It was one of those conferences where it’s hard to leave the lobby. The NewSchools Summit (#NSVFsummit), co-hosted with the Aspen Institute, was held in an SFO airport hotel this week.
Ten years ago, the summit was an annual gathering of charter management organizations (CMOs), human capital builders, and the foundations that supported them. These days the blend is on — strategies for using technology to leverage teacher talent and boost student engagement and achievement where front and center.
There were ten lobby conversations that stood out. Far from a scientific survey, these are emblematic of the leading edge of efforts to improve American schools:
1. College. How to dramatically boost college completion? The dynamic duo from Parthenon, Margot Rogers and Tammy Battaglino, said that institutions must identify and meet developmental needs fast, provide intrusive advising, and get students into the right degree program early.
2. Talent. How to place 10,000 smart professionals into school districts? Education Pioneers and the Broad Residency program have done a lot to inject young talent from America’s top business and law schools into school district bureaucracies. Earned income could make these programs ten times as large and impactful.
3. Writing. How to get kids to write more? GlobalWrites brings integrating performance arts and tech into schools — I love the idea! Of course, I told everyone that would listen about how essay-scoring engines support more writing on state tests and in classrooms.
4. Adaptive. How to individualize instruction? Engaging and adaptive content is a big part of the answer. Rob Waldron’s team at Curriculum Associates built an amazing new adaptive K-8 math and English sequence called i-Ready. Neeru Khosla’s CK12 team will be releasing a slick update to Flexmath. Jessie and the Dreambox team just keep adding more school partners. Jiji, the penguin from ST Math, was all the buzz.
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