Page 1


PA I 7 4 8


TABLE OF CONTENTS AND CONTRIBUTORS Pg. 3 A Full-Spectrum Effort is needed for Urban Education to Become Truly Successful Sean Duling: A former Teach For America corps member, Sean taught high school social studies in Jackson, Mississippi before coming to the Maxwell School to pursue a Master's of Public Administration. He obtained his B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in Political Science. His passions are in education reform and social policy.

Pg. 5 Common Core: Threat and Opportunity Whitney Shepard: A ten year, NYS certified, teaching veteran with a B.A. in economics from Le Moyne College and Master of Education from the University of Maryland. Whitney has experience in curriculum writing, gifted and talented program development, and collective bargaining and contract negotiation. She is also a recipient of the 2006 National Honor Roll Outstanding American Teacher Award.

Pg. 7 On the need for local libraries to be close to schools Emily Wollaeger: Emily attended Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor's degree in American Studies. Since then, she has worked in the Cleveland, Ohio area as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with Hard Hatted Women and then as an intern for Strategic Urban Solutions, a program consulting firm for nonprofits. Emily has also worked for the Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio and is currently a contributing member of Young Cleveland Running, a young professionals group in Cleveland that focuses on encouraging young people to run for and be involved with their local government.


Pg. 8 Evergreen Volunteer Teaching Siqi Zhou: Siqi received her B.A. in urban management from Peking University half a year ago. She is interested in nonprofit management and education policy. With great enthusiasm and qualified skills, she is ready to start her career in public areas.

Pg. 10 Defining Veteran Friendly – Graduating the Post 9/11 Generation of Student Veterans Jared Lyon: A results-oriented leader with an entrepreneurial mindset and over 10 years of management experience in the private and non-profit sectors, Lyon has a B. S. in Social Science from Florida State University. He has spent the last 4-years as an advocate for student veterans across the country and was named the 2011 National Student Veteran of the Year by Student Veterans of America for his efforts on behalf of veterans in higher education.


A full-spectrum effort is needed for urban education to become truly successful By Sean Duling

If there is any one challenge that the American education system and the non-profit organizations within it have failed to meet, it is educating students living in poverty. Education’s shortcomings aside, the attention that educational inequity has attracted over the last couple decades is in and of itself an encouraging development. It has strengthened the belief that any student can learn, regardless of the challenges their lives present outside the classroom. But the heart of the issue is not whether any child can learn, but how we can ensure that this happens. The answer is simple and daunting: children living in our urban schools, often facing poverty, crime, and unstable home lives require a far more encompassing model that reaches well beyond the classroom.

It is the paradoxical truth that students who need the most support typically go with less. Charter networks like KIPP, Achievement First, and Yes Prep attempt to address this by providing their students with services that would be unavailable to them in the public schools they would otherwise attend. While it is true that these charters support their students more strongly than traditional public schools tend to, and that some charters do produce superior results, their successes still pale in comparison to the demand they face. In meeting the needs of students in poverty, the support provided by traditional public schools should be eliminated as a baseline entirely. These students deserve a new model, one that does not rashly assume that practices used in affluent districts can possibly meet the challenges facing students in urban classrooms.

An emerging organization called “Roses in Concrete” recently joined the ranks of innovative educational organizations. It provides precisely the model that charter networks and non-profits serving urban youth should be critically examining and working to adopt into their frameworks. Dr. Jeff Duncan-Andrade founded Roses in Concrete in an effort to scale up the methods he has applied throughout his own teaching and coaching career. Namely, students in tough urban districts need support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Rose in Concrete, therefore, will be a K-12 school, but one with a much more expansive mandate than the likes of today’s big-name charter networks. It will meet the full spectrum of student needs, including services in health, housing and job training, available at any hour of the day on any day of the year.

