Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NASBE Session :: What Do We Now Know About Preparing School Leaders - and How are We Doing?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Panel Presenters
Paul Manna, College of William & Mary, Wallace Foundation
Jonathan Supovitz and Bobbi Newman, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, University of Pennsylvania
William "Bill" White, Chair of School Leader Study Group, West Virginia State Board of Education

NASBE: State BOD chose two study groups: one on career readiness & the other took a look at the adequate number of school leaders - - lead to this report, partially funded by Wallace Foundation. At the same time that the study group was working on this, Paul Manna published his report for the Wallace Foundation: Developing Excellent School Principals to Advance Teaching and Learning

Paul Manna
  • The need for high-quality leaders -->not high priority on state policy agenda - currently, more attention to teacher-related issues than principal-related
  • A focus on "school leadership" conflates the principal's role with the roles of other school leaders
State Policy Levers Examined:
- Setting principal standards;
- Recruiting aspiring principals;
- Overseeing principal preparation programs;
- Licensing principals; supporting professional development of principals; evaluating principals
  • ON Recruitment: Wallace FDN has a big focus on Urban Emphasis --> have to also talk about rural settings
  • North Carolina: NELA (Northeast Leadership Academy), mission to recruit, train, then place in rural locations in North Carolina. There are some common needs in both rural and urban; explicit training for rurals, like how to find resources for their particular settings; recruits also learn to write a grant
  • Illinois and Kentucky: they have had principal preparation programs for over 10 years
Local Contexts
- Educational governance
- Diversity of locales
- Capacity of state agencies and local districts and schools to implement policy
- Policies and practices

"... perhaps a principal's job is to go to work and decide which law to break because there are so many conflicting rules and policies..."

State boards of ed have The Power of Collective Voice to affect change:
  1. The Power of Policy - authority to officially adopt and enact rules and regs to govern an area of the education system (often referred to as "rule-making")
  2. The Power of the Question - as a body, has authority to ask agencies individuals, or organizations for information updates, and assistance on nay matter regarding the education system
  3. The Power to Convene - for the purpose of discussing issues and collaboratively working toward solutions involving the education system in areas were the Board retains policy authority, as well as where it does not
With this in mind, SBEs could do some kind of systematic audit that bear on the Principals' job every day - - with an eye to removing 4 or 5 things...!

Dr. Jonathan Supovitz & Dr. Bobbi Newman
  • How do we look holistically at the system of support for capacity for school leaders?
  • Framework: Leadership Standards - Individual Supports
  • Data: used for monitoring and informing continuous improvement (Distributed model for review of data - -Organizational Supports and Individual Supports)
  • Hoping the study group report will help you
Organizational Supports
In the course of contacting all 50 states about their programs, spoke to lots of SEA folks

Program Approval & Licensure --> go hand in glove
- requirements for leaders
- leadership exam

- partnerships provide the conduit through which candidates can better access these pathways
- findings

Financial support for:
- recruitment programs
- induction programs
- mentoring
- recognition

Emerging TRENDS:

  • IL: sunsetting programs and asking folks to reapply
  • AZ & MA: high standards for leaders
  • DE: new report cards focus on a cycle of continuous improvement
  • many states have "grow your own" programs for leadership
  • developing "teacher leaders": many states have the requirement that prospective principals have teaching experience, but no evidence of leadership is required - - this needs to change

Going forward: guiding questions for policymakers (begins on p. 22 of the NASBE report)

Bill White

  • in addition to the guiding questions, check out  REFERENCES, beginning on p. 28
  • need to look at the way we do leadership development, beginning on p. 17

The take-away: There are bright spots, but no exemplary states

There's more in the Storify
- - -
There's an excellent twitterchat for aspiring administrators called #Admin2B. Drop in Monday nights, 8:00-9:00 PM (EST). Check out archived convos HERE and HERE

NASBE Luncheon Keynote :: Brilliant - The Science of How We Get Smarter

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Annie Murphy Paul, Author of the forthcoming book Brilliant: The Science of How We Get Smarter
on twitter @anniemurphypaul

