Thursday, April 30, 2015

EdSurge Article Outlines the First Steps for Switching to a Personalized Learning Environment

EdSurge Article Outlines the First Steps for Switching to a Personalized Learning Environment

An article published on describes the strategies used by Weber School District to transform their traditional learning environment into one that delivers personalized learning.

Read an article detailing the strategies used by Weber School District in Ogden, Utah, to implement a blended personalized learning environment has been published on, an online ed. tech resource and community.

The strategies described in the article are meant to guide education leaders who are considering making the switch from a traditional classroom to a personalized learning environment. To this end, the article provides advice on how best to take the first steps in that transformation.

The first step for Weber has been to establish a single-school pilot called Weber Innovation High School, which will open its doors in August of this year. For help in supporting personalized learning at Innovation High, Weber has turned to School Improvement Network, a company with extensive experience in working with K-12 schools.  The high school will use the company’s Edivate Learn platform, a next-generation learning system that includes digital content from providers such as Accelerate Learning, Pearson, and Khan Academy. The platform also features tools that allow users to create individualized learning paths for each student. In addition to the Edivate Learn platform, School Improvement Network will provide training for both teachers and administrators to enable the transformation.

To read the EdSurge article detailing the steps that Weber School District is taking in its transformation to personalized learning, click here.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jeb Bush and the Common Core - How the Common Core is Here to Stay

The Common Core is Tough! Three Reasons Things Will Get Better Quickly (and a Resource to Help Expedite the Process)
By Cameron PipkinJeb bush common core
For most of us, full-blown Common Core implementation is a forgone conclusion. True, there are a few states—Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma—that have repealed the Core, and another handful that never adopted it at all, but as of right now 40 states remain Common Core compliant. And despite the desperate hopes of haters, I don’t see that number dipping significantly anytime soon.
This means that by fall of 2015, the vast majority of educators in the US will have at least one year of Common Core implementation under their belts, along with assessment scores to show for it. It also means that for school and district leaders in their first year of implementation, things are about to get even harder.
Put simply, all the people in your life—teachers, colleagues, parents of students, school board member, etc.—who oppose the Common Core will have a lot more ammunition. And when I say ammunition, I mean the low Common Core assessment scores you’re nearly guaranteed to see in year one.
Of course, low scores won’t distress you. You expected your students to struggle on the Common Core assessments in year one. Your schools are at ground zero of a drastically new way of teaching coupled with a dramatically new way of testing. Things are bound to be tough for a little while.
The haters, however, won’t hear any of that. They’ll see a large dip in student achievement one year to the next and they’ll cry foul. They’ll march to school board meetings, write their senators, hold rallies, and maybe even call for your job. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot you can do about this. Haters are gonna hate.
But there is good news.
First, you should know that you’re not alone. Every state that has implemented the Common Core thus far has seen significant drops in student assessment scores in year one. You probably already know this.
Second, as we’ve discussed frequently in this blog, there are good reasons to believe that if you work hard, work smart, and stay the course, things will get better very soon. States that have been implementing the Core for years are actually seeing really encouraging results. There’s no reason to believe that this won’t happen in your schools as well.
Third, there are fantastic resources out there to help you (like the ones you’ll find on every page of this blog, for example). And if you’re dealing with bad Common Core PR in your school, district, or community, there’s help for that too.
For example, Jeb Bush (yes that Jeb Bush) and his Foundation for Excellence in Education will soon be offering online courses focusing on how to promote the idea that the standards are necessary for national security, why data collection is essential, and how to win over parents, teachers, and citizens in the education reform conversation. The courses will be designed specifically for policy makers, but I’m willing to bet the curriculum will be of use to education leaders as well.
Whether you agree with his politics or not, I’m sure you’ll find much of the advice helpful in turning around perceptions and creating buy-in for the Common Core among your stakeholders.
Jeb Bush Offering Online Courses Promoting Common Core read the article about the upcoming courses.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Nine Key Criteria that make a Common Core-Aligned Performance Task Effective

The Nine Key Criteria that make a Common Core-Aligned Performance Task Effective.
In our last blog post, we wrote about author and education expert Jay McTighe’s advice for designing rich performance tasks that can prepare students more effectively for the rigor of Common Core assessments.
In this post, we’ll share his list of nine criteria for judging whether a Common Core-aligned performance task you’ve created is of high quality.
McTighe suggests rating your tasks on a scale of 1-3 for each of the following characteristics, with 1 meaning “not yet,” 2 meaning “somewhat,” and 3 meaning “extensively”:
  1. Addresses and assesses targeted standards or outcomes.
  1. Calls for understanding and transfer of knowledge.
Requires extended thinking—not just a simple answer (levels 3 or 4 in Webb’s Depth of Knowledge framework).
  1. Is set in an “authentic” context.
  1. Includes criteria or rubrics targeting distinct traits of understanding and successful performance—that is, these criteria don’t simply focus on the surface features of a product or performance.
  1. The task directions for students are clear.
These three additional criteria are optional, he says:
  1. Allows students to demonstrate their understanding or proficiency with some appropriate choice or variety.
  1. Effectively integrates two or more subject areas.
  1. Incorporates appropriate use of technology.
McTighe’s book, Core Learning: Assessing What Matters Most, was published using School Improvement Network’sLumiBook platform, a robust eBook platform that includes weblinks, video clips, and opportunities for discussion with the author and with other readers.
In McTighe’s LumiBook, you can find dozens of templates and examples of rich performance tasks that are Common Core-aligned. There is also a free webinar in which he explains some of the core concepts from his LumiBook.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Five Key Strategies for Developing High-Growth Schools - Free Webinar

Watch the Recorded Webinar Presented by Bobby Moore and School Improvement Network

To help schools achieve high student academic growth, it helps to examine not only what teachers do in the classroom, but also what schools and districts do system wide.

In this webinar, Dr. Bobby Moore, Senior Director of Battelle for Kids, will examine the five key strategies that Ohio school districts participating in the SOAR School Improvement Collaborative are using to become highly effective systems that produce significant student gains.

The five key strategies are:

  • Limiting goals and/or initiatives to focus on student learning
  • Establishing important structures and routines
  • Developing a balanced assessment system
  • Using multiple measures to inform improvement and accountability
  • Empowering teachers and developing leaders system-wide
Learn from school leaders in districts across the country about their experiences in adopting these strategies for student success.

Suggested audience: Central office staff, principals, and teachers

The PowerPoint and a Certificate of completion for PD credit is available.

To watch the webinar click here