Strong Teachers, Good Design Important for Virtual Charters to Succeed

Education Dive, July 11, 2019, Shawna De La Rosa

Students in online charter schools have generally performed less well than their peers in brick-and-mortar classrooms, but this doesn’t have to be the case. With specific strategies, online schools can be a viable alternative to traditional public education, according to a new report from Public Impact.

Strong teachers that make personal connections with students, putting students’ needs at the center of the program and setting high expectations for both students and families are among the elements of strong virtual charters, according to the report, which features the Idaho Distance Education Academy (I-DEA) and the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School in New Hampshire as models. Read the full article…

Forging Parent Partnerships to Better Serve Students with Special Needs

Walton Family Foundation, July, 9, 2019, by Johannah Chase

Parents are the experts on their children.

They know the hidden strengths they possess, talents that schools might not easily unearth. They understand the unique challenges their children experience in a typical school environment.

This expertise can be especially acute for parents of students with disabilities, particularly if their children have attended schools that haven’t met their needs, or have failed to find innovative ways to tap into their potential.

For kids who learn differently, parents often must be the ones who navigate the complicated – and frequently frustrating – path to getting their kids the supports they need to thrive.

When it comes to living up to their obligation to serve students with disabilities, public charter schools face a host of challenges. In addition to the perennial headache of underfunding, there are bureaucratic constraints, a woeful lack of teacher preparation in special education and difficulty finding and tapping expertise.

None of which comes as a surprise to parents of children with disabilities, who, like it or not, get a crash course on navigating the same series of hurdles — sometimes while advocating for their kids in the same charter schools that are struggling to figure out how best to serve them. Read the full article…

Parent Power: To Improve Special Education in Charter Schools, Tap Students’ Original Advocates — Their Families — Report Says

The 74, June 28, 2019, by Beth Hawkins

When it comes to living up to their obligation to serve students with disabilities, public charter schools face a host of challenges. In addition to the perennial headache of underfunding, there are bureaucratic constraints, a woeful lack of teacher preparation in special education and difficulty finding and tapping expertise.

None of which comes as a surprise to parents of children with disabilities, who, like it or not, get a crash course on navigating the same series of hurdles — sometimes while advocating for their kids in the same charter schools that are struggling to figure out how best to serve them.

Chocolate, meet peanut butter.

After program officers at the Walton Family Foundation realized they were hearing essentially the same story in one community after another, they commissioned the education consulting firm Public Impact to examine possible synergies between the two groups. The result: Better Together: Why Charter School Champions and Parent Advocates Should Partner to Better Support Students with Disabilities.

The research and findings will be the topic of a panel to be held at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools’ annual conference, which takes place June 30 to July 3. Daniela Doyle, Public Impact’s vice president for charter excellence, will be one of the speakers. Read the full article… 

Teacher Awarded $175,000 Grant

Rocky Mount Telegram, March 12, 2019, by Amelia Harper

One Phillips Middle School teacher received the surprise of a lifetime Monday when she was told she had just won a $175,000 grant for herself, her school and for Edgecombe County Public Schools.

Casandra Cherry is in her second year as the math multi-classroom leader at  the school. She previously taught math at South Edgecombe Middle School for eight years. On Monday, she learned that she is one of five North Carolina teachers to win the Career Award for Science and Mathematics, a $175,000 grant provided by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Read the full article…

Are You Really Personalizing Learning?

Christensen Institute, March 7, 2019, by Thomas Arnett and Julia Freeland Fisher

In a recent post, we shed light on the difference between blended learning—an instructional modality that describes integrating technology to deliver some content—and personalized learning—a philosophy that believes in a combination of modalities and goals for better and (and in some cases, new) outcomes for students.

Though the definition of personalized learning could encompass many modalities, there are innovative classroom design and support components outside of standard pedagogical approaches that are often missed. Here, research reveals three considerations that go beyond the curriculum to help educators make students’ personalized experiences more effective. Read the full article…

Opportunity Culture Dashboard Updates Data on Nationwide Initiative

EdNC, March 6, 2019

Public Impact, which created and leads the national Opportunity Culture initiative, updates the Opportunity Culture dashboard annually and today released the latest results from 2018–19, showing that student learning continues to benefit, and teachers want to keep and grow Opportunity Culture.

The national Opportunity Culture initiative extends the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within schools’ recurring budgets. Each school’s design and implementation team, which includes teachers, determines how to use Multi-Classroom Leadership and other roles to reach more of their students with high-standards, personalized instruction—one hallmark of great teachers. Read the full article…