  • engaging presentation, posits intelligence can be acquired 
  • findings suggest that our schools can impart not just knowledge and skills but intelligence itself to students
  • thinks of intelligence as a "reservoir and a pipeline"
  • says we don't know how to measure the depth or capacity of someone's intelligence reservoir
  • we're focusing too much on increasing the capacity of the reservoir instead of the pipeline
  • intelligence is sensitive to its "setting", so pay attention to the environment
  • instead of talking about the "achievement gap" > > understand "cognitively congenial settings"
  • the ability to shape one's own setting, in the way that works best for learning > > a key 21st c skill
  • companies can also enhance the brainpower of the workers they already employ when they focus on the setting

There's more in the Storify

NASBE Session :: Career Readiness for All Students

The Second C: Paving the Path of Career Readiness for All Students
Thursday, October 22, 2015

Panel Presenters
James Hull, Center for Public Education, National School Boards Association (NSBA)

Andrea Zimmerman, National Association of State Director of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Malbert Smith III, Ph.D., President & Co-founder, MetaMetrics

Bill MathisPh.D. Managing Director, National Education Policy Center at University of Colorado, Boulder, Member of Vermont State Board of Education

Mireya Reith, Chair of NASBE Career Study Group, Vice Chair and Member of Arkansas State Board of Education

Robert Hull, Moderator, Director of Center for College Career, and Civic Readiness ("the first c, the second c, and the other c"), NASBE

Robert Hull: NASBE Board of Directors chooses one or 2 topics to take a deep dive into for the year - come back and share - - research. Report of the NASBE Career Study Group is the result of the work on "career readiness".

Jim Hull (no relation ^): Center for Public Education (cpe) also wrote a report on this topic: The Path Least Taken II

  • Lots of focus on kids going on to college
  • Not very much focus on the impact of high school on career readiness
  • There are many reasons kids don't go on to college
  • Non-college students took less rigorous courses in high school (though they took two or more vocational courses); other "credentials" that matter most for non-college goers:
    • completed Algebra 2 as their highest math course; advanced biology as highest science
    • cumulative GPS between 2.51 and 3.0
    • completed an occupations concentration in high school (three or more vocational courses in a specific labor market area)
    • earned a professional certification or license

Malbert Smith

  • MetaMetrics using lexile scores as a reading framework to ask: 
    • How well do you have to read to become an auto mechanic?
    • How do you measure career readiness?
    • What benchmark shows success?
  • Google "CCR" = college & career readiness
  • many states tracking students longitudinally
  • North Carolina ahead of many states in this regard
  • DIBELS Next* - Common Scale across multiple assessments, reporting out lexile measures on https://lexile.com/
  • the ELA standards: 5 critical shifts from earlier standards:
    • 1) text complexity
    • 2) analysis, inference and evidence
    • 3) writing to sources
    • 4) mastery of writing
  • Lexile levels and maths - necessary for very many careers, whether attorneys or auto-mechanics
  • This is where you need to be for active citizenship
  • All about competency
  • Importance of connecting career to competency (not just college...)

Andrea Zimmerman

  • How we can move to an innovative, HQ system?
  • Rigorous skills
  • Future of CTE Summit October 6-8, Orlando FL
  • What is a common, HQ CTE system supposed to look like?
  • Need to prioritize action steps (^)
  • SBEs have a clear and critical role for CTE
  • Two reports: focus on intersection of college and career in partnership with Achieve:
    • Competency work
    • Career accountability systems (Measuring Career Readiness @CTE)
  • Review ESEA waivers, state report cards, how they're being publicly reported, major trends
  • CCR framework is focused on the first c = college; need to instill career indicators, multiple measures Perkins data,cte/ccr leaders, as well as workforce and economic dev leaders; find the appropriate balance of uses across public reporting and accountability
  • Lingering Challenges are systemic
  • Incorporating CTE early and often - embedded in strategy at all levels, break down silos
  • Need to attend to equity: validation of multiple pathways

