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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

Live From Summit 2014: But How Do We Know What’s Working?

The pace of technology adoption in schools is accelerating like a Formula 1 race car driven by both teachers and administrators hungry for products that spur deeper engagement and better results.. But how can customers, product developers, and investors figure out what’s working?  In this session we heard from entrepreneurs, investors and publishers about the latest ideas for defining efficacy and assessing the impact of education technology on student learning.  In the past […] Read more

Live From Summit 2014: When common ground is not enough

“I put children first,” a simple philosophy from Dr. David Hampton, on how he is able to bring his community along with him in the effort improve educational options for kids in his community. In Crossing Over Jordan, Hampton and Reverend Kendrick Curry from the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, shared how education reformers can better connect with their faith communities in order to build a community foundation for transforming education. 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

Live From Summit 2014: Reading Reconsidered

When it comes to teaching literacy, content and skills (like decoding specific words and citing their definitions) are inseparable. In a live session at NewSchools Summit, Doug Lemov (Uncommon Schools), Kyla Johnson Trammell (Oakland Unified School District), and Roberto Pondiscio (Democracy Prep) surfaced the above example and discussed the key approaches to elevating the rigor of reading instruction. 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

Summit Kickoff!

NewSchools CEO Ted Mitchell has opened Summit 2014! Ted thanked our generous sponsors, including the NewSchools Board of Directors and the NewSchools Leadership Council.Gloria Lee, NewSchools President and COO, took over the stage from Ted. She shared her favorite PowerPoint slide, “A Tale of Two Writing Samples.” The slide shows the different standards applied to students in low-income schools and high-income schools. As Gloria reminds us, all students deserve to receive a high-quality […] Read more

Redesigning School Districts: The Way Forward

“I think charter schools are great, but they only serve a handful of kids. If we’re ever going to really close the achievement gap at scale, we need to focus on the real work of fixing school districts.” How often have charter advocates (like me) heard this response from friends and allies, who believe charters have successfully proven that it’s possible to create high-performing public schools in high-need neighborhoods, but now they need to step aside so that their practices and systems can be taken to scale by enlightened district leaders. Read more

Why Direct-to-Consumer Models Matter in Education

In the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed two great reads on edtech investing, both advocating for a district direct sales approach for growing businesses. 1. Matt Greenfield, There is no Bubble in Educational Technology: Not for Businesses that Actually Make Sense. 2. Michael Feldstein, Why VC’s Usually Get Edtech Wrong.  Silicon Valley VC’s, on the other hand, don’t seem to be buying it, here’s what Marc Andreesen said.   “I wouldn’t want to […] Read more