Called to summarize teaching in just one word, Dr. Duncan-Andrade replies, “relationships.” To him, the relationship between student and teacher is at the crux of a healthy school culture and any student’s academic success. Relationships take time. They also take effort. Therefore, teachers do not remain with their students for a single year, which is the format that most districts have clung to for decades. Rather, they work with a single cohort of students throughout an extended portion of their academic tenures, allowing relationships to build over the course of successive years. Teachers and administrators will also 3

directly help students confront their life challenges, whether this means providing living accommodations, counseling or therapy and, of course, extensive assistance with college and scholarship hunting. What fundamentally separates Roses in Concrete from other charters and non-profit programs is that it confronts students’ poverty and all of its attenuated issues directly rather than citing the “high expectation” that adolescents grapple with most of their issues on their own and still continue to succeed academically.

Why haven’t other non-profits built charter networks that apply Dr. Duncan’s all-encompassing model? Certainly, part of the explanation is that it would completely alter the role of educational institutions wherever it is applied. The school building will become much more than a place for learning, but for all the complex and intimate processes of living and growing. Teachers will become a part of students’ lives as never before. Work-life balance will take on a new meaning entirely. Indeed, conducted properly, this proposal is a radical shift. But radical situations demand radical solutions, and the life circumstances that many of our urban students face, particularly our minority students, are nothing short of extreme.

To be fair, there are certainly non-profits that work to address the myriad challenges that students face in poverty, but that typically go unaddressed by traditional public schools. Open Doors Academy in Cleveland, Ohio not only works with students in after-school programs during their high school years but continues to support these same students throughout college. Such instances are encouraging, but their proliferation is totally inadequate. We need more such models in our major urban areas that are fully integrated with schools.

Traditional public schools will not be quick to adopt anything resembling the practices at Roses in Concrete. Part of this issue is a question of mandates. Public schools are expected to educate without regard to the variables intersecting the child’s ability to focus and learn. This premise is terribly problematic for schools in tough urban areas. It is extraordinarily difficult for students to concentrate on academics when, outside of the classroom, they face struggles that would perturb fully mature adults. Until policy-makers and other influencers of educational policy own up to this reality, the responsibility for popularizing a wrap-around, 24/7 support model falls to the non-profit sector, which is equipped with the flexibility and higher propensity for innovation that the public school systems woefully lack.

If we are to truly provide students in the most challenging of circumstances with an outstanding education, we can no longer shy from the responsibility of addressing the full spectrum of their needs. This entails much more than after-school tutoring or business-hour appointments with overly burdened social workers. By taking the example of Roses in Concrete, the non-profit sector can act as a catalyst in providing this movement the momentum it requires.


Common Core: Threat and Opportunity By: Whitney Shepard Lead: The Common Core is nothing if not controversial. Sweeping changes in curriculum, testing, and graduation requirements will impact students and communities across America. These changes will impact our organizations through the schools and children that we support. These standards create a threat to our performance and vision. However, this threat can be leveraged as an opportunity. What is the Common Core? The Common Core is a set of English Language Arts and Mathematics learning standards that are designed to increase rigor, prepare students to be college and career ready, and unify standards across the states. They have currently been adopted by all but 5 states. They are partnered with the Obama administration’s Race to the Top education policy.

Image from:

How is this a threat? Many of our programs are aimed at improving educational access and outcomes. This is often measured by graduation and dropout rates. Changes in curriculum with more difficult testing and increased graduation requirements lead us to the expectation that graduation rates will decrease, dropout rates will increase, and overall performance as measured by testing will go down in the coming years. How do we leverage this threat and make it an opportunity? As full implementation comes in the next few years we need to: 1) Manage Expectations: This must be done for all of our stakeholders ranging from funders to the patrons of our services. The Common Core increases the need for non-profit services in the education realm. It makes us more essential. This is an especially important view to promote with our funders. We need to show how we are adapting and expanding programming to meet these new challenges. We also need to educate stakeholders as to why graduation rates and test scores may decline initially and then show how we are meeting needs to confront this problem despite more difficult requirements. As many of the students we serve may already be struggling we need to be prepared to combat their increased frustrations or disheartened attitudes. 5

