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Posts by Evan Larson

Brooke Breaks New Ground in Student Achievement

Students at Brooke Charter Schools are 98% black and Latino. Across Brooke’s three Boston campuses, 80% of students qualify for free or reduced price lunches, indicating their families are close to the federal poverty line.Skeptics argue that economic disadvantages, like the disadvantages faced by the students at Brooke, account for intractable gaps in academic performance between blacks and Latinos and students from white and Asian backgrounds. Brooke shows that this achievement gap […] Read more

UP Shakes Up District Instruction

In 2008, Scott Given left his position as Principal at Excel Academy Charter School in East Boston, Massachusetts. Like many other entrepreneurs, Given left his job to pursue a big idea – to bring the best practices of high-performing charter schools like Excel Academy into district schools. Given’s vision was striking because of the significantly different contexts in which school districts and the charter sector operate. According to conventional wisdom, the district […] Read more

Youth UpRising: Changing a Community, One Young Person at a Time

In the Castlemont neighborhood of East Oakland, one in four people live in poverty. The teenage pregnancy rate is three times the Alameda County average. Homicide is the leading cause of death for residents aged 14-24. These are grim statistics, but there is hope for neighborhood change.A local Castlemont nonprofit, Youth UpRising, is set on revitalizing the neighborhood by investing in its young people. At the Youth UpRising center, youth make music, […] Read more

Seneca Goes “All-In!” on Education

Michael’s school career got off to a rough start. It was only the first week of kindergarten, and he started kicking, biting, and pinching his teacher. His teacher tried every technique she knew to stop him. Not surprisingly, Michael’s teacher resorted to sending him to the principal’s office. Soon, Michael was spending less than 20% of his school day in the classroom. Read more

TinyTap Taps into Educational Games and Interactive Lessons

 Just as indie coders can create hot new apps, teachers and students can develop educational content with widespread appeal. However, teachers and students often face technological barriers to producing and distributing great content. TinyTap, a platform for creating interactive lessons and educational games, solves this problem: TinyTap allows anyone to easily create and share engaging educational materials.When you open the TinyTap app, you are prompted to either create new lessons and games or to […] Read more

Live From Summit 2014: From Talk to Action: Increasing the Diversity of Education Leadership

Dr. Howard Fuller, Distinguished Professor of Education at Marquette University, introduced the closing plenary of Summit 2014. Dr. Fuller highlighted the important distinction between ed reform as a movement that is done to communities of color and ed reform as a movement that is driven by people of color. If the education reform movement is not supported by the communities it serves, then Dr. Fuller told us: “We will lose.”James Shelton took the […] Read more

Live from Summit 2014: Winning the Fight for Higher Standards

Patrick McCarthy of the ExxonMobil foundation introduced our Summit 2014 session on educational standards. As a taxpayer and an employer, ExxonMobil advocates for improving educational standards in their communities. ExxonMobil’s interest in educational standards reflects the high stakes for everyone — businesses included — in the fight for the Common Core standards.Andy Plattner, of Plattner Communications, moderated the session on higher standards. Plattner kicked off the conversation by sharing a video of […] Read more

John King in Conversation with Joanne Weiss

Joanne Weiss, former chief of staff to the Secretary of Education, interviewed John King, Commissioner of Education of the State of New York, about his experience in government. King is an education veteran: He started out as a teacher, worked as an administrator, and now King is responsible for New York’s education policy. King implemented the Common Core State Standards in his state, but parents have pushed back against the new standards. Weiss […] Read more

Transforming Trauma: Promoting Resilience

“Anyone could be someone who changes the world in a big or small way,” says Dr. Joyce Dorado as she presents the first slide of her presentation at Summit 2014. The slide is filled with black and white school portraits of smiling children. Each of these children, Dr. Dorado tells us, was traumatized (often by domestic violence) and each of these children overcame trauma to change the world.Who are these people? Staring […] Read more

Opening Plenary: Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is our first speaker at Summit 2014. Stevenson began his talk by sharing a bit about his own educational history: Stevenson attended a segregated school in rural Delaware. Brown vs. Board of Education was the beginning of educational opportunity in his life.Stevenson, a lawyer, defends some of the most marginalized and disadvantaged people in the criminal justice system. His nonprofit, the Equal Justice Initiative, provides legal assistance to death row […] Read more