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Alumni Thank Teachers for “Enduring Understandings”

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-09-06 17:54
Jolie and Astrid talked about the “bridges they crossed and those they built” and how New Tech helped them be ready for college and career.


With the start of a new academic school year, we thought teachers and directors would like to hear from New Tech alumni as they continue post-secondary journeys.

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Aware, Eligible & Prepared for College

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-09-06 13:54
Posted by Andrew Holly on September 6th, 2013
Categories: Blog

Aware, Eligible & Prepared for College

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-09-06 13:54
As our profession undertakes the task of redefining college readiness, I think the paradigmatic shift will come from broadening our focus from college “eligibility” to a more inclusive definition. One of the most interesting ideas coming out of this week’s College Readiness Assessment (CRA) sessions is the idea that all of our students should be aware, eligible, and prepared for their postsecondary plans-- be it the working world or college. This expanded definition of readiness is important, because as the Michigan example illustrates, college readiness is about a lot more than simply eligibility.As educators, part of our job is certainly to ensure that our students are eligible for their postsecondary plans, but more importantly, we need to help them make informed decisions about where they want to be and what skills they’ll need once they get there.

In an online article posted July 8th, 2013, the Grand Rapids Press (my local paper) reported that nearly 47% of high school graduates in the state of Michigan are taking remedial courses at the college level to get their abilities up to par with their universities’ expectations. In plain English, that means that nearly half of the students in my state are graduating from high school without the fundamental skills (typically in math and reading/writing) that post-secondary institutions are expecting them to have.

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Tweets of the Week #PBLChat

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-09-06 05:00
Posted by Theresa Shafer on September 6th, 2013
Categories: Blog

Tweets of the Week #PBLChat

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-09-06 05:00
We chat each week at 8pm EST via Twitter about project based learning.

During #PBLChat this week we talked about Workshops, how to move them beyond lecture. We had some great student input and great strategies shared by experienced PBLChatters. The archives are here on our Storify channel

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Categories: Blog

Community Engagement in Collective Impact: Exploring Gateway

Posts from Strive - Thu, 2013-09-05 15:12

This is the third blog in a six-blog series on community engagement.  To read the first blog, click here. To read the second blog, click here.

With the recent launch of the Theory of Action, we have gotten clearer than ever on what building civic infrastructure actually looks like.  The Theory of Action consists of a series of quality benchmarks organized vertically by the four pillars of the Strive Framework: [1] Shared Community Vision, [2] Evidence-based Decision Making, [3] Collaborative Action and [4] Investment and Sustainability; and horizontally by four Gateways: [1] Exploring, [2] Emerging, [3] Sustaining, and [4] Systems Change. The benchmarks serve as a detailed guide for the steps that a community should take in order to build and sustain a partnership that achieves improved cradle to career outcomes.

TOA_Definitions_Final2_Page_1

Community engagement, while called out very intentionally in specific benchmarks, is really a theme that is inherent in the work across the Theory of Action. The ways and strategies to engage the community will look differently depending on the progress of the partnership and the purpose of the engagement, but the intention to involve the community in present in every gateway in the Theory of Action.   See below for where community engagement is specifically called out in the Exploring Gateway.

Community Engagement in the Exploring Gateway:

 -Representation in accountability structure: Designing an accountability structure is a unique opportunity to build community voice into the structure of the partnership. Cradle to career partnerships have incorporated community voice in different ways, such as the intentional inclusion of a community leader at the leadership table. A leadership table is a group of cross-sector executive-level leaders that participate in setting the direction of the partnership. This allows for a representative of the community to be involved in decision-making and strategic direction-setting, a potential form of transformational engagement.

-Informing community about the partnership through ‘call to action’ and ‘messages’: Clarity and consistency are extremely important when trying to communicate and inform the community about this complex work. By developing messages that are understandable by a broad audience and identifying clear ways for the community to plug into the work, the partnership can keep the community adequately informed and engaged. Developing resonating messages and a process for communicating effectively is an example of transactional engagement.

 -Engagement in vision: The community not only needs to be informed of the vision and work of the partnership, but they also need to own it and feel partially accountable for the progress the partnership makes in improving student outcomes. The only way to ensure that this work is supported by the community in this way is to authentically engage the community in the vision and work of the partnership. This has looked differently in communities across the network, but one important lesson to note is that an awareness, understanding, and appreciation of past engagement efforts is key to building an authentic relationship with the community going forward. Setting clear expectations about the role of the partnership (and its limitations) and making sure the engagement is purposeful and actionable are important pieces to building an authentic relationship. Depending on the strategy, engaging the community in the vision and work of the partnership could be a transactional or transitional form of engagement.

If you have example from your own community on how you have effectively engaged the community- we would love to hear of and learn from your experience! 

Check back soon for the next blog in the series, about community engagement in the emerging gateway of the Strive Theory of Action! Also, plan to join us September 25-27th in Dallas for the 2013 Strive Cradle to Career Network Convening where we will be diving into the topic of community engagement in more detail!

