Equity & Access PreK-12 | May/June 2021 Issue

Page 1

Equity&Access PRE K-12 FROM ACE-ED.ORG








Designing Schools Where All ··Pathfinders" are srnaller-scale renovationi projects. stmtegicallly designed for schodls that are ready for educational innovation, shifting their pedagogy to a moire sttJden1cl irec te d a pproc1ch a ncl project-based methodologies. fhese projects enalJ'le students and teachers to expe rienee c1 new i kirn::I of school learning environment that

folilrnns the patterns and •qualities found in a Field�ng International (Fl) 11 Leaming· Con,mun�ty" model . Our Fl educators pl1ay a pivot aI role through taiIored lleader and facul!ty training. They ·,nark alongside yolJlr teaching teams to prepare for Leaming Commu11�ty integration inch.1ding changes �n master scheduling. daiil'y tea oher and grade





















FROM THE ASSOCIATIONS National Association for Gifted Children - 12 | The Learning Accelerator - 30 Media Literacy Now - 66 | National Council for the Social Studies - 84

THE ACE-ED.ORG EXECUTIVE TEAM Publisher & Director of Sales LARRY JACOBS 978-712-8187

VP & Editorial Director MAIA APPLEBY 561-427-5092

American Consortium for Equity in Education


Advancing equity is a journey. Get started today. NAEYC.org/shop Promoting equity in your classroom is within your reach, and these books and e-books will give you the tools you need.

Now ! le availab

Advancing Equity & Embracing Diversity in Early Childhood Education Elevating Voices & Actions

Iliana Alanís & Iheoma U. Iruka, EDITORS WITH Susan Friedman

Plus, extend your learning online!

On-Demand Mini-Course

Each & Every Child: Teaching Preschool with an Equity Lens

Buying for your team?

On-Demand Module

Culturally Appropriate Positive Guidance

NAEYC books and online modules are ideal for your team trainings and workshops. Contact us today to learn about bulk purchase pricing. 202-350-8824 | marketsolutions@naeyc.org

School Quality & Education for the Common Good

By David Adams & Marisol Rosales Twenty years ago, the city-wide graduation rate in New York City was 48%. NYC educators rarely sent their own children to our public schools and community members pleaded for an education system that did more than sort the wheat from the chaff. With a mandate to improve these outcomes, NYC invested in a host of reforms to improve public education - the breakdown of large high schools that were only graduating one out of every two students, new school support models, and the adoption of teaching and learning frameworks that created clarity in classrooms around how to enhance learning for all. At the student level, small schools were developed to ensure that every child was known, data-driven practices and a culture of innovation flowed from partners to the New York City Department of Education and back again. As a result of these efforts, graduation rates grew, ten, twenty, eventually thirty percent in our city. More and more students were able to contribute their talents to our communities, our 6

society and our nation, because our energy was channeled into improving public education for all students. And as the graduation rate grew, the conversation about education in our city shifted. From all kids to my kids, from students to screens, from improving public education to excluding children from the very institutions meant to nurture their potential. If we intend to recapture the energy that has created progress for our youth and lift up their experiences as students, members of our society, victims of this pandemic, and resilient leaders, then we must invest in systems that know, believe, and lift up each student.

Let's Revisit the Notion of School Quality Often, an appreciation for the rate of growth students achieve as a result of their school experience has been overshadowed by a singular focus on measures of absolute proficiency. This obscures the impact of schools

American Consortium for Equity in Education

who continuously make huge strides in student growth metrics only to be condemned for missing proficiency cutoffs. This emphasis has led to an arms race amongst schools to corral the highest achieving students in their buildings, gerrymandering the educational process and channeling energies from teaching and learning to rejection and exclusion. This process does not improve our public schools, and it may not improve student outcomes either.

According to Jonathan Plucker, a noted researcher in the area: “…sophisticated research designs have produced mixed-to-negative results regarding whether attendance at selective high schools improves student outcomes bdul adiro lu et al., 2014; Dobbie & Fryer, 2014). In essence, the research issue for selective schools is not whether their students have impressive accomplishments (e.g., admission to highly selective colleges, major academic awards, high SAT and ACT scores) but whether their students would not have the same accomplishments if they attended another, non-exam high school."

According to the Hechinger Report: "Students’ reading scores were only slightly higher after receiving gifted instruction, moving from 78th to 80th percentile in reading on a national yardstick. The boost to math achievement from gifted instruction was much smaller, about a third of that size. No improvements were detected in how engaged or motivated students were in school after joining a gifted program. For example, teachers reported no difference in how hard students worked, how much they participated in discussions or how much they paid attention and listened in class."

In our pursuit of excellence, we've allowed ourselves to forget that highest quality schools nurture the potential of all students. Schools like Urban Assembly School for Green Careers, an unscreened school in Manhattan and part of a network of schools whose focus is on growing the talent of all youth, who hold themselves accountable not for who their students are coming into their schools, but who they are when they leave: what they know, what they do with that knowledge, the whole person. Schools that live their values around the common good while preparing their students for elite institutions like Cornell University. This is the promise of a public education. This is the promise of our public schools. By investing in students, not screens, learning not exclusion, rate of growth not absolutes, we will continue the improvement of our public schools and we will reap the benefits of that investment. The disparity and disruption from the COVID 19 Pandemic and the awakening of racial and social calls for justice are giving us a once-in-a-generation chance to reimagine excellence and equity in schools. We recognize that our system’s emphasis on equity could be stalled and pushed to the wayside without an agenda that pays attention to the classroom based interactions that drive student growth. That without deliberate action and advocacy on the part of students, educators, and parents we may fall victim to distractions that belie the actual drivers of growth and achievement in our city. These threats to our system impact our city’s school children and, in particular, those who have the most to gain by the rising quality of our city’s schools. Therefore we believe we have a moral, social, and professional responsibility to think clearly about the quality of learning, and



embrace this moment as an opportunity to create, collaborate, consider new ideas, innovate, and align resources so that all students have an educational experience that is both equitable and rooted in high standards. This work requires us to reset our mindsets from deficit to asset based, considering the gifts within our students and their communities.

This Is the Time to Imagine: What If? What if our school system drove innovation toward models that propelled student growth across the range of incoming student proficiencies? What if we redefine gifted education by lifting up identities, cultures, talents, and abilities found in all students and all classrooms, that is, things that make a difference in outcomes? What if we support approaches that provide schools and districts with a framework for academic enrichment that is student-centered rather than school-centered? What if we recognized schools for their drive to accelerate growth rates? These opportunities rest in innovations like individualized digital portfolios that capture students’ progress alongside trends across the school. These act as passports that complement standardized assessment with clear demonstrations of student growth. Innovations like work-based learning that helps students apply content and social emotional skills to real world contexts, supporting meaning-making and driving motivation. Innovations like academics that incorporate student-driven concepts and maximize relevance and engagement. These “what if” questions once drove our improvement. It’s time to ask them once more. 8

American Consortium for Equity in Education

The New York City Graduation Rate Sits at 78 Percent We can continue to improve that number. We are committed to improving that number. It's time to reinvest our energies back into things that matter. It's time for all students to grow their thinking, their knowing, their doing. It's time to get back to improving public education. We hope you'll join us on this journey. To recognize student growth rate as the measure of a high-quality school. To realize that excluding students will never improve public education. To believe that every student can and should contribute to our society. When we reclaim this legacy of improvement, we will reclaim the purpose of our public schools. Until the day where every school invests in every student, we will stay the course and we will succeed.

David Adams, Senior Director of Strategy at Urban Assembly, has spearheaded multiple initiatives to support the social-emotional development of more than 9,000 students at UA schools in New York City.

Marisol Rosales is New York City Department of Education's Executive Superintendent for Manhattan, Districts 1-6.



Corporate Education Partnerships

Discovery Education has established collaborative relationships with a variety of like-minded corporate partners that are committed to supporting equitable access to college and examples of diverse career paths. Together, we can help students receive what they need to succeed in college and the workplace. These featured programs provide a variety of free resources to help students with the knowledge and academic preparation needed to enroll in college and succeed after high school.

Navigate the college financial aid process using Financial Pur$uit, an online module for teens. TGReduExplore.org

Analyze data in Career-o-Matic to identify the elements involved in selecting and pursuing a fulfilling job. IgniteMyFutureInSchool.org

Take students on a financial literacy journey to develop skills and habits they need to be financially successful. PathwayInSchools.com

Introduce students to the professionals using data to innovate the future. Highlight STEM careers using career profile videos to inspire teens to explore a fulfilling career in STEM. SiemensStemDay.com

Engage your classroom with real-world career activities that showcase the STEM skills that lead to career success. STEMCareersCoalition.org

Foster a new generation of scientists who are inspired to improve the world with science.



Uncover the wide range of STEM careers found in the copper industry and how your interests and skills apply. DigIntoMining.com

Explore new frontiers in tech with the next generation of problem solvers. Girls4Tech.discoveryed.com

VIEWPOINT FROM NAGC (National Association for Gifted Children)

Educator Preparation and Support By Jonathan A. Plucker

My last column focused on the need for ability grouping and its likely, positive effects on closing excellence gaps. In this issue, the discussion shifts to professional learning for educators. As preparation programs for teachers, administrators, and school counselors currently stand in most states, preservice educators and future leaders do not receive adequate opportunities to learn about advanced students (Plucker et al., 2018). This lack of coverage means that educators enter schools without a sense of the research on advanced students, including both their unique needs and strategies for promoting advanced learning. For example, students may be advanced in one area but struggling in another, and failure to complete homework or turn in assignments may be a sign of being underchallenged rather than laziness. More to the point, future teachers receive little preparation for differentiating instruction, curricula, and assessment for the wide range of student performance levels they will encounter in their classrooms. For example, as mentioned in my previous column, Peters et al. (2017) found that over 15% of students perform 3 or more grade levels above in reading/language arts and 6% in math. Other research suggests the spread of


student performance in an elementary or middle school classroom may be 6 (or more!) grade levels. That’s a staggering range of readiness for teachers to address, and it is difficult to envision a scenario in which teachers with little training in differentiation can accomplish it. At a minimum, everyone working with students should have knowledge of the needs of advanced students, how those needs differ (or not) from those of students at other levels of performance, best practices in differentiation, the particular needs of twice-exceptional students, and strategies for closing excellence gaps (Harris & Plucker, 2014; Plucker & Peters, 2016). Regarding administrators, leadership programs rarely address advanced learning, and future principals and superintendents should be familiar with the topics listed above in addition to strategies for creating cultures of advanced achievement and closing excellence gaps in their schools. There are three ways educational leaders can begin addressing this preparation problem. First, principals and superintendents should communicate their intent to hire teachers who have experience working with a wide range of students, including those who are advanced. Put another way, an athletic director is unlikely to hire a coach who has no expertise or training

American Consortium for Equity in Education

in working with advanced athletes, and principals should prioritize hiring teachers who can work with the wide range of student performance levels that exist in every classroom. I’ve occasionally had principals share they would hire such teachers if they could, but that teachers generally do not graduate from preparation programs with this knowledge and skill set. This leads to my second recommendation: Put pressure on your state’s biggest providers of teachers. Having been a professor in several teacher and administrator prep programs, I can vouch for the fact that deans listen to superintendents and principals about the types of skills that graduates should have. If leaders need teachers to emerge from preparation programs with additional skills, the principals and superintendents should let deans and directors of local programs know this directly. Third, professional learning – for teachers, counselors, and administrators – can be focused on the needs of advanced students and strategies for closing excellence gaps (Henderson & Jarvis, 2016; Spoon et al., 2020). There is good news on this front, in that federal Title I and Title II funding can be used for professional learning on these topics. In particular, Title II of the Higher Education Act defines “teaching skills” to include employing “strategies grounded in the disciplines of teacher and learning” that include a “focus on the identification of students’ specific learning needs, particularly students with disabilities, students who are limited English proficient, students who are gifted and talented, and students with low literacy levels, and the tailoring of academic instruction to such needs.”

no experience or training in working with advanced musicians. If such a person were hired, it would then be strange to not provide that teacher with professional learning opportunities to remediate this gap in their expertise. Yet this occurs frequently with classroom teachers regarding advanced learners. Providing educators with high-quality preservice preparation experiences and professional learning opportunities is a key strategy for closing excellence gaps.

Jonathan A. Plucker is the Julian C. Stanley Professor of Talent Development at the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University, where he is also a Professor of Education. He currently serves as President of the National Association for Gifted Children. He can be followed on Twitter at @JonathanPlucker or reached at jplucker@jhu.edu.

It is hard to imagine a situation in which a school district would hire a band director with




Three Best Practices for Conducting an Equity Audit

By Ricardo Ruiz Alief Independent School District (Alief ISD), which has been a Curriculum Associates partner for the last six years, has long understood the importance of providing an equitable learning experience for its more than 45,000 students. However, starting in 2018, it took this work even further and made equity a top priority when it voluntarily spearheaded a comprehensive multiyear equity initiative. “It was important to us to take a deep dive into our equity practices and make sure all students had access to the same opportunities to 14

succeed,” said Ann Williams, Alief ISD board president. “We wanted to be champions in this area and address equity in a real and tangible way.” fter creating a common definition of what equity meant to the district, the district leadership team — including the Board of Trustees, superintendent, and administrators — launched an equity audit, which they believe was a critical step in the process of ensuring an equitable learning experience for all of their students.

American Consortium for Equity in Education

The district’s best practices in conducting the audit included: 1) Hiring an External Consultant The district partnered with an external consultant, Dr. Roger Cleveland of Millennium Learning Concepts, to conduct its audit so it would have a firm, unbiased baseline on its current equity practices. “We knew an internal audit would not reveal any of the blind spots we weren’t seeing,” said Dr. Darlene Breaux, Alief ISD board vice president. “It’s so important to have someone outside of your organization examine your practices and provide a different perspective on what is—or isn’t—happening.”

forward on a number of its equity initiatives, ranging from anti-bias training to reducing the number of in-school and out-of-school suspensions for designated ethnic groups. “We’ll continuously collect and unpack data to make sure we are being strategic and successful in our actions and with our equity practices,” said Breaux.

To learn more about Alief ISD, visit AliefISD.net.

Read the district’s equity policy

2) Gathering as Much Data as Possible During the audit, Superintendent HD Chambers and central administration, as well as staff and older students from across 20 schools, were all interviewed about the current equity practices at Alief ISD. This also included site visits to the 20 schools—including lower-performing, satisfactory, higher-performing, and specialty schools—to gather additional data and insights. It was important that the district cast a wide net when collecting this valuable feedback.

3) Using Data to Inform Next Steps With the data collected from the audit, the district was then able to define its goals moving forward and work on a comprehensive equity policy, which outlines its mission, vision, beliefs, and steps it will take to eradicate barriers and provide an equitable education for all. This policy is now the district’s guide as it moves

Ricardo Ruiz is a national director of content and implementation at Curriculum Associates, where he supports districts and educators across the country as they adapt their instruction to rigorous new standards and make instructional shifts that promote equity and success for all students. A former classroom teacher and university lecturer, Ruiz’s diverse experience and unique perspectives drive his passion for educational transformation.




An Educator’s Journey to Becoming an LGBTQ Youth Advocate By Melissa Brown

I will never forget an afternoon in my classroom in the early 90s: I was cleaning up after the students left the room and noticed, “Ms. Brown is a lez,” written very clearly on the wall. I froze. I was terrified. I had somehow been found ̀ out.” Instead of stepping into who I am, I did what many people did back then: I retreated. I went further into the closet. On a personal level, I don’t regret my choice or fault myself for being afraid. What I do regret is that in subsequent years I missed many, many opportunities to show up for LGBTQ students in the schools where I served.

