The Department of Defense recently announced the 2016 round of Grants to Military-Connected Local Educational Agencies for Academic and Support Programs (MCASP), designed to support military-connected schools. These have been important programs for schools that serve military families and students, and our evaluations of MCASP programs have shown them to be effective. If your school or district serves military connected families, you should review the application and consider applying. (more…)Continue reading
That women are traditionally underrepresented in technology-related careers will surprise no one. It is something we’ve seen in our work, our research, and with our own children. In the 2015 ARS evaluation of STEM, Inc., a coding and entrepreneurship project designed for middle school students, only 32% of participants were girls and they were almost half as likely as boys to have any prior coding or robotics experience (35% versus 65%).
Moreover, a recent survey of over 5,700 middle school students found that boys agreed more with the statement they are good at solving computer problems. Boys are also more likely than girls to say they plan to study computers in college; they are more likely to create technology; and they demonstrate a more positive attitude toward computers and computer classes. Among our own middle and high school aged children, we note significantly more external encouragement toward coding and technology among boys than among girls, manifest in recruitment and participation in after school coding clubs and in AP Computer Science course participation. All of these factors contribute to the significant decline in young women’s pursuit of computer science degrees and the current lack of gender parity in the technology workforce. (more…)Continue reading
When President Obama signed the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, into law, we had two reactions: 1) Finally! Congress and the President Obama have at last replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and 2) Holy cow! ESSA significantly changes key aspects of our work.
Like most educators, though, we embrace both responses. And we’ve been busy working through what ESSA means for our work and our clients. In doing so, we have come across multiple summaries and commentary worth sharing, which we’ve summarized below.
If you prefer the long version, you can find the full text of the new law here. But our primary takeaway is that ESSA provides targeted resources and tailored prescriptions designed to return accountability and decision-making for student success to state and local leaders. (more…)Continue reading
Data mapping is about more than key points; it’s about the many sources of data that can help predict future outcomes. For a project in Clark County Public Schools, we sought a way to show how various data sources across the district could be useful in informing progress toward their strategic objective of producing graduates who are “Ready by Exit.” That meant pulling together data about program participation, special services provided during and after school, as well as community input and educator professional learning. In short, it meant we needed to create a shorthand way to map those things that informed their strategic plan. We thought it was a useful exercise, that it was worth sharing, and that it might form the basis for discussion within other organizations. We’d love to hear your thoughts! (Click the picture to view it full size)
After six years and over $180 million, Hillsborough County plans to move beyond a teacher evaluation system developed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to a more data driven system of educator support emblematic of strategies advanced by Learning Forward. The move was announced in an email from Superintendent Jeff Eakins to the more than 260 Peer Evaluators and Mentors who form the core of the system. Said Eakins:
Much of the latest research points to job-embedded professional development and non-evaluative feedback from colleagues as the mechanisms which create a quality professional growth environment within organizations.
The feeling was apparently mutual, with Gates choosing not to fund the final $20 million of its own grant. (more…)Continue reading