Wednesday, March 27, 2013

LIAS and Recent Trends in Education and OST (Part 1)

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
There are several new trends or movements as stakeholders look to improve the quality of formal education and learning outside of the classroom. They include the topics of school reform, Common Core Standards, extended learning opportunities, program quality measurement, STEM, 21st century learning skills, and social-emotional learning (SEL). We will use the next two blog posts to briefly name and describe these important trends and on the relevance of the LIAS learning principles according to leaders in each of these movements: 

Pedro Noguera
SCHOOL REFORM: Beyond the discussions of how to change the structural elements of school, nearly everyone is talking about making learning more engaging. The LIAS learning principles serves as a clear guide on how to change our teaching methods to greatly increase the motivation and interest of young people involved in learning activities.

 “If you don't find a way to make learning matter to students then much of what the adults are trying to do in school reform, will fail.” – Pedro Noguera, NYU

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: The Common Core Standards were developed by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They have been adopted by 46 states, and focus on “fewer standards at a deeper level than do many of the models used in the past. The standards also emphasize higher order thinking skills; that is, they focus more on demonstrating understanding of content and analyzing written materials rather than on memorizing specific content.” Many of those working to draw a link between learning outside of the classroom point to the Habits of Mind, which focus on “knowledge, skills, and dispositions that operate in tandem with the academic content in the standards… and offer a portrait of students who, upon graduation, are prepared for college, career, and citizenship.”  

Deborah Vandell
According to Deborah Vandell, Founding Dean of the School of Education at UC Irvine, “Much of the school day is really spent in learning a set of material, so we’re going to need to get away from that.  Now part of the Common Core Standards is really pointing in this direction, of problem based learning, working in teams, a more sequential and deeper learning. I think that afterschool programs and summer learning, are about the same things, and I think we are going to be able to help schools see some new ways of learning.”

Elizabeth Devaney
“I think the LIAS principles are complementary, if not completely aligned with the Common Core. They represent the kind of teaching that will be necessary in order for students to achieve the Common Core. The main difference is that the LIAS principles really address the how of teaching and the Common Core is more focused on the what. But absolutely, teachers will need to shift their instruction to more closely match the LIAS principles in order for students to develop habits of mind and master the content standards.” - Elizabeth Devaney, Forum for Youth Investment

EXTENDED LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES (ELO): There is a growing call for schools to offer or link to extended learning opportunities for young people. For some, this movement represents lengthening the school day and increasing time on task or seat time. We join the many others who believe that we must be creative and flexible in our teaching methods in order to increase engagement and draw on community organizations and resources outside of school to fulfill any promise of ELO. 

Jennifer Davis
“A whole-school re-design, built upon a platform of expanded time, enables educators the opportunity to introduce fresh methods of teaching and learning. We are seeing many examples of hands on learning, deeper science experimentation, mastery around music and the arts across a number of expanded-time schools which align very well with the LIAS vision.” - Jennifer Davis, Co-Founder and President, The National Center on Time & Learning

Jennifer Peck
“The Learning in Afterschool & Summer effort is perfectly aligned and perfectly timed with the federal policy conversation around extended learning.  The LIAS principles and language support the very critical task of helping decision makers at all levels understand that after school programs are a place of learning, are worthy of continued and strengthened investments, and can be the foundation for new and innovative models of teaching and learning.” – Jennifer Peck, Partnership for Children and Youth

Friday, March 22, 2013

Protect 21st Century CLC

From the Afterschool Alliance:

Email your senators now & tell them to support afterschool programs during the budget process.This week, the Senate is expected to vote on a budget resolution for 2014. This vote is important—the resolution serves as a blueprint for Congressional committees on spending decisions for programs next year.