I Plan to Make Up for Lost Time After serving as the founding principal of ndiana s first virtual school ndiana Connections Academy), I now serve as Lead Director of Schools for Connections Academy, the pioneering, fully online public school, which this year celebrates its -year anniversary. Today, onnections cademy schools in 16

states serve more than , students in grades - . e have served more than one million students since . Connections Academy’s launch ushered in a new era in merican public education, redefining our notion of education fundamentals like ‘school’ and ‘classroom.’ Fueled by a robust learning management system and sophisticated digital learning tools, and led by certified teachers, onnections Academy schools deliver students not just core academics, but also a host of electives, guidance counselors, and clubs and extracurriculars. They offer a learning lifeline to American families everywhere who need a different approach to their children’s educations, and they untether educational quality from zip code. Connections Academy schools also offer a lifeline — and welcoming, safe space — to a staggering number of students who have enrolled in our schools, hoping to escape bullying in their bric -and-mortar school. significant number of them identify as T .

American Consortium for Equity in Education

The Data is Shocking According to the Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2020, “40% of LGBTQ respondents seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months.” This highlights the need for increased support for LGBTQ students and with more kids than ever “stuck” at home (in potentially unsupportive environments) it is imperative that LGBTQ educators (both virtual and in-person) stand up and OUT in an effort to support students, and to literally save lives. The same report also states that “transgender and nonbinary youth who reported having pronouns respected by all or most people in their life attempted suicide at half the rate of those who did not have their pronouns respected.” The intersection of my own, personal history and the clear danger our LGBTQ youth face today has super-charged my passion about creating a new paradigm at Connections Academy schools to more fully support students who identify as LGBTQ. I have helped establish best practices for inclusivity and equity

that we implement across all Connections Academy schools nationwide. And while I’m proud that Connections Academy is leading the way here, ALL K-12 schools – whether online or traditional – can and should adopt these best practices to better support LGBTQ youth.

Encourage ‘Out’ and Proud Educator Role Models Unlike my early days in the classroom, today I am an ‘out’ and proud educator. Teachers and other educators are of course role models for all students. And all students should get the message to be proud of themselves, and live their own truths, and authentic lives. This is especially important in the middle and high school years, when peer pressure to conform is at its height. But LGBTQ youth are in dire need of positive role models in their lives, and ‘out’ and proud educators can truly save lives.

Respect Students’ Preferred Pronouns This can be done in classrooms, both in-person and virtual. Young people are used to being asked about pronouns – ask and then use what



is preferred! Teachers who publish their own preferred pronouns offer the same signal as they do when they put a “safe space” sign in the classroom.

Embrace Authenticity and Talk About It Often! The more that we talk about our differences (and our similarities), the easier it is to connect. With authenticity as a core value, our community grows closer and stronger.

Engage in Professional Development That Provides Context and Then Act Make certain that all instructional and counseling staff is using inclusive language with students AND colleagues. The support doesn’t end with students. If we are asking educators to be ‘out’ and open for the sake of students, we must support the educators, too.

••• In November of 2018, I had the distinct honor of supporting a transgender teacher as she stood in front of the entire school staff and announced her transition. When this teacher met with me to talk about her transition, I told her very directly, “I am not afraid of this. We will work through this together.” As residents of a relatively conservative state, it’s sometimes hard to gauge what a response to such an announcement might be. I anxiously stood with this teacher as she courageously explained to a room full of 200 people that she would be embracing her true self and living authentically as a woman. I will admit that the same fear and anxiety that I felt in 1993 came up for me again, but this time


I had age, experience, and student inspiration on my side. I also had years of culture building in my pocket: we had worked very hard as a school community to put love and acceptance at the forefront of our work, and we were solid on our vision and core values. I hoped that the results of this work would surface in this situation. Most of the room stood and applauded this teacher’s announcement. We both stood with tears streaming down our faces as this ovation lasted several minutes. In that moment, I was so proud of this teacher, and even more proud of a group of educators who joined together to support a family member. Allowing this teacher to be fully who she is will save student lives. My living openly about who I am will help save student lives. I can’t help but believe that the more this happens, the more we will normalize difference and make it okay for people to be who they are. Melissa Brown is Lead Director of Schools for Connections Academy, the fully online public school model, which in 2020 celebrates its 20-year anniversary, and has served more than one million students since 2001. Melissa was recently honored with ACE-ed.org's Champion of Equity Award, for serving as an ‘out’ and proud educator role model, but also for her development of inclusivity and equity best practices for LGBTQ youth now implemented across all Connections Academy schools nationwide.

American Consortium for Equity in Education

ACCELERATE LITERACY WITH VIDEO CREATIVITY Twig Create is an easy-to-use video-making experience for K–12 that gives students the chance to explore their creativity and build vocabulary and knowledge across all subject areas.

"As a parent, I always ask myself, what can I do to help my son build the knowledge that he needs to be a better reader? With Twig Create, I noticed he was doing something different than he had ever done before. He had a purpose for his voice… He wanted to share what he had done with his friends, his family. That's something magical." —Andres, parent of Ayden, Grade 3 student KNOWLEDGE BUILDING THROUGH ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT




Video-based tasks allow students who struggle with paper/pen-based reading and writing to engage with information and communicate ideas in a structured way.

Students actively engage in reading, writing, listening, and speaking through video-making experiences, accelerating progress toward language proficiency.

Ready-made media templates activate engagement in any subject area as students build knowledge and digital literacy.

Students who lack confidence in sharing ideas with the class can take control of their ideas, rehearsing, recording, and re-recording projects in a secure environment.

Sign up for a free teacher account at twigcreate.com

ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF STRUGGLING STUDENTS OVERCOMING CHALLENGES AND FINDING SOLUTIONS “Whether financial hardship, loss of a family member to COVID, or reactions to the boiling over emotions of Black Lives Matter, no two students will have had the same experience.” - Sam Drazin, Executive Director at Changing Perspectives This year—perhaps more than any other in recent memory—our classrooms are full of students who have all made it through the first 75% of 2020, but are unlikely to share the same story. We have spent a lot of time making sure that educators know how to engage students in synchronous sessions; that they’re able to master the tools of online learning; and they know how to set solid boundaries when communicating with learners weekly. But one topic keeps pricking at the heart: how to reach students who aren’t engaging well. We tackled this topic in the spring, but while we have made a lot of progress in day-to-day teaching during the age of COVID-19, the need for inclusion and support has only grown.

THE TROUBLE WITH HYBRID & REMOTE LEARNING In addition to the issues present with access inequality, students who need additional support in the classroom have also been disproportionately impacted by hybrid and remote learning. For many exceptional learners, a structured routine is a foundational way to ground learning. As we are all aware, structured routine was the first thing to be disrupted this year, and though the 2020-2021 school year was better planned than last spring, it is often marked by varying schedules, pivots to full online learning, and lots of home-based learning where structured support services are not available at the same level as they would be in a traditional classroom or campus. Although support services are focused on the student, when students shift to home-based learning, families are forced to play an additional role. All parents of remote learners face extra challenges this year. But there is no doubt that children who are on IEPs or 504 plans are under extra stress, and will require more support and resources to be successful.

To learn more, watch the full recording of our webinar: "Addressing the Needs of Struggling Students: Overcoming Challenges and Finding Solutions." Joining hosts Kris Murner and Dennis Yim are E. Christopher Williams, Associate Director of STEP at New York Institute of Technology, and Sam Drazin, Executive Director at Changing Perspectives.

To learn more, watch the full recording of our webinar: "Addressing the Needs of Struggling Students: Overcoming Challenges and Finding Solutions." Joining hosts Kris Murner and Dennis Yim are E. Christopher Williams, Associate Director of STEP at New York Institute of Technology, and Sam Drazin, Executive Director at Changing Perspectives. The American Consortium for Equity in Education

Let's make test prep one less stress during an uncertain time.

Learn More

edWeb Releases 2021 Professional Learning Survey Results When the Covid-19 pandemic emerged, educators had to pivot instantly to remote learning and make unprecedented changes in the delivery of instruction and support for students and families. Supporting them with current and effective professional learning has never been more important. edWeb.net has just released the results of its 2021 Professional Learning Survey. Here are a few key takeaways: edWeb members continue to rate webinars as the type of professional learning that helps the most. The most important features of professional learning are that the content is current and relevant, and that they can participate on their own time. The top reasons edWeb members participate in professional learning are to improve learning for their students, learn new ideas and practices, and to improve teaching. edWeb members continue to report that edWeb has an impact on their own students’ learning, and that the knowledge is shared and frequently has a school-wide impact on student learning.

62% of respondents said that edWeb was better than other professional learning programs for getting support during the pandemic. edWeb members report that in three areas of importance during the pandemic, edWeb has been very helpful: social-emotional issues (66%), remote learning (63%), and equity (60%). “I'm so thankful we could help during this tragic year with free online professional learning and support for educators who have been so dedicated to helping their students, and their families, through this.” — Lisa Schmucki, edWeb.net founder & CEO

edWeb.net Professional Learning Survey 2021


American Consortium for Equity in Education



By Chase Harman & LaTausha Bonner

Even with the pandemic continuing to impact our mental health, a social emotional learning platform can help the entire school population adopt a healthier, more positive mindset.

teacher and student wellbeing during this challenging period, we’ve integrated more social emotional learning (SEL) into our curriculum.

Let’s face it, we’re all a little burned out on remote learning, hybrid classroom environments, Zoom, and other pandemicrelated issues right now. As teachers, students, and parents, we’re all in the same boat as we work to balance the realities of our current situation with the need to keep students engaged, learning, and moving forward.

We like the results so far. Using the SEL curriculum from 7 Mindsets, we get to move beyond just knowing our students on an academic level and better understanding their diverse mindsets, backgrounds, and cultures. Equipped with these powerful insights, we can more effectively inject life skills and other non-academic lessons into the day-to-day learning.

Working collectively, we’ve been able to achieve this goal, albeit with some definitive signs of fatigue and burnout surfacing from time to time. To effectively promote both

For example, we recently used our SEL platform to center in on what students want to be when they grow up. Using vision boards, they



explained their goals and dreams in detail. This really opened up a whole new opportunity for us to learn about our students and what they enjoy doing. We then used that feedback to expand our lesson plans and develop engaging lessons for them. Here are some other ways our SEL curriculum supports good mental health for teachers and students during this uncertain time:

Helps give a difficult situation a positive spin As a whole, social emotional learning lends itself to being a more optimistic (versus pessimistic teaching approach. This benefits both students and teachers. For example, I (LaTausha) am always trying to think about it actively, trying to stay more positive, not let my guard slip, and not be negative about myself (or something that's going on). I strive to maintain that positivity as we go about our days, regardless of what type of educational delivery method we’re using.

Allows teachers to give themselves grace We’re all dealing with new issues that were nonexistent in the “traditional” classroom setting (e.g., taking a whole week to get a paper done that used to take one classroom session to complete), which has made patience a true virtue in our current educational environment. I (LaTausha) have been teaching for six years now, but when the pandemic hit I realized that I needed to be more mindful of time management and also more patient with myself. Our SEL curriculum has helped me in these areas and also helped me better understand—and have more patience with—our

parents and better understand their struggles and their aspirations.

Creates emotional bonds When our family dog passed away recently, I (Chase) had to leave school early. The next day in class, we spent time talking about the experience and also about the students’ own experiences with death (i.e., extended family members passing away, losing brothers or sisters, etc.). Being able to discuss these personal issues leads to stronger emotional bonds between myself and my English students, and it also helps me teach life skills. I’m open to listening and being understanding, both of which are especially important for me as a first-year teacher at our school.

Building relationships Social emotional learning gives teachers an effective way to engage and interact with students. It’s also a perfect opportunity to build new relationships with them. Our platform includes a “relationship builder” that we work through with our students in the morning, and we can implement similar SEL instruction into our daily lessons. A small adjustment to a more positive mindset not only helps the student in question, but that optimism can also radiate through the entire class. We all need more of that right now. Chase Harman is an English teacher and LaTausha Bonner is a social studies/science teacher. Both teach at Columbus Arts and Technology Academy in Ohio.

Learn more about this ridiculously amazing social emotional learning solution at 7Mindsets.com.


American Consortium for Equity in Education




SEL for Student and Teacher Success

GET YOUR FREE COPY Amazon Best Seller, 7 Mindsets To Live Your Ultimate Life, in our book we share key themes common among history’s most successful individuals. We’ve simplified those concepts to help guide parents and educators on how to empower students to succeed in school and beyond. WWW. 7MINDSETS.COM/FREE-BOOK

Schools, teachers, and students face challenges and pressures like never before. 7 Mindsets is a proven, researchbased social emotional learning solution that helps K-12 schools create a positive, productive environment where everyone thrives. Our unique program includes a comprehensive web-based curriculum, professional development, and coaching, nurturing both students and educators. With this program, schools can create a positive transformation, make meaningful connections, and a create an environment for success. W W W. 7 M I N D S E T S . C O M

Does Learning Loss Exist? The Reopening Smokescreen By George Farmer It is widely understood that reopening schools is essential. It has become a talking point for government officials. The opening of schools should solely focus on safety, given the fact that schools should have been well prepared for remote learning during the 2020-2021 school year. A prominent claim amongst proponents for opening schools is the idea that students are experiencing learning loss. The mention of learning loss, particularly during a pandemic, is displeasing to many educators as most teachers work tirelessly after hours to provide the best educational experience that rivals in-person instruction. Parents will attest that their efforts should be applauded as they assist in their child's academic growth.

Remote learning should not be measured by "learning loss." The reality is the success of remote learning for many students is deduced to resources. Students who have parents who can work from home and manage their child's learning stand a better chance to succeed. 26

There is no doubt about it remote instruction is challenging for students, teachers, and parents, but the idea of losing what one has learned is the result of an outdated study. The term "learning loss" is hollow and fails to provide a sufficient e planation or solution. Early childhood experts suggest the gaps in children's education occur before the age of five. ducational gaps have little to do with students' academic experiences or breaks from school during the summer months, but rather a symptom of equity. nsufficient access to educational experiences is the issue plaguing underserved communities. Equity is a plausible explanation why "learning loss" is generally applied to black and brown students who lack resources. The concept of learning loss stems from what is referred to as the “summer slide,” which suggests that students lose two to three months of learning during the summer months. What is not widely discussed is that the summer slide is the outgrowth of a study conducted in 1980, which revealed that more advanced students scored higher than less advanced students however, the distances between the two groups were distorted, making the gaps appear bigger or smaller.

American Consortium for Equity in Education

This distorted depiction of learning gaps enabled the scores to shrink or grow based upon the questions. Depending on the difficulty of the questions per pupil, the scores could increase or decrease, making the gaps larger. As the grades progressed, so did the learning gaps, and this concept contributed to the summer slide theory. It is staggering how an evolving industry of education not only relies on a study from more than 30 years ago, but has expanded the basis of an outdated study and applied it to remote instruction as a means to justify the reopening of schools during a pandemic. With a year into the closing of schools, the public is made to believe remote learning has resulted in students "losing" a year’s worth of learning? If this is true, then I question the notion that students "learned" the content.

