Principal Ambassador Fellowship
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
On June 18, in a letter to Chief State School Officers, Secretary Duncan announced that the Department is open to providing additional flexibility for states during the transition to new assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards. "In recent months, we have heard from many of you and from thousands of teachers, principals, and education advocates," he said. "While there is a broad sense that recent far-reaching changes [raising standards and upgrading curricula, developing new assessments, rebuilding accountability systems, and adopting new systems of support and evaluation for teachers and principals] carry enormous promise for schools, children, and the future of our country, there is caution that too much change all at once could undermine our collective progress.... With that in mind, the Department is open to additional flexibility for states in two critical areas."
First, states that have received a Race to the Top grant or flexibility under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) are required to work with school districts to develop systems to evaluate and support teachers and principals based on multiple measures, including student growth. The Department will consider requests delaying personnel consequences for teachers and principals tied to the new assessments for up to one year beyond current plans, until no later than 2016-17. Some states are well underway and are unlikely to seek a delay. Others may want more time. Each state must have a solid plan for supporting teachers and principals as they transition to new standards, assessments, and materials.
States may request this change through the ESEA flexibility amendment process before September 30, 2013.
Second, during the next school year, some schools will field test new assessments. The Department will consider requests for a one-year waiver to allow schools that participate in a field test to have students take only one end-of-the-year testeither the current statewide assessment or the field test. In those schools, provisions for school-level accountability would stay the same for a year, as would intervention plans that support low-performing students.
States may request this change through the Title I waiver process.
"Because students can't wait, we need states to move forward as fast as possible but to do so in a way that ultimately strengthens teaching and learning," the Secretary emphasized in a corresponding blog post. "This decision ensures that the rollout of new, higher, state-selected standards will continue on pace, but states that need it will have some flexibility when they begin using student growth data for high-stakes decisions.... Together with teachers, school leaders, and families, we will continue to learn how to make these changes well and will make adjustments along the way. It's what we need to do to get this right."
Also, in a separate blog post, the Department's Teaching Ambassador Fellows discuss the flexibility, and Dan Brown interviews the Secretary on his decisiona decision greatly influenced by educators' voices.
Earlier this month, Secretary Duncan visited Aviation High School in New York City as an example of what the Administration is trying to replicate through the High School Redesign initiative. Today's high-tech, knowledge-based economy requires that schools connect learning to what students will be required to do in college and careers. Through competitive grants to districts, in partnerships with colleges, universities, and other organizations, the proposed initiative would challenge schools to personalize learning, customizing content and instruction so that students master challenging academic concepts and skills and pursue their own individual interests. Also, these schools would align teaching and learning so that all students graduate with college-level coursework or college credit and career-related experiences. (Note: A new fact sheet outlines the initiative and highlights several transformative high school designs.)
Then, last week, the Secretary delivered the keynote address and participated in a panel discussion at The Cable Show, the cable industry's annual conference, describing the President's ConnectED initiative, which aims to equip schools and teachers with the tools they need to harness the power of technology. (Note: The Secretary also penned a blog post on the initiative.)
Meanwhile, Under Secretary Martha Kanter blogged about strengthening collaboration for results with the nation's accreditation stakeholders to clarify, simplify, and improve the college accreditation process, with a more rigorous, targeted focus on affordability and value. And, the Department published a notice in the Federal Register announcing its intention to establish a negotiated rulemaking committee to prepare proposed regulations establishing standards for programs that prepare students for "gainful employment" in an occupation. The notice sets a schedule for committee meetings and requests nominations for individuals to serve on the committee.
A new White House report details the completion of or significant progress on 21 of 23 executive actions President Obama laid out in January to help reduce gun violence and the continuing work toward completing all 23. As part of this progress, the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security (led by FEMA), and Justice (led by the FBI) jointly released guidance to schools, institutions of higher education, and houses of worship on how to work with first responders and other community partners to plan and prepare for emergencies, such as active shooter situations, tornadoes, and earthquakes (fact sheet). Moreover, Homeland Security and Justice have expanded access to training on active shooter situations for law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with further outreach, new online resources, and improved training curricula (fact sheet).