Bill Mathis

  • He attended a vocational education program, has sat on a voc ed board, and taught about it in college
  • CTE program taught him a lot about...vacuum tubes > > learned transferable skills
  • Today, kids need to learn basic knowledge, flexibility, continuous learning, cooperation, problem solving, etc, but that not exactly what kids are getting in school
  • Offered an Overview of Vermont's CCR program - task force led to Flexible Pathways Act 77, in order to graduate:
    • any HQ program can count
    • blended and virtual
    • must demonstrate proficiency
    • must have a personalized learning plan by 2019
    • career ed must begin in 7th grade
  • National and global need
  • the more highly educated the person, the more bucks they can make
  • this is the root of the American dream - but we live in a post manufacturing economy
  • Health Care, construction, and social assistance are all impacted

Mireya Reith

  • SBEs need to understand the framework in which we're working
  • Quickly realize that we're working in silos
  • Who gets the CTE money in states?
  • How is money spent in states?
  • Arkansas CTE housed in Career Education (separate board, separate dept)
  • These structures matter...!
  • Can't talk about CTE as K-12...goes back to birth...could we talk about it as Birth-20?
  • Visit your CTE programs!
  • Kitchens in a classroom!
  • classrooms integrated with other places
  • Feels like a different type of learning
  • Visit factories...learning that needs to happen...
  • Some states have definitions...[MA?]
  • What are the implications?

The take-aways:
College readiness is all about Competency
Career readiness is Overlooked (need for competency here, too)
Civics is Forgotten or Silent

Important to engage minorities - so often overlooked and the need to address preconceptions

There's more in the Storify

NASBE Breakfast Keynote :: Disruptive Demographics :: Thursday, October 22, 2015

Keynote Speaker: Dr. James H. Johnson Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Asks: How do we properly educate needs of diverse students?

Unprecedented, disruptive demographics around us present incredible challenges and opportunities

Finds 6 disruptive themes from 2010 census:
  1. The South Rises...Again
  2. The Browning of America
  3. Marrying Out is "In"
  4. The Silver Tsunami is About to Hit
  5. The End of Men
  6. Cooling Water from Grandma's Well...and Grandpa's too!
The South Continues to Rise...Again...
  • we are a mobile society
  • our migration trends are immigration driven
  • movement is happening in 4 states in the South: 71% of 14M people going to Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina
The Browning of America
  • immigration driven
  • 1921-1961 most people migrating came from Europe
  • 1961-1988 most people migrating came from Asia
  • 1987-1998 migration from Europe fundamentally disappears
  • migration and immigration are age-selected
  • more young people are coming to US - having children at higher rates and "completed fertility" of white women is between 40-44 year-olds means school systems are impacted by this fundamental biology

The Graying of America
  • at the same time the Browning of America is going on, the graying of native born is on the rise - the silver Tsunami is about to hit...
  • also, changes in longevity - HUGE
  • AND declining fertility
  • longevity due to  better lifestyles (healthy eating, more active lives)
  • multi-generational workforce
  • succession planning and accommodations for elder care - organizational game changers!
Marrying Out is "In"
  • profound shift in marriage patterns
  • intermarriage trends on the rise
  • no one-size fits all - kids coming in will not fit (and will not let you make them fit...!)
  • children living in grandparent and non-grandparent households on the rise
  • family arrangements have changed
  • much more diversity
  • women are about to surpass men as majority in workforce
All of this has a huge impact on the history we will tell and how we will tell it. Education is necessary but insufficient.

Q: Very compelling presentation; great portrait of demographic shifts in US - to what extent do these impact globally?
A: Only region of the world not experiencing these trends is sub-Saharan Africa; a global phenom

Q: School to prison pipeline: what can we do to reduce it?
A: Rebuild a better, robust system of public schools that offer protection, affection, correction, connection. Engage our boys in a different way. Better preparation for new generation of teachers. More training in youth development.

There's more in the Storify
- - -
More about Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr

The End of Men

2010 US Census Data

Monday, October 26, 2015

NASBE15 Pre-Conference :: Student Data Privacy :: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 :: 1:00 PM*

Pre-test: Can you identify what the following acronyms stand for?