2) Redefine how we measure success: Graduation rates and test scores are important, but they are not the only way to measure success. For organizations that have relied on these indicators as a way to demonstrate success they should look to expand their measures. Other measurements could include program participation, surveys of patrons/customer and community perceptions, number of programs adapted to meet new curricular needs, or other organization specific measures. 3) Revamp Programming: At the K-12 level we need to make sure that individuals delivering academic support services are versed in the common core and how it will be evaluated. We have a great opportunity and room for growth in expanding programming and creating resources to develop curriculum and supports. Graduation requirements will still vary to some degree by state, so organizations need to make sure they are informed on any new tests that need to be passed or shifts in requirements. We also have opportunities to expand our support for K-12 educators and institutions. As demands on teachers increase we can offer programming that helps them to better adapt curriculum. At the college level we need to be equipped for students who may be differently prepared for college than they were before. In theory, the common core will develop learning that is deeper but less broad. It is important that we are aware that implementation isn’t being phased in with younger students but rolled out all at once. This means that we will have high school students graduating over the next 8 years that did not have exposure to full ground level base work. Incoming students will not only have learning gaps, but different gaps than we have previously dealt with. Higher education institutions will need to adapt intervention and academic support services accordingly. 4) Stay True To Ourselves: With all of the programming changes we may make, we need to remember our organizational missions. What we value and wish to help people achieve will (probably) remain the same, we will just need to accomplish it a little bit differently. Our sector will be even more important in helping to create educational opportunities, increasing academic success, and helping to promote community development and productive members of society. With all of the frenzy surrounding the common core we need to keep cool heads and focus on doing what we do best and what creates the most value. Conclusion: While Common Core may threaten student motivation, initially decrease graduation rates, and put an even greater strain on struggling school districts and communities it will increase the need for services and supports provided by the non-profit sector. Through managing expectations, redefining success measures, revamping and expanding programming, and staying true to ourselves we can leverage this threat as an opportunity to increase the size and scope of our sector and thereby leverage increased funding.


On the need for local libraries to be close to schools

Over the past few years, libraries in the Cuyahoga County Library system have moved from locations near high schools to ones further out within their respective cities. The reason: loitering teens. Truthfully, this is not the only reason, but it is a reason that is taken into account as these libraries look for new spaces. Though it may not qualify as a trend yet, the movement of local libraries away from schools can only result in a deficit of learning and engagement for both students and community members. Certainly, during the day, the library is crowded with retired citizens and parents with young children, but it is equally important for these libraries to be crowded with middle and high school students once the school day has let out. However, these students are often seen as a nuisance and are classified as nothing but troublemakers by other patrons in the library. Rather than being resented, these students should be encouraged to use the library in a productive way, to read, to study and so on. There seems to be a disconnect between libraries wanting students to use the services of the library and to be responsible students, and the desire for libraries to be peaceful places to work. In addition to libraries being a place for students and other citizens to work, increasingly, libraries have had to make the shift from being solely focused on physical books, to looking at how to incorporate more digital access into their spaces. In making this shift, however, libraries should not forget their mission of serving the community, students included. In fact, as the use of computers and technology in schools goes up, there is an increased need for places where students, especially low income students can access this technology. The need for library access to students, therefore, is growing. This might therefore be the perfect opportunity to also enhance the spaces for students within the libraries. Perhaps this shift is the reason that new locations are needed for these libraries, but this is not clear and may not even be a good enough reason to take away easy library access from students. Given the lack of clarity surrounding the relocation of libraries in the Cuyahoga County system, city planners and libraries must reassess. Is there really a problem with loitering students, or is it simply a lack of alternatives? And if they identify students as the problem, should students actually be classified as a problem? Libraries have the potential to be safe spaces for students to work and congregate in a productive way. Students should not be viewed as a problem. The question that should be posed is rather, why are these students loitering? Of course, there are always those who do cause trouble, but these students should not ruin libraries for other students who rely on them as a place to go after school to work. As communities we should be encouraging more students to going to the library, not taking easy library access away from them. Oftentimes, community members in particular look down upon high school students because they can be loud and disruptive, but rather than slowly taking spaces away from students, communities should be creating these spaces. Though they already pay for public schools with their taxes, communities should be taking a vested interest in their students. Learning does not only take place within the classroom.