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Categories: Blog

#PBLChat Tweets of the Week

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-08-30 14:21
Posted by Theresa Shafer on August 30th, 2013
Categories: Blog

#PBLChat Tweets of the Week

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-08-30 14:21
Each week we gather via Twitter to discuss aspects of project-based-learning.

This past week for #PBLChat we discussed the physical aspects of space in a classroom that lend themselves to project-based learning.  The archive, complete with some photos, is here. 

Here are a few of our favorite tweets with our hashtag from the past week.

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Categories: Blog

Community Engagement in Collective Impact: Transactional, Transitional, Transformative

Posts from Strive - Thu, 2013-08-29 13:45

This is the second blog in a 6 blog series on community engagement.  To read the first blog, click here.

It is clear that engagement of the community at all levels is important for the success of a cradle to career partnership, but the ways to effectively engage the different sectors of the community in collective impact work are a little less obvious. To help us think about how engagement looks differently depending on who you are engaging and for what reason, we often refer to the Community Engagement Continuum. This continuum categorizes engagement strategies into three different categories: Transactional, Transitional, and Transformational.

Community_Engagement

Transactional engagement is about informing the community and bringing about awareness of the partnership. It typically involves one-way communication through the dissemination of information and it has the potential to reach a broad audience, however the depth of engagement is very limited. An example of a transactional engagement strategy would be holding a community information meeting to inform the broader community about the work of the Partnership.

Transitional engagement is a more active form of engagement that is about involving the community in activities within the Partnership. This type of engagement typically involves two-way communication; however the Partnership often still determines the purpose which the community is mobilized around. An example of transitional engagement would be a campaign that mobilizes community members to become tutors, a strategy that data shows helps improve 3rd grade reading- a community level outcome.

Transformational engagement is the deepest level of engagement and involves integrating the community into the decision-making and problem-solving of the Partnership. This type of engagement involves equal communication from the community and the Partnership; however the number of people who can be involved in this type of deep engagement is limited. An example of transformational engagement is involving community experts and practitioners in the collaborative action networks to use data and expertise to identify what is working and build strategies to continuously improve the work. Additionally, collaborative action networks often have feedback loops to test whether their identified strategies resonate with community members who are impacted by the work, engaging both community experts and community members in the decision-making, and problem-solving functions of the partnership.

It is important to note that while it is often necessary to build trust and relationships through transactional and transitional engagement strategies before getting to transformational strategies, a combination from across the categories should be considered in building a comprehensive engagement approach.  Since the different categories of engagement include varying levels of depth, reach, and involvement, this combined approach can also provide the necessary flexibility to involve the right individuals, at the right level, for the right purpose.  A major lesson learned in this work has been around making sure the purpose of the engagement is appropriate for the audience and at the appropriate depth.  A partnership would be able to engage a small group of teachers at a much deeper level around curriculum alignment than they would a large group of business leaders around the same subject.

Check back soon for the next community engagement blog about community engagement in the exploring gateway of the Strive Theory of Action!   Also, plan to join us September 25-27th in Dallas for the 2013 Strive Cradle to Career Network Convening where we will be diving into the topic of community engagement in more detail!

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Categories: Blog

An Agent for Agency (A new term for an enduring idea)

Posts from NewTech - Wed, 2013-08-28 12:35
Posted by Paul Curtis on August 28th, 2013
Categories: Blog

An Agent for Agency (A new term for an enduring idea)

Posts from NewTech - Wed, 2013-08-28 12:35
If we pay attention, we can grow learners who are confident, self-directed, responsible, and eager to learn.

About a year ago, I started to hear a new term being thrown around education circles … agency.  In most dictionaries, agency refers to an organization or entity such as a government agency.  In the world of education we mean it as the capacity of the learner to act as an advocate for their own success.  This includes more concrete things like turning in complete homework on time or doing your best work and less measurable things like persistence, resilience and a growth mindset.

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Categories: Blog

Tweets of the Week With #PBLChat

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-08-23 14:38
Each week we tweet about project-based learning happening at innovative high schools across the country.

This week's #PBLChat topic was "Co-Teaching & Collaboration". All of this great discussion and the resources shared are archived on our Storify Page .

Don't forget to add any topic you would like to discuss on this doc and don't forget to vote for next week's topic!

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Categories: Blog

Paying It Forward: Teachers Model a Passion for Learning

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-08-23 13:55
Posted by Lydia Dobyns on August 23rd, 2013
Categories: Blog

Paying It Forward: Teachers Model a Passion for Learning

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-08-23 13:55
Dave was a disengaged 14-year-old. Everything about his world suggested he would fail. He came to class, eyes glazed over, seeing little relevance in school. He was lost.

Dave was a disengaged 14-year-old. Everything about his world suggested he would fail. He came to class, eyes glazed over, seeing little relevance in school. He was lost. That is, until a teacher found ways to reach him. A teacher who helped Dave find his voice and discover purpose and passion.

