Take 5: “Blended Learning is a Marathon. So Keep Sprinting!” and more…

    Here’s five social innovation links we are clicking on today:

  1. EdSurge: Blended Learning is a Marathon. So Keep Sprinting! “In terms of buzz amongst educators, blended learning ranks right up there with the adoption of Common Core and Jon Stewart stepping down from the Daily Show. But with so much buzz, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. In our role at the Silicon Schools Fund, we have a front row seat to some of the best efforts to personalize learning, and we think it’s real. Yet, we don’t think it is as easy as some might have you believe…It’s going to be a long road, and we have to prepare ourselves to sustain the effort. Remember, it is a marathon. Keep sprinting.”

  2. New Profit Blog: Statement from America Forward: Congress Should Pass ESEA Pay for Success Amendment The following is a statement from Deborah Smolover, Executive Director of America Forward, New Profit’s nonpartisan policy initiative. “Members of the America Forward Coalition support a reauthorized ESEA that is designed to ensure that all children, whatever their background, receive a first-class education, one that leads to economic security and the chance for a successful life. To accomplish this, we believe ESEA should focus on results and encourage programs and organizations that have achieved success. In a time of limited resources, it is critical to invest in a variety of approaches that focus on data, evidence and better results. ESEA should incentivize evidence-based programming as well as approaches that focus on outcomes, such as Pay for Success, that help accelerate and scale success for all students, and support implementation of the programming with fidelity. We believe this amendment is an important step to opening up Pay for Success models in ESEA. We strongly support this amendment and look forward to continuing to work with the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to craft a reauthorized ESEA that catalyzes cross-sector partnerships, rewards results, spurs innovation, supports learner-centered systems, pushes forward on accountability and transparency, and ensures that our teachers and school leaders have the capacity to transform teaching and leading.”

  3. The New York Times: A Town Where a School Bus Is More Than a Bus “Recent research in fields ranging from developmental psychology to neuroscience has confirmed that optimal learning environments require a safe and welcoming space for children, a sense of belonging, and an emphasis on forming healthy relationships. Yet there are many other adults beyond teachers who regularly interact with children — and who are often overlooked as potential contributors to the educational mission. Take Hartsville. Until recently, no one there had ever asked Thompson or her colleagues what they noticed about their child passengers on the bus, or thought to connect their observations to the behavior teachers might witness in the classroom. Moreover, while Hartsville’s teachers were expected to be knowledgeable about their students’ academic standing, they were not expected to be attuned to their psychological states. That began to change in 2011, when the community announced a five-year plan to transform its elementary schools. It partnered with Yale University’s School Development Program, which helps schools identify and meet the developmental needs of children. It began to evaluate its schools by a broader set of measurements – including the number of disciplinary referrals a bus driver had to write each morning. And it started to coordinate its social services to ensure a more equitable set of support structures for Hartsville’s poorest families.”

  4. The Huffington Post: 5 Ways You are Failing Students With Learning Disabilities (and What to Do About It) “Of the many gifts I gleaned during my tenure as learning specialist, one was a front row seat to parent-child, parent-teacher, and child-teacher interactions. As team lead for more than 50 middle and high school students each semester, it was my job to be in the thick of just about everything. Talk about an opportunity to mine some serious human interaction gold! From avoided homework assignments and parents’ ill-fated attempts to motivate struggling students, to the resulting communication breakdowns that left students feeling small and unheard and parents feeling overwhelmed and terrified, I often sensed an underlying, albeit unspoken uneasiness around the diagnosis of learning disabilities. My takeaway is this: we all have our own reality defining sets of experiences and beliefs, which affect how we deal with situations, especially the difficult ones. Through the years, and with coaching training under my belt, I came to identify both ineffective and productive ways to deal with the emotional impact of learning disabilities. I’ve outlined these below, with strategies and a whole bunch of frankness and love, just for you.”

  5. Getting Smart: CompetencyEd And Why Everyone Should Learn To Code “The speed of progress in the 21st century has almost surpassed our capacity to exist in a functional way within it. Traditional models like time-based learning are not equipping us for the future we are hurtling towards that requires everyone, especially students, to demonstrate mastery in flexible learning environments. A foundation of literacy in reading, writing, and arithmetic are no longer enough. The need for students to improve their tech fluency, to learn to code, and to be capable and competent at navigating the digital world is unquestionable. Education must organically deliver informed and skilled people into the workforce in ways it previously has not. We must also ensure that students are prepared to be lifetime learners.”
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