July 2013

July 2013



Webinar – Promising Practices and Considerations for Districts in Competency-Based Education, Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST 

High performing education systems across the globe have based their work on a competency-based approach as opposed to the time-based system that we have in the United States. Currently, innovative states and districts around the country are beginning to challenge this outdated system and pursue an approach that calls for student demonstration of mastery. While many are currently interested in making such a shift, it is important to recognize that a host of policies, structures, and systems must be aligned. This two-part webinar series, co-hosted by the American Youth Policy Forum and the College and Career Readiness Center at the American Institutes for Research, will address major policy issues states and districts should be considering as they think about implementing competency-based education.

This second webinar will look at two districts that have pioneered the development of competency-based approaches and will examine how policies can support or hinder district level systems-change. Thomas Rooney, Superintendent, Lindsay Unified School District, California will discuss the district’s motivation and approach to pursuing a district-wide competency-based system.Linda Laughlin, Superintendent, RSU 18, Maine and Co-Chair of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning (MCCL) will share her district’s progress and how collaborations such as MCCL can support the work happening in individual districts. This webinar will also identify key policy questions that districts should consider as they pursue competency-based education pathways and systems. Additional speakers will be announced shortly.

Webinar – High School Credit for Expanded Learning Opportunities in Providence, Rhode Island, Monday, July 22, 2013, 1:00-2:30 p.m. EST 

State and district education leaders are thinking about how they can more closely link what is happening in the school day with unique learning experiences that prepare students for college and careers and that take place in project-based, work-based, and real world settings. Communities across the country are pursuing a collective impact approach that integrates school systems, afterschool providers, and other youth serving providers into a student-centered learning strategy. Some of these approaches are competency-based education systems, in which students are awarded credit not on seat-time, but upon demonstration of mastery in specific competencies, allowing them to move ahead at their own pace. In a competency-based system, there can be more flexibility to gain credit for activities beyond the school day, and increasingly districts and states are starting to allow such flexibility.

As educators begin to think about how to award credit to students, they should consider incorporating expanded learning opportunities (ELOs) into such efforts. ELOs take place outside of the boundaries of the school day and allow students to learn in non-school settings with diverse community providers on topics of relevance and interest to students. There is growing agreement that ELOs, afterschool, and summer programs are a promising strategy for helping youth develop the full range of skills needed to succeed in college and careers. ELOs add to the depth and breadth of learning and draw upon many adult experts to augment, enrich, reinforce, and support in-class learning, help students master academic and other competencies, and apply their knowledge.

There are a few examples of such collaboration between schools systems and ELOs in which students are learning skills in ELOs that count for credit in school. Providence After School Alliance (PASA) has begun to offer coordinated programs to high school students through The HUB, a student-centered initiative which provides high school credit to students for work they do outside of the school day. Activities include video game development, Android App design and development, debate, and environmental science. This webinar will highlight this unique initiative in Providence, Rhode Island and describe the goals of the program, how the program is organized, the relationship between the afterschool providers and the school district, how credit is awarded, and implications for advancing student learning. Hillary Salmons, Executive Director, PASA shared the motivation for the HUB and PASA’s experience working alongside providers and Providence Public School District (PPSD). Patrick Duhon, Director of Expanded Learning, PPSD on loan to PASA, discussed how he has served as a bridge between PPSD and PASA to support the district’s expanded learning initiative in multiple schools. Ashley Belanger, Executive Director, Rhode Island Urban Debate League, shared how her community-based program has worked closely with PPSD to help youth develop academic and other skills.



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Ready for Success Blog

The Ready for Success Blog, operated by College and Career Readiness and Success Center at the American Institutes of Research, provides practitioners and policymakers with many posts related to college and career readiness. Topics span the field of strategies which help prepare students for postsecondary education and beyond, including accelerated learning; dropout prevention and recovery; increased learning time; and federal, state, and local policy initiatives to name a few.

Recently AYPF has provided several contributions to the Ready for Success Blog, including several posts related to the use ofindividualized learning planscollege match programs, as well as competency-based education strategies to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce.

Forum Brief – Policy Perspectives in Expanded Learning: Lessons Learned at the Local Level and Implications for Federal Policy

This forum highlighted policy priority issues informed by best practices at the local level related to the value of intermediary organizations, quality and accountability, and school and community partnerships as these three areas are critical for influencing expanded learning and driving school change and youth outcomes. This event was co-sponsored by the American Youth Policy Forum and the Collaborative for Building After-School Systems (CBASS), a coalition of organizations representing cities and regions.