  • PII
  • SBEs
  • PI
  • PPRA
  • SEAs
  • PTAC

State Law and Policy Trends:
Rachel Anderson, Senior Associate, Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign
Amelia Vance, Director of Education Data & Technology, NASBE

Common Pitfalls of Contracting with Education Technology Providers:
Michael Hawes, Statistical Privacy Advisor, US Department of Education

Security 101:
Jim Siegl, Technology Architect, Fairfax County Public Schools

Overcoming Policy Hurdles to Help Kids Succeed:
Elizabeth Laird, Lousiana Deartment of Education

Federal Data Privacy Legislation Panel:
Reg Leichty, Moderator, Founding Partner, Foresight Law + Policy
Jon Bernstein, President, Bernstein Strategy Group
Paige Kowalski, Vice-President of Policy and Advocacy, Data Quality Campaign
Kobie Pruitt, Education Policy Manager, The Future of Privacy Forum
Mark Schneiderman, Vice President for Government Affairs, School Messenger
Elana Zeide, Privacy Research Fellow, NYU Information Law Institute

State Boards of Education (SBEs) have some authority over education data privacy (Here's what's posted on MA/DESE website - remind me to follow up on any further BESE authority).

School as we know it is changing:
  • Technology and information needs are evolving faster than policies.
  • There's a lack of communication with parents and the public about the value of educational data.
  • Talking about privacy can be challenging.
  • How do we address the personal nature of privacy?
Since September 2015, 187 Bills on student data privacy have been introduced in 47 states; legislative themes include:

Thirty-three states have passed student data privacy laws since 2013. Laws prior to 2014 gave State Education Agencies (SEAs) and SBEs^ authority to:
  • Rule-making
  • Override authority
  • Adopt & implement privacy policies
  • Provide a public data inventory
  • Appoint Chief Privacy Officer
  • Review potential new data elements to be collected/linked/shared
  • Ensure role based access to data
  • Notify parents of rights
  • Create a data security review team
  • Provide oversight of vendor contracts
[^ Again - noted for follow-up with DESE]

Rachel Anderson:
  • One thing Congress doesn't do is work from scratch
    • Congress is attempting to use/update FERPA for student data privacy issues - - it's complex because the law was written in 1974 and it has a hard time fitting into today's educational context:
      • 1974 student "educational records" could be locked in filing cabinet with a key...that's out of touch with 2015
      • There's no "educational record" now, there is "student data"

Jim Siegl:
  • There's a trade-off between what's useful and convenient for teachers in the classroom and a rigid system for "protection"
  • Biggest risks to security are the mistakes made by people with access to data in systems every day (as opposed to "data breaches")
    • How is your district handling educator training of day-to-day data?
    • Ongoing staff training is a must - anyone handling student data should be trained in
      • how to use data, and
      • how to protect data

Elizabeth Laird:
  • Welcome to Privacy-pa-looza!
  • Louisiana schools struggle with strict privacy law
  • Louisiana is the only state with criminal penalties
  • Time for a longitudinal data system
  • Lousiana's plan to protect student privacy

Take-aways on student data privacy:
  • SBEs have been collecting student/school data for 100 years
  • Technology and data can sound abstract
    • the philosophy of "protection of data" at the intersection of "education" makes it a challenging issue
  • Need to consider state and federal interaction
    • How to consider investing scarce public resources to student data privacy?
  • What is the appropriate federal role?
    • The "role of consent" in some of the federal bills is an "over-correction" > > > must strike a balance between "privacy" and data's "value"
    • The potential for over-reach; must consider the role of technology in education and the consequence of passing draconian legislation, lest it become too burdensome for educators
  • Still...laws are not enough - we need leadership from the education community to build trust and best practices.

Suggested foundational elements of a state data privacy and security policy to include:
  • Statement of the policy/law's purposes - - To include talking about both the VALUE of educational data and the importance of PROTECTING that data)
  • Select the person/s in charge - - Who will answer people's questions? Who creates policy and guidance? Who enforces the state's laws?
  • Transparency plan - - In the absence of being transparent...anything that can be said will be said...SBEs haven't been good at communicating the VALUE of educational data and the importance of PROTECTING that data. It can (and should) be simple.
    • Explain the "who, what, where, why, and when" of data collection.
    • Make the data easy to find and understand.
    • Give details for those who want to read them.
  • Limiting vendor use of data - - Limit data use for non-educational purposes. Check contract provisions for data use and storage. Define who has signing authority on contracts. Beware of "click-wrap" agreements.
  • Statewide data privacy & security plan - - Have a comprehensive plan to address privacy, and also address administrative, physical, and technical safeguards. Ongoing staff training and methods of encryption.
  • Ongoing staff training - - Anyone who handles student data should be trained in: How to use data and how to protect data

