Education Week - March 23, 2016 - (Page 1)

Education Week VOL. 35, NO. 25 * MARCH 23, 2016 AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2016 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 4  BRE AKING NEWS DAILY Federal i3: Giving Wing to Promising Ideas Intervention Targets 9th Grade Transition By Sarah D. Sparks Sarah Rice for Education Week Bucksport and North Berwick, Maine It's critical for students making the transition from middle to high school to know that the adults around them understand and care about them, but high school is also the time when parent and teacher attention can become hard to come by. "When you have 100 kids on your caseload, you have to deal with the bigger issues in class, and the kid who comes 30 seconds late to class every day can slip under your radar," said Josh Tripp, who was a math teacher in the nearly 400-student Bucksport High School four years ago when the school district, located on the state's far-north coast, volunteered to participate in a $5 million development grant in the first round of the federal Investing in Innovation program. The grant's purpose was to evaluate the Building Assets-Reducing Risks program, aimed at smoothing students' transition from middle to high school through a system that enables teachers to direct more attention to students' academic, emotional, and social needs. BARR is among a handful of programs that started out as promising ideas under i3's development grants but have built up enough evidence to scale up and move to a new grant to validate their model in other districts. That first development grant, which included four lowperforming schools including Bucksport, built enough success to earn the fledgling program a $12 million, still ongoing, validation grant in 2013-which includes the 1,100-student Noble High School several hours south in North Berwick and a pilot to potentially expand statewide in Maine. The grants enabled BARR to expand from a single high school in Minnesota to 45 urban, suburban, and rural schools, representing more than 17,000 students and more than 800 Science teacher Andrea Froburg, math teacher Jessica Cutliffe, and special educator Aimee Hall, from left to right, review a student's file in a Building Assets-Reducing Risks meeting at Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine. Noble is testing the BARR program with i3 funding. ABOUT THIS PACKAGE: As the first grants issued under the federal Investing in Innovation, or i3, program wind down, Education Week examines the yield from the politically popular program. INTRODUCTION TO i3: A primer on the federal government's main "innovation pipeline." PAGE 12 WRITING RESULTS: An i3 evaluation of the National Writing Project points to positive results. PAGE 8 PAGE 12 > ESSA May Offer Megaphone For Parent, Community Voice Advocates See Chance for Greater Impact Under New K-12 Law By Andrew Ujifusa and Sarah Tully Advocates for parent and community engagement see the newly revised federal K-12 law as an opportunity to expand their impact on states' academic goals, plans for school improvement, and other areas of policy. Requirements in federal education law for parental involvement in public schools are nothing new. But because the new Every Student Succeeds Act shifts significant responsibility over accountability and other matters to states and districts, there's renewed hope that parent, community, civil rights, and other groups will have more sway over what has been, in many cases, a narrower decisionmaking process. There are some caveats, however. Since ESSA deals only with authorizations for programs, federal funding for some of these engagement efforts is not guaranteed. And various groups say that it's up to all sides-including policymakers, advocates, and community members-to become more active so that the promise ESSA holds for them is fulfilled. The new law, like its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, requires districts to set aside at least 1 percent of their Title I funds, which are aimed at helping disadvantaged children, to involve parents in the school community (although the wording to describe those activities has changed PAGE 20 > Grant Boosts 'Early College' High School Effort By Alyson Klein Pilot Mountain, N.C. The students bent intently over their desktop computers at East Surry High School on a recent afternoon weren't all working on the same lesson, or in the same course-or even as part of the same school. Senior Ben Chilton sat in a corner, reading for an online political science class at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, while New Scrutiny On Schools' Drinking Water In the wake of the lead-water crisis in Flint, Mich., and the recent revelation that thousands of Newark, N.J., students may have been exposed to elevated levels of lead, districts around the country are dealing with rising demands for more regular testing to ensure drinking water supplies in public schools are safe. PAGE 6 a handful of other students were earning credits at East Carolina University in a classroom in an online community in which students and teachers are represented by avatars. And another senior, Timothy Crotts, highlighted passages from an old-fashioned textbook in a personal-finance class, also for an ECU course. High school students earning college credit may sound like nothing new. But over the past few years, students in East Surry and 17 other PAGE 15 > State Solidarity Erodes On Standards Testing By Catherine Gewertz Only 21 states still plan to use shared tests designed for the common core, a continued erosion of the unity that emerged six years ago, when 45 states embraced the standards and pledged to measure student learning with common assessments. The high school testing landscape is even more fragmented, as states increasingly choose the SAT or ACT college-entrance exam instead of common-core tests. An Education Week survey of states' testing plans in English/ language arts and math-the two subjects covered by the common core-found that states have continued in 2015-16 to drift away from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and Smarter Balanced tests. Those assessment systems were crafted by two groups of states to reflect the Common Core State Standards, which were the product of an initiative launched by the nation's governors and chief state school officers. The U.S. Department of Education awarded $360 million in grants in 2010 to PAGE 10 >

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 23, 2016

Education Week - March 23, 2016
Grant Boosts ‘Early College’ High School Effort
Federal i3: Giving Wing To Promising Ideas
State Solidarity Erodes On Standards Testing
ESSA May Offer Megaphone For Parent, Community Voice
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Survey: Student Engagement Drops by Grade Level
After Flint Crisis, New Scrutiny Of Schools’ Drinking Water
Wash. Charter Schools May Get Second Chance
Writing Program Found to Yield Benefits for Students, Teachers
Social-Emotional Learning’s Tech Potential
Blogs of the Week
Explainer: Getting to Know i3
Table: Findings from The First Round
High Court Nominee’s Judicial Record Sparse on Education Cases
State Agency Capacity Sees Selective Squeeze
Some Religious Schools Press Obamacare Case
Blogs of the Week
State Leadership Is Enhanced by Common Measures
Delivering on a Promise To the World’s Children
Purposeful Assessment Is an Antidote To Harmful School Testing
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
To Avert the Next Generation Of Violent Conflict, Replace Fear With Curiosity

Education Week - March 23, 2016