For these projects, students are expected to secure and utilize a mentor.
Two years ago, the early learning program and space received a Reggio-inspired transformation and it has proven successful and popular. With Quest, a project-based upper division microschool see 17 , it was a precursor of the change process modeling collaboration, cultural competence and creativity. Language immersion. A primary Chinese language immersion program below has been successful and popular and is being extended a grade at a time.
Middle-grade projects. Twice a year for six weeks, middle school students have time each day to pursue a passion project during an expanded homeroom period. Teachers received training that included completing their own project. Parents receive frequent communication about the academic intent of the program. Inquiry-based learning. Students are encouraged to pursue inquiry-based learning across the curriculum with a cycle of question, investigate, create, and reflect. Initially, the process begins with teacher-driven prompts like readers and writers workshop , then moves to a shared inquiry, and finally personalized inquiry with individual pacing and product, and some teacher support.
Maker libraries. The middle school library features a well-stocked makerspace with tools old and new check out this video. The high school library is a favorite air conditioned hang out space below as well as a project lab and makerspace. Catalyst project.
Units of study focus on interdisciplinary collaborative ventures and often connect students with industries from engineering, IT, and marketing. Advanced courses.
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AT Computational Physics v. In a decision that some parents considered controversial, SAS capped the number of AP courses a student could take at seven. The decision to augment AP with AT courses was taken after speaking with dozens of admissions officers at leading universities.
Many of the AT courses offer college credit from leading universities. With a grant from a parent, SAS hired three curriculum specialists to work with elementary, middle, and high school teams to develop a competency-based curriculum. A well-developed competency framework has been drafted and will be introduced next year. Standards-based grading is already in place K Model Classrooms. In preparation for rebuilding and remodeling the entire SAS campus, model classroom pods called Pathfinder Spaces were developed to illustrate the future learning environment and to investigate specific options regarding groupings, dividing walls, furniture, lighting and air conditioning systems.
The progress the SAS team has made over the last six years is remarkable. Add SAS to your list of schools worth visiting. How do we intervene? And if they do get it, how do we accelerate their learning? Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update.
This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. Absent federal action, states could embrace this policy by supplementing federal funds with state dollars in order to implement a universal school meal program. Not every student has the same academic needs, interests, and goals, but many schools still offer courses and provide instruction that treat students as if they are the same. Far too many schools are not preparing students for the world which they will enter after their K education, instead relying on sit-and-get direct instruction and leaving students feeling disengaged from the real-world contextual challenges that they will eventually face.
With each passing day, technology advances in previously inconceivable ways; climate change alters coastal lines; distant wars and international trade shape relationships with foreign governments. Yet many high schools are not preparing students for any of these realities or for professional experiences that could help them get jobs upon graduation. Preparing students to confront and contribute to a rapidly changing world beyond their K schooling means providing coursework that addresses these challenges; allows students the space to uncover and express their interests; and then provides them with the necessary resources to tailor their educational experiences to those interests.
CTE and dual enrollment programs, specifically, provide students with options for coursework that will best meet their postsecondary and career goals. Under the Carl D.
Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of , states are provided with funding to develop the technical skills of secondary and postsecondary students who elect to enroll in CTE programs. Linked Learning students also reported better jobs that were more likely to offer paid vacation, sick time, and health insurance. Black students who completed the program were also more likely than their traditional high school peers to enroll in a four-year college.
Another example of a program that successfully combines academic and real-world experiences comes from DuVal High School in Maryland. There, students are enrolled in an aerospace engineering and aviation technology course in partnership with NASA and the College Park Aviation Museum, giving them exposure to exciting career options.
California Department of Education
In order to increase the number of schools willing to experiment with such programs, states should incentivize school districts by creating or expanding grant programs that offer flexibility for students to learn outside of traditional school hours and beyond school buildings. States should also provide additional funding for apprenticeships and use grant programs to incentivize districts to form partnerships with local employers to offer summer internships or a semester of credit.
Blending traditional instruction with advanced postsecondary courses and real-world career preparation prepares high school students for their next steps and helps them gain practical skills in growing fields. Innovation status, which provides a package of waivers to public schools to implement new school designs, has been enacted through legislation in states such as Colorado and Massachusetts.
Such reform could also require local school boards to adopt graduation requirements that better reflect college and career-ready standards and provide credit for nontraditional courses.
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Lastly but critically, the federal government should increase its support for states in this work and leverage improvements to the quality of CTE programs through Perkins Act reauthorization. Federal policymakers should also allow for the integrated use of funding streams and incentivize states to target federal funding toward communities that are unable to provide these options through other means. Currently, the average school day is less than seven hours and the median school day ends at p. Nearly half of all U. Between school vacations, professional development days, summer recess, and after-school time, most working parents who have school-age children face many gaps in child care and may even be forced to leave their children in unsafe care.
According to a Center for American Progress report examining the largest school districts in the country, schools are closed for an average of 29 days each school year—not including summer recess—which is 13 days longer than the average private sector worker has in paid leave. The length of the school day is also an equity concern.
Only around 45 percent of all public elementary schools offer before- and after-school care, and low-income schools are actually less likely to offer after-school programs. Access to after-school programs improves academic performance, decreases dropout rates, reduces drug use, and improves classroom behavior.
Academic gains, economic productivity, and equity concerns should incentivize the federal and state governments to better align work and school schedules. However, teachers, already strapped for time and pressured by myriad responsibilities, cannot be expected to work several extra hours each day for nothing in return. Changing school schedules will require new and creative uses of time, personnel, and money. At the federal level, the Department of Education could promote the use of ESSA funding for expanded school schedules, encouraging high-poverty schools to use funds from Title I, Part A to pay for longer school days as part of a larger effort to boost student achievement.
Congress could also increase funding for programs—such as Promise Neighborhoods, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and AmeriCorps—that provide students with longer school days and access to after-school programs. Furthermore, the federal government could implement a pilot program under the university-assisted community model in order to partner graduate schools in social work with neighboring public school districts to develop a 9-to-5 schedule.
Lower teacher pay is not the only factor contributing to disinterest in or attrition from the teaching profession. New teachers too often feel unprepared to teach and manage a classroom of their own when they graduate from their preparation program and enter their first experience as a full-time teacher. Teacher residency models—not dissimilar to those in the medical profession—provide emerging teachers with an opportunity to experience for a set period of time what leading a classroom of their own would be like.
When new teachers receive this type of support, their students gain months of additional learning.
The problem with progress Part 1: learning vs performance – David Didau
Teachers who are not adequately prepared to teach and who are not paid professionally may decide to leave the profession. Steps, therefore, should be taken to improve the professional work environment for teachers where possible. Federal and state policymakers should make legislative changes that put an end to the huge gap in earnings between the teaching workforce and other college-educated professionals. States could implement a similar policy, with the tax credit adjusted to close the gap between teachers and other college-educated professionals in their state, particularly for teachers in high-need schools or subjects.
Teachers—like all new employees—improve their practice after being in the profession for a few years. A new federal program could be funded through the Department of Education and administered by AmeriCorps, which already provides grants to residency programs run by nonprofit organizations, such as the Memphis Teacher Residency and Urban Teachers. States could expand funding for these programs in partnership with institutions of higher education, school districts, and nonprofit organizations; and they could use Title II, Part A funds to do so. States such as Louisiana have already begun this important work of leveraging federal dollars to create and expand residency and induction experiences for all of their teachers; 72 others should follow their lead.
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