Principal Ambassador Fellowship
Applications are currently being accepted for the Department's first Principal Ambassador Fellowship. Just like the agency's Teaching Ambassador Fellows, Principal Ambassador Fellows will spend a year gaining greater knowledge of the content of federal programs and policies, in addition to the context and process by which they are designed and implemented. Fellows will share their expertise with federal staff, provide communication and outreach about federal initiatives to other educators on behalf of the Department, and facilitate the involvement and understanding of educators in developing and implementing these efforts at the federal, state, and community levels. For 2013-14, the agency is only considering Campus Principal Ambassador Fellows. This enables principals to participate on a part-time basis from their home locations, in addition to their regular school responsibilities, working in collaboration with the Department's federal and regional offices. Additionally, as pioneers, fellows will play an active part in creating and shaping the program for future years. (Note: Applications must be received by July 16 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.)
Building off the highly successful 2012 Summer Jobs+ program, the Administration is working to increase employment opportunities for low-income or disconnected youth and decrease juvenile violence through its 2013 Youth Jobs+ initiative. To help local communities developing and enhancing programs that support these goals, the Administration is offering technical assistance, online resources, and local events across the country that spotlight the value and importance of providing pathways to employment for young people. It is also partnering with several national organizations to disseminate resources, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which has issued its own summer jobs challenge this year.
Odds and Ends
President Obama has announced his intent to nominate Catherine Lhamon as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and James Cole, Jr. as General Counsel.
The Secretary also testified before the Senate Budget Committee on the President's Fiscal Year 2014 budget request.
Now available: state-specific Year 1 Annual Performance Reports for Race to the Top Phase 3 states.
With submissions from a Chicago-based Designathon, the Grow America Stronger with Quality Childhood Education coalition offers a variety of early learning infographics.
On June 14, the Secretary co-hosted an event with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to launch the "Better Futures" public service advertising (PSA) campaign, building on the iconic "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste" campaign launched in 1972.
In a letter to Title I State Coordinators, the Department clarifies the specific requirements for using Title I funding to support arts education.
Epicurious, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Departments of Education and Agriculture announced the winners of a national recipe challenge to promote healthy lunches as part of Let's Move! initiative. Fifty-four winners will attend a "Kids' State Dinner" at the White House on July 9. The group will join the First Lady for lunch, with a selection of winning recipes, and visit the White House garden.
A new report from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services documents dozens of examples and 10 key ways libraries and museums are supporting young children.
In a special blog post, titled "Class of 2013: Graduate with Peace of Mind," Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius enumerates protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act for new high school graduates.
And, the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice sent a joint letter onto the nation's health-related schools about hepatitis B discrimination.
Quote to Note
"The unavoidable truth is that raising standards and improving systems is hard work, requiring collaboration and trust at all levels. There's not just one answer, and not all states will choose to be part of the processas is their right. But, let's remember what it's all about. This is about our children and our collective future. This is about raising the bar to ensure they are able to compete in the global economy. This is about strengthening the teaching profession. It is about creating systems of feedback and support that teachers want and need to personalize education, focus resources, and give every child the attention he or she needs. This is about holding ourselves accountable at every level for ensuring that all childrenand especially those most at riskhave an opportunity to succeed and compete."
|||Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (6/18/13), in a blog post on additional flexibility for states during the transition to new assessments aligned with college- and career-ready standards|
On June 27, at 11:30 a.m. ET, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) will release a new report comparing students' performance in reading and mathematics in 2012 with scores from over the last 40 years. Also, a panel of experts will also discuss the results in a live webinar. "The Nation's Report Card: Trends in Academic Progress 2012" will provide an unparalleled view of the progress of U.S. education over the past four decades for students ages 9, 13, and 17 and show how demographics, societal shifts, and contextual background factors relate to student achievement over time.
Also, on both June 27 and June 28, the Department's Office of Safe and Healthy Students and its Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance Center will host separate, 90-minute webinars giving an overview of guides on developing high-quality emergency operations plans for schools and institutions of higher education. These webinars are first-come, first-served. Individuals are strongly encouraged to pre-register here.
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