Thursday, January 19, 2017

Rennie Center's Conditions of Education in the Commonwealth

...which they've titled "Putting Students at the Center of Reform"
liveblogging once it starts at 8:30
Note: the report they're releasing today is here 
Chad d'Entremont, Executive Director, Rennie Center
"visualize a child learning"
shares photos of kids being active, outside, engaged
not in classroom rows...or is it?
frameworks still largely built around a one-size fits all approach
state has accomplished a tremendous amount through the '93 reform law
suggest not that we lose that, that we build upon it
need to address blind spots, find ways to move forward
asking the question and planning for what comes next

Andres Antonio Alonso, former superintendent, Baltimore
now professor of practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education
spent time on the national assessment board: chair was David Driscoll when he started, recently a member was Mitchell Chester
"a kind of course on achievement in Massachusetts"
"the gold standard" in terms of what was hopefully happening on learning in our schools
"very very interested in state achievement results as well as the variance in results across schools and across states"
Maryland in NAEP "was usually looking up, not down, at Massachusetts"
"what was actionable for me, and for the communities I served"
"have to wonder how much work still has to be done"
"how to close the gaps among racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic variables"
see great learning in every classroom
"argues for the type of classroom that reframes how teachers and students are negotiating the acquisition of knowledge"
reworks how teachers are prepared for classrooms
old practices are incredibly hard to change
sometimes blame politics, sometimes blame much else surrounding schools, including parents and kids
often a gap between those leading the change and those implementing the practice
seldom provide adults the support to navigate the change
while talking a good game on new ways of learning, but in fact advantage compliance
call for increased resources and increased flexibility of use of resources
every element of accountability has to be part of what great learning is
leadership matters, has to be developed and nurtured
teacher stands between policy and testing and everything else...and the student
develop teachers in granular relation to their practice
guide because it doesn't mean a mandate and it shouldn't mean standardization
attention to how adults learn
harmony around learning for kids in a school: shared vision of what great learning is
"what it takes to get better"
d'Entremont: clear direction around what we want teaching and learning to be

Chaurice McMillan, Brookline High grad, Lesley University student
bad habits that developed in high school, didn't have anyone or any place to go
Alternative Choices in Education at Brookline High
competency based program
concentrated focus: guidance counselor
"made sure it was something that I wanted to do, not something my parents wanted me to do"
six week mini-courses pegged to graduation requirements; students take two academic modules at a time
two advisory periods: "community is really important in the program"
a mix of student grades; field trips
"habits of success" look at what you're doing and why you're doing it
"helped me develop myself and helped me think of what kind of teacher I want to be in the future"
want to be the type of teacher they can come to

Panel of chairs:
Mary Walachy, Vice Chair, Board of Early Education and Care
Paul Sagan, Chair, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
Chris Gabrielli, Chair, Board of Higher Education
(to Walachy) still working to provide access to early ed: can you talk about that?
Walachy: challenge both in access and in quality
Springfield serving 48-49% of children; only 12% of children are deemed "kindergarten ready" when it comes to reading
not serving enough children, but also question of what is happening in those classrooms
focus on parents, "tremendous focus on quality"
challenge of compensation: teachers on food stamps and fuel assistance
how to provide SUPPORT to move forward in quality "not a gotcha"
(to Sagan): how to keep students engaged in their education?
"real wake-up calls for us"
fewer than 9 out of 10 are showing up; fewer than 4 out of 5 are succeeding coming out of high school
"I think my takeaway, as we talk about putting students at the center of this, more personalization, more pathways"
too many places unable to deliver basic instruction to get students to a baseline achievement level
"can't set one set of rules and expectations and expect everyone to get their right away"
(to Gabrielli) students who go to public college not prepared
not clear that Accuplacer is the right determinant
"may be too simplifying, not to mention not aligned with high school measures we have"
campuses now free to take alternative paths
"taking students where they're at and trying to determine where they are at"
"don't want to fake the data"
(to Walachy and Gabrielli) real lessons from preK and college that could be applied to K-12
Walachy: "it's who we put in front of the kids"
"different stages...we don't say somethings wrong, we look at strategies and behaviors"
"opportunities to engage parents...really can capitalize on that"
"our most important job is not to squelch it"
Gabrielli: early college
"if you want to be student-centered, you can't be institution-centered"
question of pathways
"really need to drop this distinction between high school and college"
competence based approach is a deep change
Gabrielli, Peyser, Baker "really interested in competency-based education in higher education"
if I'm hearing this correctly, this appears to be connected to MATCH charter
Sagan: affording families choices
"there isn't a one-size fits all model"
"it would be easy for Chris to look at us and ask what we did wrong and for us to say 'we don't know; Mary did it'"
"can't let challenges stand in the way of young people"
trap doors, many of them standing in between us
"many ways that people are looking"
"sharing best practices without being called out for practicing them yet"
so many districts allows communities to identify needs and meet those needs
critque of student-centered learning, moving away from standards: is there a fear of that?
not going to back away from standards
"want every district to do this to meet the needs of the families where they are with their own resources"
Gabrielli: "nothing less personalized than a pacing guide"
understand the argument of social mobility, "but I don't believe that"
students within the same classroom pursuing their own work, at different levels
"unless we give districts and schools far more freedom than we have, much like that of charters, we won't see the level of personalization we want to"
field feels things are "done to them, they don't have a voice in it": how do we build a larger conversation?
Sagan: "I think it's fair."
"uncomfortable out those not performing...we're going to make people uncomfortable"
"going to make adults uncomfortable, won't apologize for that"
Gabrieli: cites turnover in leadership in Empowerment zone
plenty of room in current system for innovation
final question on innovation:
Walachy: working with funders
can't fund forever, what will happen after private funding goes away
Sagan: recognize "developing a catalog of effective models" as DESE's work
don't see aligning teacher evaluation frameworks as DESE's work, but as district work
Gabrieli: lot of things that we can do to make learning more student-centered
"need to break down the silos between our department"
analogy of those who die in the hallway outside the lab, but the lab has a great record

Peyser: appreciate staying so focused on the pragmatic: what can be done today, what is being done today that can be replicated
photos "a false dichotomy, to be sure"
"do think there's a danger in it...more setting expectations above where we can actually deliver"
in some ways, personalized learning has been part of dialogue for well over a century
danger in continuing to set an expectation beyond what we can actually reach
"pragmatic personalization"
sees schools as unit of change: "need to be about creating great schools"
thinks empowerment zones, state interventions, charter schools: These"successes are about attracting and retaining strong school leadership"
not individual instruction, but multiple pathways
vocational schools; pathways of interest
"notion of individualization isn't about something literally different for every child, but something that feels different for every child"
career pathways: students get out of high school or college "with no experience in the workplace"
Peisch chair taskforce on individualized learning plans going back to middle school
Money: "I think in some ways the greatest challenge that we the sense of urgency in improvement"
"there is so much more that we need to do"
gaps between communities, gaps within communities
"I don't want to pretend at all that money that doesn't matter; it does."
"but at the end of the day, how much money we spend isn't going to be as important as how we spend it"
and that's a wrap

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