Pre-test answers:
  • SOPIPA: Student Online Personal Information Protection Act. A California law, the first state law to comprehensively address student privacy. Effective January 1, 2016
  • PII: Personally Identifiable Information
  • SBEs: State Boards of Education
  • FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (of 1974!) A federal law designed to protect the privacy of student "educational records". Established the rights of students to inspect and review their educational records.
  • COPPA: Children's Online Privacy Protection Act - a federal law designed to protect the privacy of children under the age of 13
  • PI: Personal Information
  • PPRA: Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment. A federal law that affords certain rights to parents of minor students with regard to surveys that ask questions of a personal nature.
  • SEAs: State Education Agencies
* I found the presentations and panel discussion to be an excellent complement to the morning visit to Halstead Academy.

- - -
Materials from the Session available online:

Parsing Student Privacy: Creating a Parent-Focused Framework for Conversation

Student Privacy Pledge (with statements from NSBA, CCSSO, Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), National PTA, more)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

NASBE Pre-Conference::Visit to Halstead Academy::Baltimore County Public Schools::Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Maryland is organized into 24 public school districts. Members of NASBE visited the Halstead Academy of Art and Science, a preK-5 magnet school in Towson MD, part of the Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS, @BaltCoPS). School data is HERE.

Recent 3rd grade study of Gustav Klimt...

...inspired artwork that beautifies the hallways

Halstead is also a district "lighthouse school" piloting the county's instructional digital conversion program known as Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.). The name "stat" (proposed by a group of students) conveys the urgency of the work: learner-centered, not led by technology, and future-focused, not based on tradition.

Theory of Action - BCPS' North Star

Framework is based on Danielson & P21

As Massachusetts has been wrangling with its decision about how to assess students now that the state has aligned frameworks with common core state standards, something I've been asking in state board meetings is: What's our vision for 21st c learning? If we're saying that we need "next gen" assessments, what are we doing to ensure that our school and classroom environments, curriculum, professional development, instructional practice, and so on are also next gen? What do students need today to meet tomorrow's (unknown) demands?

Not only have they asked the questions and forwarded a vision, BCPS has a plan. The digital conversion is in its third year of a comprehensive five-year strategic plan that includes system-wide changes in everything from budgeting, physical facilities, policies, and communications to professional development, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Learning is changing with intention and buy-in from all stakeholders in BCPS schools, with everything from how classroom furniture is arranged, to what is being taught, to how the school day is structured. Ultimately, as the S.T.A.T. program progresses, all BCPS schools will have:

  • digitally-enhanced curriculum supplemented with engaging, adaptive digital resources;
  • digital devices for every student and teacher;
  • educator, student, and parent access to information and resources through the BCPS One platform;
  • wireless and broadband infrastructure.

District policy review process

Instruction-driven approach to tech

S.T.A.T. evaluation tool

During our site visit, we met first with the instructional technology team for short presentations on the above, then visited classrooms, talking with students and teachers. Fifth grade classes were on a field trip; I spoke with children and adults in their K, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classrooms. I observed respectful learning environments, engaged students, small group instruction, collaborative and parallel learning, and student-directed learning:

Third grade parallel learning

Kindergarten whole group instruction

Second grade small group math (at whiteboard table) 

Third grade class expectations 

Third grade small group literacy

First grade collaborative learning

Second grade collaborative learning

Pro tip: Include FTE needs in the RFP for leased devices! BCPS included 89 FTEs as district-wide Instructional Coaches who support all educators. Coaches observe and offer feedback through the use of guiding questions focused on the teacher, the learning environment, and the student:
  • Teacher: What teacher behaviors contribute to a learner-centered environment for all students?
  • Space: How does the physical space reflect input from all students and facilitate a learner-centered environment?
  • Student: How are all students (by race, gender, English language competency, or disability) acquiring, developing, using, or producing knowledge, information, and skills?
Learner-Centered Environments: Professional Learning Tool

