Bluum Monthly Newsletter - April 2017

Introducing Idaho's New Education Entrepreneurs

by Wendy Sand, Guest Author

Innovation is in high demand. Consumers expect it of businesses. Businesses seek it out in their employees. And as we raise and cultivate the next generation of thinkers, it makes sense that we should also demand it of our educational system. This requires leadership that is not content with the status quo. That actively seeks out what’s working in education and what isn’t. That explores new models and progressive techniques. And that purposely shakes things up not only to keep education fresh and evolving, but to get children excited about learning, feeling confident about their accomplishments, and keenly focused on the possibilities ahead.

The Idaho New School Fellowship is an immersive and intensive two-year exploration into progressive education and the development of new schools. Fellows participate in professional leadership trainings. They visit different schools across the country. And they learn the logistics of what it will take to establish news schools in Idaho.

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Data Shows Increase in Idaho's Hispanic Student Population

by Angel Gonzalez, Bluum

Education facts from Idaho’s Hispanic Data Book

Getting new data on education in Idaho is a treat, particularly for folks who are working to make data-driven decisions to improve our state’s system. There are few opportunities I get throughout the year where I am able to eagerly rummage through new data that tells a story about where our state is and where we are headed.

A few weeks ago, the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, in partnership with the McClure Center for Public Policy, released their fourth edition of Idaho Hispanic Profile Data Book for Idaho. The data book assembles a wide set of statistics about the Hispanic population in Idaho which includes information on topics like demographic change, mortality, health, employment, and education.

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Course Choice: A Different Way to Expand School Choice

by Liana Loewus & Andrew Ujifsa, Education Week

Plans to expand school choice from President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and Congress have largely focused on high-profile measures like vouchers and tax-credit scholarships. But there’s another option for the Trump administration to promote, one that’s supported in multiple sections of the Every Student Succeeds Act and that many states are already using.

Course choice, also known as course access, allows for parents and students to select various pre-approved courses beyond what their districts normally offer. The courses, many of which are taught online, can include everything from university classes and SAT preparation to welder training.

Idaho has been experimenting with course-access models for several years now. Its newest program, Fast Forward, provides a window into the challenges and opportunities in providing such course options.

Fast Forward began this school year, and uses a simple funding structure: Every 7th through 12th grader now has $4,125 to spend on approved high school and college-credit-bearing courses of his or her choice.

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In The News
Principals Matter: Tennessee Wants to do a Better Job of Equipping Them
by Grace Tatter, Chalkbeat

The job of a principal has changed a lot over the last decade.

Instead of just hiring teachers, managing the building, and stepping in for the toughest discipline issues, today’s principals also serve as catalysts for the quality of classroom instruction. They not only hire teachers but they observe, evaluate and coach them.

That’s why Tennessee is launching a new initiative to get teachers with untapped leadership potential to the principal’s office, as well as support and develop principals who are already there.



 

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Beyond Technology: Blended Learning Conference Debates Equity, Cultural Inclusion
by Jenny Abamu, EdSurge

For a conference named after “blended learning,” many attendees were surprised to learn that they did not agree on what the term meant. Dr. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, was among the first to raise this during a session at the 6th Annual Blended Learning Conference, held last weekend in Rhode Island. “I was talking to a colleague who was using blended and personalized learning the same way,” says Dance. Michele Williams-George, an education consultant and researcher, claimed there were 25 words people inaccurately used interchangeably with the term, such as differentiated instruction and flipped classroom.

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Teaching Collaborative Brings Together Boston's Public, Charter, Catholic Schools
by Felicia Gans, Boston Globe

A citywide partnership launched Tuesday will bring together educators from Boston’s public, charter, and Catholic schools to share effective classroom practices.

“This is one of a number of efforts underway to ensure that all students in the city have access to high-quality schools,” said Rachel Weinstein, chief collaboration officer of the Boston Compact, one of the groups organizing the collaborative.








 

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About Bluum

Bluum is a non-profit organization committed to ensuring Idaho’s children reach their fullest potential by cultivating great leaders and innovative schools. Bluum believes that school choice helps families, children and educators achieve more and do better. Bluum works to help Idaho become a national model for how to maximize learning opportunities for children and families. Learn more at Bluum.org or click here to read our introductory blog post.
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