The Education Innovator #39
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The Education Innovator
 November 24, 2003 • Number 39
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What's inside...
National Heritage Academies
What's New
KIPP Network issues 2003 Report Card, and AFT President says achievement gains are a "great example;" the National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education releases report; U.S. Department of Education reveals new NAEP math and reading results; Secretary Paige announces OII grant to the Center for Policy Studies in Rural Education; Secretary Paige announces grant to nine states for scientific evaluations of the impact of technology on student achievement; Goldman Sachs Foundation and Asia Society announce prizes in international education; and Innovations in Education Exchange on "Closing the Teacher Quality Gap" to take place next Tuesday, December 2nd.
Innovations in the News
The No Child Left Behind Act has opened new opportunities for parents to ensure their children receive a good education; plus information on parental involvement, charter schools, school reform, and alternative routes to teacher certification.

National Heritage Academies Challenges Students to Realize Their Full Potential
How can educators create public schools that challenge students to realize their maximum potential through higher standards, academic excellence, and moral guidance to meet the demands of today's ever more difficult world? Since opening the first academy in the fall of 1995, National Heritage Academies has provided one answer by creating charter schools intended to be the paramount K-8 institutions in the nation.

Currently, National Heritage Academies manages 39 charter schools throughout the country. Over 17,000 students attend the schools in Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, and Ohio

National Heritage Academies is a nationally managed school system that uses state funding to operate local schools. The central organization manages all aspects of a school, including hiring, curriculum, educational materials, and training, as well as facility management. The central NHA is part of an accountability cluster that begins with parents. School governance includes input from parents, who serve on a parent school leadership team and parent committees; the state board of education; the charter school authorizing agency; the academy board of directors; and the academy principal.

The system's curriculum is "back to basics" and includes a math program that emphasizes repetition, review, and retention, and a reading program that is phonics-based. NHA has also instituted a moral component to the curriculum by focusing on responsibility, justice, prudence, and fortitude.

The success of each academy is measured by six indicators: student learning, academic program improvement, parent satisfaction, enrollment success, school culture, and dedication and commitment. The academies are seeing some measurable results in student achievement. NHA reports that its students score 30-40% higher than the national average on standardized tests. Adding to this news is a recent study by the Hillsdale Policy Group on the effect of the NHA on Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) scores. The study revealed that NHA students, who had been in an NHA school for two years or more, outperformed the rest of the state in 80 % of testing categories, while students with less than two years at an academy scored below the state average on every test.

Several National Heritage Academies' schools receive support through OII's Charter Schools Program.

Note: The featured innovation is interesting and innovative, but does not necessarily have evidence of general effectiveness from a rigorous evaluation. The success of the project described may not be replicable, depending on unique conditions in differing locations.


What's New
The Knowledge Is Power Program 2003 Report Card
The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) issued its 2003 Report Card that shows achievement gains for the students in its charter schools. AFT President Sandra Feldman says that these gains "are a great example of what can be done when schools use proven programs and teaching methods. For information on the report, please visit: 2003 Report Card. For Ms. Feldman's remarks, please visit Ms. Feldman's remarks. (Nov. 19)

National Working Commission Study on Choice
After two years of study, the National Working Commission on Choice in K-12 Education has issued a report showing how choice programs can achieve many benefits while avoiding pitfalls. For more information, please visit: Choice Programs. (Nov. 17)

NAEP New Data on Math and Reading
The U.S. Department of Education released new data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on math and reading performance of the nation's fourth and eighth graders. Secretary Paige says there is good news of improvement, especially in math. For more information, please visit: Results From Nation's Report Card Show Improvement in Math; Narrowing of Achievement Gap. (Nov. 13)

OII Grant to the Center for Policy Studies in Rural Education
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced a $268,000 OII grant to the Center for Policy Studies in Rural Education to identify policies that help rural communities recruit teachers and administrators; implement school choice and supplemental services provisions of NCLB; meet the needs of migrant students; and distribute information on best practices in rural education. For more information, please visit Grant to Improve Rural Education. (Nov. 13)

Grants to Evaluate Impact of Technology on Student Achievement
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced that nine states will share $15 million in grants to conduct rigorous, scientific evaluations of how technology affects student achievement in elementary and secondary education. For more information, please visit: $15 Million in Grants Awarded to Help States Study Technology's Impact on Student Achievement. (Nov. 10)

First Excellence in International Education Awards
For the first time, the Goldman Sachs Foundation and Asia Society have awarded prizes in international education. Three schools, one state, and one media and technology organization each received $25,000. The prizes recognize approaches to addressing the international knowledge gap, as well as innovation, creativity, and impact on teaching foreign languages and world affairs. For more information, please visit International Education. (Nov. 18)

OII Innovation in Education Exchange Series
The next Innovations in Education Exchange on "Closing the Teacher Quality Gap" will take place next Tuesday, December 2nd from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at the historic Sumner School, 1201 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Seating is limited, so please register at To view the agenda for the meeting, see Innovation in Education Exchange Agenda. (Nov. 10)


Innovations in the News

Parental Involvement
The No Child Left Behind Act has opened new opportunities for parents to make sure their children receive a good education, from free tutoring to transfers to better schools. The wide-ranging law has also sparked a variety of initiatives to help parents understand and take advantage of their options. [More-Education Week](Nov. 5)

Various organizations have online resources explaining what parents have a right to know under NCLB, including report cards on school performance and school safety, teacher quality, bilingual education, and military recruitment. [More-The Gilroy Dispatch] (Nov. 6)

Charter Schools
Organizers of the Main Street School of Performing Arts charter school hope that students will come from all over Minnesota's Twin Cities to enroll when the school opens next fall. [More-The Sun Current] (Nov. 6)

Some parents in Fort Washington, MD are dissatisfied with the Prince George's County Public School System and are thinking about starting a charter school. [More-The Prince George's County Gazette] (Nov. 13)

School Reform
Nineteen "early college high schools" are opening nationwide this academic year, and 64 are scheduled to start next year. Public school districts team with local colleges to run the schools. Students can finish their high school work by junior year and then take college courses that meet state requirements for graduation. [More-THiSNET](Nov. 3)

Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification
Jamie Thompson was a chemical engineer at 3M for three years, but the lab you'll find her in now is at Harding High School in St. Paul, where she's a first-year teacher. [More-Minnesota Public Radio News] (Oct. 22)

Using a $5 million grant from the Carnegie Corp., the University of Washington plans to establish a new teacher-preparation program that incorporates extensive mentoring and supervision of new graduates. [More-The Seattle Times] (Nov. 7)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011