Archive for the 'High School' Category

24th 2014
Good News for a Friday: More Colorado Kids Graduate High School On Time

Posted under Grades and Standards & High School & learning

What better time to talk about good news than a Friday? Chalkbeat Colorado reports that the number of students completing high school on time is moving in the right direction:

The state’s graduation rate for the class of 2013 increased by 1.5 percentage points to 76.9 percent — the same increment of change as the year before. The dropout rate also declined to its lowest point since 2003, with 2.5 percent of students statewide dropping out compared with 2.9 in 2011-2012.

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15th 2013
There’s Something to Be Said for Flipping Not Just Classrooms, But Whole Schools

Posted under High School & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & learning & Teachers

You may not know what blended learning is. You probably can’t recite all the different categories of blended learning — though you would stand a better chance if you had read Krista Kafer’s paper on The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning in Colorado.

One particular passage in Kafer’s paper highlights the rise of a particular form of blended learning that certainly seems to owe its origins to Colorado: Continue Reading »

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20th 2013
Louisiana Successfully Revamps Course Choice: Pay Attention, Colorado!

Posted under Courts & High School & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Middle School & Online Schools & School Choice & School Finance & State Board of Education

After an earlier hiccup left the innovative program’s status in doubt, I’m excited to see creative Louisiana leaders get the go-ahead for a new plan to launch Course Choice in 2013-14. The state’s Board of Education yesterday approved $2 million in funding for a pilot program that enables secondary students in schools graded C or below to take an approved course from one of 40 different public or private providers. (Other students are only eligible to select a course if their school doesn’t offer the subject.)

Three of the leading national advocates in the digital education arena — the Clayton Christensen Institute, Digital Learning Now, and iNACOL — teamed up to celebrate the news, explaining what the program really offers: Continue Reading »

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30th 2013
Identifying the Good Kind of Disruption in (Colorado) Blended Learning Innovation

Posted under Denver & Elementary School & High School & Innovation and Reform & learning & Middle School & Online Schools & Research & State Legislature & Teachers

When is it okay to be disruptive in class? Most teachers rightly would frown on the idea of little whelps like me acting out or speaking out of turn when a lecture or other class instructional activity is taking place. But disruptive innovation via the blended learning strategy is an entirely different matter. I’m talking about the future!

In recent weeks I’ve introduced you to an innovative idea to provide oversight of expanded access to digital learning opportunities in Colorado, explained why the school finance tax proposal coming to a ballot near you missed the chance to break out of the 20th century, and highlighted how blended learning models can benefit teachers. But as usual, the good folks at the Clayton Christensen (formerly known as Innosight) Institute now have me thinking even a little more deeply how technology, policy, and practice very well could merge to transform the way learning takes place.

Hats off to Christensen, Michael Horn, and Heather Staker for their new paper, Is K-12 blended learning disruptive? An introduction to the theory of hybrids. And I’m not talking about cars that can run on different types of energy. The authors make an interesting case for two different kinds of blended learning models, based on their potential to foster long-term change: Continue Reading »

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13th 2013
International Student Learning Comparisons Remind Why Dougco Is Raising Bar

Posted under Denver & Foreign Countries & Grades and Standards & High School & Innovation and Reform & International & learning & Parents & Public Charter Schools & Research & Suburban Schools

When I’m running a race, no matter how short my little legs may be, I don’t want to be left in the middle of the pack: I want to break the tape first… I want to WIN!! In America, including Colorado, we tend to think our suburban schools serving middle-class students are largely doing just fine. But that all depends on your perspective and your point of comparison.

It’s well past time to think beyond the school district next door or across the state. A group called America Achieves just released a report titled “Middle Class or Middle of the Pack” that ought to help wake up some people. Many of the chief excuses for America’s humdrum or weak showing on international tests just sort of melt away:

Many assume that poverty in America is pulling down the overall U.S. scores, but when you divide each nation into socio-economic quarters, you can see that even America’s middle class students are falling behind not only students of comparable advantage but also more disadvantaged students in several other countries.

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24th 2013
Don’t Punish Students in American Indian Charter Success Story for Controversy

Posted under Education Politics & High School & Parents & Principals & Public Charter Schools & School Board & School Choice & Urban Schools

A sad education story is emerging from Oakland, California. Poor kids soon could be deprived of the option of attending the city’s top-performing high school and producing some of the best results nationwide. Why? Because a state audit found financial mismanagement by Ben Chavis, charismatic leader of the successful American Indian Charter, and lack of proper controls by the school’s board.

