NGA Center for Best Practices Honor States Grant Program Phase Two Awards

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1 NGA Center for Best Practices Honor States Grant Program Phase Two Awards Increase Course Rigor ($140,000 Grant; $40,000 Match Required) Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania will work with NGA and ACT on a district and school-level pilot project promoting high-level college-oriented content. The states will partner with districts within each state (at least one urban and one rural), and three high schools within each district to offer ACT s Model Course Syllabi for college preparatory courses (in English, mathematics, and science) in the sophomore year. Specifically, the partnership will: Evaluate the match between state high school standards, college placement standards, and ACT s Model Course Syllabi in English, mathematics, and science via the ACT Course Rigor Evaluation Process ( audit ). Host a series of curriculum improvement and assessment workshops for teachers in the selected districts that focus on certifying course quality and improving instruction. The states will also develop an instructional resource bank for teachers containing sample instructional activities tied to the Model Course Syllabi. Host quarterly statewide meetings of gubernatorial and legislative staff and statelevel K 12 and higher education leadership to discuss state policy implications of the audits (e.g., guidance and financial aid for students, professional development, teacher assignments, virtual coursework, regular audits of course quality). ACT and the NGA Center will deliver a report, based on the audit, with recommendations to the governor and legislature. Mississippi Mississippi will direct its course rigor efforts to those districts and high schools most impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Oklahoma Oklahoma aims to increase the rigor of coursework in the high schools in two urban and two rural districts. Along with implementing the above activities, Oklahoma will use the state s GEAR UP initiative to scale up the state s effort to increase course rigor by adding districts completing the rigor analysis through the year Pennsylvania This project will include one urban district (three high schools) and three rural districts (three high schools). Expand Advanced Placement Participation ($500,000 Grant; $500,000 Match Required) 1

2 Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, and Wisconsin, in partnership with the College Board and NGA Center, will work to improve disadvantaged students access to, and success in, college-level Advanced Placement (AP) courses. The states will pursue two activities simultaneously: 1) Development of a statewide AP expansion strategy that includes the implementation of programs and policies that increase student preparation for and success in AP courses and that prepares many more teachers to teach AP; and 2) The implementation of an intensive AP expansion effort in one urban and one rural public school district, whereby a number of innovative AP expansion strategies can be field-tested and evaluated. Specifically, the states will: Provide resources to add AP courses to select high schools and districts during the year, including the support of professional development; classroom supplies; lab equipment; college-level textbooks; and support activities for students. Implement sequential professional development events for each AP subject area. Implement several programs and strategies at the middle grades and junior high levels that increase the preparation of all students for success in AP courses. Participate in a learning laboratory for teams of policymakers and educators from the six states that will be co-hosted by the NGA Center and the College Board. Alabama The state has identified one urban district, one rural district, and six of their high schools to participate in this effort to expand AP participation. Along with the activities described above, Alabama will choose an external evaluation firm to assess the progress of the pilot districts and schools and integrate AP expansion into the Alabama High School Redesign Strategic Plan. Georgia Georgia will support the selected districts and schools in implementing programs and strategies to increase enrollment in AP courses, to increase the number of AP courses offered, and to improve student achievement on AP exams. Georgia will also use a portion of the grant funds to pay AP exam fees, beyond what is currently funded by the state, in participating schools. Kentucky Kentucky will work with one urban and one rural district and three high schools within each to expand AP opportunities and participation. Maine Through this grant, Maine will extend AP and other college preparatory opportunities in seven districts across the state. Along with the activities described above, Maine will offer incentives to teachers and work with a wide range of districts including an island school 15 miles from the mainland. Nevada 2