Forum Brief – The AVID College Readiness System (ACRS): A Discussion of Comprehensive Strategies for Student Success and School Transformation

This forum provided a close look at the AVID College Readiness System and its implication across K-12 and higher education institutions.  Through an examination of this system, the panel offered some thoughts on the role of federal policy in supporting and improving transitions through K-12 and into postsecondary education for all students. Presenters included Rob Gira, Executive Vice President, Quality, Research and Communication, AVID National Center; Dr. Michael Grego, Superintendent, Pinellas County School Board; Dr. Peter Noonan, Superintendent, Fairfax City Schools; Derek Steele, AVID Program District Director, College Success Program, Fairfax County Public Schools; and Cindy Zavala, AVID Alumni, Junior, American University.

Webinar Video Recording – Exploring Implications for State Policy in Competency-Based Education

This webinar highlighted current efforts across the country, identified promising practices in states, and shared resources available for states. Kate Nielson, Policy Analyst, National Governors Association, highlighted national trends and identified major questions when considering competency-based pathways and systems. Diane Smith, Director, Teaching and Learning Initiative, Oregon Business Education Compact, and Sandra Dop, Consultant for 21st Century Skills, Iowa Department of Education, discussed how their states have conceptualized, developed, and implemented such systems. Carissa Miller, Deputy Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers, addressed how the ILN is supporting communities of practice across ILN states to implement competency-based education within their broader framework of college and career readiness and personalized learning.

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Check these out – recommended reading from the AYPF staff

Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020 Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

This report is an update to the Center on Education and the Workforce report on job and education requirements, Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, released in 2010. The report looks forward to the year 2020 and predicts the state of the American economy. Recovery 2020 provides vital labor market information such as which fields are expected to create the most jobs, the education requirements required to gain employment in the U.S., and the skills most coveted by employers.

Building a Stronger Principalship: Six Districts Begin the Principal Pipeline Initiative Policy Studies Associates

Many recognize the critical role principals play in improving struggling schools. But little is known about how districts can cultivate the principals their schools need.

This new report commissioned by The Wallace Foundation takes the first step in filling this knowledge gap. It details how six urban school districts are working to build larger pools of strong principal candidates by: developing clear standards for principal performance; working with universities to align training programs to those standards; making hiring procedures for principals more systematic and selective; and coordinating performance evaluations with mentoring and other support for new principals. The districts profiled in the report – Charlotte-Mecklenburg; Denver; Gwinnett County, Ga. (near Atlanta); Hillsborough County, Fla. (Tampa); New York City; and Prince George’s County, Md. (near Washington, D.C.) – have embarked on The Wallace Foundation’s Principal Pipeline Initiative, a multi-year effort to get an effective leader in every school across the district.

Community Schools and Expanded Learning Opportunities Blog Series Coalition for Community Schools

Each Wednesday, the Coalition will post a new blog entry on how districts and their community partners are finding effective ways to implement different ELO types, including: summer; after school; before school; intercessions; expanded school day, week and year; and ELO during the conventional school day.

Expanding Learning, Expanding Opportunities America’s Promise Alliance

ELO takes a number of forms, such as a longer school day or year or afterschool and summer programs. What these methods share is a commitment to more and better learning time. This video highlights three proven approaches to providing young people with richer, more varied experiences. After opening comments from Gen. Colin Powell, the video uses programs in California, Kentucky and Massachusetts show how expanded learning opportunities (ELO) help create success in school, college, career and life.

Teacher Prep Review 2013 Report National Council on Teacher Quality

The first edition of the NCTQ Teacher Prep Review is an evaluation of more than 1,100 colleges and universities that prepare elementary and secondary teachers. As a consumer tool, it allows aspiring teachers, parents and school districts to compare programs and determine which are doing the best — and worst — job of training new teachers.

Pathways for Youth: Draft Strategic Plan for Federal Collaboration Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs

The IWGYP, comprising 12 federal departments and five federal agencies that support activities with a focus on all youths, has released Pathways for Youth, its strategic plan for improving outcomes for youths, particularly the most vulnerable, through collaboration. Based on input from young people, families, schools, nonprofit organizations, state children’s cabinet directors, federal, state and local government organizations, and other stakeholders, the plan includes: a vision emphasizing “meaningful connections and safe, healthy, and stable places to live, learn, and work”; three goals promoting: (1) coordinated strategies to improve youth outcomes; (2) the use of evidence-based and innovative strategies at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels; and (3) youth engagement and partnerships to strengthen programs and benefit youths; and various cross-cutting strategies for federal collaboration.

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels.

AYPF events and publications are made possible by a consortium of philanthropic foundations: Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationWilliam T. Grant FoundationThe William and Flora Hewlett FoundationCharles Stewart Mott Foundationand others.

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