July 2014 E-Newsletter – In-Depth

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Table of Contents

Educator Effectiveness

Health and Wellness

Next Generation Learning


Colorado Legacy Schools

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2014 Integration Showcase

We invite you to check out the social media conversations on Twitter with #CEIShowcase14 or view event photos by visiting our Facebook page. Thanks to everyone for participating in the online conversations!

The Colorado Education Initiative Integration Project

The Integration Project is a collaborative effort led by 13 Colorado school districts with support from the Colorado Department of Education and The Colorado Education Initiative. These districts are among those leading way to seamlessly integrate new standards, assessments and educator evaluations. They provide teachers with instructional tools and training grounded in the Colorado Academic Standards. These districts also pilot a rigorous system of evaluation for teachers and principals, and explore how new assessments provide educators with the data they need to improve student achievement. For example, the San Juan BOCES is made up of nine districts, five counties, two Native American tribes and more than 300 educators. The nine districts of the San Juan BOCES have engaged in the integration and pilot work over the past three years. These districts have increased collaboration and access to professional development opportunities. They include:

  • Archuleta School District
  • Bayfield School District
  • Dolores School District
  • Dolores County School District
  • Durango School District
  • Montezuma-Cortez School District
  • Ignacio School District
  • Silverton Public Schools
  • Mancos School District

Other Integration Districts include:

  • Centennial School District has served as a model for the implementation of standards, assessments and evaluations in a rural school setting. By harnessing the power of teacher leadership, collaboration and systems thinking, Centennial has pushed the envelope in how to apply limited resources toward enhancing teaching and learning. Centennial has trained all of its K-12 teachers in the Literacy and Math Design Collaboratives and has built strong connections with Adams State University to improve pre-service training for teachers.
  • Denver Public Schools supported bringing standards-aligned curricular and assessment materials to all classrooms, ensuring the fidelity of the educator effectiveness initiatives and increasing opportunities for professional learning. As a part of this work, DPS created the Standards Toolkit to provide educators with resources to build their skills, lead professional development, and assess readiness for Standards-Based Instruction at both a school and practitioner level.
  • Thompson School District’s thoughtful integration of standards, assessments, and evaluation is a multi-level strategy. Not only has Thompson trained more than 500 teachers in the Literacy Design (LDC) and Math Design Collaboratives (MDC), but the district also embedded these frameworks into locally developed assessments for its educator evaluation system. In Thompson, teachers are leading the way. The district cultivated a cadre of teacher trainers that are now deployed across Colorado – and the nation – to train others on the LDC and MDC. Learn more about the Thompson Case Study!

Characteristics of Highly Reflective Teachers

During The Colorado Education Initiative’s Integration Showcase, Education Consultant, Todd White, Ph.D. gave a presentation about critical conversations between educators and school leaders. One topic he covered in his presentation was characteristics of highly reflective teachers and some of them included:

  • Regularly solicits opportunities to engage in discussion of instruction and its impact on student achievement
  • Knowledgeable of a variety of research-based best practices and is able to identify when each is appropriate to implement
  • Teacher is self-reflective! They don’t wait for appointments; they seek out people as a thought partner for next steps.
  • Reflects before, during and after instruction

For more information about our Educator Effectiveness Initiative, visit our website.

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 Take a Break! Teacher Toolbox for Physical Activity in the Secondary Classroom

Take a Break by adding an array of physical activity breaks throughout your day. Within the Take a Break! Teacher Toolbox guide, you will find useful, tangible and practical tools to create, enhance and implement activity breaks throughout your day. These 1-5 minutes breaks should be used once every 30-60 minutes every day for students, parents, and even yourself! There are two main sections to the toolbox:

  • Printable activity cards
  • Online resources

The printable activity cards contain more than 100 secondary appropriate and easy-to-integrate activities, including a lesson plan template for your students to create their own activities. The Online Resources Section has everything from YouTube videos, games, music, interactive programs and challenges for you.