3 Nevada will partner with Clark County School District, the fifth largest school district in the country. This district also serves the largest representation of minority students in the state. Along with the activities described above, Nevada will recruit more minority teachers to teach AP, invite high school students to be teachers, and make an effort to develop culturally diverse curricula to reach students of all backgrounds. Wisconsin Wisconsin will utilize NGA support and matching state funds to expand AP participation and success in one urban school district and a consortium of eight rural school districts. The Governor's Office and the Department of Public Instruction will collaborate with the AP Consortium at the Center of Education and Work (University of Wisconsin-Madison), the Wisconsin Virtual School, and several other partners to increase AP opportunities for minority, low-income and rural students via distance learning and provide professional development opportunities for AP teachers and coordinators. Improve Teacher Knowledge and Skills and/or Recruitment and Retention ($100,000 Grant) Connecticut, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Wyoming will help ensure teacher content knowledge is aligned with student standards and that instructional strategies help all students meet higher standards. In addition, these states will support all high schools in their efforts to recruit and retain qualified, effective teachers for every classroom. Connecticut With this grant, Connecticut will provide job-embedded professional development for up to 10 multi-disciplinary teams representing rural, suburban, and urban school districts; initiate and support classroom-based and school-based action research projects with each team; and identify, train, and support a cadre of candidates who are making midcareer transitions into education through the Alternative Route to Certification (ARC) and who are seeking teaching positions in hard-to-staff areas. Iowa Iowa will focus on improving the literacy skills of students in high schools identified as Schools in Need of Assistance for reading. To accomplish this, Iowa will train language arts, Title I, special education, and reading specialists to implement Second Chance Reading (SCR), a developmental reading program specifically designed for adolescents who have significant delays in reading. Iowa will also train content-area teachers to incorporate Question Answer Relationships (QAR), an evidence-based reading comprehension strategy for adolescent readers in their content-area instruction. Oklahoma Oklahoma will increase the number of National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) in urban high schools in the Oklahoma City Public School District. This effort will complement the Oklahoma City Public School Foundation project, which has been in place for four years to focus on recruiting and supporting middle school teachers to achieve NBCT certification. A local university will support candidates through the Education Leadership Oklahoma cohort mentor program. Through this project, Oklahoma will work to modify state and local policies, including providing incentives, to retain these highly effective teachers in hard-to-staff, low-performing high schools. 3

4 Wyoming This grant will address the unique needs of Wyoming s late-career teachers. To accomplish this, Wyoming will conduct a needs survey of all Wyoming teachers who are classified as late career either by age or years of service; create the New Learning for Wyoming s Senior Teachers Scholarship Program, which will include grants of up to $5,000 to support any scholarly activity that will help teachers retain their vigor and enthusiasm for teaching; and develop a mentoring program that pairs near-retirement teachers with early-career teachers. This mentoring will be supported with professional development, a listserv for communications, and site visits. Turn Around Low-Performing High Schools ($200,000 Grant) With these grants, Nevada and New Hampshire will identify low-performing high schools and provide incentives, resources, and assistance for them to improve. Nevada The state will pair successful high schools with low-performing schools that have similar demographics to provide peer collaboration and mentoring. Targeted Nevada high schools will become members of the Successful Practices Network (SPN) to receive focused technical assistance, resources, and support; participate in Study Tours, twoday site visits to successful schools; receive consultant support and focused professional development; and use Student Learning Criteria and Site Visit Protocol to evaluate improvement and progress. New Hampshire With this grant, New Hampshire will engage in activities to close the learning gap between the state's high performing and low performing high schools; increase high school graduation rates and decrease drop out rates; implement a student identification system ensuring accurate data on every child's academic achievement; establish a grade dual high school/college system; align high school exit standards and college entrance standards; provide high school redesign training to high school leaders and their teams grounded in Breaking Ranks: Seven Cornerstone Strategies to Improve Student Performance; improve high school literacy rates; and identify supports for schools wishing to address the needs of low-performing students through individualized learning plans. Streamline Education Governance ($50,000 Grant) Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Wyoming will streamline education governance to hold both the K-12 and postsecondary systems accountable for common goals and education outcomes. In addition, the selected states will work to coordinate policies for high schools and public two- and four-year postsecondary institutions. This will help inform the public about what students need to know and be able to do to transition to the next education level. 4