Learning loss is not an effect of Covid-19; Covid-19 has exposed practices created by standardized testing. The mere mention of standardized testing is polarizing. Standardized testing has evolved since its inception in 1838. High-stakes testing became widely popular due to No Child Left Behind failures and expanding standardized testing as accountability measures for schools. The 2012 reform of No Child Left Behind created the Every Student Succeeds Act. Key features of this act granted waivers and a reduction of standardized testing. While Every Student Succeed Act improves No Child Left Behind, standardized testing still exists, continuing the pressures associated with the test. High-stakes testing pressures have shifted the landscape of education as teachers rush to keep current with pacing guides to ensure all curriculum is covered.

It is not that students lose learning; it is that students do not have the opportunity to apply what they are taught. Application breeds understanding, and understanding results in learning. We have to stop identifying students by standards that range from "does not meet expectations" to "exceeds expectations." When we only measure students by how well we perceive they will perform on a standardized test, we reduce their ability. Holding educators accountable for student growth is apropos, but is there a more modern approach that utilizes best practices? Particularly during a pandemic, high-stakes testing may not be the solution. Performance-based assessments may be the best option, especially during a pandemic. Using the pandemic to move away from standardized testing and toward performance-based assessments is worth a try. The pandemic has altered every aspect of life; therefore, it is appropriate to adjust how we assess students. Learning gaps exist, but they are not a residual of summer vacation or remote learning. The ramifications of remote learning are presently unknown and will be for a few years, but in the end, students are not losing what they learn. When we recognize the real problem, and there are plenty, then we will begin to create practical solutions to the real problem, which is not learning loss. George Farmer, Ed.D., is a passionate administrator whose recent research contributes to eliminating exclusionary education practices. He is the author of the blog FarmerandtheBell, which provides solutions to current challenges in education. Dr. Farmer's passion continues to drive him to advocate for students while developing strong pedagogical educators.





NOT ALL LEARNING IS ONLINE, BUT EVERY LEARNER SHOULD BE. By John Harrington There is a growing gap between students who have access to a fast Internet connection and those who do not. This gap is sometimes referred to as the Digital Divide. More recently, the term “homework gap” has been used. But no matter how you refer to it, for students who lack the necessary resources, the inability to get online is a barrier to their success. Like access to running water and electricity, Internet access plays a vital role in providing students a quality education. It is time for our society to address digital equity by ensuring that every learner is online. Not all learning is online, but every learner should be.

NO INTERNET ACCESS AFTER SCHOOL Funds For Learning estimates that there are 28

7.2 million family households in the United States who are not online -- millions of Americans who lack and cannot afford Internet access at home. For students, this means an inability to complete homework assignments, collaborate with their peers, review materials from their teacher, or access a Khan Academy video to help them understand a concept. They cannot check their grades, take a practice quiz, or ask a question via chat. In the best case, they can a visit the local library (inside, or, more likely, outside in the parking lot). But that is hardly an ideal learning environment.

WHAT CAN BE DONE? There is good news. The challenge facing our communities is surmountable. This is a not a

American Consortium for Equity in Education

“moon launch” situation requiring us to stretch the limits of human knowledge. No, on the contrary, we can readily address now. It turns out there is quite a bit that can be done and there are legions of individuals lining up to help. The same technologies that connect most Americans to the Internet are accessible, or nearly accessible, to many of those who do not have it already. For a broad segment of the disconnected population, the cables or wireless signals needed are relatively close by. In a study conducted by Funds For Learning in 2016, we found that there were one million Americans living in public low-income housing within a quarter mile of a school or library with Internet access. In other situations, school buses and library book mobiles loaded with Wi-Fi have been used to bring the Internet further out into the community. Cellular data plans and special “point-to-point” connections can also be used. The point is this: in almost every circumstance in which a student is offline, there exists a way to bring them back across the digital divide, and many of those options are quite affordable.

NO FEDERAL SUPPORT If the technology is there, what is stopping online education? The piece missing is a serious commitment from the federal government to address the need of off-campus Internet access for students. A lack of financial support, combined with regulations that prohibit off-campus Internet

access, is the primary barrier to closing the digital divide. There are no federal funds specifically earmarked to address this need. For years, many of us in the “EdTech” community have been calling for additional aid to help these students. But no support has been made available. Furthermore, there is a perverse wrinkle in the current federal regulations. Schools and libraries are prohibited from extending their Internet connectivity to the community around them. If a Wi-Fi signal stays on school property, that is okay. But if a student uses that Wi-Fi signal across the street, then the school risks losing federal funding.

ACTION IS NEEDED The lack of Internet access for students is a systemic problem that results in limited academic opportunities for far too many children. These impediments then fuel cycles of poverty and other social ailments. We can and should do better. It starts with understanding and communicating the need. Leaders and decision makers in Washington, DC, cannot address situations if they are not aware of them. We each have a responsibility to educate members of Congress and federal regulators to make sure they comprehend the scope of this problem, and then we need to hold them accountable to help our communities. By prioritizing federal funding and cutting through unnecessary red tape, we can help connect all students to the Internet.

John Harrington is the CEO of Funds For Learning, a nationwide consulting firm committed to helping schools and libraries connect students to the Internet. Learn more about Funds For Learning.




Funding Sources to Address the Digital Divide By Beth Holland

Although tremendous gains have been made over the last several months to increase students’ access to high-speed internet and quality devices to support remote learning, a fall report from Common Sense, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and Southern Education Foundation found that more than 12 million students remain disconnected. Of that number, approximately 60% of students, particularly those from Black and Latino households, reported that they could not afford sufficient internet access. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, two funding sources are about to become available to address this challenge.

E-Rate and the Emergency Connectivity Fund Established by the American Rescue Plan, the Emergency Connectivity Fund adds $7.1 billion to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Universal Service Fund’s Schools and Libraries Program — also known as E-Rate. Established in 1996, and based on a funding formula associated with the socioeconomics of the community, E-Rate helps to offset between 20-90% of the costs related to internet and telecommunications infrastructure for schools,


districts, and public libraries. In the past, this funding could only be used within the confines of a school or library and not to support off-campus access. However, this new expansion of E-Rate will allow schools and libraries to leverage this funding for students to access the Internet and devices both inside and outside of school. To apply for E-Rate funding, schools, districts, and libraries work through an application process that verifies whether the equipment that they want to purchase can be covered as well as to determine the amount of money that they may be eligible to receive. In the past, substantial policy language limited how E-Rate funding could be applied. Recently, over 54 education organizations signed a petition to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to allow for greater flexibility with applying for and spending money associated with the Emergency Connectivity Fund. In addition, both the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) and the Schools, Health, & Libraries Broadband Coalition have published recommendations to the FCC advocating for an easier process as well as additional leeway in terms of how the money may be spent. Although individual educators and librarians cannot directly request E-Rate funding, they

American Consortium for Equity in Education

can take immediate action to help ensure that their students may benefit. Because of the complexity of the E-Rate filing process, many smaller schools and districts might not have applied for funding in the past. However, local education agencies, regional technology consortiums, and some states can apply as a collective entity both to gain greater bargaining power to reduce costs and to facilitate the application process. Given the increase in available funding to address home access, this may be an opportune time to organize and advocate for this type of collaboration.

Cities created an Emergency Broadband Benefit guide for consumers, and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance has a web page of resources including a webinar. Educators could leverage these resources as starting points and then create custom materials specific to their communities. Over the next several months, the federal government plans to make one of the largest financial investments in history to address the “Digital Divide.” Schools, districts, and individual educators play a critical role in making sure that it can reach those students who most need it.

Increasing Internet Access through the Emergency Broadband Benefit In addition to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, the new American Rescue Plan also included approximately $3.2 billion in subsidies through the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. This new plan discounts broadband services for qualifying households by offering subsidies directly to internet service providers. Beginning on May 12, households that participate in programs such as Lifeline or SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance), free and reduced-price meals at school, the Pell grant, or unemployment can receive discounts of up to $50 per month ($75 per month on Tribal Lands) as well as a one-time, $100 discount on a computer.

Beth Holland is a Partner at The Learning Accelerator, leading work in research and measurement as well as digital equity. Beth holds an Ed.D. in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education from Johns Hopkins University, an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard University, as well as a B.S. in Communications from Northwestern University.

Since this process requires households to sign up for this benefit online (a process that may be challenging due to lack of internet access, language barriers, or literacy level) educators and schools help families understand what may be possible and create resources to help them get enrolled. The FCC has a list of providers, organized by state, that will be offering subsidized services. Next Century



Have you moved beyond one size fits all solutions and quick fixes?

The National Center for Innovative Transformation in Education (NCITE) offers a dramatic leap forward in place-sensitive systemic transformation that advances outcomes for all. NCITE is an action-oriented national network of schools, districts, communities and other educational entities with the primary goal of building local capacity to solve personalized educational problems of practice and to share those solutions across the network and beyond. NCITE’s mission is to build sustainable educational models that: • Empower collaboration and innovation across schools, districts, and states. • Build internal capacity to utilize and share effective processes, protocols and models. • Measure evidence and impact to determine ongoing improvement. • Engage partners to accelerate progress, transform practices and systems in response to need. • Establish and expand partnerships, networks, and services to students

NCITE is driven by a fierce belief that education is critical to a vibrant, sustainable future and must include deliberate focus on equity, access, opportunity, outcomes, evidence, impact, strengths versus deficits, advocacy, and talent. In short, we believe that everyone is simultaneously a LEARNER, a LEADER and a MAKER.

NCITE was founded by the award-winning Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, with more than 50 years of experience and evidence in school and staff transformation. Learn more about KVEC.


NCITE Empowers a Systemic, Responsive Change in School Culture. Where everyone is a LEADER, LEARNER and MAKER.



Opportunities for networking with teams across multiple states/agencies to learn and grow together.





Educators within the schools engage in continuous professional learning and apply that learning to increase student achievement.



NCITE (KVEC) staff work with school teams through virtual sessions and on-site visits.





Designed around identified problems of practice and implementation of theories of action culminating in a capstone presentation.


The acronym NCITE is used to identify ourselves not just because it is quicker to say in conversation but also because it is pronounced exactly the same as two words whose definitions serve to clarify our “Why.”


In-sight (noun): the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding. In-cite (verb): to encourage or “stir up” with a purpose.



NAVIGATING TRAUMA IN A POST-COVID WORLD How SEL Can Help Students Cope By Jill McVey, PhD, research scientist, ACT

WHAT IS TRAUMA? Given the disruptions that we have all experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are becoming more aware of the effect that trauma can have on school, work, and home life. Any experience that causes intense physical or psychological stress reactions can be considered trauma. Traumatic events can be isolated, like the loss of a loved one, or things that happen over time, such as bullying or poverty. It’s important to note that while there are certain events that most of us would find to be traumatic, ultimately, it’s the person’s perceptions of the event that matter. Additionally, it is also possible for a person to experience what’s known as secondary trauma – a reaction from witnessing a traumatic event or learning about it happening to someone else.

TRAUMA-INFORMED PRACTICES As we grapple as a society with systemic racism, the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing political unrest, we need to have a way to help our students cope with these events and any other hardships they may be experiencing. Trauma-informed practices in schools provide a framework for understanding and responding to different types of trauma. Despite the perception that trauma is rare, it is estimated that at least half to two-thirds of children have experienced trauma in their lives. 34

Past (or present) trauma can affect students by making it more likely for their fight or flight response to be activated, since experiencing trauma has an effect on the brain. This means that students may often be in a heightened state of watchfulness (“on alert”) without realizing it. In addition to reacting to things that others may not notice, students who are constantly on alert may struggle to focus on schoolwork. Trauma has been associated with difficulties in emotional regulation; difficulty forming or maintaining social relationships; and difficulties in school. Fortunately, you do not need to know the details about a student’s trauma – or even if they have experienced it – in order to provide a foundation to help them cope. Understanding how trauma can affect students and having strategies to provide a safe and positive environment are important pieces of trauma-informed practices. As part of Mosaic™ by ACT® SEL professional development program, Powerful Educator, we focus on three main tenets of trauma-informed practice: safety, relationships, and coping skills.

American Consortium for Equity in Education

SAFETY A safe environment is one in which students can depend upon consistency, which includes a predictable schedule along with adults on whom the student can rely. A feeling of safety at school is important for all students, but additional supports may be needed for students who have experienced trauma, such as advanced warnings about transitions or changes to routines. A focus on positive student behaviors, instead of negative ones, can also help foster a sense of safety.

RELATIONSHIPS Relationships are likewise critical to building a safe environment and helping students who have experienced trauma. Positive and supportive teacher-student relationships are important in myriad student outcomes. To name a few, strong teacher-student relationships are associated with increased student engagement, inclusion, and belonging, as well as increased attendance and achievement. For the student with trauma, strong relationships can help them feel secure and be less likely to be “on alert,” freeing up space for them to focus on learning.

COPING SKILLS Finally, helping students develop coping skills for managing thoughts and emotions can help lay the groundwork for developing healthy behaviors in response to stress. In addition to teaching students healthy coping strategies (which can be as simple as pausing and taking a deep breath, like this song from the TV series “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” introduces), model these behaviors in the classroom. For example, naming feelings and appropriately dealing with them: “I’m feeling really frustrated that I can’t get my computer to connect to the projector! I’m going to take a deep breath, and I’ll try again a little later.”

TRAUMA-INFORMED PRACTICES CAN HELP The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tumultuous time for all of us, and as a result, many of us are considering the role of trauma for the first time. Creating a safe environment, building positive relationships, and equipping students with skills needed to navigate uncomfortable emotions will go a long way toward a healthy learning environment for all students, regardless of their personal experiences with trauma.


For additional resources & information about trauma-informed practices, please visit our website or register to view a recording of our webinar. 35

While We’re Tackling the Broadband Gap, Here’s Another Key Inequity to Fix By Carol DeFuria

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on K-12 instruction, and there is evidence to suggest it has set learning back by several months for some students. One key takeaway from the events over the last year is the inequities that exist for students from low-income families. As we continue to accumulate data on the so-called “COVID slide,” and the learning losses that some students have experienced while schools have remained closed during the pandemic, it becomes more evident that lower-income students are among those affected most profoundly. For instance, a study on the extent of pandemic-induced learning loss in 18 California districts last spring found that low-income fourth- and eighth-grade students declined 7 percent in the usual rate of learning, while their wealthier peers showed a 5-percent increase in growth—amounting to a 12-percent overall learning gap. A big reason for this disparity is the “broadband gap” caused by the lack of high-speed internet service in many low-income households. According to a 2018 Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, about a third (35 percent) of households with children ages 6 to 17 and an annual income below $30,000 lacked a high-speed internet 36

connection at home, compared with just 6 percent of such households earning $75,000 or more a year. As learning shifted online during the pandemic, this disparity meant that students in low-income households had a harder time logging on to learn remotely. With all the attention the broadband gap has garnered during the pandemic, several communities have taken steps to remedy the

American Consortium for Equity in Education

situation so that students can learn remotely while COVID-19 remains a threat. For example, many school systems and public libraries have distributed mobile hotspots to families in need. Although these efforts are helping, there is still a lot of work to be done. A report from Common Sense Media estimates that programs to close the digital divide have reduced the number of students without home broadband access by up to 40 percent since last March—still less than half of what is needed. What’s more, many of these efforts are only temporary fixes and will leave students again underserved when they expire. Relief could be on the way soon from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has long advocated for letting schools use federal E-rate discounts to subsidize home broadband service for students. The agency could amend the program’s rules to allow for this shift—which would go a long way toward solving the broadband gap once and for all.