Physical activity can stimulate the mind and enhance brain function, increase energy levels, provide students with greater attention spans, improve self-esteem and promote less behavioral incidences in the classroom.
Take a Break! Teacher Toolbox, pg.72

This toolbox also includes a Move More, Learn More Webinar. To find out more information about our Health and Wellness Initiative, click here.

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Colorado Coalition to Participate in Next Generation Learning Challenges’ Regional Funds for Breakthrough Schools

Three Colorado school districts in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and The Colorado Education Initiative (CEI) have been selected to participate in a new initiative launched by Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) to support next generation learning in schools. Adams County School District 50, Colorado Springs District 11 and Thompson School District make up the Colorado Coalition. These districts will each support two schools in designing next generation learning models that align with Colorado’s new graduation guidelines. These models will emphasize educational equity, personalized learning, students progressing at their own pace, safe and healthy environments and better use of time and technology in learning and teaching. This work is part of a national effort known as The Regional Funds for Breakthrough Schools. A breakthrough school combines student-centered, personalized, blended, and competency-based learning approaches with high expectations for student achievement – all sustainable on public funding. The Colorado Coalition is one of six regional innovation hubs to be selected for this initiative. Once school design plans are approved for implementation, the Coalition will be eligible for additional funding through NGLC and local matching funds.

Next Generation Learning at the 2014 Integration Showcase

CEI and CDE’s Next Generation Learning (NGL) team was eager to meet and engage with Colorado educators at the 2014 CEI Showcase. A summary of NGL sessions follows:

  • Alternative Student Measures in Next Generation Learning: This session focused on next generation student outcomes that are essential to preparing current and future generations to live successful, productive, and happy adult lives in the 21st Century. Participants explored Colorado’s next generation learning vision and alternative measures of student outcomes that move beyond a primary focus on academics to include personal and professional competencies. Leaders from West Generation Academy and Pairin also shared an overview of a next generation assessment tool pilot and opportunities for partnership in the coming school year.
  • Innovating with Networks through Colorado ConnectED: Colorado’s vision for next generation learning imagines a system of education that ignites the unique potential of every student and leaves them with the skills demanded by our modern economy. In partnership with 2Revolutions, CEI and CDE are pursuing a statewide Networked Innovation Strategy to achieve this goal. Participants explored the Colorado ConnectED platform and learned about how school teams across Colorado are building new learning models and systems, while working to improve current systems.
  • Next Generation Learning Environments in Action – Time, Talent, and Technology Enabled: How do we think about time outside of the box of the typical school day and year? How do we rethink teacher, student, and community partner roles and responsibilities? How can technology be leveraged to support engaging, rigorous, and effective learning environments? Participants explored these critical questions by interacting with a wide range of daily and annual scheduling options, models for engaging community partners and hearing directly from practitioners implementing new approaches to using time, talent, and technology as variables in next generation learning environments.

Next Generation Learning at the 2014 CASE Conference

Attending the 45th Annual CASE Convention in Breckenridge this summer? So are we! NGL directors Angela Baber and Samantha Olson will present “New Strategies in Educator Effectiveness: STEM and Next Gen Learning” on July 23 at 1:45 p.m. Participants will discover the connections between Colorado’s standards for effective teaching and school leadership and Colorado’s vision for providing all students with excellent STEM and next generation learning opportunities. We’d love to see you there!

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STEM Opportunities

Colorado LASER Initiative Proposal: The Smithsonian Science Education Center’s Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) is seeking to partner with Colorado elementary schools. The LASER model leads to measurably higher student achievement in science by using inquiry-based pedagogy to improve classroom instruction, professional development for teachers, and the entire support system underlying excellent, equitable, career-oriented science education.  Click here to learn more!  My Energy Future: What Colorado’s Energy Means to Me essay contest has launched for high school seniors.  This contest, designed to engage high school seniors in thinking about Colorado’s vast energy resources, encourages students to think about our State and the energy resources that provide Coloradans with the energy we need to live, grow, build, move, and explore.

