Making Learning More Meaningful In A Reimagined Accountability System      

Making Learning More Meaningful In A Reimagined Accountability System      
Making Learning More Meaningful In A Reimagined Accountability System      

Forum Materials

Download the presentation slideshow
VIDEO: YouthBuild Charter School of California – Graduate Stories
VIDEO: Denver Center for International Studies – Senior Presentation
VIDEO: Denver Center for International Studies – Program Overview 


The recently signed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with greater flexibility to design accountability systems that use multiple measures of assessment beyond test scores. Educators and policymakers are increasingly realizing the need for more sophisticated curricula and assessments in order to prepare students to successfully function in a global economy. Ideally, learning should be student-centered, with students learning anywhere and anytime, using digital technologies and receiving credit for these learning opportunities. This kind of learning should provide students with many chances to direct, reflect, and improve on their learning, to better understand their strengths and learning challenges, and to have multiple ways of showing what they have learned and be able to advance to the next level, course, or grade based on demonstrations of their knowledge and skills. Curricula and assessments should reflect this kind of learning that challenges students to problem-solve, engage in critical thinking, communicate effectively, and apply their learning to real-world situations. This forum showcased schools that are supporting meaningful learning by putting in place higher quality assessments.

Presenter Biographies

RudyCuevas formattedDr. Rudy Cuevas has framed his work as an educator around the notion that schools fundamentally exist to accomplish two goals: 1) to help young people identify & pursue their dreams; 2) to model & advance democratic hope.  Since the American democratic experiment was founded upon ensuring the goals and rights of individuals, while collectively building a democracy, Dr. Cuevas has always believed that being an educator is political work. As CCO & Principal of YCSC, Dr. Cuevas collaborates with YouthBuild programs, YCSC staff, and stakeholders to make sure there is a seamless integration between all program/school components in order to promote individual career readiness and collective leadership for social change.

PhilMatero formattedPhil Matero is a recognized leader in the national movement to improve opportunities for quality education available to youth who have not been well-served by the traditional education system.  As its Executive Director, Phil Matero launched YouthBuild Charter School of California in 2008 to cultivate collaborative learning communities in which every student has the right to an authentic education, plays a meaningful role in creating positive social change, and becomes an active participant in working towards just conditions for all.  He has consulted for YouthBuild USA, YouthBuild International, US Peace Corps, the National Youth Employment Coalition, and other projects where he offered his expertise in social justice, youth development and education towards meaningful efforts to generate consequential and sustainable opportunities for youth.

Theresa McCorquodale Photo formattedTheresa McCorquodale currently serves as the principal of the Denver Center for International Studies (DCIS) in Denver, Colorado. DCIS is a member of the International Studies Schools Network, a group of innovative, globally focused schools around the country. Prior to becoming the principal of DCIS in 2014, Ms. McCorquodale founded and served as Director of another ISSN school in Austin, Texas for seven years. Interdisciplinary projects, innovative methods to showcase student work, and authentic student assessment are a hallmark of all ISSN schools, and of DCIS in particular. Ms. McCorquodale attended the University of Texas at Austin for both undergraduate and graduate school. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Plan II Honors program at UT, (including a double major in English and Spanish) and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. She has served as an elementary, middle school, high school and adult education teacher over the course of her career, as well as serving as a Director of Curriculum and a Dean of Students prior to becoming a  High School Principal.

JoseNikoSalas formattedJosé “Niko” Salas was born in Compton, California and was raised in Inglewood/ Lennox. After coming out during his freshman year of high school, he experienced animosity at home, causing him to lose focus on school and his future. Niko struggled to find ways to support himself so that he could save money and leave his unhealthy home environment. School became a luxury that he was unable to afford, so he left. After 3 years of working at several jobs he felt were getting him nowhere, Niko discovered YouthBuild. While at YouthBuild, Niko was afforded many opportunities; he was elected onto the Youth Policy Committee of his program, participated in the construction program, and became a community advocate. Through YouthBuild, Niko discovered the power and strength in education and community involvement. In 2013 Niko’s hard work and dedication paid off; he graduated as the Salutatorian of CCEO YouthBuild’s 2013 class. Niko continues to serve his community and YouthBuild in his work as the Alumni Relations Coordinator AmeriCorps VISTA for YouthBuild Charter School of California and as Vice President of CSTAC (YouthBuild’s California State Alumni Council). Through these experiences, Niko has had the opportunity to facilitate workshops, connect with alumni, and share resources with current YouthBuild students and alumni. Armed with the knowledge and the experience he gained from YouthBuild, Niko is now a student at El Camino College. He wishes to continue his education, so that one day he can become the director of his own YouthBuild program.

Laura formattedLaura Shubilla currently serves as the Co-Founder of Building 21, a non-profit school design and development organization. Building 21 is currently partnering with the School District of Philadelphia and the Allentown School District on two new secondary education models focused on helping students to connect with their interests and passions and build agency to impact their world. Building 21 Ferguson is located in North Philadelphia and currently serves 9th and 10th grade students. Prior to her current role, Laura spent the last twenty years focused on cross-sector, systemic solutions to improve economic and educational outcomes for urban youth. Most recently, as Co-President and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network, a nationally known youth intermediary, Laura helped to build college and career partnerships and pathways that served 20,000 youth annually through extended learning opportunities. Laura’s work has involved the integration and alignment of complex funding streams, diverse stakeholders and siloed systems in service to college and career readiness for high school age youth. Laura has her Masters Degree in Social Policy, Planning and Administration from Columbia University School of Social Work and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.