5 Arizona The established P-20 Council will examine issues and promote policy and programs that help all Arizona's students meet higher standards and prepare for formal education and workforce training beyond high school; develop common goals, performance benchmarks, and educational policies to provide more opportunities and increased achievement for all students; restore value to the high school diploma by striving to improve all students' performance in reading, writing, math, and science; and discuss quality and rigor of required coursework, including teacher quality and support, alignment of business and industry expectations with high school graduation standards, Honors, Advanced Placement, and other high school programs. Connecticut The Governor will convene a Pre-K-16 Education Council that will coordinate efforts to support the implementation of recommendations made by the High School Advisory Committee; advise the State Board of Education and the Board of Governors for Higher Education; and develop consensus around the two-year and 10-year goals for the Pre-K- 16 Council. Florida Florida will leverage its existing K-20 governance system to update statewide and local articulation agreements and work to develop a common measure of college-readiness across secondary and postsecondary education Georgia Georgia will create a permanent P-16 Council that will align Secondary Education Redesign with college- and work-ready standards; pending additional funding, coordinate a public awareness campaign to build public will for Secondary Education Redesign; coordinate Georgia s Secondary Education Redesign efforts to bring meaning to the high school diploma and provide incentives for P-16 collaboratives (school, college, and business) to develop innovative redesign models; oversee the use of a fouryear cohort graduation rate and pending additional funding, oversee the development of a P-16 data system. Oklahoma The state will create a PK-16 Council by Executive Order that will examine, identify, and act on issues related to rigor and relevance for high school students and readiness for college and career; review the progress and success for the identified activities of the Honor States grant to consider recommendations to legislative, education, and business leaders; convene town hall meetings to present findings of the council and various studies and projects of this initiative; and develop and execute an effective communications strategy. Wyoming With this grant, Wyoming will convene the Wyoming Education Stakeholders Summit that will include individuals drawn from every school district, state and local government, postsecondary division, communities, parents, students, business organizations, and interest groups. The summit will result in working groups that commit to work with each other over two years and provide specific policy recommendations on the topic of high school reform for the governor, legislature, department of education, and school districts. The recommendations will cover areas such as a statewide longitudinal P-16 data 5

6 system career guidance, transition from Carnegie unit to standards-based system, and professional development. All working groups will be reconvened at the end of the two years to share their recommendations. Results of the meetings will be shared with the greater public through a media campaign. Use Virtual Learning to Advance High School Improvement ($100,000 Grant) Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee will create or expand their statewide virtual high school as a means of increasing opportunities for more rigorous course offerings and/or advanced placement courses. Georgia With this grant, Georgia will partner with schools to expand online learning opportunities to more students; provide professional development to teachers of online courses; assist students enrolled in online AP and other rigorous courses with ongoing coaches; and develop the expansion strategy to bring online coursework to districts and schools across the state. Kentucky Kentucky plans to expand its successful Kentucky Virtual School program to provide advanced coursework to more students. To accomplish this, Kentucky will develop online diagnostics and modular content to be delivered during the senior year to students at risk of not being ready for college mathematics and English; create creditbearing proficiency-based learning partnerships between students and communities of practice; increase the number of online AP offerings and dual credit opportunities through local and regional dual credit agreements and national postsecondary institutions; boost capacity to deliver high quality content through the online sharing of master teachers and the development of a teacher workforce that is virtual learning savvy; and launch a significant public outreach campaign. North Carolina NCVirtual, will allow the state to increase the rigor and relevance of its course offerings in high schools to better assist students who need extra time and support as well as provide expanded course offerings and advanced preparatory classes. North Carolina will establish standards for all virtual courses; promote all existing virtual high school courses; design new courses to better engage and challenge students; and provide professional development for teachers both teaching virtual courses and traditional teachers who will integrate online coursework into their classrooms. Tennessee The state will expand its e4tn virtual learning initiative and pilot course delivery in several school districts. To accomplish this, Tennessee will fund three teams to develop rigorous online courses in math, science, and foreign language that meet collegereadiness expectations; partner with districts and schools to enhance the neediest students access to and proficiency with technology and online learning; train teachers for delivery of new courses; and design and implement a communications strategy. 6

7 Develop a Statewide Longitudinal K-12 Data System ($150,000 Grant) Kentucky and Nevada will each build an individual student-unit, longitudinal data system that connects K 12 and postsecondary data systems, Kentucky To enhance implementation of the Kentucky Instructional Data System (KIDS), Kentucky will assign a permanent, unique student identifier to each student; develop an enterprisewide data architecture that includes a data model, data dictionary, business rules, and quality assurance procedures; create procedures for protecting the security, confidentiality, and integrity of data and for ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of data; and integrate local, institutional, and state data collections, including plans for requiring participation in the statewide data system and an electronic infrastructure to transfer large data files. Nevada To enhance its current P-12 and high education data systems and scheduled improvements, Nevada will conduct a study of what Florida and other states are doing to provide longitudinal student level data analysis across the P-16 spectrum. In addition, the state will build the capacity of teachers, principals, counselors, and district personnel to evaluate program effectiveness and impacts of improvement efforts on student performance. Three levels of training will be provided: District Data Steward training (district reporting, user profile management, training of other staff), Power User training (report development, ad-hoc analysis, data export, and advanced query concepts), and End User training. 7

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