ANOTHER KEY INEQUITY TO SOLVE: THE CURRICULUM GAP While the broadband gap is naturally getting a lot of attention during the pandemic, there is another key inequity that K-12 leaders should address while they’re mindful of the need to provide equitable learning opportunities for all students: Students from high-poverty neighborhoods often lack access to Advanced Placement (AP) courses, computer science curriculum, and other courses that can set them up for success like their peers in more affluent schools. Low-poverty high schools, in which one-fourth or less of the student population are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, are nearly twice as likely to offer a computer science course as high-poverty schools (those with at least

75-percent eligibility in the National School Lunch Program), 62 percent vs. 33 percent, according to Code.org. Computer science isn’t the only subject where this disparity exists. Students in high-poverty high schools have less access overall to courses that can prepare them for college, according to a 2018 report from the Government Accountability Office . For instance, 85 percent of low-poverty high schools but only half of high-poverty high schools offer access to calculus. More than 80 percent of low-poverty schools offer at least one AP course, compared to 60 percent of high-poverty schools. Roughly 70 percent of low-poverty schools, but only 30 percent of high-poverty schools, offer at least 10 different AP courses to students. Clearly, students from low-income families are less likely to have opportunities to take courses that challenge them and can lead to high-paying careers. This is because it can often be hard for high-poverty schools to attract or afford teachers with the expertise needed to develop and teach these specialty courses. Fortunately, there is a turnkey solution to this problem—and it’s a lot easier than trying to supply home broadband access to every U.S. family: Schools can contract with an e-learning provider to instantly extend the reach of their curriculum by offering courses to students online that they can’t provide themselves. For students to have a rich and rewarding online learning experience, the choice of provider matters. Unfortunately, not all courses delivered by online service providers are of high quality. When evaluating a solution, school leaders should look for a provider that delivers highly engaging instruction, in which students interact frequently with each other and their teacher, not just with a piece of software. Leaders should also choose a company that ensures high quality with a low student-to-teacher ratio and compliance with industry-recognized standards, and—above all—one that provides



collaborative and comprehensive service and support for schools, while putting students at the center of the learning experience. The global pandemic has raised awareness of the many inequities that exist in students’ learning opportunities. As K-12 leaders look to address these disparities in their own communities, they should keep in mind the curriculum gap that exists for many students in high-poverty schools. The good news is, this gap is relatively easy to fix—and a high-quality online learning provider can help.


Carol DeFuria is the President and CEO of VHS Learning (formerly The Virtual High School), a nonprofit provider of full-time and supplemental online instruction for students in grades 6-12.

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Connect Real-World Phenomena with 3–D Learning Twig Science Next Gen is a complete Pre-K–8 program designed for the NGSS. It gives teachers flexible ways of delivering standards-based instruction through engaging, phenomenabased storylines that students will remember forever. AWARD-WINNING, THEATER-QUALITY VIDEOS AND INTERACTIVES Students gather evidence, witness phenomena, and experience science and engineering careers via standards-aligned videos and interactives.

3,000 VIDEO LESSONS FOR HYBRID AND REMOTE Twig Coach Videos On-demand, bite-sized, studio-quality lesson videos presented by experienced teachers to encourage participation and engagement.

Virtual Hands-On Video Labs Support teaching handson science experiments as students take part at home.





Captivating real-world experiences in dozens of STEM roles—from park rangers and earthquake engineers to deep-space explorers and time-traveling tour guides.

Hand-on kits, theaterquality video, and realistic digital interactives based on authentic data let students explore real-world phenomena.

Tiered language learner supports plus more Spanish resources than any other program for dual-immersion and bilingual instruction.

Twig Science promotes equitable, inclusive, and accessible learning, inclusive of all students regardless of race, gender, (dis)ability, language ability, socioeconomic background, or national origin.

Start your adventure at twigscience.com




As a particularly challenging school year comes to a close, we thank all the educators, leaders and community advocates for the work they do each day to bring opportunity to students throughout the country. In this section, we also want to recognize a few of the women behind the scenes, in the private sector — women who had a vision to make learning more equitable and worked hard to make that vision a reality. Browse through the following pages, read about these leaders, and connect with them to collaborate and learn from each other. We know there are MANY others worthy of this recognition. If you have someone in mind for a future Female Leadership section, shoot Maia an email at maia@ace-ed.org. This will not be the last time we do this.


American Consortium for Equity in Education

DEB ADAIR Quality Matters (QM) "Research indicates poor preparation and inadequate course design strategies can deprive students of equitable access to optimal digital-based learning experiences. The pandemic reinforced this and served as an important reminder to the education community that intentional design strategies — ones that promote equity and access — create more inclusive learning experiences for our students." Dr. Deb Adair is the CEO of Quality Matters (QM), a widely adopted global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. She has been instrumental in building the organization on a foundation of strong female leadership. Today, women hold three of QM’s four senior leadership positions and seven of ten unit director positions.

Dr. Adair’s efforts around educational equity have not gone unnoticed. She has received several awards and commendations, including a citation from the Maryland Senate for her work as Director of the Calvert County Literacy Council "which has enriched the entire community, especially those with English as a second language.”


LinkedIn: quality-matters-program | Twitter & Facebook: @qmprogram

JESSICA ADAMSON Aperture Education "By providing strengths-focused social, emotional and assessments Aperture is changing the way educators view vulnerable students from a lens of ‘having deficits to fix’ to focusing on how to capitalize on their strengths. This shift in mindset is critical to achieving equity in education.” Jessica Adamson is CEO of Aperture Education, publisher of the DESSA SEL assessment system, EdSERT SEL for teachers and the Aperture Student Portal. Jessica has worked in the K12 industry for 15+ years and is passionate about helping educators build resiliency in children by providing tools to support effective social and emotional learning.

Jessica has advanced equity in education by leading Aperture’s growth in expanding the use of its strength-based SEL assessment, the DESSA. Outside of the company, Jessica also supports equity through her advocacy work as a trustee of the South Carolina School Improvement Council, and as chair of the School Improvement Council for a Title 1 school. 78% of Aperture’s staff is female.


LinkedIn: @JessicaAdamson | Twitter & Facebook: @ApertureEdu ACE-ED.ORG


MARIA ARMSTRONG ALAS “Female leaders and leaders of color are going to run into many “isms” on their journey, sexism, racism, classism, and more. They will face challenges. But leadership matters -- and it makes a difference when students can see themselves represented in the leaders who serve in their schools and communities, and in the business world." Dr. Maria Armstrong, Executive Director of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS), was a teacher, principal, counselor, director of ELLs, assistant superintendent, superintendent, and an educational consultant for the Puerto Rico Department of Education. She has spent her career advocating for Latino students, Latino-serving education leaders and their communities.

Dr. Armstrong believes in providing opportunities and support for educators of all backgrounds, races and economic circumstances so they can bring their unique perspectives to drive change at their schools and communities. At ALAS she has launched multiple programs to provide professional development and networking opportunities for Latino educators and administrators.


LinkedIn: @drmariaarmstrong | Twitter & Facebook: @alasedu

CATHERINE CAHN Twig Education “Regardless of whether a student selects a STEM career, this entire generation of students must be scientifically literate, because the future of our planet depends on them and the decisions they make. We will only achieve global science literacy when access to STEM education is truly equitable, and Twig Education is honored to be part of this mission.” Catherine co-founded Twig Education and has played an integral part in its development into an international STEM education brand. Catherine studied law at the University of California, Berkeley, and has drawn on her experience in finance and law to lead the business to success across the US with Twig Science, a comprehensive Pre-K–8 science curriculum based on the Next Generation Science Standards .

Under Catherine’s leadership, Twig Education has developed science resources that are used in 60+ countries and in 19 different languages. In the U.S., the Twig Science curricula was specifically developed to give all learners access to high-quality STEM opportunities. The content is reflective of all students, with imagery representing all genders, races, and disabilities.


Website: https://twigeducation.com | Twitter & Facebook: @twigeducation 42

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Know What They Know and Give Them What They Need i-Ready Assessment, get a clear picture of every student’s performance and an individualized pathway to growth.


KELLI CAMPBELL Discovery Education "Diversity at all levels fosters innovation and informed decision-making that is reflective of today’s students. At Discovery Education, I promote perseverance, empathy, open-mindedness, and communication across the organization. Equity is something that happens consciously, not by accident, so we must be intentional in our support of equity by making space at the table for all." As President, Kelli Campbell oversees Discovery Education’s worldwide book of business and partner lifecycle, the recently acquired Mystery Science business, and global market expansion. As a career EdTech executive, she has spearheaded partnerships with Ministries of Education and K12 districts, led product innovation, and championed equitable access through digital.

Kelli Campbell has long played a role in improving equity for students worldwide. Among the architects of Discovery Education’s groundbreaking partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of Education, Campbell has supported the Ministry’s efforts to ensure all Egyptian teachers and students have access to the professional learning and digital resources they need to accelerate their academic achievement.


LinkedIn: @DiscoveryEd | Twitter & Facebook: @DiscoveryEd

CAROL DEFURIA VHS Learning “Student engagement begins with access to excellence. Qualified, supportive teachers nurture and inspire students; they meet them where they are and show them what they can be. Using innovative online experiences and technology, all students regardless of geographic location and economic circumstance can have equal access to the teachers and experiences that can change their lives.” Carol is the President and CEO of VHS Learning. She has over 20 years of experience in online education management and systems development. Prior to becoming President in 2015 she served as the hief perating fficer and was responsible for overall management of operations at VHS Learning, including school services, finance and accounting, technology services and

support, and human resources. She has designed and delivered online courses and has been with VHS Learning since its inception. Carol holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Bentley University and an MBA from Clark University. She is also a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI) and a licensed MA educator.


LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/carol-defuria-18929214 44

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Engage Learners Anytime, Anywhere Discover how i-Ready provides personalized instruction that is rigorous, inclusive, and motivating for all students, no matter where learning takes place.


JANET GODWIN ACT "At ACT, we believe in the power of education; that it can open doors and expand possibilities. And, we are in this fight for the long haul, to ensure that all students—especially those who are facing barriers in access and opportunity, those who are struggling to secure even basic needs, those who are in fear for their safety and identity—are provided the tools, resources, and supports to be successful and whole." Janet Godwin, CEO, started at ACT in 1990. She spent her first years in test development and research before moving on to roles in information technology and operations. She served as chief operating officer from 2014 until she was appointed Interim CEO, before being named CEO in November 2020. As CEO, Janet has prioritized redoubling the

efforts of ACT’s past 60 years, recognizing the realities of the present and launching into a bright future where ACT is intentional, deliberate, and committed to education equity. The worldwide pandemic has been a reckoning for the education ecosystem, exacerbating cruel and systemic inequities for so many students. But with that reckoning has come a reawakening—of passion, of responsibility, of compassion.


ACT: @ACT | ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning: @ACTEquity

NARINE HALL InSpace "We take the technology out of the way and let educators do their best work. Our main purpose is to have education work better in a virtual setting. We want students to experience a feeling of belonging to a school, to a classroom, and to a group, but still have the ability to connect personally in one-on-one conversations." Narine is a data-driven entrepreneur, dedicated to harnessing the power of data and technology to serve the greater good. Her career has evolved at the intersection where the tech industry meets academia. A veteran of Wolfram Research, IBM Watson, a recipient of a Google Faculty Award and NSF grants, Narine believes deeply in the democratization of technology and AI.

InSpace creates a dynamic environment that mimics real movement, which is incredibly helpful for students who rely on social cues to understand the world around them. The platform also provides an immersive experience that more closely resembles a real classroom which supports students who thrive with interaction and empowers students to learn in ways that work for them.


LinkedIn: @inspace-proximity | Twitter: @InSpaceEdu | Facebook: InSpaceChat 46

American Consortium for Equity in Education

LANA ISRAEL Muzology “Music transcends gender, race, socioeconomic status and connects with ALL of us. Muzology was formed to bring relatable, engaging, high-quality education to ALL learners using the universal language of music.”

Dr. Lana Israel, Muzology’s Founder and CEO, is a globally recognized learning and memory expert who received her Doctorate in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Harvard. Since completing her doctoral studies, Dr. Israel has gained over two decades of experience in the music industry, having worked with some of today’s biggest artists.

While working in the music industry (and as a former memory researcher) it occurred to her that music is one of the most powerful learning mediums that exists. Drawing on her experience and conviction that ALL students are capable of achieving academically, Dr. Israel assembled a team of hit songwriters and learning experts to create Muzology, a music-based learning platform that uses high-quality instructional music videos to get ALL students algebra-ready!


LinkedIn: @lanaisrael | Twitter & Facebook: @muzologyedu

LUPITA KNITTEL 7 Mindsets “To promote equity in education, it is crucial that educators can meet the needs of students beyond their academic goals, which requires being attuned to students’ diverse backgrounds and unique experiences. When educators build this important cultural competence and become advocates and supporters for students and their communities, schools take one step closer to equity in education.” Lupita Knittel has served as the president of 7 Mindsets since 2017. Previusly, she spent 17+ years serving in pioneering leadership roles in the K-12 education marketplace, more recently with PlanetHS and Promethean. She has also led strategic initiatives for Apple and Electronic Data Systems. Lupita began as a teacher in her native Mexico, where she also founded and operated her own marketing research company.

In her role as President of 7 Mindsets, Lupita leads by example, adopting and applying the 7 Mindsets principles of Equity and Social Emotional Learning into her own life and sharing them with her team and with educators and students everywhere. She believes that equity starts with each of us, and it will take the talents and diversity of all of us to make this world the wonderful place it can be for all.


LinkedIn: @7-Mindsets | Twitter & Facebook: @7Mindsets 48

American Consortium for Equity in Education

VLADA LOTKINA ClassTag and ClassTag Connect "As a multilingual parent myself, I understood how difficult it can be to not only receive school messages but access them in the appropriate language. I wanted to enable all families to engage with their children's school administrators and teachers in an easy and accessible way - and that's exactly what we've built with ClassTag and ClassTag Connect." Vlada Lotkina is the CEO and co-founder of family engagement platforms for ClassTag and ClassTag Connect. She’s also a former Fortune 100 Executive, Wharton MBA graduate and mom of a fifth grader. One of the driving forces behind the creation of ClassTag and ClassTag Connect was to provide a

more equitable solution for reaching families. ClassTag makes communication accessible, with automatic conversion to SMS, email, voice, spp, web, social media and paper based on parent preferences, including automatic translation into 100+ languages. District and school leaders can feel confident that their messages are delivered and received in the best way possible.


LinkedIn: @vlada-lotkina | Twitter & Facebook: @ClassTag

SANDHYA PADALA REX ACADEMY "I believe that Computer Science is an opportunity for any child to open more doors as they progress through school and beyond. With this premise, I founded Rex Academy to ensure that all students have equal access to high-quality computer science curriculum regardless of the zip code they live in."

Sandhya Padala is an Indian immigrant who grew up in a 300 square foot home with five other people. She holds a master's degree in computer science. Sandhya led a team of 200+ engineers with a 500M budget to automate Harley Davidson's business process. In that role, she found herself

unable to find enough programmers to fill her open positions and realized that this challenge needed to be addressed on a larger scale. She founded Rex Academy to provide her son with a high-quality Computer Science curriculum as well as increase access to Computer Science for girls and students in typically underserved communities.