Upcoming Partner Events

  • Xperience  STEM – July 29 – August 1, 2014: This conference explores the many incarnations and benefits of experiential methods in STEM education, showcases the best programs, and creates a community of experiential STEM advocates
  • 2014 COIN Summit – August 26-27, 2014: This annual event brings together a diverse group of thinkers and doers, movers and shakers and creators and innovators. This year the COIN Summit will discuss topics that will redefine the way attendees think about connections to the things, resources, industries and people that surround them.

Partner Resources

 Visit the CDE STEM page to learn about the STEM Think Tank and other efforts in alignment with the state STEM plan.

 Visit the Colorado Career and Technical Education STEM Toolbox for Educators to learn about the STEM data and equity work.

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 Advanced Placement Course Opportunities for Rural Schools

In order to address the critical opportunity gap present in our rural schools, Colorado Legacy Schools has been working in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Information Technology with the support of a distance learning grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the U.S. Department of Commerce to develop a pilot program offering AP courses from a rural flagship school (the “hub”) to a series of low enrollment rural regional schools (the “spokes”). Courses available include:

  • AP English Literature: Telluride School District’s own David Lavender will be offering a distance learning AP Literature course for the second year.  We currently have room for 12 online students. The fee is $200 a semester or $400 annually plus exam fees of @$90 and books up to @$120. If you have questions about how the class works, class expectations or general requirements, please email David Lavender.
  •  AP Calculus AB, AP Statistics, and AP Computer Science: Fruita Monument High School will be offering distance learning in AP Calculus AB, AP Statistics, and AP Computer Science A courses for the upcoming school year. We currently have room for 5 online students per course.  The fee is $200 a semester or $400 annually plus exam fees of @$90 and books. If you have questions about how the class works, class expectations or general requirements, please email Bob Corneille.
  • AP Physics B, AP Physics C, and AP Environmental Science: JeffCO will be offering these courses though an asynchronous online platform with live labs. The fee is $200 a semester or $400 annually and scholarships are available for rural schools. To learn more contact Greg Hessee.

Funding Announcements

  • The Colorado Education Initiative received program support from the El Pomar Foundation for CEI’s Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative. This innovative professional development program is aligned with El Pomar Foundation’s focus on promoting innovation to effect positive change and creating multiple impacts for every dollar spent. The program will support more than 150 hours of content training and professional development for Legacy Schools’ math, science, and English teachers in order to strengthen instruction and dramatically improve student success in rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) coursework.
  • The Colorado Education Initiative received program support from The Anschutz Foundation for CEI’s Colorado Legacy Schools Initiative. This investment will be used to recruit students into rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) courses, support schools with the necessary technology to offer these courses, support students with additional time on task, and support teachers with professional development focused on differentiating rigorous content to diverse groups of students. By providing comprehensive support while increasing engagement in the most challenging courses, Legacy Schools will continue to achieve dramatic outcomes for students in high school and beyond.

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Delivering on the promise of a great education for every student requires a whole system approach, which includes collective contributions from all stakeholder groups. Your support of our collective impact strategy is critical to our continued success and our ability to meet our mission. Whether you make a donation, fund an initiative, host a fundraising event, or volunteer, you will be supporting a major effort at comprehensive, large-scale change in Colorado public education. You can contribute to this effort and help us achieve our vision by:

  • Enrolling in Our Monthly Giving Plan – By enrolling in monthly giving, you provide The Colorado Education Initiative with ongoing, sustainable support for its work to ensure that all students graduate college and career-ready. Even the smallest gifts add up quickly.
  • Workplace Giving/Corporate Matching Gifts – Many companies offer matching gift programs to encourage employees to contribute to charitable organizations. Check with your personnel department about your company’s program. You can designate your donations to The Colorado Education Initiative by completing your giving form with our charity name and EIN number, #26-1597530.

To contribute to The Colorado Education Initiative, follow this link or contact us at (720)502-4721 or khall@coloradoedinitiative.org.

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