Opinion: How to close the achievement gap | Student gets back on track in alternative setting | How one district works toward educational equity
February 20, 2020
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More opportunity for more students
What is needed for effective alternative schools?
A new guide from the National Dropout Prevention Center recommends best practices for making alternative schools and programs effective for students. The guide urges district officials to ensure that such programs provide career education, mentoring and extracurricular activities, and places particular emphasis on students' relationships with adults.
Full Story: Education Dive (2/11) 
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Opinion: How to close the achievement gap
The key to closing the student achievement gap is focusing on alignment, asserts Kari Wehrly, chief of schools in a California community. In this commentary, Wehrly shares how coordinating curriculum, expectations for teachers and students, and prioritizing whole-child support improves outcomes for students.
Full Story: The 74 (2/10) 
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Abril Delamora Gonzalez transferred from her traditional high school to an alternative school on the same campus in her junior year and credits the change with helping her connect with teachers and find her purpose. Her attendance and grades improved thanks to more one-on-one time with teachers, which helped ease her anxiety by ensuring that she understood what was expected of her, she says.
Full Story: The Herald (Everett, Wash.) (2/10) 
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The power of digital curriculum
Teacher and researcher Josemaría Carazo Abolafia utilizes in his classroom the "multimedia learning hypothesis," which posits that words and pictures together can be more effective teaching tools than only words. He primarily uses videos, which he says can help personalize the learning experience, and offers tips for overcoming problems like passivity or "reception overload" in students.
Full Story: Ask a Tech Teacher (2/3) 
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Leadership in action
Insights on alternative education at TCEA
(Kanoe Namahoe)
Teachers' professional development is in need of reform, including transitioning from "PD activities to creating PD experiences," according to a presentation at the TCEA Convention & Exposition in Austin, Texas. In this blog post, Kanoe Namahoe, director of content for SmartBrief Education and Leadership, shares several other highlights from the conference, including insights on alternative education from Jean Sharp, chief academic officer at Apex Learning.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (2/18) 
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Survey: Teachers favor PD with coaching
About nine in 10 teachers say they favor coaching for professional development, according to a survey of teachers by Digital Promise and Learning Forward. Data show that teachers were more likely to find coaching useful if they met biweekly with their coaches.
Full Story: T.H.E. Journal (2/10) 
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A pilot program funded by The Wallace Foundation that directed millions of dollars to a "principal pipeline" to strengthen school leaders has led to gains in math and reading scores in six large, urban school districts. Plans now are underway to expand the program to 90 school systems in 31 states.
Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (2/11) 
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Effective learning
Students learning to read music need to work on a skill called audiation, which is akin to subvocalization in literacy, writes Brian Campbell, a middle-school band director. Campbell notes in this blog post that teachers can help struggling readers strengthen their "inner voice" by having them reread passages to focus on inflection and rhythm, start at different points in the text so they can't rely on memorization, and discuss mistakes after the exercise is over.
Full Story: Edutopia (2/11) 
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Your POV
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News you can use
States increased focus on CTE in 2019, report finds
(Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)
Last year, states increased focus on career and technical education, with 41 states voting on funding-related actions and policies supporting CTE approved in almost every state, according to a report from Advance CTE, the Education Commission of the States and the Association for Career and Technical Education. Policies in some states included measures to create authorities to oversee CTE efforts, increase access to programs and boost pay for CTE teachers.
Full Story: Education Dive (1/30) 
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More than four years since it passed, the Every Student Succeeds Act may not have led to gains for English-language learners, according to a report from the Migration Policy Institute. The report states that "more often than not, long-term goals were purely symbolic because they rarely played a meaningful role in accountability systems."
Full Story: Education Week (tiered subscription model) (2/14) 
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The latest from Apex
Technology and the Gender Gap: Strategies to Inspire Young Women to Explore STEM
In this podcast episode, we discuss the challenges of engaging more females in computer science and some of the strategies to inspire these young learners to explore computer science and technology courses and pursue careers in these fields. Our guests on the show are Sabine Thomas, the northwest manager for Code.org, and Misty Christensen, a computer science teacher at Dunwoody High School in Georgia. Listen to the podcast.
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Celebrating CTE
February is CTE Month! CTE courses are an important curriculum offering designed to better prepare students for the workforce and careers immediately following graduation. Juniors and seniors in high school who complete CTE courses are more likely to graduate on time and less likely to drop out of school, compared to those who don't participate in CTE programs. Read the blog.
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Fill Learning Gaps with Customized Digital Curriculum
Join us for a webinar on March 11th to learn about strategies and best practices you can utilize in your district to help students increase grade-level proficiency and be ready to do well on state tests. The featured presenter is April Simmons-Brown, English Curriculum Specialist, Dorchester School District Two in South Carolina. Register for the webinar.
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Updates to Privacy Policy
We want to make sure you are aware of changes to the SmartBrief Privacy Policy, effective Jan. 1, 2020. You can find our updated Privacy Policy here. Some key updates include:
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My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it.
Etta James,
February is Black History Month
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About Apex Learning:
An industry leader with deep expertise in digital curriculum, Apex Learning works closely with school districts across the country to implement proven solutions that increase on-time graduation rates and create opportunities for student success in school and beyond. The company is driven by the understanding that supporting the needs of all students – from struggling to accelerated – strengthens schools and creates stronger communities, brighter futures and a more equitable world. Apex Learning is accredited by AdvancED and its courses are approved for National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility. Apex Learning, where opportunity thrives. For more information, visit http://www.apexlearning.com.
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