kay Foundation Concludes Day Two of Colorado Summit on Blended Learning
Tuesday, April 24th marked the second day for Donnell-Kay's 3rd Annual Colorado Summit on Blended Learning. The event was titled "Quality Blended Learning Classrooms: Professional Development, Teacher Certification & District Support," and featured several Colorado-based administrators and Felicia Ryerson, Chief Learning Officer, Florida Virtual School as presenters. Click here for the full agenda.
To allow for more intimate, focused conversations, this year's summit is taking place over three separate days: March 22, April 24, and May 17. If you'd like to tune in for day three, the summit will be available live via webinar from a link on DK's website. The May agenda includes David Teeter, Policy Director for iNACOL; Howard Stephenson, Utah State Senator, who will talk about that state's implementation of its online learning law; and Paul Leather, Deputy Commissioner at the New Hampshire Department of Education, who will focus on the shift to competency-based standards in NH.
Fast Company Profiles New Orleans as the "Silicon Bayou"
Fast Company featured New Orleans in a recent piece entitled, "Why the next great ideas will come from New Orleans." The article describes the atmosphere in New Orleans as one "ripe for testing new educational ideas," citing the fact that over 70 percent of New Orleans schoolchildren attend charter schools. The article also introduced 4.0 Schools, a nonprofit incubator founded in December of 2010 that runs four-day intensives, book clubs, unconferences, and other programs to turn teachers and others with a passion for education into for-profit or nonprofit entrepreneurs with solutions.
Matt Candler, a founder of New Schools for New Orleans who is now CEO of 4.0 Schools, was interviewed in the piece, stating "If you're an edtech entrepreneur who wants to pilot an idea, you have the most efficient and smartest market in the country here." Access the full article here.
Fordham Institute Releases Report: How School Districts Can Stretch the School Dollar
The Washington D.C.-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute recently released a policy brief for districts coping with tight budgets. The brief provides a useful tool for navigating the financial challenges of the current school-funding climate, complete with clear do's and dont's for anyone involved in or concerned with local education budgets. It can be downloaded here.
In other Fordham-related news, on April 19th, the Institute hosted a Fordham LIVE! event entitled "Education Reform for the Digital Era." The 90-minute event featured governance expertise from the Hoover Institution's John Chubb, insights into teaching's future from Bryan Hassel of Public Impact, analysis of the costs of online learning from the Parthenon Group's Eleanor Laurans, and the cautionary perspective of Emory University's Mark Bauerlein. Watch the full webcast here.