Here's the take-away: The district developed a comprehensive plan to integrate technology SIDE-BY-SIDE with teachers, school administration, the local school board, families, and the public. Eight areas were identified for conversion: communications, budget, policy, infrastructure, organizational development, assessment, instruction, and curriculum. Budgets are realigned and reallocated to support the district's implementation of the BCPS THEORY OF ACTION - - $207 million over 5 years (for necessary infrastructure), then settling into the operating budget at $67 million each year thereafter. Substantial investment has been made in BCPS - and beginning returns on that investment expect to be evident this year, three-years into the plan.

See more in My Storify

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Welcome to my World [PARCC::Part I]

The Board has convened five Public Hearings on PARCC. I attended three (in Fitchburg, Lynn, and Springfield) and I'm in the process of reviewing public testimony from all of the hearings.

I appreciate that educators from schools and districts with first-hand experience of the Commonwealth's unique two-year testing trial shared their insights at these public hearings. From educator testimony the Board has heard, some concerns stand out for me, including:

  • developmental appropriateness of some ELA questions, especially in the 4th grade test;
  • the chaotic nature of administering a new test format [online] and challenges in scheduling the computer-based test;
  • appropriate accommodations, such as extended time for all students, including students in special education and ELL;
  • lack of equity with regard to technology in all buildings;
  • lack of planning time for districts [for funding and professional development]

In a PARCC Position Paper*, MASS Superintendents expressed their preference for an "...implementation process that is regarded as ongoing in nature with frequent opportunities for feedback regarding the success of our efforts..." and shared their thoughts about:

  • what constitutes a high quality assessment;
  • ensuring the new generation of assessment supports teaching and learning, paying particular attention to
    • frequency and timing
    • necessary conditions
    • logistical considerations
  • critical roll out 

Some members of the public noted that some parents and community members were unable to get to venues in time to sign-up for live testimony due to work and/or family schedules. Parents who were able to give live testimony noted:

  • excessive time for standardized test-taking;
  • a narrowed curriculum, especially in the days and weeks before testing days;
  • equity concerns between the paper-based test and the computer-based test;
  • questions about the validity of the new test
  • lack of clarity about what they wanted to know about the new test and what they would be responsible for if schools and classrooms shift to online learning and testing;  

I've taken several practice maths, finding it challenging at times to "drag and drop" parts of equations into the answer box, often located on a different part of the screen that is unseen when answering the problem. "Screen freeze" was frequent and work not "saved" when this occurred. These might be frustrating for some students (results of a student survey state that 32% of students found this to be true), but perhaps issues such as these could be ameliorated over time.

Questions I still have about the PARCC:
  • Is this the right test? Rather, is there such a thing as a "right" test?
  • If implemented, how much autonomy and control will Massachusetts have regarding specific testing features?
  • What is our vision for 21st c learning?
  • What do families need to know? What is the outreach to all families about the changing educational landscape?
  • If PARCC represents "next-gen" assessments, what's the implementation process to ensure districts, schools, and classrooms are also next-gen, with instruction, professional development, and technology aligned?
  • What resources do teachers and teams need to access high quality training? How much time is necessary with peers to collaborate, brainstorm, and share best practices?
  • Are resources for professional development adequate? Do they ensure great instruction for every child no matter who they are, where they live, what language they speak, or how they present?
  • Which is more important for students: to be engaged in their careers or to be work ready for their careers?

- - -
Notes, Quotes, tweets
* To read the PARCC Position Paper referenced above, it's currently posted on the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents website: go to Professional Development and scroll down to "Conditions and Considerations for a New Generation of Student Assessment in Massachusetts".

Note that a final public comment session will be held at Malden High School auditorium Monday, November 16 from 4:00-7:00 PM - this is in lieu of a public comment period at the regular Board meeting Tuesday, November 17 beginning at 8:30 AM.

If we teach today's students as we did yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow.
~ John Dewey

I think the most important thing that young people should be taught at school is how they can decide what they're being taught is true.
~ Harold Kroto, 1996 Nobel Prize recipient