LinkedIn: @sandhyapadala | Website: https://rex.academy ACE-ED.ORG


ANTONIA RUDENSTINE reDesign “The pandemic has given everyone an unprecedented peek into American schooling and the inequities that families, educators, and young people navigate every day as they engage in learning. While the pandemic greatly increased barriers to learning, they have always been part of the system. Now they are visible in ways that are hard to ignore, which creates a powerful opportunity to reimagine the entire enterprise in more inclusive, humane, responsive and just ways.” Antonia Rudenstine is co-founder and creative director of reDesign, a social impact organization that supports learner-centered communities. Antonia is a former high school teacher whose experience also includes co-founding a NYC high school, designing a fellowship for school designers, and consulting with educators at all levels of the system.

As a second-year teacher, in 1991, Antonia collaborated with her students to “rewrite” US History to include their voices. This began her passion for developing curriculum that is inclusive, open-source, and adaptable in design and focus. She now creates designs that lead to transformational learning communities, specifically those serving marginalized youth.


LinkedIn: @antonia-rudenstine | Twitter: @AMRudenstine | Facebook: @ReDesignU

LISA SCHMUCKI edWeb.net "I've been so fortunate to be at the forefront of breaking down gender barriers in the course of my education and career. I was one of the first women to attend Princeton University. Much later in life, I took the risk to become an entrepreneur and found edWeb.net to provide online professional learning. The support and opportunities I've received along the way have far outweighed any obstacles." Lisa Schmucki is the founder and CEO of edWeb.net, a professional learning network that serves a global community of 1 million educators. An education, publishing, and media industry veteran with 40 years of experience in product development, professional learning, marketing, and entrepreneurship, Lisa is a graduate of Princeton University and has a Masters Degree from the Stern School of Business at NYU.

edWeb.net works with partners and sponsors to host professional learning on topics of equity and inclusion. Over 30% of presentations have been made by educators of color so far this year. They host the weekly AASA Leading for Equity Webinar Series, which provides K-12 school leaders insights and best practices on equity issues and strategies to address systemic disparities and inequities in order to benefit all students.


LinkedIn: @lisaschmucki | Twitter & Facebook: @edwebnet 50

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Rosen LevelUp is an adaptive reading platform that brings educators and students to one robust resource to foster students’ foundational literacy development. Supporting small group, whole class, and individualized practice, Rosen LevelUp provides a personalized experience to promote and track the successful acquisition of key reading skills.

LEVELUP INCLUDES: • Access to more than 2,400 PreK-3 high-interest digital books

• 250+ printable activities and writing practice sheets

• An interactive scope and sequence phonics program

• All books readily available in online, projectable, mobile, and printable formats

• 700+ Spanish and bilingual titles

• Assessments, progress monitoring, and reporting

• Optional highlighted text read aloud with every book

• Parent support

We are excited to be a 2021 CODiE Awards finalist in the Best Foundational ELA Instructional Solution category! “Rosen’s LevelUp is a smooth, reader-friendly eBook platform…coupled with a broad set of instructional tools for teachers and utilities for classroom management and data reporting.” —School Library Journal “Rosen LevelUp is the perfect solution for districts struggling with meeting literacy goals by the end of third grade. Rosen LevelUp is the next generation of adaptive reading platforms.” —Liz Philippi, School Program Coordinator, Texas State Library “Our school’s Title I Program has incorporated Rosen LevelUp into their curriculum with great success.” —Justin Fye, Principal of Philipsburg Elementary School, PA

Request a 30-Day Free Trial! Call 800-237-9932 or Visit Us at: levelupreader.com

JUDY SEXTON Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech “One of our roles as listening and spoken language experts is to teach children about their hearing loss and cultivate a positive sense of self. We partner with caregivers to chart a course that includes language acquisition, self-confidence, self-advocacy and so much more to help children reach their full potential.”

Judy Sexton, MS, CED LSLS Cert AVEd, brings 40 years of education experience to lead programs and services supporting more than 1,000 children who are deaf or hard of hearing and learning to listen and talk at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech. Under Judy’s leadership, Clarke’s specially trained teachers of the deaf, audiologists and

speech-language pathologists help all children develop listening, literacy and spoken language skills to maximize their learning. This includes tailored support, teleservices, a curriculum that promotes holistic growth, and early intervention services. With this approach, many children who come to Clarke are ready to attend mainstream schools as early as kindergarten alongside their peers with typical hearing.


FB, Twitter & IG: @clarkeschools | LinkedIn: @clarkeschoolsforhearingandspeech

LAURA SLOVER CenterPoint Education Solutions "As an education leader, I work to ensure all students have access to an excellent education so they are prepared to pursue their wildest dreams and fulfill their vast potential. As a woman leader, I am committed to helping women and girls of all ages dream big and have the confidence to reach their goals." Laura Slover, CEO of CenterPoint Education Solutions, began her career as a high school English teacher, then spent 16 years at Achieve supporting the development of the Common Core State Standards. In 2010 she helped launch and lead the Partnership for Assessment of College and Careers (PARCC). In 2016, Laura launched CenterPoint Education Solutions to help schools and districts close achievement gaps and increase

the rates at which students graduate from high school prepared for their next steps. In four years, CenterPoint has reached 180K educators and 2.5M students across 22 states. They have directly served a student population that is 26% white, 39% Hispanic, 28% black, 65% FRL, 20% IEP, and 12% EL.


LinkedIn: @lauraslover | Twitter: @lauramslover 52

American Consortium for Equity in Education

KATE EBERLE WALKER PresenceLearning “In building our teletherapy platform, we have always stayed true to the idea that technology cannot replace the human connections that educators make with students; but it can ensure that those important connections still happen, even when they can’t be in-person." Kate Eberle Walker is the CEO of PresenceLearning, the leading provider of live, online special education-related services for K-12 schools. She has 20-plus years of experience leading education companies, and is the author of the new book, The Good Boss: Nine Ways Every Manager Can Support Women at Work. As the CEO of PresenceLearning, Kate Eberle Walker is dedicated to supporting women in the

workforce, including especially those who serve students. She currently oversees a national network of more than 1,600 speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and school psychologists who deliver services through the company’s proprietary teletherapy platform. The network is made up of 97% women and has grown substantially in the past year, despite the fact that 5.4 million women left the workforce in America due to pandemic-related pressures.


LinkedIn & Twitter: @eberlewalker | Instagram: @ceoauthormom

NANCY WEINSTEIN Mindprint Learning "You can't argue with the data. Tell me what you think but show me the data so we can be sure your students are getting everything they need."

Nancy Weinstein is the CEO of MindPrint Learning. Prior to founding MindPrint, Nancy worked in industry at Bristol-Myers Squibb, The Walt Disney Company and Goldman Sachs. She has a BSE in Bioengineering from University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Harvard. She is co-author of The Empowered Student and speaks nationally on using science of learning best practices to improve student outcomes.

Nancy is committed to helping all students improve in school, regardless of their zip code, race or gender. Nancy helps educators see their students' strengths and how they learn best to break-down implicit biases and ensure that all students are seen for who they truly are and not for who we might think they are. Nancy is a national speaker on the science of learning and co-author of the book The Empowered Student.


LinkedIn: @mindprint-learning-llc | Twitter: @MindPrintLearn ACE-ED.ORG


SUSAN WINSLOW Macmillan Learning “We’ve doubled down on our focus on student engagement and success, which at its heart is a focus on making learning more inclusive, accessible and relevant. We know that diversity, equity and inclusion need to be woven into the very DNA of the company in order for us to achieve our goals, so we've made it one of our company’s strategic objectives to help keep us focused on what's important.” Susan Winslow is President of Macmillan Learning. She has more than 30 years experience working in educational publishing across all areas of the business and has long been a champion of digital learning. Susan feels that the products make the greatest impact when they are inclusive and representa-

tive. Last year, Macmillan Learning put in place an editorial strategy to provide guidance for authors, and in the digital tools they develop, that reflects their strategic goal to be a more diverse, equitable and inclusive company. Susan has also made a point to retain top women scientific talent to author course materials, and these are among the company’s bestsellers.


LinkedIn: @susan-winslow-she-her-hers | Twitter: @MacmillanLearn

JESSIE WOOLLEY-WILSON DreamBox Learning “To unlock learning potential for all students – regardless of gender, race, or zip code – we must provide a high-quality math learning education. Specifically, we should provide educational tools and resources for students that meet them where they are, while also touting the role models who look like them.”

Jessie Woolley-Wilson is President and CEO of DreamBox Learning®. Prior to joining DreamBox, she held executive positions at leading EdTech companies, including Blackboard, LeapFrog, and Kaplan. She has supported the broader education community by serving on several boards and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the University of Virginia.

Jessie is driven by a singular belief that all children deserve high-quality learning opportunities, regardless of who they are or where they live. For more than 20 years, Jessie has worked in the education technology space to support school and district leaders in improving learning and life outcomes for K-12 students.


LinkedIn: Jessie Woolley-Wilson | Twitter: @JessieWW 54

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Blended Learning Platform

Bridge the distance learning gap with MimioConnect, our online blended learning platform. Perfect for Classroom, Remote, and Hybrid Teaching Engage students, enrich lessons, and enhance the learning process in and outside of the classroom. A complete learning solution that augments instruction supporting teachers and building student confidence.

Learn More

Tight Integration with Google Classroom and Microsoft Teachers Can Use and Enhance Existing Lessons and Materials Save Time with a Library of K12 Premade Lessons Video Conferencing & Private Messaging to Address Learning Styles Grades Automatically Post into Your LMS Our Boxlight-EOS Team is here to support you with a rich portfolio of classroom training, professional development, and educator certification services.










Minding the Gaps: Classroom Assessments and the Opportunity to Learn

Selecting the right assessments

Understanding the data.

Training Racial Bias Out of Teachers (Who Ever Said That We Could?)

Will Ineffective Implicit Bias In-Service Programs Create a Bias Toward Schools’ Inaction? By Howie Knoff This past year, a series of somewhat unrelated events merged to create an indelible “call to action” that will hopefully improve the equity and excellence of our schools for generations to come. The first set of events involved the pandemic, the closing of school buildings, the move to virtual instruction and education, and a continuing, inconsistent pattern of virtual, hybrid, or on-site instruction this current school year as schools tried to balance the physical health of students and educators with their academic and social-emotional health. The second set of events involved the -year history of prejudice, inequity, and suppression of Blacks in America that dates back to when slaves first arrived in our country. ut this history crystallized this past year with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, ayshard roo s and additional blac citizens during 2020) at the hands of police officers. These atrocities redoubled the efforts of the Black Lives Matter social movement that was founded in in response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. 58

The Merging of These Events Is Evident • Black (and Hispanic) Americans have disproportionately died (or become ill) from resulting in financial, social, emotional, and other disruptions to the school-aged children in these homes. • Black (Hispanic, Native American, poor, and rural) students have disproportionately less access to computers, high quality computers, and internet connections and bandwidth such that their ability to engage in virtual instruction has been impaired. • Black (Hispanic, Native American, poor, and rural) students have disproportionately higher rates of virtual, hybrid, and on-site attendance problems since the pandemic began. • Many educators covered less academic (or no new academic) material during virtual instruction last year and into the early part of this year, and Black (Hispanic and poor) students are still taught more often by new, ine perienced, and ever-changing teachers.

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Overall, Black (Hispanic, Native American, rural, and poor) students have been hit disproportionately harder by the Pandemic than other student groups. They have experienced additional disparities such as more food insecurity, and the lack of access and availability of critical social, health, and community services.

The Pandemic Reinforces the History of Educational Inequity and Disparity Relative to the social, economic, and educational inequities and disparities noted above, most educators understand the student-specific academic and health, mental health, and wellness effects of this pandemic—particularly among students of color, living in poverty, with disabilities, English-language learners, and students who are homeless. These educators also know that most of these the social, economic, and educational inequities and disparities have existed for generations, and that they were not magically transformed or resolved by the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision on May 17, 1954. For our part, we have discussed these and related topics many times over the past year (see Knoff, 2020a, 2020b, 2020c, 2019), extending the discussion to the inequities in educational funding for schools that teach predominantly students of color, and how this funding may triangulate to decrease these students’ achievement while increasing the disproportionate discipline referrals and school suspensions that they experience.

But Now Let’s Add Some Wrinkles At a systems level, the additional funding that districts need due to the Pandemic is sparking serious national and state legislative discussions

as to whether now is the time to fully address (a) the inequitable funding of schools that teach predominantly students of color, and (b) the full funding for students with disabilities across our country. Indeed, attention to the former has integrated into the educational funds built into the American Rescue Act, and President Biden is on-record as supporting the “full funding” of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At the staff level, rekindled attention on implicit racial bias has initiated a wave of district- and school-level implicit bias discussions and trainings to address this significant problem. However, relative to implicit bias training, there are a number of issues and concerns.

Can Implicit Bias be “Trained” Out of Educators? Education Week (Sparks, 2020) published an article questioning whether teachers can be “trained” out of their implicit biases. Among the many important points, the article stated: Several large-scale analyses of research on implicit-bias training suggest it more often changes short-term knowledge about the vocabulary of diversity than long-term changes in behavior. Several specific common strategies—such as thinking positive thoughts about stereotyped groups, meditating or making decisions more “slowly” to avoid stereotypes, or simply being aware of the possibility of implicit biases while making decisions—have all so far failed to show benefits that last even a day or two. In some cases, diversity and anti-bias training can paradoxically lead to more stereotyping, if participants come to think of biases as common and uncontrollable, and can lead white participants to feel threatened without yielding benefits for participants of color. Rather, evidence suggests staff training can be helpful,



but only as part of a comprehensive strategy that includes identifying specific problems and strategies to address structures that perpetuate bias in a school system. Given this information, it appears that the answer to our first question above is: “No, we really cannot train educators — through a professional development program — out of their implicit racial biases.” A significant concern relative to this first question and answer, however, is that some educational leaders across the country do not know this research, and they are requiring their staff’s participation in “one-shot” implicit bias in-service sessions with the hope that these will alleviate any problems they have in this area.

A second concern here is that some educators (and others) may misinterpret the statement that “implicit bias training is not successful with teachers in schools,” and conclude (as in the quote above) that teachers’ implicit bias—when it is present—cannot be changed.

This, Then, May Create Either a Bias Toward Inaction or a Resistance to Action The bias toward inaction will occur when educators view implicit bias as intractable and ask, “Why bother planning and allocating the time, effort, training, discussion, and resources to something that cannot be changed?”

This, in fact, includes some state departments of education—that are thinking about requiring implicit bias training for all educators across their respective states, as well as a number of school districts that are also considering this training for their students.

The resistance to action will occur when educators plan a well-designed, systemic implicit bias change effort only to have colleagues view it as pointless, asking, “Why commit to and engage in any training, discussion, or initiative that attempts to change something that cannot be changed?”

[Parenthetically, there are all too many consultants available to provide these in-service sessions, and to up-sell the district to more expensive “programs” that are unresearched and untested, and that run the risk of creating new or exacerbating old issues and problems.]

Given this, the research cited in the Education Week article must not be allowed to result either in a bias toward inaction or a resistance to action. To prevent that, it is essential to describe the elements of an implicit bias initiative that have the highest probability of success.