Senator Boxer
Sen. Boxer is offering an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution to support funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the only federal program dedicated exclusively to fund afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs.Take Action! Your senators need to hear from you as soon as possible. Send an email asking them to support the Boxer Amendment on 21st CCLC to protect funding for community programs that help families and children.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas

Larry Ferlazzo
The Learning in Afterschool & Summer project promotes 5 learning principles. We stress the importance of learning that is collaborative and learning that is active, which means incorporating project-based and problem-based learning. 

Larry Ferlazzo, a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA, offers a valuable list of favorite websites for cooperative and project-based learning. Click here to access this very valuable compilation.

Larry Ferlazzo teaches Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced English Language Learners (as well as native English speakers) at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. He has been a high school teacher for nine years after spending nineteen years working as a community organizer.

In addition to writing his blog and maintaining his website, he also has another blog entitled Engaging Parents In School. In addition, he writes regularly for the In Practice blog. “In Practice” is written by a group of teachers from around the world who teach in low-income communities. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Expanded Learning, California Style

The article below first appeared in the Huffington Post on February 22, 2013. We are reposting this because we believe it is of particular interest to our readers.  
Superintendent Tom Torlakson
By Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Jennifer Peck, Executive Director, Partnership for Children and Youth

Jennifer Peck
In 2002, California made a historic investment that forever changed the landscape of our education system. With the passage of Proposition 49, an unprecedented half a billion dollars was devoted to after school programs -- more than all other states' investments combined. This money first went to work in 2007, at a time when we had no idea what was about to happen to our economy. But the six years since Proposition 49's implementation have been a powerful journey of collaboration and progress toward expanding learning opportunities for students in low-income communities across California.

Scaling up an initiative of this size -- nearly $700 million total in state and federal funds for after school and summer programs -- has been a challenge. It has taken time to build infrastructure, professional development opportunities and communication systems that are necessary to the success of any education initiative. But California has made great strides in maximizing this investment thanks to unique partnerships between policymakers, advocates and practitioners. Together we have:

  • Focused on ways schools and community partners can plan and implement together, teach collaboratively, share data in the interest of continuous improvement and bolster student success;
  • Built a team at the California Department of Education that is solely focused on administering our significant investments in expanded learning programs;
  • Engaged practitioners in the task of defining what quality looks like and in shaping the state's investments in training and technical assistance;
  • Placed greater focus on summer, in addition to after school, as a critical time to provide engaging learning opportunities to students;
  • Initiated important conversations about how our significant expanded learning investment can support California schools in other priority areas such as Common Core implementation, bringing science education to more students, and building college and career readiness.

There is a great deal of discussion nationally about the need to add learning time to the school day and the school year -- and varying points of view on the ways in which to tackle this challenge. Many of these discussions have focused on "time" as the operative factor. However, what we know from research and from experience bears out what Paul Tough recently wrote about how children succeed: time isn't enough.

Students need meaningful ways to engage with their learning experiences, to build trusting relationships that keep them present and motivated, and to be exposed to opportunities that broaden their horizons beyond the walls of their neighborhood or their school building. We firmly believe that high-quality expanded learning programs, whether they take place after school, in the summer, through school schedule redesign efforts or otherwise, are the way to provide this for all our students.

We are very proud of what we have collectively accomplished in our state. We have made serious investments in expanded learning programs, and we are serious about making these investments as effective as possible. We recognize that we are constantly learning about what works best, and we have much more to do to ensure all students receive a strong, well-rounded education. We believe the only way to move closer to that goal is through partnerships -- between policymakers and stakeholders; between school districts and community partners; within and across all kinds of public agencies; and between students, parents and their schools.

Click here to read the full article about the strategies California employed after the passage of Proposition 49.
Tom Torlakson is California's 27th State Superintendent of Public Instruction. As chief of California's public school system and leader of the California Department of Education, Superintendent Torlakson applies his experience as a science teacher, high school coach, and state policymaker to fight for our students and improve California's state's public education system.

