Within K-12 education, competency-based education is gaining momentum as a promising strategy to prepare all students for success in college and careers. Although states are at various stages of implementing competency-based education, there are a number of issues to consider at the intersection of policy and practice. This webinar shared recent CCRS Center products and tools around competency-based education including State Approaches to Competency-Based Education to Support College and Career Readiness for All Students, State Policies to Support Competency-Based Education for Overage, Under-Credited Students, and a forthcoming Facilitator’s Guide on Designing Competency-Based Articulation Agreements. To complement the discussion of the resources, participants learned about an innovative partnership at a competency-based high school serving overage, under-credited student where they can earn competency-based dually enrollment credit with a postsecondary partner.
David Blumenthal is a Researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR). His work focuses on helping schools, districts, and states set up systems to support students in meeting educational milestones such as on-time graduation and college and career readiness. David’s work includes policy analysis, program evaluation, professional development and technical assistance. As a member of the College and Career Readiness and Success Center, David leads the development of tools, articles, and guides for states to enhance their policies and practices for college and career readiness. David also leads the implementation of early warning systems in 32 schools across three states on behalf of a Regional Educational Laboratory-Midwest evaluation. Early warning systems are a data-based decision making process designed to identify and support students at risk of not graduating on time. In this role, he provides direct support to school- and district-based staff through professional development and coaching and leads a team of researchers and technical assistance consultants in this work. He also provides technical assistance and training in the use of web-based software for schools. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and a Master’s of Science from the School of Public Service at DePaul University.
Steve Brown develops systems that support student and organizational learning. Before joining College for America, Steve taught and coached in high schools for seventeen years. He left the classroom in 2009 to learn about systems change and organizational learning. Steve has a BA from Harvard University and a MA in Whole Systems Design from Antioch University, Seattle.
Jennifer Brown Lerner joined American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) in 2005. Currently, Jennifer serves as a Deputy Director, managing the organization’s work on a wide range of issues that ensure all students graduate ready to succeed in college and careers. At AYPF, she co-authored a compendium on best practices in secondary-post secondary learning options entitled The College Ladder: Linking Secondary and Postsecondary Education for Success for All. Prior to joining AYPF, Jennifer worked as a classroom teacher and communications officer for a number of schools in the Boston area. Additionally, she was active in the creation of a Summerbridge (now Breakthrough Collaborative) site in Atlanta, Georgia. Jennifer received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and her MA from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also participated in the Education Policy Fellow Program at the Institute for Educational Leadership in 2005-06.
Ellen Cushing is a Senior Research & Policy Analyst at American Institutes for Research (AIR). Ms. Cushing with expertise in supporting states and districts in the implementation of policies and processes related to educator evaluation and college- and career-readiness. She serves as the Deputy Director for the College and-Career Readiness and Success Center. In this role, Cushing supports the conceptual design and implementation of the Center’s technical assistance, works with Regional Comprehensive Centers and State Education Agency stakeholders on topics related to career and technical education, and leads the development and facilitation of training modules that connect state and local policies with research-based and/ or emerging practices from the field. Prior to joining the Center, Cushing served as the project manager and technical assistance lead for the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders. Cushing provided project direction and expertise for supporting the implementation of federal and state educator evaluation policies. She holds an M.A. from George Mason University School of Public Policy, and a B.A. in political science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
Currently in his second year as The Principal of Opportunity Academy, Rodney Powell is originally from Manchester, CT and has been involved in academics since 1999. Prior to Opportunity High School, Mr. Powell was the Principal at The Children’s Guild, a school for students with emotional disabilities in Baltimore, Maryland for four years and the Co-Founder & Director at ConneXions Community Leadership Academy, an arts-based charter school with Baltimore Public Schools for seven years. His other academic experience includes special education at schools in Timonium and Baltimore, both in Maryland. In addition to his academic endeavors, Mr. Powell is also involved with leadership & empowerment programs, including founding The Feed the People Project and co-founding The Cultural X-Change Program. Mr. Powell earned his Certificate in School Leadership Administration from Goucher College, his Masters in Leadership in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame, and his Bachelor of Arts in Social Thought and Political Economy from University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Chanda Robinson is a passionate and competent professional and an emerging leader in the field of human services. Chanda’s been an instrumental part of Our Piece of the Pie® (OPP®), a premier youth/workforce development agency in Hartford, Connecticut with the mission of “helping urban youth become economically independent adults,” for 16 years. Chanda came to OPP as a Youth Employment Specialist and has since held multiple positions of leadership, where she currently serves as the Director of Workforce Initiatives. Chanda broke through the intergenerational cycle of poverty and became the first person in her family to attend and complete college. She earned her Bachelor of Science (Summa Cum Laude) from Springfield College in 2010 and is pursuing her MBA. Chanda is a single mother of three sons who she devotes her life to through positive modeling, unconditional love, sacrifice and unyielding faith. Equally, Chanda has proven time and again her commitment, passion, creativity, and flexibility in responding to the needs of Hartford and urban youth, by creating access to opportunities that will ultimately better their lives.
Jenna Tomasello is a Policy Associate at the American Youth Policy Forum. Her work involves the development of learning events and products, including forums, study tours, webinars, discussion groups, and publications, and the dissemination of policy and practice guidance to multiple audiences to frame issues, inform policy, and create conversations that improve education and the lives of vulnerable students and youth. Jenna has a background in philosophy and legal studies, and holds a Master’s degree in Educational Policy from the University of Rochester Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development.