American Consortium for Equity in Education

How Do We Decrease or Eliminate Implicit Racial Bias in Schools? Critically, no one ever said implicit bias could be decreased or eliminated in schools through an in-service program or a “pre-packaged” approach. In fact, as implicit bias is historical and systemic in nature, it is not surprising that short-term approaches or initiatives to address it have not been terribly successful. In the final analysis, systemic problems need consistent, coordinated, and sustained systemic and community-wide solutions. To this end, the above-referenced Education Week article noted that research suggests stand-alone anti-bias training may not change long-term behavior. For leaders working to make their schools more equitable, studies suggest some alternatives to common pitfalls. Among the alternatives suggested in the article were the following: • Integrate training in a comprehensive diversity plan that involves teachers and other adults at school in reviewing policy, practices, and structures that can promote bias—not just a stand-alone professional development session. • Set specific goals based on the needs of your school and any problems you have identified to be addressed. • Acknowledge that conversations about bias will be uncomfortable and give participants tools to manage their emotions while accepting feedback. • Emphasize a few clear strategies for managing bias with examples of what anti-biased awareness and behavior would look like in practice for different groups within the school (e.g., math teachers, guidance counselors, discipline officers). • Connect training evaluations back to the

school’s larger diversity goals, such as increasing the proportion of students of color referred to advanced courses or shrinking discipline gaps. These recommendations emphasize the importance of integrating an implicit bias initiative into a district’s strategic plan and school improvement policies, procedures, practices, and other processes. They also recognize that the systemic change process must not be rushed relative to the progressive involvement of students, staff, administration, families, and community partners. Beyond this, we think it is important to take a science-to-practice perspective on what different educators may need (through an implicit bias initiative) to change any biases that are present and active. The point here is that there are a number of possible “root causes” underlying implicit bias, and a “one size fits all” methodology that attempts to simultaneously address all of these causes is as unlikely to work as a one-shot in-service session.

Some Reasons Educators May Demonstrate Implicit Bias Thoughts and Actions Gaps in Knowledge and Information Some educators (and students) demonstrate bias because they do not have (a) the social, interactional, or factual information, knowledge, and understanding regarding past and present Black history and culture; (b) the background knowledge and information about the social and individual psychology of personal attitudes and beliefs; or (c) the problem-solving knowledge and information regarding ways to analyze and understand events or situations involving different cultures and races. Issues Related to Personal Beliefs or Attributions Some educators (and students) demonstrate



bias because they have faulty attitudes, expectations, beliefs, and/or attributions about Black (and other minority—or other) individuals that range from being inaccurate, unfair, or unfeeling to those that are biased or prejudicial. When they are unaware of these beliefs or attributions (or their implications), they could be considered implicit. When they are aware of them, the bias or prejudice would be considered “motivated” (see below).

There is no “middle road” here. Educators who are consciously biased or prejudiced need immediate feedback (or, in persistent cases, sanctions) and remediation. At an extreme level, such educators need to be terminated, and the documentation of the situation needs to be retained in their personnel files. . . and shared with other potential employers as appropriate.

While determining their origin is necessary in many cases, the more essential task is to make the educator consciously and explicitly aware of their faulty beliefs or attributions, and then to change them.

Some educators (and students) have inconsistent or selective beliefs or attributions, and/or prosocial skills and responses to the degree that their interactions with Black (or other minority background) students (or adults) are similarly inconsistent and situational. While the source of the inconsistency might be evaluated, these educators need to be made aware of their inconsistencies, as well as the expectation that continued inconsistency is not acceptable.

Individual Skills and Responses Some educators (and students) have the knowledge and information, as well as the “right” beliefs or attributions. . . but they demonstrate bias nonetheless because they do not have the prosocial skills or responses to interact effectively with Black (or other minority background) students (or even adults). Sometimes this occurs because these educators have not been taught the needed interpersonal, social problem-solving, conflict prevention or resolution, or emotional control, communication, or coping skills. At other times, the skill gap exists because the educator is having difficulty applying specific skills to specific situations. Motivation and Accountability Some educators (and students) have the knowledge and information, the right beliefs or attributions, and the prosocial skills and responses. . . but they choose not to demonstrate them with Black (or other minority background) students (or even adults). As noted earlier, this situation involves explicit, planned, and conscious bias or prejudice. This situation is even worse when others around the educator do not hold him or her accountable for the inappropriate — if not shocking and shameful — behavior. 62


Once again, over the course of a comprehensive implicit bias initiative—in a school or across a district—ongoing, layered, and multi-dimensional presentation, training, discussion, implementation, coaching, mentoring, supervision, and evaluation activities need to be planned and provided that cover the different root causes above in an effective way. But simultaneously, there needs to be a clear and consistent message (and action) that such biases will not be accepted, and that frequent, ongoing, or significant incidents will not be tolerated and will be directly addressed.

Summary A recent Education Week article summarized several large-scale research analyses that concluded that implicit bias training in schools (a) “more often changes short-term knowledge about the vocabulary of diversity than long-term changes in behavior”; that (b) such

American Consortium for Equity in Education

such trainings fail “to show benefits that last even a day or two”; and (c) “(i)n some cases, diversity and anti-bias training can paradoxically lead to more stereotyping, if participants come to think of biases as common and uncontrollable, and can lead white participants to feel threatened without yielding benefits for participants of color.” These results should discourage educational leaders from offering “one-shot” implicit bias in-service sessions with the hope that they will alleviate any potential or actual staff issues in this area. But these results should not be interpreted to mean that “implicit bias training cannot be successful with educators in schools,” or that educators’ implicit bias — when it is present — cannot be changed. To accomplish this, however, requires a systemic and community-wide initiative that (a) is part of a comprehensive diversity plan involving changes in policies, practices, and structures; and (b) is integrated into a district’s strategic planning and continuous school improvement activities and processes.

The issues related to racial inequity—in education and elsewhere in our society—need to be addressed from “top-down” and “bottom-up” organizational and personnel perspectives. The top-down requires the involvement of federal, state, and district-level leaders. The bottom-up requires the involvement of students, staff, administrators, families, and community partners. This is not easy work. But this is work we must no longer avoid. Howie Knoff, PhD, NCSP, is an international consultant, speaker, and author specializing in school improvement and strategic planning, social-emotional learning and social skills training, multi-tiered systems of support, and interventions with behaviorally challenging students. He is a practitioner who has also been a university professor (22 years), and State Department of Education federal grant director (13 years). The author of 24 books and 100+ articles/book chapters, he was the 21st President of the National Association of School Psychologists. His Project ACHIEVE website is www.projectachieve.info, and he can be reached at knoffprojectachieve@earthlink.net.




All students deserve access to the best learning materials, and to the expectations that they are capable of critical thinking, of achieving great things with their lives, and of solving important problems not just for themselves and their families, but for their communities and society in general. That's what izzit.org © believes, and why we provide our materials, at NO COST, to educators of all types, from certified classroom teachers to at-home educators (and how many more of those are there in this time of COVID?) and those who lead small groups of students, like scouting troops or neighborhood after-school centers. Looking at our society, it's clear that we need today's students to become tomorrow's problem-solvers. And that means they need to learn to dig deeper. To ask the right questions. It's also clear we need more respectful discussion and debate, the ability to listen to those who don't think exactly the way we do and explore alternative ideas. Because as much as it doesn't feel like it sometimes these days, we are all in this together. Let us help you provide your students with what they need for future success.



Vast Library of Educational Videos with full Teacher's Guides

Yes. It's really free! No hidden registration fees, no shenanigans! We know it sounds too good to be true, but it's real. The only thing we ask in return from educators is feedback on how our materials worked with their students. That way, we can improve our materials and what we offer.


One free DVD (we even pay shipping!) every school year for U.S. educators Unlimited streaming and downloading of almost all our videos Online, auto-graded quizzes Teachable Moment - short, right-to-the-point videos Supplemental worksheets and other learning activities Current Events lessons – Two each school day with vocabulary words & higher-order discussion questions designed to promote critical thinking and respectful discussion & debate Supplemental worksheets and other learning activities Online, interactive one-week courses The U.S. Constitution & Black History First Amendment Substitute Lesson Plans – learning doesn't have to stop because you're not there! And so much more!

IZZIT EASY TO USE? It is! And we have all sorts of ways to help you: Customer Service team based in Erie, PA can answer your questions, 8 am – 6 pm, M-F. 888-242-0563. Not sure what to use with your students? We can help! Prefer to email us? Email Ask@izzit.org. How-To videos on the site to show you how our products work. Standards Alignment tool to help you document what standards you're covering by using our materials!

IZZIT NEW? Like you, we're always growing and adding more to our offerings. We're piloting a Civics course in five school districts as well as a Financial Literacy course with students just outside Atlanta. We're excited about the future. Visit izzit.org, register for your free account today, and start using our materials to help your students dig deeper!



Chicago Public Schools Take a New Look at Media Literacy as They Focus on Student Preparation for Civic Life By Erin McNeill

Large school districts are taking another look at their role in preparing students for civic life in the 21st century, and thinking about how revised media literacy policies might play a role. Let’s consider the Chicago Public Schools new strategic plan, “Ready for Civic Life,” which connects the dots as educators place equity in a central position when discussing civic engagement. Three years ago, after Illinois passed a civics requirement for high school, Chicago made youth civic engagement a priority. Now, a planning group led by Heather Van Benthuysen, director, Social Science and Civic Engagement, has launched phase II. Throughout, there’s an acknowledgement of how power is exercised and how students can recognize it and take back their own power: “When living in a culture of continuous and accelerated change, critical perspectives that examine power and address inequity must be practiced daily so that they become inherent. Through this, youth will not only be able to read the world, they will be able to shape it.” In phase II the planners highlight the connections between media literacy, civic engagement, and equity, both in school and when young people head out into the world. This plan embodies the concept that media messages are shaping us as individuals and as


a society, and that understanding this concept is so important to recognizing the need to use a critical eye on our sources of information and how we employ them. The plan names seven “powerful practices” for civic life, among them, media literacy. “These practices shape the way we work together in every classroom, every school, and across the district because we know they will lead to increased academic outcomes, engaged youth, and valued and invested school communities,” the plan states. To develop a districtwide media literacy strategy, the planners convened stakeholders such as educators, district administrators, and other experts to create a vision for CPS high school graduates who are media savvy and equipped to use media to acquire information and to use media tools that allow them to engage. At the top of their recommendations for the district is to develop a policy to require teaching media literacy skills across grade levels every year. The planning group also recommends the district identify standards, develop lessons, and provide teacher training. I asked Ms. Van Benthuysen about this emphasis on policy. She said, "Media is pervasive – and it shapes our values, our policies, our biases, our culture. If we are to

American Consortium for Equity in Education

have an informed, engaged citizenry we must prepare youth to not only navigate, but be powerful in our media-dominant, disinformation-rich world. Therefore we need policies that require critical media literacy instruction at every grade level, across content areas, through social, political, environment, and economic contexts. This can't be done in a unit of study, it must be embedded within core instruction." Every school district that believes in equity and sees civic participation as part of the answer to addressing power systems and changing our world, may want to consider media literacy policies that ensure students have the tools and skills they need now, and when they graduate. Schools can start with the Chicago Public Schools strategic plan as a model.

Erin McNeill is a journalist, a parent, and founder of Media Literacy Now, a national education policy initiative that is leading systemic change in states across the country to ensure that all K-12 schools are teaching a comprehensive set of media literacy and digital citizenship skills that students need for health, well-being, economic participation, and citizenship.



8 Ways to Implement SEL Now At the core of every person, is a desire to connect be connected, and to feel like they matter. Building the skills to connect and empathize with others is something that needs to be taught — it is not inherent. Otherwise known as social and emotional learning (SEL), the importance of teaching these SEL skills is beginning to pop up everywhere. While some may consider SEL a trend, its impacts are based on research and its lasting effects are clear.


Now is the time to implement a social and emotional curriculum that works — one that will resonate with both students and teachers. Here are eight steps to setting up an SEL curriculum for success:

Classroom Champions’ Mentorship+ Program pairs worldclass athletes with classrooms for an entire school year of virtual mentoring:



INFORM. Ground your team in research. Learn more about the need for and efficacy of social and emotional learning to strategize about how it addresses your school’s mission.

COMMUNICATE. Invite families into the conversation by providing them with turnkey SEL resources to rely on at home. Provide just-in-time advice and guidance , parent to parent.

Visit Classroom Champions’ website to learn more about What is SEL? And Why SEL Matters:





CULTIVATE. Nurture a culture of growth by recognizing that a new curriculum requires a learning curve. Integrate time into your existing staff meetings to reflect, connect, and collaborate on the importance of SEL. Classroom Champions provides ongoing professional growth opportunities and customizable PD for educators to come together to talk about best practices: www.classroomchampions.org/webinars

EMBED. Weave SEL into your weekly schedule so that the learning becomes habits of mind. Build a base of understanding to best reflect your school’s mission and values.

Sign up for a free 30-day trial to explore the first of eight media-rich, thematic units, Goal Setting: teach.classroomchampions.org CONNECT. Foster powerful relationships with role models who can highlight positive behaviors and form lasting friendships with students and teachers.

“Empathy fuels connection” – Brene Brown



ENGAGE. Leverage technology and the power of media by inviting in others’ voices to share their learnings in school and in life. Use this multimedia whether teaching in person or remotely.


Share Classroom Champions’ SEL Comes Home video series with caregivers so that they can underscore the same learning objectives at home: teach.classroomchampions.org/sel-comes-home

GATHER FEEDBACK. Consider how you will gauge impact and efficacy to best understand how your students continue to grow. Align programmatic goals with your school’s vision. Check out CC’s Impact Report, assembled by a research team dedicated to improving the lives of kids: www.classroomchampions.org/impact

CHERISH THE LITTLE THINGS. Celebrate the small wins by setting and reflecting on short- and long-term goals.

Classroom Champions offers 30-minute weekly lesson plans which are easily extendable and integrate seamlessly into existing core curricular areas:

Classroom Champions and the athlete mentors consider themselves teaching partners in this effort to bring SEL to all!


Please reach out to us to learn more: Kate@ClassroomChampions.org

Elana Meyers Taylor Classroom Champions Mentor and 2x Olympic Silver Medalist visiting her mentees at Glenn L. Downs School in Phoenix, AZ.

Every student

deserves a champion. Imagine a school where kids are learning from world-class athletes, engage with teachers, and treat others with respect. Classroom Champions’ SEL programs have been proven to improve attendance and academic performance while lowering disciplinary referrals and bullying. Individual teachers, schools, and districts can sign on for a comprehensive K-8 Social and Emotional Learning Foundations Curriculum and virtual Mentorship+ Program. Classroom Champions has created a framework for social and emotional learning that embeds students in a world where they build growth mindsets, have positive classroom culture, and develop emotional literacy.




Get started today by contacting kate@classroomchampions.org or visit classroomchampions.org to learn more! Celebr ati 10 yea ng rs!

Finding the Right College for a Student Who Is Deaf or Hard of Hearing Contemporary Considerations for an Exciting Next Step

By Claire Troiano Applying to colleges can be a stressful, busy time for students—and a pandemic hasn’t made it any simpler. This year, the process has changed considerably to accommodate health precautions. Campus tours, in-person interviews, college fairs and visits from college representatives are on permanent hiatus. But with a little extra planning, students heading to college can still get all the information they need to make an informed decision. We spoke with Max, a Clarke Philadelphia alum and current high school senior about what he learned during his recent college search experience. He also shared his advice for other students who are deaf or hard of hearing 70

planning their own transitions to higher education.

Different Formats, Similar Results Max’s junior year was marked by a challenging academic load and the cancellation of most of his spring track season. As a student athlete, running track and cross country, he’d gotten an early start on his college selection process in order to target schools with programs that would match his goals. Max was able to visit two colleges before most

American Consortium for Equity in Education

schools closed to in-person visits. For the other schools, his visits consisted of a mix of virtual tours and Zoom-based question and answer sessions.

accessibility, that I could get proper accommodations, and the website had a good explanation of what they offer [and] how they do it.”

