NEWSLETTERS
The Education Innovator #24
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The Education Innovator
 August 11, 2003 • Number 24
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Feature
Performance Accelerator Fund
What's New
Secretary Paige writes op-ed on school choice and delivers commencement address at Graduate School of Education at Pepperdine; Florida Virtual School will be included in the state's K-12 funding formula.
Innovations in the News
Four programs will bring 300 newly qualified teachers to some of New Orleans' struggling schools this fall; plus more information on alternative routes to teacher certification, charter schools, magnet schools and virtual schools.

Performance Accelerator Fund Invests in Entrepreneurial Projects to Improve Achievement
School districts are under pressure to improve student achievement. Many districts, however, are ill equipped to do so. In response to this need, the NewSchools Venture Fund announced in May that it has created the Performance Accelerator Fund. Following the philosophy that entrepreneurs with both business knowledge and education expertise can be agents of change, the Performance Accelerator Fund invests in projects, led by such entrepreneurs, that increase the capacity of school systems to produce high levels of student achievement.

"No school will succeed without great people," according to fund leaders. Funded projects must focus on developing people who know how to teach and lead in the current educational system. The Performance Accelerator Fund has already raised $20 million to invest in creating tools to enable these educators to make informed, data-driven decisions and improve instruction.

The Performance Accelerator Fund targets four high impact areas:

  • Human Capital. The fund will support innovations in teacher and principal recruitment, teacher certification and professional development.
  • Performance Tools. The fund will provide easy-to-use information management systems and clear reports, as well as in-class assessment tools that teachers can use to monitor student learning and gauge progress.
  • Supplemental Educational Services. The fund will invest in programs that target after-school and summer school services for underserved children.
  • Research-Based Curricula. The fund will invest in research-based curricular initiatives in areas of high need such as English language learner support, special education programs and Advanced Placement programs for underserved high school students.
The Performance Accelerator Fund is the most recent of three NewSchools Venture Fund tools that have been developed with the goal of transforming public education The other two tools are the Charter Accelerator Fund and the NewSchools Network that shares best practices in education. Some of the programs in the NewSchools Network have received grants from OII, including Aspire Public Schools (see The Education Innovator for August 4). For more information about the NewSchools Performance Accelerator Fund, go to: http://www.newschools.org/strategy/performance_fund.htm

Note: The formation of the featured innovation, Performance Accelerator Fund, was announced May 12, 2003. The program, therefore, has no evaluation data. The description of the fund answers the question, "What is it?" not "What works?"

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What's New
From the U.S. Department of Education

Secretary Rod Paige explained the need for school choice to improve urban public schools, especially those in the District of Columbia, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. To read an excerpt of this article, please see, http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/index.html?src=oc (July 29)

Secretary Rod Paige was the commencement speaker at the Graduate School of Education, Pepperdine University. He emphasized the importance of having quality teachers in the classroom, including those entering by alternative paths: "But let us have the courage to acknowledge that quality of teachers is born in training, in experience, and wisdom, and not in bureaucratic ticket-punching."

Technology

The Florida State Legislature recently changed the way Florida Virtual School (FLVS) will be funded. FLVS will now be included in the State's funding formula for K-12 education. For a press release on this change, and a description of the higher accountability measures required of the virtual school. (July 23)

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Innovations in the News

Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification
Four programs will bring 300 newly qualified teachers to some of New Orleans' struggling schools this fall. The use of these programs will help the city meet No Child Left Behind's "highly qualified teachers" requirements. [More-The Times-Picayune (New Orleans) (7/30)

Serena Rowan has been an Army drill sergeant. Now, she is a special education teacher. She became a teacher through OII's Troops to Teachers program that has been given a boost in the last two years. [More-CNN] (Aug. 4)

Charter Schools
Chiles Academy, a charter school on the campus of Atlantic High School in Port Orange, FL, was started last summer to keep more teenage mothers in school so that they can graduate. Through a combination of classes at the school and online courses offered by Florida Virtual School (see above), one student received her diploma a year sooner than expected. [More-Daytona Beach News-Journal] (July 28)

Magnet Schools
With the opening of North Atlanta School of the Arts, Christian schools will have their own private arts magnet, the first in metro Atlanta. [More-The Atlanta Journal Constitution] (July 30)

Virtual Schools
Students in Illinois are opting to take virtual classes with the Illinois Virtual High School to free up time during their busy school day. [More-Pantagraph.com] (Aug 1)

Shelby County, AL will use distance-learning technology this fall to bridge the gap in course offerings at its schools. [More-AL.com] (July 29)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011