Jennifer Peck was a founding staff member of the Partnership For Children and Youth in 2001 and became its Executive Director in 2003. Jennifer leads a coalition of California organizations advocating for new federal policies to improve the effectiveness of after-school and summer-learning programs. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO)

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
My long-time colleague, Kim Boyer, Executive Director of the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation, will be working with Logan Robertson and Matilda Soria to launch a new afterschool and expanded learning journal called The Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO). I'm honored to support their efforts by serving as a peer-reviewer. Kim recently released a call for papers for the first edition of the journal. Click here to view. Below I ask Kim to tell us more about this journal. 

Q: You and the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation are launching a new journal on afterschool and summer programs entitled “Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities (JELO)”. Can you describe the purpose of this journal?

Dr. Kim Boyer
A: The aim of this journal is to promote scholarship and consciousness of the ways in which students’ engagement in afterschool and expanded learning activities contributes to their learning and development by publishing original empirical, practical, and theoretical manuscripts. The JELO will connect research and promising practices throughout California and the nation, fostering a dialogue that engages both researchers and practitioners in the field. 

Q: There are a couple of journals that share the purpose of your new journal. Why did you decide to launch this?

A: There is a growing need to bring awareness to the positive impact of afterschool and out-of-school time learning. While there are journals that focus on this, we wanted to launch something that looks at the unique programs in California, as well as bring awareness to the term expanded learning opportunities and how it is very much connected to afterschool programming. 

Q: You describe the JELO as peer-reviewed. What do you mean by this and what advantages does it offer you, the editor?

A: What we mean by peer–reviewed or refereed is the process of subjecting an author's paper to careful review/scrutiny by others who are experts in the same field. This process needs to be done before a paper can be published in a journal like the JELO. The work may be accepted, considered acceptable with revisions, or rejected. The associate editors and I wanted to implement this process with the journal submissions in order to ensure papers published in the JELO are considered quality manuscripts. 

Q: What kind of articles will the journal feature? 

A: The journal solicits original papers in two categories: 

  • Research-based: presentation of new research using data that includes an abstract, an introductory paragraph, a brief literature review, methods (quantitative and/or qualitative), results and implications.  An example would be an academic or field study. 
  • Practitioner-based: presentation of an essay or brief focused on a specific promising practice that includes an abstract, introductory paragraph, discussion of the practice and recommendations for implementation, sustainability and scaling.  An example would be a review of a program project/activity.  

Q: You state in your call for papers that suggested topics are inspired by the Learning in Afterschool and Summer (LIAS) principles that include: learning that is active, collaborative, is meaningful to participants, supports mastery, and expands horizons. Why did you decide to cite the Learning in Afterschool & Summer learning principles as a framework to guide the development of your new journal? 

A: It is an exciting time in the field of afterschool and out-of-school time learning. Collaboration and input from the field is being encouraged and celebrated. The LIAS learning principles serve an important framework for quality afterschool programming and is being encouraged/implemented not only at the program level but at at the California Department of Education level.  Like many others, the associate editors and I embrace these principles and feel it should be interwoven throughout all of the work being done in this field and at all levels. This includes the JELO. 

Q: When can we expect that the journal will be available to readers? How will they be able to access it? 

A: Depending on the number of paper submissions, we are planning to publish the inaugural issue of the JELO sometime between May and August, 2013. When it is ready, the JELO will be open–access and available online through our website.  

Dr. Kimberley Boyer is the executive director of the Central Valley Afterschool Foundation. She has seven years experience working directly with children as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles, and as an afterschool program coordinator and project specialist in Fresno. While at CVAF, Kim helped design and facilitate the Region VII ASSETs Learning Community, in addition to providing support to develop high quality elementary afterschool programs through trainings and onsite coaching. She continues to be involved in the sustainability of high school ASSETs programs, in the development of tools and resources to support Quality Self-Assessment, in curriculum development, in field research and in the implementation of English language learner support in afterschool.Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA, a master’s degree in education from California State University, Fresno and a doctorate in educational leadership from Fresno State. 

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