Evergreen Volunteer Teaching Lead: Educational nonprofits can better reduce the education gap between urban and rural areas if they make the most use of retired teachers and make them to train rural teachers, and fundamentally improve education quality in rural schools. Here is an innovative way to exert a more sustainable and long-term influence while lowering your operation cost. Many educational nonprofits commit themselves to reducing the educational gap between urban and rural areas. Most existing programs recruit recent college graduates to teach students directly. This model has several problems. Firstly, these young people don’t have experience teaching children and lack the appropriate method to make children understand the content, even if they are highly educated. Secondly, these teachers seldom stay in the local schools after the contracts end. Short-term teaching cannot fundamentally change the education situation in rural areas. Thirdly, the salaries of these teachers compose a large percent of program’s expense, which is a large burden to the NPOs. However, few of us have noticed that there are huge numbers of retired teachers in urban areas, which we could recruit to fill the gap in rural schools. Integrating underused retired teacher resources in urban areas and using them to improve rural school education can address all the problems of existing programs. Instead of teaching students directly, retired teachers from urban schools will help to improve the local teachers’ teaching skills and school management. In this way, the program can enhance local teachers’ capacity to provide quality education and thus lead a sustainable education revolution. Furthermore, the retired teachers will get their pensions from social security and won’t require extra payment. The NPOs can lower its cost to a large degree. Not only does the project reduce educational gap, it also helps improve the living quality of aging teachers. Because the project gives retired teachers a chance to use their expertise and experience to help people. China Social Entrepreneur Foundation has implemented Evergreen Volunteer Teaching project since 2011. The project provides four major activities: 1. Intensive training: coordinate education experts and excellent teachers to provide training sessions for principals, core teachers and new teachers (2-4 times every semester). 2. Training team: organize retired teachers into training teams. Each team move into and stay at one rural school, evaluate the teachers’ working methods and help to improve their teaching skills and management system (The teachers will stay at rural schools no less than 90 days per year). 3. Urban-rural school partnership: urban schools and rural schools build one-on-one partnerships. Teachers from urban schools volunteer to teach in rural schools; teachers from rural schools observe and experience urban schools’ education pattern. 4. E-learning: provide educational resources (such as curriculum and teaching plan) and distance learning for rural teachers in an efficient way. In addition, the volunteer management system of Evergreen Volunteer Teaching deserves our attention. The foundation set up three levels of volunteer offices: village-town level, city level and central level (the office in the foundation). These offices manage volunteer teachers, including coordinating, logistics, quality monitoring, etc. All volunteers are required to complete activity logs after every activity and report to the volunteer office in village and towns. The village-town offices collect information and report to city offices by 20th of each month. Then the city offices compile reports for the foundation. This graded administration 8

volunteer management system provides an efficient and affordable way to manage volunteers who spread throughout the country. The idea to use retired teachers and create the graded administration volunteer management system lowers the cost of the program significantly. 20,000 dollars enables the project to operate in one villagetown volunteer office for one year. One village-town volunteer office can serve three to four nearby schools, benefit 200 teachers and help 2500 students. Therefore, the cost to cultivate one teacher is 100 dollars per year, and the cost to let a student receive quality education is less than 10 dollars per year. The foundation only needs to pay for the transportation, accommodation and accident insurance of volunteer teachers, and daily office expense. The cost is much cheaper than recruiting new teachers and giving them salaries. Instead of giving fish, the Evergreen Volunteer Teaching teaches rural schools and teachers how to fish. Utilizing retired teachers and creating the graded administration system to manage volunteers, educational NPOs can spend much less to exert better and more sustainable influence.