Despite the change in format, both Max and his dad, Danny, feel they gained a good sense of all the colleges. “The virtual visits were actually a good way to learn more about the schools,” says Max. He felt that colleges with virtual tours were better able to individualize the information they shared in a way that wasn’t possible during in-person group tours.

The good news: Max says he hasn’t had any significant issues securing the accommodations he’ll need in future classes. He also notes that his in-person and virtual visits didn’t present any hearing-related challenges.

Max wasn’t able to attend some of the traditional in-person events schools have for student athletes, but he was able to reach out directly to coaches who put him in touch with other athletes in his sport. Talking with them gave him a feel for potential future teammates and their routines. Danny agrees. “Being there in person does give you a good sense of what the campus and atmosphere are like, but with the pandemic-related changes, we still had a chance to speak one-on-one with people and get to learn more about the nuts and bolts of things,” he says.

“The best advice I can give is to find each school’s office of accessibility, know where it is, exactly what services they o er and what you have to do to get those services,” says Danny. “It’s extremely beneficial to have that information.” Danny also notes that while 504s and Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) don’t apply in college, some schools will use them as an accommodations guide, and some won’t. “You have to have your ducks lined up and be willing to advocate for what the student needs,” he says. “Max’s ability to do that, and why he started this process so early, all goes back to Clarke and the way they instilled those self-advocacy skills in him.”

Assessing Priorities, Making Requests As a student with hearing loss evaluating potential colleges, Max had to weigh all the usual factors in addition to assessing how well each school could accommodate his listening needs—not an easy task virtually. Max first narrowed down his list of schools by those that felt like a good fit for his academic and athletic goals as well as being able to accommodate his hearing loss. “I had to ask myself: Do I want to go to a big school with a lecture hall of 300 students, or one with smaller classes of 10-15 students?” Max shares. “And I made sure they had a good office of

Things to Consider When Planning the College Search If Possible, Schedule a Distanced Walkthrough Danny suggests checking out the physical layout of specific lecture halls and classrooms at a given school to get a sense of the acoustics, if possible. “You’d want to identify what the rooms look like and what accommodations [the student] might need. Then contact the office of accessibility and say we did a walk-through, and we’d need X. How can we get those



accommodations set up?” he says. “You want to have a plan in place before your child steps into the classroom. Meet with the professor before the first class, meet with the dean or other administrators if your child is focused on a specific school within the college.”

Recognize the Pros and Cons of School Size Danny emphasizes that they never ran into difficulty securing accommodations, but some schools have a more complicated process to put them in place. “If you do get a negative vibe to your request, that’s a school I’d reconsider or at least move down the priority list,” he adds. 72

Start Early Danny also says that even after COVID-19 closures and restrictions have lifted, starting the college search as early as possible is always a benefit. “It protects you from being blindsided by anything that may happen,” he said. “Max put a lot of effort into this that we didn’t have to prod him to do. If you’re a student who waits longer to narrow things down, you give yourself a short timeline and that can be stressful for the student and the parent. You may end up making a choice that isn’t great for you.” Keep in mind that in these extraordinary times,

American Consortium for Equity in Education

we are all learning as we go—even college admissions departments! As a parent or educator, encourage students to be nimble, proactive and willing to ask for help. This is a profound step in a student’s educational journey; approach it with pride and excitement.

Types of Accommodations For students with hearing loss entering college, there are a variety of accommodations that can improve their access. What works best will depend on the individual student’s needs, their preferences and each specific listening environment. Those accommodations can take many forms, but some of the most common are: • Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT): includes remote microphone technology (RMT) systems like DM, FM, infrared and sound elds. HAT systems provide improved access to sound to help students with hearing loss minimize listening fatigue. • CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) Reporting: a stenographer, in-person or remotely, captions spoken words in the classroom in real time. • Note-takers: A designated classmate or notetaking professional provides a written record of notes on class material. • Captioning: All videos and online educational media should have captions. • Preferential seating: For in-person learning, this provides students with better visual access to the speaker to aid in speechreading. • Tutoring: Many schools have an academic learning center, which provides free tutoring for students with disabilities.

• Extended time for testing: Students with hearing loss often require additional time to process spoken or written instructions and can benefit from extra time during tests. • Interpreters: helpful for students who use ASL, cued speech or speechreading to access information. Don’t forget life outside the classroom: A student with hearing loss who will be living in a dorm should ask about safety devices for emergency events such as fire alarms. Devices like bed shakers can be connected to the dorm’s alarm system. Similar devices are available to alert students to someone knocking on the door. For specific information about available options, check with each college’s office of accessibility and/or assistive technology department.

Claire Troiano, MED, OTC, is the director of Mainstream Services and the K-8 Program at Clarke Northampton. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, Claire began her career at Clarke in 1974. She went on to receive her Master’s in Deaf Education from the Smith College/Clarke program. As a Nationally Certified Oral Transliterator, Claire created a nationally recognized training program and has trained oral transliterators across the country. In addition to leading Clarke’s Mainstream Services and K-8 Program teams, Claire oversees the development of educational publications including the Hear Me Out Blog and the quarterly newsletter, Mainstream News.



Reducing Excellence Gaps: The Gadsden Elementary School District Early College Program

By Melanie S. Meyer San Luis, Arizona is only a mile from the Mexican border wall. Between 85 and 97 percent of the students in San Luis who attend one of the eight schools in the Gadsden Elementary School District No. 32 (GESD) qualify for free or reduced-price meal programs. Despite the economic challenges, this community is also home to some very talented young mathematicians. Homero Chávez, the Early College Program Director, explained how he started merging the goals of equity and excellence over 20 years ago. He said, “Back then, we wanted to make sure we had a program that prepared our kids for STEM-related degrees, but we didn't have anything for that.” Chávez and his colleague, Jesus Arrizon, a former metallurgical engineer and advanced math teacher, chose to focus on developing students’ math skills for entry into science, technology, engineering, and math fields, and on preparing students for the American College Test (ACT) to increase their access to high-level education opportunities. The GESD Early College program began with free math tutoring on the weekends but over time has evolved into 76

a coordinated system mathematical talent.



eginning in fifth grade, universally screens students’ Arizona state math test scores. Using building-level local norms, the Early ollege rogram team identifies the highest performing students on each elementary campus. In after-school tutoring, math instructors at Southwest Junior High School and an uis iddle chool prepare fifth and sixth-grade students by frontloading the foundational math skills they will need for advanced coursework. In seventh and eighth grade, these students are grouped together for an accelerated math course, an ACT preparation course, and a college-level math course taught on their campuses by three GESD teachers who are also adjunct professors at Arizona Western College. eginning in the fifth grade, these students all take the ACT, a test typically given to college-bound high school students. This above-level testing allows students to qualify for academic summer residential programs through the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY).

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Year after year, GESD consistently has a large number of students qualify and earn scholarships to participate in CTY summer STEM programs on college campuses across the country. The GESD system for math talent development provides elementary and middle school students with access to advanced learning opportunities in their community and beyond. Chávez emphasized, “We never shut the door. The door to this program is open for anyone who wants to try.” The Early College Program is increasing levels of advanced performance in mathematics for students in GESD through early identification, universal screening, local norms, ability grouping, and frontloading, several key facets of the research-based model for reducing excellence gaps (Plucker et al., 2017). Equally important, though, is the fact that Chávez and his team actively encourage participation in these advanced learning opportunities by partnering with families and by removing traditional barriers to talent development, such as transportation and program costs (Plucker & Peters, 2016). By bringing these advanced math learning opportunities to GESD students locally, Chávez says, “we’re not just telling them they can do it, but we’re also showing them they can do it.” Mr. Chávez lights up when he talks about his former students, many of whom have graduated with STEM degrees from highly competitive universities across the United States. He stays in contact with his students and features their academic and professional accomplishments on the program website. Chávez believes that the investment in excellence and equity has benefited the community as a whole and notes that, “a lot of kids who went through the system are coming back to work in and around our community.”

Chávez and Arrizon are both former GESD students, and Raul Rojas, another GESD alumnus who graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with degrees in mathematics and linguistics, has returned to Southwest Junior High School as a math teacher in the Early College Program. Chávez summarized the program goals by saying, “We want to make a difference. We want to give our kids these opportunities to excel in math and science and break the cycle of poverty. We want our students to rid themselves of any preconceived, stereotypical, and societal notions that reinforce the belief that they cannot become scientists, doctors, or engineers because of race, gender, or socioeconomic inequalities. We want our students to understand that there are no limitations on their power to dream big.” Chávez and his team of advanced math teachers have discovered a way to do just that and the GESD Early College Program is reducing excellence gaps in mathematics and preparing students for postsecondary college and career success. Melanie S. Meyer is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of North Texas. She has been a teacher in gifted and advanced academic classrooms for over 20 years. Her research focuses on adolescent identity development, school-based talent development, and policy issues that impact the college, career, and military choice process for talented students.




At-Home Learning Program Changes Lives for Native and Rural Families Author: Kim Fischer

The COVID-19 Learning Slide The COVID-19 pandemic has brought education inequities to the forefront and it’s an issue we can’t waste time in addressing. Many families do not have the resources needed to adequately prepare their young children for the coming school year which could have dire consequences for these young learners. Experts, like Dr. David Lawrence of The Children’s Movement, believe that this issue may affect children’s academic performance over the long term.

could look more like a ‘COVID cliff,’ ” says Dr.

Lawrence. “We shouldn’t let that happen.” And, unfortunately, as the pandemic progresses, children may not enter or return to school for much longer than six months. Many schools transitioned to online learning in the fall and remained that way while others resumed in-class teaching, only to return to remote learning as local cases rose.

“...a ‘COVID slide’ in which children could miss out on formal school for up to six months

While school-aged children may receive virtual support from their teachers, preschool students are being

impacted before their formal education even begins as in-person options are forced to close their doors. Early education is a critical period in a student’s academic journey, and largescale disruptions may have long-lasting repercussions. Without the right support during those crucial early years, children will start school at a serious disadvantage. And those who were already at risk of academic gaps are also those who may be most impacted by the COVID slide.

Educational Inequity in Rural Communities The issue is particularly dire in rural areas, where early learning resources are already limited. Mother and healthcare worker Cornelia Yellowman knows this struggle only too well. Living in a small Navajo Nation town near Southern Utah, the YellowmanWilliams family are grateful to have the outdoors right in their backyard. As Cornelia prepared her daughter Kenzie to start school, she wanted to secure a bright future for her. “She told me that she would like to be a doctor,” Cornelia said, “so I have that huge hope for her.” “I hope to see [Kenzie] have a good life,”

agreed Kenzie’s father, James Williams.


“You know, you always want your children to succeed in life.”

While their rural backdrop provides unlimited beauty, its remoteness presents certain access barriers. Without Internet and digital resources in their home, Kenzie could not access the same learning resources as her peers, and Cornelia herself had to finish her online college courses from her work’s parking lot, the only place she could access Wi-Fi. Cornelia’s family is one of many in the Navajo Nation unable to access educational resources from home. Between school closures and limited digital access, these families are left even more behind during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, schools in rural areas often function on limited budgets that may be strained even further this year, leaving little room to serve children who have not yet entered school as they struggle to support existing students. Despite these challenges, Cornelia prioritized Kenzie’s education, even to the point of delaying her own degree. “It matters a lot to me because it’s a struggle, especially for this generation. You have to have… some kind of educational background behind you to basically get a job.”

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Waterford’s Summer Learning Program Waterford.org is a non-profit whose mission is dedicated to ensuring educational equity and access for students. Through their kindergarten readiness program, Waterford Upstart, children learn key reading, math, and science skills the year before kindergarten to prepare children for school. The program costs participating families nothing, regardless of location and background. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and with generous philanthropic support, the organization provided an accelerated version of Waterford Upstart to families of incoming elementary students through their 2020 Summer Learning Path.

Additionally, qualifying participants received Internet access and all technology needed to complete the program from the comfort and safety of their home regardless of where they live. In total, over 13,000 families participated in the Summer Learning Path.

after completing the program, many of whom had never owned let alone used a computer.

Families in nine different states and the Navajo Nation gained access to the program’s curriculum, educational resources, and program support through personal family coaches.

In the Navajo Nation, almost 200 children were given access to Waterford Upstart. Of those participants, 91% belonged to low-income families, and nearly 89% received a computer to keep

used the program are ready for kindergarten

Arizona State Representative Arlando Teller expressed his gratitude for Waterford Upstart’s support in Navajo Nation communities: “The children who and many of them, along with their families, now have a computer and access to the internet. Ahéhee’ [thank you] for the opportunity and partnerships made.”

Yellowman-Williams Family: Digital Access in the Navajo Nation After her daughter’s teacher informed her of the Waterford Upstart program during a parent orientation night, Cornelia signed up right away. Kenzie is now learning crucial skills that will help her begin kindergarten in the fall, ready to learn. It’s also empowering Cornelia and James with the tools they need to create a strong home learning environment.

Plus, Cornelia no longer has to finish her college assignments from her work parking lot. Now, she can work on them at home and spend more time with Kenzie.

for their children through Waterford Upstart. In a community where digital and educational inequity is rampant, this opportunity could be life-changing.

The Yellowman-Williams family was one of many Navajo Nation homes who built a strong educational foundation

“It’s like a dream come true getting this software for my Kylie,” says Cornelia. “And also not just for her— for the family.”

Cornelia said of her daughter’s progress, “I just hope she can store everything, every educational thing in her brain, just so that it will help her understand what type of world she’s going to be ready for.”

Cornelia and Kenzie’s educational futures were revolutionized by Waterford Upstart’s access to Wi-Fi and technology. Cornelia understood digital literacy is an essential part of today’s education, so she knew this experience would help Kenzie reach her academic potential. “It will broaden her horizon, it will open her up to a lot of opportunities [like] experience with laptops,” says Cornelia, “but especially, she will take this learning to school.”




Making STEM a Tool of Equity

Through Private-Public Education Partnerships

By Marla Wilson, Executive Director of the STEM Careers Coalition

COVID-19 starkly illuminates the inequities that are prevalent in society, including in education. While school districts and communities did their best to adapt in this new educational environment, it is clear we need to continue to expand our collective efforts to maintain continuity of learning for all students as a point of equity and inclusion. A focus of the diversity, equity, and inclusion discussion should be the integration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) into 80

education for all. We have a collective responsibility to empower students “to see the STEM in them” by providing resources, as well as the infrastructure and support to contextualize STEM exploration. As companies move to measure their success by their impact on global communities, placing education at the forefront of their plans is not something that is nice to do, it’s an imperative. Partnerships in education help historically and systemically disadvantaged communities gain

American Consortium for Equity in Education

and discover experiences that will fuel future success. As an example, in 2019, Discovery Education launched the STEM Careers Coalition in partnership with some of the world’s biggest brands and organizations. The goal has always been to harness the power of the collective to elevate diversity in STEM. That goal is more important now than ever, with change clearly needed to address the inequities in education head on.