The Oakland Unified School Board narrowly voted 4-3 in favor of shutting down the school that has topped California’s charts with its test scores. You’d be right to say the situation must be pretty bad for a school that successful to be shuttered down.

Nationally-renowned libertarian investigative journalist John Stossel says American Indian Charter’s amazing academic track record for students so poorly served throughout most of the traditional K-12 system should overshadow the fact that Chavis and his wife made so much money off the school: Continue Reading »

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18th 2013
Of Broken Records or Repeating MP3 Files: Colorado Remediation Rate Still Too High

Posted under High School & learning & Research & School Finance

I was going to say that sometimes my blog can sound like a broken record, but I’m too young to know what a record even is. So how about, please forgive me in advance if this post sounds like an MP3 file on a repeat loop. (Someone else can figure out how to smooth out the metaphor so it rolls off the tongue.)

Even so, the news to be shared is too significant to put on the shelf just because it sounds like something you may have read here last year. I’m talking about too many Colorado high school graduates needing extra academic help in college:

I’m sure almost no one is satisfied with the progress or the results in the area of remediation. Any suggestions that more money simply be poured into the status quo model need to be greeted with a hefty dose of skepticism, though.

I wrote that in 2012 when the newest data showed a remediation rate for Colorado high school graduates of about 32 percent. Well, here we go again. As the Denver Post‘s Anthony Cotton reports, the situation really hasn’t improved much at all: Continue Reading »

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12th 2013
Scholarship Tax Credits Could Help Denver, Aurora HS Students Overcome Challenges

Posted under Denver & High School & Independence Institute & Innovation and Reform & Parents & PPC & Private Schools & Research & School Choice & Tax Credits & Urban Schools

For those who long have rolled up their sleeves to try to improve student learning, the cause of urban high school reform remains one of the most daunting tasks. Even in areas where the most concentrated and sustained efforts at reform have taken place, the promising results have been very limited. Enter a brand new report by A-Plus Denver, titled Denver and Aurora High Schools: Crisis and Opportunity.

Author Sari Levy gathered and analyzed student performance data from Colorado’s two large urban school districts, and the picture painted is not a very rosy one:

  • Based on ACT test scores, “about a third of students in [Denver Public Schools] and [Aurora Public Schools] would not qualify for basic military service”
  • On a day when Colorado college graduates are encouraged to show off their alma mater, it’s disheartening to see the rates of DPS and APS students needing college remediation are steady or rising
  • Denver’s level of success on Advanced Placement (AP) courses lags well below the national average
  • In a number of DPS schools, students in poverty have just above a zero chance of earning a 24 or higher on the ACT, which would place them at the average of their peers who will earn a 4-year college degree
  • Average ACT scores across Denver and Aurora remained flat from 2008 to 2012

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4th 2013
Can We Get a Truly Comparable Picture of State Graduation Rates?

Posted under Edublogging & Grades and Standards & High School & learning & PPC & Research

A Friday quickie for readers to chew on. Back in late November, the U.S. Department of Education released the first-ever data where we could truly compare the rates at which students in different states are graduating high school on time. Unfortunately, Colorado’s 74 percent graduation rate put us in the bottom third.

But now that we can finally look at all states based on a common measure of how well students are completing their secondary education (more than 43 years after we put a man on the moon), someone has to ask: Just how accurate is the comparison? In an insightful new EdFly blog post, Florida’s Mike Thomas reminds us that different graduation standards can seriously cloud the picture. After highlighting some different headlines that take to task certain states’ graduation output, he notes: Continue Reading »

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18th 2012
Colorado School Grades Website Returns to Inform Parents for Second Year

Posted under Denver & Elementary School & High School & Independence Institute & Middle School & Parents & PPC & School Choice & Suburban Schools & Urban Schools

Can you believe it’s been a whole year since the launch of the Colorado School Grades website? My friends at the Independence Institute are proud to be one of the 18 sponsoring partners of this helpful resource.

The passing of 12 months means a whole new set of data, and a lot of curious parents searching through the user-friendly Colorado School Grades site to see where their child’s school rates. Grades are assigned to all Colorado public schools based on objective measures of academic achievement and academic growth. Congrats to the top-rated schools at each level for this year: Continue Reading »

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