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Tweets of the Week With #PBLChat

Posts from NewTech - Thu, 2013-08-22 14:38
Posted by Theresa Shafer on August 22nd, 2013
Categories: Blog

Community Engagement in Collective Impact

Posts from Strive - Thu, 2013-08-22 14:19

A central premise of the cradle to career approach is that this work requires the collective effort of an entire community to really achieve the systems level and institutional change that is necessary to support every child, from cradle to career.  Inherent in this, is the engagement, involvement, and mobilization of the community around this cradle to career vision.  Part of successfully achieving authentic engagement, involvement, and mobilization of the community stems from understanding who is and what is the community.

When we talk about community engagement, we often encourage individual partnerships to define what ‘community’ they are trying to intentionally engage and for what purpose.  Community engagement needs to be a contextual process not only in regards of a specific community or region but also to a specific topic or challenge. We have broadly defined the community as “Individuals in the defined geographic scope who are directly affected by the quality of the education pipeline (e.g. students, parents, business and civic leaders), and therefore must be clearly understood, actively involved, and eventually satisfied by the impact of the partnership.”  This definition of community can essentially encompass every individual in a partnership’s region; however the expectation is not that every person in the region will be engaged in every engagement strategy that the partnership employs.  Rather, this definition of community is intended to identify who should ultimately be engaged and informed, recognizing that the strategies to achieve this broad engagement should look different for varying purposes, sectors and individuals within the community.  Different partnerships across the Network have identified various community sectors such as youth, students, parents, general public, business leaders, teachers and others as the major focus of their engagement efforts. No matter what part of the community we are trying to intentionally engage, a major lesson learned has been around needing to tailor the engagement strategy for the specific audience.  The strategy employed to engage youth voice in the partnership should and will look different than a strategy to involve business leaders in the work.

With the recent launch of the Theory of Action, a continuum of key benchmarks that acts as a guide to implementing the Strive framework, we have taken the opportunity to reinforce the critical role of community in cradle to career partnerships.  We are also working to get clearer than ever on what community engagement is and looks like within the context of this cradle to career work.

This is the first blog in a 6 blog series that aims to further define community engagement and illustrate on-the-ground examples of community engagement throughout the Theory of Action.  Check back soon for the next community engagement blog about categorizing engagement strategies!  Also, plan to join us September 25-27th in Dallas for the 2013 Strive Cradle to Career Network Convening where we will be diving into the topic of community engagement in more detail!

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Categories: Blog

A College-Educated Workforce to Meet Demands

Posts from EdWorks - Tue, 2013-08-20 14:42

The Lumina Foundations report "A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education."What a tremendous call to action from Jamie Merisotis (Lumina Foundation) in his editorial last week in the Cincinnati Enquirer!

In the piece he reviews outcomes in new report from the Lumina Foundation, “A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education.” While the report shows increased demand for skilled workers in Ohio, it also reports not enough college-educated residents to fill those positions. Merisotis asks, “What can Ohio do to produce more talent? For starters, new models of student financial support must be created. So, we need more leaders to engage on making college more affordable, making costs more predictable and transparent, providing incentives to increase completion and aligning federal, state and institutional policies and programs.”

That’s exactly why EDWorks is focusing its work on early college high schools, one of the most promising strategies for dramatically improving college completion rates, especially among first generation and low-income students.

Our Fast Track Early College High Schools, and many others around the nation, are demonstrating that many students from those communities can in fact succeed not only in high school, but also, in college. To be successful, they need to have access to rigorous, supportive learning environments, adults with high expectations for them and flexibility to focus on their individual learning needs.

Neither Ohio nor the nation can afford to ignore this increasingly significant portion of the population if we are to have a robust economy supported by a more highly educated workforce in the future. Getting them prepared for and experienced in college success early is a proven strategy that is worthy of our attention and investment.

Read the complete report from the Lumina Foundation.

Learn more about EDWorks Fast Track Early College High Schools.

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Categories: Blog

"Data-Driven" Need to Knows

Posts from NewTech - Mon, 2013-08-19 11:19
Posted by Jeff Spencer on August 19th, 2013
Categories: Blog

"Data-Driven" Need to Knows

Posts from NewTech - Mon, 2013-08-19 11:19
What do you need to know to be successful in this endeavor? While it is the starting point in all good Project-Based Units, dragging them out of young people can be a challenge. Quality Project-Based Learning Units also focus on deeper learning and facilitate inquiry and research skills needed to be successful participants in a constantly evolving workforce. This last year, my co-teacher Ryan Steuer and I grappled with the concept of creating meaningful Need to Knows for our middle school learners and we came up with two strategies to improve them.

What do you need to know to be successful in this endeavor? While it is the starting point in all good Project-Based Units, dragging them out of young people can be a challenge. Quality Project-Based Learning Units also focus on deeper learning and facilitate inquiry and research skills needed to be successful participants in a constantly evolving workforce. This last year, my co-teacher Ryan Steuer and I grappled with the concept of creating meaningful Need to Knows for our middle school learners and we came up with two strategies to improve them.

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Categories: Blog

#PBLChat Tweets of the Week

Posts from NewTech - Fri, 2013-08-16 13:45
Posted by Theresa Shafer on August 16th, 2013
Categories: Blog

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