The STEM Careers Coalition Has Three Clear Goals: 1. To empower educators to increase STEM literacy in the classroom, 2. To foster and promote equity and access to quality STEM education, and 3. To build the next generation of solution seekers with intentional focus on racial and gender equity. Industry leaders – such as Chevron, Boeing, Microsoft, Caterpillar Foundation, AES Corporation, Arconic Foundation, Stanley Black & Decker, and The IF/THEN Initiative, supported by Lyda Hill Philanthropies – demonstrate the power of investing in education to help ensure that ip codes do not define students destinies. Each member of the Coalition believes that all students should have the opportunities and resources to reach their fullest potential as they explore the wide world of STEM careers and come to understand how T fits into their futures.

designed by curriculum experts to be integrated into educator’s lesson plans with ease wherever learning is taking place. Additionally, Coalition members partner with school districts to provide access to critical STEM learning platforms and professional development for under-resourced schools across the United States. Taken together, the private sector funds unique and essential content that helps close access and funding gaps in education. This double-pronged approach creates, and sustains, a culture of STEM education that supports success. I really do believe that STEM is the great equalizer. Through partnerships between public and private institutions and deep-seated commitments to racial and gender equity, we can see to it that every single student is prepared to excel in the global community.

Marla Wilson is Executive Director of the STEM Careers Coalition from Discovery Education. In this role, she unites the business community to grow the STEM pipeline by preparing 10 million students for the future of work with no-cost, standards-aligned resources.

The STEM Careers Coalition helps connect students to STEM futures through a diverse array of relevant and standards-aligned content, all available at no-cost on STEMCareersCoalition.org. The resources are ACE-ED.ORG

Learn more at STEMCareersCoalition.org 81


From MindShare Learning


Diversity-Led Inclusion Through an Equity Lens


A Culture of Wellbeing and Support for Mental Health



American Consortium for Equity in Education


VIEWPOINT FROM NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) 5 Ways to Support Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Social Studies By Stefanie Wager and Lawrence M. Paska, Ph.D.

National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has a bold vision for social studies education: “A world in which all students are educated and inspired for lifelong inquiry and informed civic action.” This vision builds upon our previous definition of inclusiveness as a strategic priority, in which “NCSS encourages, promotes and ensures inclusiveness that reflects society and strengthens civic life.” The challenge and opportunity for any education organization - from professional membership associations like ours to instructional resource providers - is to ensure that our services and supports reflect the diversity and include the perspectives of our educator workforce, students, and members of our communities. In short, how do we best represent those communities we serve? Internally, NCSS strives to “actively recruit individuals who raise the voices of all social studies professionals in an organization whose culture is inclusive and where all voices are encouraged, supported and celebrated.” This language is embedded within the fabric of our own policies and actions. It is at the heart of how we fulfill our mission and achieve our vision. Recently, our organization established a permanent standing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Social Studies Committee to fulfill our strategic priority. To us, strengthening diversity, equity, and inclusion in social studies learning and teaching includes five possible approaches. 84

1. Promote equitable, inclusive, anti-racist, and anti-bias practices, resources, and programs in the social studies. 2. Review existing resources, position statements, and publications - and recommend necessary revisions - to ensure that they reflect equitable, inclusive, anti-racist, and anti-bias positions and practices. 3. Prepare position statements and responses to current events and issues that publicize and promote a commitment to equitable, inclusive, anti-racist, and anti-bias positions and practices. 4. Create professional learning opportunities, such as webinars and conference sessions, to promote equitable, inclusive, anti-racist, and anti-bias practices in the social studies. 5. Create and help identify high quality resources for use with faculty and with students to teach topics and teach through instructional practices that promote equity and inclusion.


We adapted these approaches from our committee’s charge, and offer them to guide your own organization’s focus to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in social studies. We invite you to learn more about our organization, our continued efforts to foster inclusiveness, and related work by joining us at www.socialstudies.org.

American Consortium for Equity in Education

Accelerate writing proficiency Motivate your students to write like never before.

WriQ is a writing achievement tool that helps teachers easily produce fast, simple and consistent writing assessment, whilst providing meaningful feedback and motivation directly to students - helping to increase and improve their writing skills. Save valuable time with technologyassisted marking. WriQ allows you to quickly assess, track and analyze student writing, meaning you can spend less time marking and more time teaching! WriQ provides a standardized benchmark for writing which allows you to assess learning loss due to COVID and the summer slide. You can chart writing progress over time and compare achievement year on year, not just within a class, but through a year band or an entire school.

Find out more at: text.help/ACE-WRIQ

Opinion: In 2021, What Message Should Policymakers Be Sending About Education? By Katrina Long Robinson

Education in the Age of Automation We once lived in a world in which people were at the forefront of creation as builders, designers, and manufacturers. Now, options are vast and machines are able to complete many of these very functions. As amazing as technology is, it seems more and more likely that we could be headed towards a world without “work” as we know it, with machines becoming likely candidates to take on many of these human tasks. So, as we embrace a world of technology and automation, college advisors will need to adapt their message and advise differently to students as they pursue undergraduate studies and degrees. But what will they advise, exactly? In his book, A World Without Work: Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond, Daniel Susskind discusses what K-12 teaching 86

should mean. As I read the information in the book, I realized that he never really answered his own question. However he did spark my thinking about what message I should be sending as a policymaker, board director and advocate for education. Just one year prior to educating students during a pandemic, I was asked, “What do you think is the most critical issue facing P-20 education in the state of Florida?” My answer was the following… “When looking at the P-20 workforce initiatives, we must evaluate the effectiveness of our K-12 educational system and its alignment to the workforce. This requires a diverse team of K-12, college, university, and corporate leaders to design a vertically aligned curriculum to meet

American Consortium for Equity in Education

the skills needed to create an eclectic workforce. As educators we have so many questions to ponder. One of my many solutions would be to establish P-20 summits, where stakeholders could examine data and develop strategies to help our state meet the global educational needs along with the national requirements of the students being served currently in the educational system. Then providing unskilled laborers opportunities to train for a more digital-driven work environment, collaborating with K-12 educators to corporate leaders in order to design a targeted training program.” Now while, this statement and my thought process hasn’t changed much since, it has encouraged me to dig and think deeper as we embrace, what would be a new norm for the work environment and atmosphere… or a lack thereof.

What is the Conversation for Parents With Children 7 to 9 Years Old? “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember my parents asking me this question constantly during my elementary years. I would respond with a few of the typical answers at the time: a teacher, maybe a lawyer or… what about a famous tennis player? Just recently, I had the privilege of being a guest on Education Talk Radio with Larry Jacobs. He asked a similar but more pointed question: “Why aren’t we encouraging more students to be plumbers, forklift drivers, or electricians?” The question left me questioning myself, pondering…. in my position, why hadn’t I encouraged more students, especially girls, to consider pursuing more male dominated fields? I have since considered the value that

those conversations could have. I would encourage parents nowadays to ask their children, “When technology breaks down, would you want to be the person to fix it?”

No, Technology Will not Destroy Jobs in an Instant However, we need to begin thinking about how we can encourage our young people to be innovative risk-takers. When you think about it, technology has a gradual way of displacing people from menial tasks and activities while paving the way for innovation- creating opportunities for humans to invest their time in tackling tasks that are arguably more valuable or meaningful. Jobs that will be challenging to automate require interpersonal interaction, and while these jobs will be around for quite some time, they are often nowadays downplayed as service roles and poorly compensated. In a nutshell, while we cannot foresee what the working world will look like for today’s 8-year-old, we can conclude that machines will replace many jobs, or at least complete many of the tasks humans now perform. So, how can we change the rhetoric now to elevate opportunities like these? How can we excite our children for jobs that a machine simply can’t handle?

Should Young People Pursue Education to Compete With Machines? It is possible that we will face two distinct conflicts about the future of work: not enough work or the “skill mismatch,” the inability to complete available work due to a lack of the skill set required.



A shortage of candidates with advanced educational degrees and vocational certifications has been known as one of the main brushings in the labor market. In short, people simply are not qualified or trained to do the work that needs to be done. In some geographical areas, however, it is not a lack of qualified candidates, but of appropriate job opportunities altogether. Are policymakers and elected officials working innovatively enough to ensure blue-collar roles are as equitable as white-collar roles? Many blue-collar workers rely heavily on attainable job opportunities in their local area in order to achieve a sustainable living and lifestyle. While many school districts are exploring and extending its alignment to workforce opportunities, cities must also work to create options for all working classes.

From the Policymaker’s Point of View, What Should the Message About Education Be? Is it to get more of the same? Honestly speaking, I’m still not clear. One thing that is clear is that the future of work will look and feel different. However, we know that there will still be work. If we take a deep dive into the 21st century, and we think it is true that the problem may very well be that there aren’t enough jobs and skilled people to task them, then we must start there. For now, the main challenge is frictional technological unemployment, and we are left


with the conclusion that attaining an education is still of the utmost importance. If we take the following idea seriously, that we might be approaching a world with less work for people to do, full stop, which would pose a challenge for 21st century labor force, then there is a bigger challenge for educators and policymakers at the forefront. We must collectively go back to reestablish the purpose of education overall. Now, in large part, the focus continues to be on preparing people with the skills and capabilities they need to flourish in the working world as we know it. But in a world in which machines take over our now “human” tasks, how can we shift our focus to the soft skills that only we as humans can offer? Katrina Long Robinson is founder of KLR Consultants and the Douglas G. Robinson Pancreatic Cancer and Empowerment Foundation. Katrina currently serves as Councilwoman for the innovative City of Westlake. She is an advocate of affordable housing, education and changing the sometimes-negative perception of Elected Officials. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. Edited by Veronica Torres of Prestige Mentors for Educators and Students.

American Consortium for Equity in Education


Qi Ss u





Aa k

i Mm







Dd u


B Ei











Our Proof is Your Power Lexia has the most effective literacy programs in the world. And we have solid proof. Over 20 studies published by some of the world’s top education journals found our programs met every major efficacy standard. And most recently, Evidence for ESSA verified our programs with their highest STRONG rating. These numerous validity reports found Lexia made a difference in state by state outcomes and across multiple student populations. But most importantly, kids of all ages, in classrooms all over, are learning with Lexia. Visit lexialearning.com/proof-is-power to learn more.

More than just a safe space.

A learner’s r’s well-being w doesn’t stop at physical distancing. They desperately need developmentally, socially and emotionally safe spaces as well. Though we never counted on a pandemic, we designed our spaces to move, change, and adapt to meet every learners’ needs. Especially now. As believers and disciples of agency and equity for each and every learner, we believe now is not the time to retreat into past practices, but a time to tap our collective resources to collaborate, investigate, innovate and excel like never before. Get to know us . Tour our spaces . Join the converversation of creating engaging spaces for extraordinary futures, whatever they may hold.

nor vanivel.com

ADVERTISERS ACT/American College Application Campaign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34-35, 47 7 Mindsets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23-25 American Psychiatric Association Foundation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70-71 Benetech/Bookshare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 Boxlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 CenterPoint Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56-57 Classroom Champions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68-69 Curriculum Associates/iReady . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14-15, 43, 45 Discovery Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10-11, 80-81 Education Talk Radio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 edWeb.net . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Fielding International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2-3 Funds for Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28-29 izzit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Kaplan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20-21 Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32-33 Landmark College . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94-95 Lexia Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Mindshare Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82-83 NAEYC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 NorvaNivel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90-91 Rosen Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Texthelp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Twig . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19, 39 VS America . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74-75 Waterford Institute . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78-79

WANT TO BE LISTED ON THIS PAGE IN THE NEXT ISSUE? Contact Larry Jacobs, Publisher and Director of Sales, via email or at (978) 712-8187 to discuss advertising and partnership opportunities.

Read Your Way Ebooks for People with Reading Barriers

Join for FREE! Easy-to-read formats: audio, audio + highlighted text, braille, large font, and more. 700,000+ titles: textbooks, children’s and young adult books, bestsellers, college prep, career advancement, and more. Read on a device of your choice: smartphones, tablets, computers, assistive technology devices, and MP3 players. FREE for U.S. schools and students with dyslexia, blindness, cerebal palsy, or other qualifying reading barriers.

Sign up for Bookshare today www.bookshare.org

Follow us:



An Integrated Approach to Teaching Students Who Learn Differently While many colleges offer special programs for students with learning disabilities (LD) and other learning challenges, Landmark College is one of the only accredited colleges in the United States designed exclusively for students who learn differently, including students with learning disabilities (such as dyslexia), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For almost 40 years, our combination of research-based learning strategies and academic support has proved successful in preparing students for the rigors of college-level work. As the field of learning disabilities and differences expanded, our approach to working with students has grown more varied, but always with a constant unyielding mission to provide best practices for all.


In addition to classes, students in their first year at Landmark College participate in weekly academic advising sessions while engaged with the advising curriculum. As students progress in their coursework, they become increasingly independent and meet with their advisor less frequently. Students pursuing their bachelor’s degree work with degree specific advisors. The academic advisor is central to the system which supports individual student performance.


Landmark College offers the same range of student services found at any college—from counseling and health services to student life and athletics. The difference at Landmark College is that these professionals, like our faculty and academic advisors, bring specific expertise in, and a passion for, working with students who learn differently. Working together, we help students discover their path as confident, empowered, and independent learners. We integrate our innovative learning strategies into everything we do.


Landmark College’s Centers for Academic Support offer unparalleled support to students who learn differently, at no additional charge. The Drake Center for Academic Support is the first place students turn for help with reading, writing, and study skills. Academic support centers within individual departments offer drop-in support and one-on-one scheduled appointments with Landmark College faculty.


Counseling Services are available to provide support to students dealing with stress and other personal, social, or academic difficulties. Health Services offers support for physical issues.


Through the office of Coaching Services, Landmark College’s Professional Certified Coaches work with students who have a variety of learning profiles and struggle with executive functioning.




Whether located on our Putney, Vermont campus or at one of our programs in California and Colorado, the instructors consist of current Landmark College faculty as well as teachers from the surrounding areas who are experienced in working with students who learn differently.

Students with autism who are academically prepared for college may still face significant challenges navigating the social curriculum and adjusting to the more fluid routine of the college student. Landmark College recognizes the need to provide additional programming to assist students with autism to meet their college goals. Our integrated services model for ASD support services provides a structured living and learning environment that combines an effective pedagogical approach with tailored social and other programmatic supports. Originally founded as a two-year college, Landmark College began offering four-year degrees in 2014. We now offer an array of baccalaureate and associate degrees, with optional minors and concentrations.

Landmark College offers summer programs to assist a wide range of students with learning differences, including middle school students, high school students, graduating high school seniors, and students enrolled at colleges around the country. All of the programs are designed to enable students to identify their learning strengths and differences. Students learn specific strategies to be successful in formal academic settings and grow personally and academically in an intentional and supportive academic community.

Landmark College offers a diverse selection of courses in anthropology, English, business, communications, humanities, philosophy, psychology, history, literature, math, science, foreign languages, theater, video, music, art, physical education, and other disciplines. For all entering students, the curriculum sequence begins with skillsdevelopment courses, designed to address the key areas of writing, reading, communication and study skills. Self-management, as well as the development of self-understanding and self-advocacy, are also important parts of this firstsemester curriculum. Initial courses are offered at non-credit and credit levels. This allows students to be placed in classes where they are able to succeed, from the start. Due to our rigorous academic standards, more than 50% of incoming students begin in non-credit courses, with most moving into credit courses after one or two semesters.


Landmark College offers several Open Houses on Saturdays each semester. You can also schedule a visit with our Admissions office any week day during regular business hours by calling 802-387-6718 or emailing admissions@landmark.edu.

education talk radio podcast with Larry jacobs ace-ed.org/podcast

• Weekday mornings with Larry Jacobs • More than 3,000 shows on education • Average of 1,700 listens per day


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.