Defining Veteran Friendly – Graduating the Post 9/11 Generation of Student Veterans By Jared Lyon U.S. military veterans have a long history with institutes of higher education that can trace its heritage back to the tail end of World War II. On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly referred to as the GI Bill of Rights. This one piece of legislation fundamentally shifted the way in which veterans from Europe and the Pacific returned home. The Veterans Administration, as it was known at the time, was responsible for carrying out the law’s provisions—highlights of which included loan guarantee for homes, farms or businesses, unemployment pay and most prominently, resources for education and training. Historian Milton Greenberg estimates that the original GI Bill enriched the United States by producing 450,000 engineers, 240,000 accountants, 238,000 teachers, 91,000 scientists, 67,000 doctors and 22,000 dentists. This feat led these men and women to earn the moniker of the “Greatest Generation.” Their legacy returned $7 to the American economy for every $1 invested in the GI Bill, a serious return on investment. On June 30, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008, commonly referred to as the Post 9/11 GI Bill. After this piece of legislation was signed into law, institutions of higher education throughout the United States began to prepare for a new generation of returning war veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that the graduation rate for full-time undergraduate students who began their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year degreegranting institution was 59 percent. In the American institutions of higher education, this graduation rate has become the baseline in which many university and college presidents strive to come out ahead of and often, many do. This means that roughly, 41 percent of students who enroll in college will not make it to graduation day. In March of 2013, several media outlets reported that 88 percent of military veterans drop-out in their first year of college. With clear understanding, this statistic alarmed not only many in the U.S. veteran community, but those in higher education and at various levels of the U.S. government. Ultimately, this statistic has not been substantiated by outside research and has served as the motivation for a major research project for Student Veterans of America, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the National Student Clearinghouse that will track student outcomes for Post 9/11 GI Bill recipients. One university president is out in front on the issues surrounding the transition of Post 9/11 veterans, those who have served after September 11, 2001, to institutions of higher education. His name is Dr. Eric Barron and he serves as the president of Florida State University (FSU) in Tallahassee, FL. In October of 2011, FSU made the commitment to become the most student veteran friendly university in the United States of America. FSU claims to have one of the highest student veteran graduation rates in the nation, with 87.5 percent of their enrolled veterans crossing the stage on graduation day. With many U.S. colleges and universities clamoring to understand how to become “veteran friendly”, I caught up with President Barron on Veterans Day this year to understand his definition of veteran friendly. Barron has four simple ways to measure if your university is veteran friendly:


1. Admit Admissions is the first step on the journey to a degree, so ensure that your admissions personal are trained to understand these nontraditional students. Look for ways to assist new student veterans with translating their military experience to their next mission in higher education. Understand the benefits that military veterans carry with them, i.e. paid tuition, fees and books at your institution and ensure you have trained VA certifying officials in the admissions office to assist the veteran with the sometimes cumbersome government benefits paperwork. Consider allowing out-of-state student veterans in-state admission to your university for the purpose of tuition costs. And finally, investigate enrolling your university in the VA’s Yellow Ribbon program, thus lessening the financial burden for veterans to enroll in your university. 2. Retain Retention is the name of the game in getting to graduation day and one of the best tips to retain this generation of student veterans is to instill in them a sense of community on your campus. You can do this by creating a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community as well as instituting a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on student veterans, to include demographics, retention and degree completion rates as suggested by Joining Forces. And lastly, take active steps to train faculty and staff on the unique needs presented by veterans and military families. 3. Graduate If you follow through with the first two, this step should develop organically. Once your student veterans achieve graduation, do not miss the opportunity to celebrate their success. Look for ways to recognize your veterans at graduation, such as allowing a member of the graduating class who is a veteran to read the Pledge of Allegiance at graduation and issuing red, white and blue honor cords to all graduating veterans to wear as part of their regalia, proudly displaying their military service. FSU hosts a dinner at the Presidents house for all graduating student veterans and commissioning ROTC cadets to honor their achievements with friends and family. 4. Help Them Get a Job Start early by working with your student veterans from admissions to graduation to understand their future career goals and help them select choices that will bring them closer to their goals. Look for ways to leverage what your university already has on campus, such as your campus career services office to aid graduating student veterans in securing meaningful employment in their desired career field. Finally, seek out relationships with industries and companies such as those who are members in the 100,000 Jobs Initiative that already have a desire to hire veterans and create a way to connect your graduating veterans to these job opportunities. As the war is over in Iraq and we are drawing down in Afghanistan, it truly has never been more important for colleges and universities to have a focus on the returning men and women from service who will enroll in their institutions. We have an obligation to these servicemen and women to ensure they are getting the best educational experience possible, generations of veterans before this one have proven, that if we invest in them, they will become our nation’s strongest assets.


Education Sector: Non-profit advice